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New law targets online activities designed "to annoy" others

New law targets online activities designed "to annoy" others
New law targets online activities designed "to annoy" others

The 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."



Perspective:  Create an e-annoyance, go to jail
By Declan McCullagh
January 9, 2006, 4:00 AM PST

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.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, 
is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of 
Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and 
two years in prison.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv 
Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. 
"What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."

[...remainder snipped...]
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