Editor’s Note: Make no mistake – new cyberbulling laws grease that slippery slope towards total net censorship, but now states are pushing for felony charges for what looks to be a legal mine field. And it’s all in the name of “protecting children”.
March 19, 2012
The states — Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine and New York — want to put penalties on the books for the types of digital bullying that led students in several states to commit suicide. Among the victims was Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who jumped to his death in 2010 after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his gay encounter. The roommate, Dharun Ravi, was convicted Friday on 15 counts in a case that drew national attention.
North Carolina passed a law in 2009 to criminalize cyberbullying, making it a misdemeanor for youths under 18.
The trend in legislation is “bringing our laws into the digital age and the 21st century,” said New York state Sen. Jeffrey Klein, a Democrat who sponsored a bill to criminalize cyberbullying. “When I was growing up, you had a tangible bully and a fight after school. Now you have hordes of bullies who are terrorizing over the Internet or other forms of social media.” Under Klein’s proposed law, anyone found guilty of using electronics to stalk or harass someone could face a misdemeanor or felony charge that could carry a prison sentence.
Forty-eight states have anti-bullying laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The move now is to strengthen those laws and add specific consequences for electronic intimidation and harassment…