Arizona Internet Trolling Bill H.B. 2549 Causes Privacy Uproar, Lawmakers Making Changes

Trolls can now troll on...for now (Source: deviantart.net)

State Representative Vic Williams said the bill never intended to put Internet trolls in jail, but was merely an amendment to an old statute to include new digital means of communication

Arizona’s House Bill 2549 was recently introduced as an update to the state’s telephone harassment law. This new bill would have made it a crime to harass, offend or annoy others on the Internet via electronic devices like computers, tablets, and smartphones.

H.B. 2549 quickly grabbed a lot of negative attention, mainly because the bill was not limited to one-on-one communications; rather, it covered a broad part of the internet, such as comments on websites and cartoons. If the state found any writing or cartoons offensive, those responsible would be thrown in jail. According to Gizmodo, trolling could throw someone in jail for 25 years.

The following is a paragraph from H.B. 2549:

It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use any electronic or digital device and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person. It is also unlawful to otherwise disturb by repeated anonymous electronic or digital communications the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person at the place where the communications were received.
“Speech protected by the First Amendment is often intended to offend, annoy or scare but could be prosecuted under this law.”
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One response to “Arizona Internet Trolling Bill H.B. 2549 Causes Privacy Uproar, Lawmakers Making Changes

  1. H.B. 2549 never quite made it to the governor, according to Phoenix New Times. Also, the bill was amended before it passed the Senate and returned to the House, and has been reportedly shot down…… simply amazing

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