California Rep. Linda T. Sanchez and over a dozen others have proposed a bill in the US House of Representatives that, if passed, would effectively criminalize a lot of what is now considered protected free speech under the first amendment.
This bill is being foisted on us under the (in my opinion) misleading name of "The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act". It's supposedly aimed at criminalizing *ANY* use of internet and web media from blogs to Myspace, Facebook or ANY web media for the purpose of harassing, intimidating or causing substantial emotional distress.
Here's the relevant text from HR 1966
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both
I am not a hamster, I'm fully aware that there's a lot of people (kids mostly I think) behind a lot of "Cyberbullying" and yeah, it's caused a lot of problems for a lot of people. The problem is that THIS bill is reaching too far and wide.
I say that because of the "cause substantial emotional distress" part. That definition is entirely too loose. Some people seem to suffer "substantial emotional distress" if you say the teeny tinyest little thing that they don't like.
For example you could say the same thing to two different people... "Looks like you gained a few pounds lately". Most will take it in stride and go on, some will think about it and stock up on the best fat burners they can find and start an exercise program. Then there's the last group, overly sensitive little twits that manage to get insulted by the littlest things.
These are the people that instead of being sensible, get all pissed off and start hauling people into court suing somebody for "emotional distress" when what they SHOULD do is learn to farging deal with the fact that not everybody is going to serve them the world on a silver platter.
How about instead of assaulting free speech like this, we stop encouraging people to be so excessively sensitive in the first place. While we're at it, a good number of these people can stand a good dose of reality as well.
i.e. The world does not in fact revolve around your pathetic, simpering, weak minded ass, Deal with it! That's what the rest of us have to do every stinking day.