from the good-for-them dept
It appears we weren't the only ones alarmed by the breadth of Arizona's law. The ACLU has now sued to argue that the law is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. The ACLU, in its announcement about the lawsuit, details a number of situations in which the law would technically apply, creating criminals:
- A college professor in Arizona, giving a lecture on the history of the Vietnam War, projects on a screen the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, "Napalm Girl," which shows a girl, unclothed, running in horror from her village.
- A newspaper and magazine vendor in Arizona offering to sell a magazine which contains images of the abuse of unclothed prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
- An educator in Arizona using images, taken from the Internet, of breast-feeding mothers, in an education program for pregnant women.
- A library in Arizona providing computers with Internet access to its patrons and, because no filters could effectively prevent this result, the library patrons are able to access nude or sexual images.
- A mother in Arizona sharing with her sister, in the privacy of her home, a nude image of her infant child.
- A sexual assault victim in Arizona showing a photograph of the naked assaulter to her mother.
The Act, however, is vastly overbroad in its reach. It is not limited to disclosures motivated by revenge; in fact, the motive of the person making the disclosure is irrelevant under the law. Nor is the law limited to pornography or obscene images. And the Act is not limited to digital speech: It equally criminalizes posting another’s private photograph on a widely-accessed Internet site, showing a printed image to one friend, publishing a newsworthy picture in a textbook, and including a nude photograph in an art exhibition.The lawsuit goes through a rather thorough explanation of just how many problems there are with the law. While some may attack this lawsuit as somehow "defending" revenge porn (just as some have attacked us in that manner for merely worrying about how broad these laws are), but that's ridiculous. A badly written and overly broad law is a problem that will be abused. That doesn't take away from the fact that revenge porn is despicable and that those who run those sites (hell, anyone who uses those sites) are self-categorizing themselves as scum of the earth. But none of that means that we should ignore the First Amendment or otherwise create laws with significant unintended consequences for all sorts of otherwise legitimate activity.