New Internet Law Makes Everyone an Unintentional Criminal

Out of all the ridiculous laws passed in the Internet age, this one might be the most absurd. The law, which only applies to Tennessee at the moment, may have originated with the good intentions of fighting cyber-bullying; but it not only makes nearly every citizen a criminal, but would also send them to jail for almost a year and fine them up to $2,500 if convicted. So what is this dangerous action that the Tennessee government finds so threatening? Nothing other than sending an offensive picture online… to anyone.

The idea here was that anyone who sends out or uploads an image that might frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to anyone who sees it is doing something along the lines of abusing the viewer. The law states that this person, sender, or abuser should be punished for the mental harm they caused the viewer.

When you think about it, however, anything and everything can be scary to some person. For example, if you sent a picture of a ghost to a friend, you might be going to jail. Sent a guy a photo of his ex? Might be getting a $2,500 fine. Sent a picture of a spider to a friend, but a co-worker walked by and got frightened by the picture? Still going to jail.

Obviously this law is shady from a human rights standpoint. But seeing as this is something that has already been signed into effect, we can only wait and see how it turns out. Even if the law itself is coming from a well-intentioned place, odds are it will be quickly overturned once the first person to get charged for breaking it goes to a higher court.

(Via Gizmodo) / (Image by Guerretto licensed under Creative Commons)

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  • LT.Low

    Wow! Look what college educated people do when they are bored!! Stupid!!!

  • http://improvememory-reviewpros.com Dee

    I want to use this opportunity to warn all my friends that I’m irrationally afraid of clowns. I don’t want to get invited to a kid’s birthday party and have them go to jail.