Arizona law would censor the Internet

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    Default Arizona law would censor the Internet

    The state of Arizona could find itself in the company of countries like China and Syria for censoring the Internet if the state's governor signs a bill recently passed by the legislature.

    Arizona House Bill 2549, which is now on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk for signature, was created to counter bullying and stalking. The law 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 the intent to "terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend."

    First Amendment rights group Media Coalition, which represents the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Association of American Publishers and other related groups, says the bill is not only a violation of the First Amendment, but is so far-ranging as to be preposterous.

    In a letter to the governor, the coalition said while government can criminalize speech "that rises to the level of harassment, and many states have laws that do so," Arizona's legislation:

    '... takes a law meant to address irritating phone calls and applies it to communication on web sites, blogs, listserves and other Internet communication. 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.'

    This bill isn't the first the legislature has tackled when it comes to regulating what's said -- or seen -- electronically. Another, Senate Bill 1219, would let parents see the text messages on the phones of their children, if they're under the age of 18. That legislation remains in committee.

    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," Media Coalition says on its website -- at least for now, until what it says is found to be offensive or annoying by those in Arizona.
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    Trolling is illegal! >:[ /s

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    Arizona also tried to pass laws recently that would make it legal for doctors to withhold info (even of the life-saving variety) from women if they might use it to decide to get an abortion, and another law that would allow employers to fire women who used birth control if they didn't have other health reasons for it.

    In other words, what is up with that state these days?

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    As a forum moderator not living in Arizona, I wholeheartedly approve of making trolling a criminal offense

    (not REALLY)
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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    This article contradicts itself...

    It says "The law 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 the intent to "terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend.""

    And then later quotes someone saying "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.'"

    So basically, the first quote says that it only applies when the act is done with the purpose of offending / annoying someone, the second quote says the exact opposite and says that the law applies even when its not intended to annoy / offend anyone.

    Assuming the first quote is the correct one... I don't even see why such a law is necessary. There are already laws (perhaps not in Arizona) against harrassment and if someone is being harrassed online then that person could just sue the person doing it, just as he could sue the person who harrasses him in person or over the phone.
    Last edited by Xenidal; 3rd April 2012 at 01:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    Annoying? really? I can get terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass" but Annoying? My youngest sister annoys me, But I'm not Going to hurt her.

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    It's vague wording, which is probably part of the problem (if the bil is actually worded that way and the article isn't just paraphrasing). "Annoy" can be taken to mean the exact same thing as "harrass". Or it can be something way more minor... someone simply saying "Hi" to me could annoy me if I'm not in the mood to talk...

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    So basically this law wants to take all the fun out of the internet.

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    Arizona's been on a roll recently with the ridiculous laws.

    I thought my state was supposed to be the crazy one.

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bikini Miltank View Post
    Arizona's been on a roll recently with the ridiculous laws.

    I thought my state was supposed to be the crazy one.
    And we can add yet another one to the list!
    Arizona Legislators Trying To Declare Pregnancy Two Weeks Prior To Conception | RH Reality Check

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    what the hell.

    arizona's crazy. i never really liked that state to begin with :U

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    I don't understand what they're saying on the last paragraph. Is it saying all works of media, regardless if on the internet or not, can be sued/shut down/etc. for bein' annoyin'?

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    This is offtopic and I probaby shouldn't even post it, but I just had to point out:
    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    That's not at all true. Here is the actual bill: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/50leg/2r/adopted/s.2036jud.pdf
    The exact wording of the bill in regard to pregancy is
    9. "Pregnant" or "pregnancy" means a female reproductive condition of having a developing unborn child in the body and that begins with conception.
    The two weeks before conception is referring to "gestational age" which, according to the bill, is measured from "the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman". It's all just terminology but the bill never defines pregnancy as starting 2 weeks prior to conception and no one would ever argue that it starts any time before conception. That article is extremley biased (and not too accurate either considering its source was another biased article and that they didn't even consult the actual bill) and that article is just trying to put a negative spin on things to make the bill sound outrageous.



    Quote Originally Posted by Godo-kun View Post
    I don't understand what they're saying on the last paragraph. Is it saying all works of media, regardless if on the internet or not, can be sued/shut down/etc. for bein' annoyin'?
    I think what they mean is that any writing / cartoon / whatever that is posted on the internet is subject to the bill. If I'm understanding this correctly, this bill was originally made regarding phone calls / cell phones / text messages and then amended to include all "electronic or digital devices" (including the internet). Which would mean that it wouldn't apply to like, a statement or a political cartoon printed in the newspaper, etc.
    Last edited by Xenidal; 3rd April 2012 at 05:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyjenn View Post
    The exact wording of the bill in regard to pregancy is
    9. "Pregnant" or "pregnancy" means a female reproductive condition of having a developing unborn child in the body and that begins with conception.
    The two weeks before conception is referring to "gestational age" which, according to the bill, is measured from "the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman". It's all just terminology but the bill never defines pregnancy as starting 2 weeks prior to conception and no one would ever argue that it starts any time before conception. That article is extremley biased (and not too accurate either considering its source was another biased article and that they didn't even consult the actual bill) and that article is just trying to put a negative spin on things to make the bill sound outrageous.
    That article does stretch things a bit, but as far as I'm concerned, it's still problematic and sneaky to be using gestational age in this sense to calculate the point at which abortions are no longer allowed, because that means a woman who got pregnant right after her last period has more time than a woman who got pregnant later in her menstrual cycle (and while fertility varies throughout the cycle, depending on the woman - some have irregular periods - there's still some chance of pregnancy later in the cycle, and even if it's normal the period between when menstruation ends and peak fertility is about a week). So they really are counting time before a woman is actually pregnant by using "gestational age" because counting from the last period can add quite a bit of unnecessary time in some cases. It's not like there aren't other issues with this bill as well; it's yet another one that uses the religious value of "life begins at conception" rather than the medical definition of pregnancy as starting at implantation (because many fertilized eggs die on their own before reaching the uterine wall) and there isn't a medical consensus, like it suggests, that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks - as far as I saw, they only cited one article in support of this, too, hardly enough to make the claim they have that there is consensus. (Also, as nearly late-term abortions involve either the woman's health being at risk or the fetus not being viable, in many cases of the latter, the alternative is a much more painful death outside the womb after being delivered - so if that were really the concern, it's hardly an argument against late-term abortion.) Taking all of that together, and putting it on context of some of the other outrageous laws that Arizona has passed recently restricting women's reproductive rights, I think it's fair to say it's not well-intentioned.

    Also, you're confusing accuracy and bias. An article can use biased language and try to lead their reader toward a particular conclusion, as I take it was your complaint about this, and still have its facts right (such as the statistics it uses from the Guttmacher Institute). Being biased does not make an article immediately invalid, as you seem to think, it just means you have to be more skeptical with it. Most writing has some degree of bias; even so-called "unbiased" material is often just a case where the writer is either sneakier or less self-aware of their bias. Also, you have no way of knowing that they "didn't consult the actual bill" just because they didn't link to it in the article. That doesn't mean they didn't read it in preparation. As someone who has written political articles for a news website before, I know there are often a lot of things I read and use to inform the piece that I don't end up linking to in the piece itself. It's not a school essay; you don't have to provide a bibliography. They probably figured since the Mother Jones article they link has a link to the bill, that it wasn't necessary that they link to it as well.

    Anyway, let's get back on topic now...

    I think much of the problem with ways to attack "cyberbullying" is that it ends up targeting the wrong thing - acting like the Internet is the problem and if we make it harder to share those things on the Internet, it will go away. But kids have been bullying each other since the beginning of time; they don't need the Internet to do it. And it's usually the culture around the cyberbullying that makes it so powerful. On its own, being insulted on the Internet doesn't really hurt that much; in fact, it tends to hurt less because we're not as emotionally invested with people we only know through the Internet versus people we see in our offline lives (the power of body language). It's when it's put in the context of a school culture that allows for so many other, low-tech forms of bullying, where the kid is already being tormented in various ways, that it has so much power.
    I think oftentimes, people want these "quick fixes" rather than wanting to work on the larger problem behind it. I'm reminded of the Tyler Clementi case; while what his roommate did is wrong, I seriously doubt Clementi would have killed himself if it had just been that one incident his roommate taping him having sex and putting it on the Internet, and not other problems - that we live in a culture where being gay is seen as a bad thing, where people can win elections with anti-gay hate speech, and Clementi had recently come out to his mom and had a bad reaction. And he also seemed like he had severe social anxiety disorder (and as someone with a milder version of it, it can definitely make that online harassment much worse). So while I think that Ravi should go to jail for a while, the fact that his jail sentence is as long as it is and he's risking deportation seems unfair, and like he's being crucified for society's crimes.
    Last edited by Misato Katsuragi; 3rd April 2012 at 05:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    Also, you're confusing accuracy and bias. An article can use biased language and try to lead their reader toward a particular conclusion, as I take it was your complaint about this, and still have its facts right (such as the statistics it uses from the Guttmacher Institute). Being biased does not make an article immediately invalid, as you seem to think, it just means you have to be more skeptical with it. Most writing has some degree of bias; even so-called "unbiased" material is often just a case where the writer is either sneakier or less self-aware of their bias. Also, you have no way of knowing that they "didn't consult the actual bill" just because they didn't link to it in the article. That doesn't mean they didn't read it in preparation. As someone who has written political articles for a news website before, I know there are often a lot of things I read and use to inform the piece that I don't end up linking to in the piece itself. It's not a school essay; you don't have to provide a bibliography. They probably figured since the Mother Jones article they link has a link to the bill, that it wasn't necessary that they link to it as well.
    What I mostly meant was, if you take information from a completely unbiased source (for example, the actual bill) and then write a biased article about it (like the Mother Jones article) then the biased article focuses on the points you're trying to get across... which is okay. That article, although biased, was pretty accurate. The problem is when you add a second degree to it, like basing one article on a biased article (like the article you linked to did) then it retains all the bias from the first article, then adds to it. The fact that they took what was written and paraphrased it distorts the actual meaning, like the "Telephone Game". For example, the original bill had a section in it that said that gestational age is measured from "the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman". Then the first article took that and explained that the first day of the menstrual cycle is about 2 weeks prior to conception. Then the second article took that and changed it to "pregnancy is defined as starting 2 weeks prior to conception" which is completely untrue and no one thinks that it does or would ever try arguing that it does. Even a pro-lifer reading that article would be convinced that the bill is completely outrageous if he takes everything it said to be true, since no one, not even the pro-lifers, believe that pregnancy starts any time before conception.
    And I said that the second article didn't consult the actual bill, not because it wasn't cited, but because nothing in the article had anything to do with the bill. No quotes were pulled from the bill to explain anything... all that was there was a quote from the Mother Jones article and then what appeared to be nonsensical raving of the anti-choice crazies defining pregnancy as before conception and that every woman on the planet is defined as pregnant by this bill and all sorts of other crap.
    Anyway, this has gone completely off topic. If you want to talk about it any more then PM me.

    Back on topic... I already said this but I'll go into more detail... even if this bill was perfect there'd still be little reason to pass it. If an action is done directly to a person then it would fall under the category of harrassment, threatening, or spam. If an action is done to a person in front of a group in order to humiliate him or whatever, it falls under the category of slander or libel. All of which are currently illegal anyway and the victim can sue for damages without this bill even going into effect. That leaves annoyances and offensive statements, which, if they don't fall under any of the previous categories, aren't illegal and shouldn't be made illegal only on the internet (either they should remain legal everywhere or be made illegal everywhere).
    This was actually my main problem with SOPA. Everything that it was intended to protect against (piracy, illegal distribution of drugs, etc.) was already illegal in the first place and there was no reason for additional legislation regarding it.
    Last edited by Xenidal; 3rd April 2012 at 05:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Arizona law would censor the Internet

    This is starting to turn a bit debate-y/political which is not the intent of this forum, so please try to stay on topic. If you'd like to further discuss the political ramifications rather than the societal ramifications, feel free to start a topic about it in Nicoleta's Campaign Bus or take it to VMs/PMs.

    Anyways, if this bill gets signed into law, I'll have officially lost respect for the Arizona government. It's such a shame, because I love pretty much everything else about the state. There really is nothing else for me to say other than "You can't be serious, this will never fly."

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