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Internets Are No Longer A Free-Speech Zone


Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

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.

So much for that pesky First Amendment. The purported statutory prohibition:
Whoever...utilizes 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... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
I'm gonna need to check the legislative history on this, but I bet it has something to do with winning the "War on Terror," eh? After all, "the enemy" has stated that it wants to kill millions of us. Our government needs to protect us.

Via Atrios.