Don't Be A Jerk To A Minor In Louisiana Or Say Anything Sexually Suggestive In Scotland

from the controlling-behavior dept

Back in May we wrote about how Louisiana was the latest state to try to pass overly broad anti-“cyberbullying” legislation, that would make it illegal to say anything online that might “embarrass” anyone under 17. With a few modifications that law has now been passed. They (thankfully) removed the “embarrass or cause emotional distress” part, but still left in that it’s illegal to communicate “with intent to torment or intimidate” which seems pretty broad. No more trash talking on IM, kids.

Meanwhile, Glyn Moody points us to a new law in Scotland that outlaws “indecent communication” online. The law says you can’t say anything sexually related to someone without first getting consent. While, the intentions are good, the reality is that this will almost certainly lead to problems:

In our culture, it is not normal to ask people for permission to say something sexual during the course of a facebook chat or a conversation in a bar. “Do you mind if I deploy an innuendo” just wouldn’t sound right. And quite frankly it shouldn’t.

Whether people get off with each other in bars, or engage in mundane msn conversations that degenerate into bad internet sex, people frequently make the transition from polite conversation into something more erotic. And this very often necessitates somebody saying something on a whim, somebody communicating some sexual feeling in the hope that it will be reciprocated. And sometimes that means saying something under circumstances that don’t quite match up to a “reasonable belief in consent”.

The more and more governments try to regulate how people talk to each other online, the more and more ridiculous it’s going to look.

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Comments on “Don't Be A Jerk To A Minor In Louisiana Or Say Anything Sexually Suggestive In Scotland”

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31 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Scotland Depraved (by The Tartan Terrors)

[SCOTLAND DEPRAVED]
Bring me my whiskey, mother!
I’m feeling frisky, mother!
Bring me my sheep,
For I am lonely tonight.

Gosh knows I’m really randy.
Good thing I’m very handy!
England is prim and proper.
Scotland’s Depraved!

Chorus:
Bah bah bah-da bah bah bah
Bah bah bah-da bah bah bah
Bah bah bah-da bah bah bah
Bah bah bah-da
Bah bah bah-da bah bah bah
Bah bah bah-da bah bah bah
England is prim is proper.
Scotland’s Depraved!

Bring me a lover, mother!
No, not my brother, mother!
Bring me my sheep,
For I am lonely tonight.

No, not my sister, Mary.
Her legs are very hairy.
England is prim is proper.
Scotland’s Depraved!

(chorus)

I’m as a horny as a clansman!
I will even take a Saxon!
Bring me my sheep,
For I am lonely tonight.

Gunmen wear their kilts all day:
Zippers scare the sheep away…(so I’ve heard)
England is prim is proper.
Scotland’s Depraved!

(chorus)

One More Time!

(chorus)

A Dan (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How is that a good idea? The state is directly impinging on free speech. That should never be applauded.

Mocking should not be illegal. There is no right to not be offended. Trying to make one puts the incentives on being offended; the people who benefit the most are those who are most easily or most greatly offended. That’s a strange structure to encourage.

interval (profile) says:

Did you people hear about this:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/mother-jailed-for-sex-with-son-she-gave-up-for-adoption-20100713-108ts.html

Apparently this woman gave up her son for adoption 16 years ago. Last year (or the year before) located him on Facebook, and knowing exactly who he was seduced him. In other reports I understand she’s facing hospitalization assuming she’s found guilty.

Old Jarhead says:

What a hoot! Many (many) years ago, I enlisted in the US Marines at age 16 – with the help of a recruiter who “aged” me one year (w/parental consent). Anyhow, talk about being on the receiving end of rude, embarrassing comments!! In the end however, I survived and probably benefited (beyond my 4 year enlistment). However, I am somewhat like the cartoon figure in an old Larson cartoon drawing, where slaves are chained to a Viking ship, as rowers – all looking frazzled, except one (reminds me of myself) who, bright-eyed, raises a hand and says, “Oh yoo hoo, I think I have a blister!”

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Thank You, Pedantic Fucking Parents

The Louisiana law FTA addressed in subject.

Regarding the outlawing in Scotland of “sexually suggestive conversation” without consent…

I’m sure it was the few seriously degenerate men (and the two women) who throw trash around all the time that brought this law about. But, what the fuck?

Is this some new form of population control? If we brought this bullshit to the U.S. it would immediately become a cash-farm for lawyers doing “civil follow-up” to specious criminal charges, and the chilling effect would immediately extend to everyone’s pants

Niall (profile) says:

The specific reasons that this is an offence are:
(a) obtaining sexual gratification,
(b) humiliating, distressing or alarming B (the other)

I’m not sure how a) will go unless it is some private titillation directly related to the sharing, rather than just a general part of conversation, but the second is somewhat clearer.

To an initial reading it makes sense. The trouble becomes in how broadly these will be interpreted (and what evidence is needed to ‘prove’ these motivations).

As a resident of Scotland, I wait with mild trepidation!

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