by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 10th 2009 10:38am
The latest in a long line of questionable "cyberbullying" legislation has shown up in Texas, where the legislature has approved a bill that would make it a felony to create a fake social networking profile with intent to "harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten" anyone. Of course, that seems rather broad.
Oddly, the article doesn't mention the Lori Drew case (Update: actually, it does mention Lori Drew at the bottom... but says this law wouldn't apply, because it only applies to fake profiles of "real people"), though, it does mention the Tony La Russa/Twitter legal battle, even though it's difficult to think any court would rule a parody profile as being with intent to harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten. Of course, even if the bill is signed into law, Eric Goldman notes that it would likely have trouble surviving much of a challenge, pointing out the oddity of singling out "social networking sites" and (more importantly) the fact that any such law would likely ban all sorts of protected free speech. Still, "anti-cyberbullying" laws are all the rage these days, and politicians want to make sure they can tell constituents that they're out there "protecting the children," so expect to see plenty more of this type of legislation.
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