Annoying People Anonymously Over the Internet Now a Federal Crime
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Trust the women’s movement to take all of the joy out of anonymous forum posting, e-card sending, online dating site flirting, or just about anything else which you may innocently do anonymously on the Internet.

How did this happen, you ask?


It’s called the Violence Against Women Act of 2005, and with respect to the above, it all comes down to some moronic legislating in the name of “protecting women”.

Rather than, you know, bothering to actually understand what goes on with the Internet, and cyberstalking, our Federal legislators have simply taken certain provisions of the telecommunications act which applied to telephone harassment, and made it apply to the Internet as well.

Here’s the nifty legislative slight-of-hand which does it. This is section 113 of the new Violence Against Women Act (VAWA):

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SEC. 113. PREVENTING CYBERSTALKING.

(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 223(h) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 223(h)(1)) is amended–
(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking `and’ at the end;
(2) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and’; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
`(C) in the case of subparagraph (C) of subsection (a)(1), includes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet (as such term is defined in section 1104 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 U.S.C. 151 note)).’.
(b) Rule of Construction- This section and the amendment made by this section may not be construed to affect the meaning given the term `telecommunications device’ in section 223(h)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as in effect before the date of the enactment of this section.

That above section of the new Violence Against Women Act basically changes section 223(h) of the Communications act of 1934 to say that anything prohibited by section 223 generally is now also prohibited if done over the Internet.

 

What does that include? Here you go:

SEC. 223. [47 U.S.C. 223] OBSCENE OR HARASSING TELEPHONE
CALLS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR IN INTERSTATE OR
FOREIGN COMMUNICATIONS.

(a) Whoever–
(1) in interstate or foreign communications–
(A) by means of a telecommunications device knowingly–
(i) makes, creates, or solicits, and
(ii) initiates the transmission of,
any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or
other communication which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or
indecent, with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another
person;
(B) by means of a telecommunications device knowingly–
(i) makes, creates, or solicits, and
(ii) initiates the transmission of,
any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or
other communication which is obscene or indecent, knowing that
the recipient of the communication is under 18 years of age,
regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the
call or initiated the communication;
(C) makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications
device, whether or not conversation or communication ensues,
without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse,
threaten, or harass any person at the called number or who receives
the communications;
(D) makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly or
continuously to ring, with intent to harass any person at the called
number; or
(E) makes repeated telephone calls or repeatedly initiates
communication with a telecommunications device, during which
conversation or communication ensues, solely to harass any person
at the called number or who receives the communication; or
(2) knowingly permits any telecommunications facility under his
control to be used for any activity prohibited by paragraph (1) with the
intent that it be used for such activity,
shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more
than two years…”

Ok, let me put this in plain English for you, using the language of section 223 itself:

Anybody who uses the Internet to post or email any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent, with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person has just committed a Federal crime, for which they can be imprisoned, fined, or both.

Now, don’t you feel better?

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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