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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Scotland

    I'm about to break the law in Scotland by writing something sexually related without first getting consent.

    "Norman is a boy cow."

    I am now a criminal.

     

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  2.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Re: Scotland

    Is that a banana in your kilt, or are you just happy to see me?

    Sorry, I couldn't stop myself.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:21am

    Something funny about bag pipes. (sorry there were so many potential jokes there I couldn't choose just one...

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    I mean really, while a cool instrument in its own right, it is basically a sack with some phallic-esque things attached and guys (typically) walk around in skirts blowing on one of the phallic extensions and squeezing the sack.

     

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  5.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Scotland

    Its a Banana ... ;)

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    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)

     

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  7.  
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    interval (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Scotland

    Some times a banana is just a banana...

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:41am

    Good thing I can still be a jerk on techdirt

    TAM - tell your mom hi for me

     

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  9.  
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    DanVan (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    I agree that the law sounds too broad but I also applaud the state for trying to get the internet under control mocking wise

    Many stories of kids being tortured online is heartbreaking

    I hope kids understand that they cant do anything and get away with it

     

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  10.  
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    interval (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Did you people hear about this:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/mother-jailed-for-sex-with-son-she-gave-up-for-adoption-2010071 3-108ts.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.

     

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  11.  
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    bishboria (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    I leave

     

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  12.  
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    bishboria (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    Bloody iPhone keyboard!

    I meant to say: I leave Scotland for 6 months and this is what they do!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    God please forgive us...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Why bring God into it?

    Mephistopheles: "Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it."

     

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  15.  
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    Old Jarhead, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    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!"

     

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  16.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    I herd one

    I understand sheep are a popular subject.

     

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  17.  
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    A Dan (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    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.

     

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  18.  
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    Bas Grasmayer, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    ...

    Eh, I'm sure some people might find it offensive if I ask them for consent to mention something sexually related... especially if what I was intending to say was harmless. They might actually feel much more (sexually) intimidated by the request for consent, than whatever the content might be.

    There are exceptions of course.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    Aren't a lot of takedown notices sent via the internet inherently "intimidating"?

    Be interesting if someone uses this law against them.

     

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  20.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    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

     

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  21.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    "The law says you can't say anything sexually related to someone without first getting consent."

    What about overtly sexual advertising? say in the form of an avatar, pseudo-chat window, or forum bot. Which third party is going to get sued first for obscene communique?

     

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  22.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Scotland

    And sometimes it's a cigar.

     

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  23.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Scotland Depraved (by The Tartan Terrors)

    You forgot the part about the sheets of rubber and peanut butter. :)

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 5:30pm

    People are living in an Islamic state and don't even realize it LoL

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 6:19pm

    "Do you mind if I deploy an innuendo" just became my new auto-sig!

     

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  26.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 8:26pm

    Isn't asking someone if you may raise the subject of sex raising the subject of sex?

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Scotland

    ... and sometimes it's just a McNugget.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    UR MOM !!.... no more :(

     

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  29.  
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    Niall (profile), Jul 14th, 2010 @ 7:36am

    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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  30.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 14th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re:

    "Bloody iPhone keyboard!"

    The iPhone has a what now? *fondles his N900*

     

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  31.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 14th, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    Next on Mock the Week

    I can't wait for this to be brought up on Mock the Week, my guess: "Isn't a Scot asking for permission to say 'fuck you' rather like an Englishman asking for permission to comment on the weather?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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