AZ HB 2549: Outlawing Internet Trolling (Except it wont)

Arizona Looks to Outlaw Internet Trolling | Techland | TIME.com

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.

While I applaud the State’s efforts to update existing laws to ensure new technological means are not used to skirt anti-harassment and intimidation protections, this law will likely not hold up in court because the terms “annoy or offend” were made into “criminal” offenses. Such vague terminology could be used to suppress 1st Amendment rights in Arizona by those who become “annoyed” or “offended” by something someone writes on the Internet. Every day people are “offended” and “annoyed” by the most innocuous of things. That doesn’t mean it’s criminal to say or write them, especially when they are of a non-threatening nature.

Who decides what is “offensive” and there for criminal? I find the derogatory comments about Arizona from progressives, pro-illegal alien supporters and extremist groups like La Raza to harm Arizona businesses via boycotts offensive; so is that a criminal offense? Does that justify 25 years of incarceration? Of course not. And then there is the whole “profane language” part, which the SCOTUS ruled long ago as protected speech, regardless of the level of offense.

A well intentioned law but ultimately one that has been subverted by those desiring to quash free expression in this nation.

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