May 12, 2009
Posted: 11:32 AM ET
A cyberbullying bill introduced last month has the potential to put half the Internet behind bars.
The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act is Congress' response to the 2006 suicide of a 13-year-old girl who was harassed on MySpace. The bill makes electronic communication a felony if “the intent is to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person.”
Congressmen probably aren't the most Web-savvy bunch, but anyone familiar with trolling, flaming, and various other forms of online bullying could see a problem with this bill.
While Rep. Sanchez's assurances may be comforting, judges tend to follow the wording of a law rather than its sponsor's intent. So before you text your cheating ex, slam those Apple forum fanboys, or call me a 'moron' in the comments, consider the possible consequences of this new bill, or at least put your lawyer's number on speed dial.
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