For those who have perused the internet for any considerable amount of time will tell you, it really does bring out the worst in people. The ‘invisible man
‘ syndrome is on full display when you visit most sites that offer the ability to comment, or join a forum. Why bother adhering to the decency of society when no one can see you? I doubt H.G. Wells ever considered the theme of his sci-fi novella coming to real life. Especially in the scope that the internet provides.
Arizona is combating internet trolling, albeit in an inadvertent and dangerous fashion, with Arizona House Bill 2549
. For anyone who understands how freedom of speech works in conjunction with the internet; this bill absolutely reeks. Here’s the clause everyone is up in arms over…
“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use any electronic or digital device and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.”
When you read it in this simple form, you begin scratching your head and wonder how the Arizona congress could be so clueless. It’s the wording of “any electronic or digital device
” which is worrisome. If you begin to dig deeper it’s pretty obvious where things went awry.
For those who are well versed on first amendment rights, internet policy, and communication methods utilized online, this bill represents the worst kind of slippery slope. If someone wanted to be creative they could use this bill as ammunition for anything they didn’t like being said.