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Create an e-annoyance, go to jail

Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime

     
12:47 am on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison."

[news.com.com...]

9:08 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Not really, Im ean if I was to annoy/harrass someone its way more scary to do it anonymously isnt it?
10:49 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Read the code [www4.law.cornell.edu] before prejudging it. It only applies to obscene material, and there must be an intent to annoy, harrass, etc.
1:32 am on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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there must be an intent

It's probably useless then.

The perpetrator can always insist truthfully that there was never any intent.

And who is to claim different?

2:31 am on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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sure....notice the annoy OR harass.
Also, what's normal to me can be "obscene" or "indicent" to you; that's the problem.
11:06 am on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The perpetrator can always insist truthfully that there was never any intent.

And who is to claim different?

The person who is being harrassed along with a prosecutor who believes he has enough evidence to prove it.

Many states have a "stalking" statute.

12:32 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think the major error in this law is that a term like "annoying" has been used.

English is not my first language but according to my dictionary "annoying" can mean just anything from "molesting" to "bothering" or only "to be a pain in the neck".

7:44 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You can annoy somebody without ever having any intention of doing so.

You cannot stalk somebody without having any intention of doing so.

The victim is annoyed, insulted, harassed etc. when they consider themselves to be. Proving that harassment has taken place is one thing. Proving that there was intent behind the harassment is another thing entirely.

8:31 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Read the code before prejudging it. It only applies to obscene material, and there must be an intent to annoy, harrass, etc.

I dont't think that is the same law. That one is dated 3/17/05...

9:08 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The victim is annoyed, insulted, harassed etc. when they consider themselves to be. Proving that harassment has taken place is one thing. Proving that there was intent behind the harassment is another thing entirely.

I'd hate to be on the business end of someone whose sole job is prosecution and who believes they can prove all the elements of the offense.

In any event, I'm sure you won't have to worry about anyone invoking the statute and hauling you into court.