Arizona Law Criminalizing "Intent To Annoy, Offend, Harass, Or Terrify" On Internet Awaits Governor's Signature

Arizona law would criminalize being lewd, offensive, annoying on the Internet

As summarized by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, “The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a crime to communicate via electronic means speech that is intended to ‘annoy,’ ‘offend,’ ‘harass’ or ‘terrify,’ as well as certain sexual speech. Because the bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, H.B. 2549 would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying.”

The bill is currently awaiting Governor Jan Brewer’s signature, and the Media Coalition, which defends first amendment rights in the media, has sent her a letter outlining some of the problems with the legislation.

“H.B. 2549 would make it a crime to use any electronic or digital device to communicate using obscene, lewd or profane language or to suggest a lewd or lascivious act if done with intent to ‘annoy,’ ‘offend,’ ‘harass’ or ‘terrify,’” the letter notes. … ‘Lewd’ and ‘profane’ are not defined in the statute or by reference. ‘Lewd’ is generally understood to mean lusty or sexual in nature and ‘profane’ is generally defined as disrespectful or irreverent about religion or religious practices.”

“H.B. 2549 is not limited to a one to one conversation between two specific people. The communication does not need to be repetitive or even unwanted. There is no requirement that the recipient or subject of the speech actually feel offended, annoyed or scared. Nor does the legislation make clear that the communication must be intended to offend or annoy the reader, the subject or even any specific person.”

see also: Private ISP Companies To Launch Game-Changing Internet Crackdown 7-12-12 3-15-12

and: War-Related Comments On Facebook Get UK Teen Arrested 3-13-12 "Gospel of John chapter 9 verse 4 reads (in part): "the night cometh, when no man can work"...March 2012 - it is now the twilight's last gleaming"

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