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I thought this was America. A country founded on individual freedoms, where we can express ourselves without fear of persecution based on our beliefs or political affiliations. Unfortunately, many of our dear elected officials disagree. The SOPA bill has been the hot button free speech issue of the year. The congressional sponsors claim that it will limit the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. But at what cost? What they pitch as a way to stop electronic piracy is just a thin façade camouflaging a form of internet censorship eerily similar to mainland China.
And if that isn’t enough communist bullshit for the year the state of Arizona has you covered. The people who brought you random citizenship checks and the anti-immigration fence now present HB2549, the Anti-Trolling bill. Yes Anti-Trolling. The state of Arizona is going to make internet trolling illegal, and not just the 4-chan esque, make a depressed fat girl commit suicide trolling. The bill aims to outlaw, and I quote:
“using any electronic or digital device, instead of a telephone, with the intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend a person”
How the fuck are you going to prosecute someone for being annoying or offensive on the internet? Based on my limited experience with the so-called internet I’ve found that approximately 96% of all websites are both annoying and offensive. I can see the merit in preventing cyberstalking and threats of violence on the internet but the inherent vagueness just opens up a Pandora’s Box. Who gets to decide what’s offensive? What if me and my friends use the phrase “faggot slurper” as a term of endearment?
These laws are just adding fuel to the fire of conspiracy theorists, who have been claiming that Big Brother has been watching us or years. Now they won’t just be watching but reading and listening. The government apparently aims to serve as the moderators of all the internet, saving us from the unspeakable horrors of people making jokes on your Facebook wall. Kids used to learn lessons in the real world. Now that all kids are fat and spend their time on Facebook and playing Call of Duty the internet is how they must learn the lessons of social acceptability. If talking shit on the internet is outlawed how will they ever learn that throwing up the peace sign in profile pic makes you a douche bag? They won’t, dammit!
The sponsors of the Arizona bill have back peddled in a meek attempt to cover their asses. This is all only in response to uproar over the bill, of course. They claim they weren’t trying to censor the internet but were merely trying to extend stalking and harassment law to the electronic domain. Okay great, but that’s not what the law fucking said and I’m not inclined to leave it up to our government officials to interpret it on their own (see Patriot Act).
Based on the public uproar and the comments from the Arizona governor this law is unlikely to go into effect. But, the moral philosophy behind it should be concerning. Especially if you’re on this website. Based on the legislation scrolling down the home page could probably qualify as an obscenity charge.
In closing. Fuck big government, liberals, condoms, Arizona, warm beer, and the WNBA.