Tue, May 8th 2007 6:40am
Back in January, the city of Boston embarrassed itself by massively overreacting to a simple guerrilla marketing stunt, which it treated as a possible terrorist attack. The response basically shut down the city for several hours, demonstrating that the city's incompetence had major ramifications for businesses and individuals. In an attempt to save face, the city tried (and failed) to put the blame on the people behind the stunt, and then followed up with a promise to enact a (useless) law against such marketing techniques. Not surprisingly, politicians in Washington have taken up the city's cause and are promoting something called the "Terrorist Hoax Improvements Act of 2007". No, the law isn't designed to improve terrorist hoaxes, but rather to allow cities to sue people behind Boston-like "hoaxes" (it wasn't a hoax at all), for any ensuing chaos. Again, of course, the whole premise of the law assumes that the city did the right thing in reacting as it did. Unfortunately, as Cato's Jim Harper notes, there's no provision in the law that would allow all of the people inconvenienced by the city's reaction to sue the city.
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