UPDATE: Changes coming to broad Arizona cyberbullying legislation

Books, Comics, Gaming, Movies, Music, Technology, Television

* UPDATE: Apparently the bill has not yet reached Gov. Jan Brewer — The Associated Press says that could happen soon. The Phoenix New Times quotes a sponsor of the legislation saying it has been stopped (for now) and it was all just a big misunderstanding …

** UPDATE: AP now is reporting (late Wednesday) that the bill will be amended to address concerns that it is unconstitutionally broad.

The original post:

A bill passed late last week by the Arizona Legislature and now sitting on Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk would criminalize “use of an electronic or digital device to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend” — all as defined by the state, apparently.

The scope of this legislation goes beyond one-on-one cyberbullying — as written, it could be applied to just about any content posted on the Internet. It makes no distinction between legitimate complaints of harassment and the easily bruised egos of career politicians. This in a state that is pinning much of its hopes for economic recovery on a technology sector renaissance.

Read more about the bill — HB 2549 — at the websites of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Media Coalition. Even better, read the bill (PDF) and decide for yourself whether it’s a good idea. Because time is running out to do something about it if you don’t like it.

About Jayson Peters

Nerdvana's founder and owner. A former East Valley Tribune copy editor, page designer and website editor, he is now Digital Editor for The Pueblo Chieftain in Southern Colorado, a web design instructor at Pueblo Community College and president of the Southern Colorado Press Club. He has contributed to the popular GeekDad blog and taught online media at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, his alma mater. Lifelong Star Wars fan and Trekker who also worships all things Tolkien and Doctor Who.

0 comments

  • This is a good bill. It will put some teeth into the bullying laws that influence our children. It becomes a foundation to stop kids from being cyber bullies, peer group bullies and just flatout mean people. Kids spread rumors over their portable electronic devices and then a collective group mass-sends threats to a victim. This ganging up mentality needs to stop and this bill will give a threatened person new legal ground to stand on.

    Pass this bill.

  • This is a good bill. It will put some teeth into the bullying laws that influence our children. It becomes a foundation to stop kids from being cyber bullies, peer group bullies and just flatout mean people. Kids spread rumors over their portable electronic devices and then a collective group mass-sends threats to a victim. This ganging up mentality needs to stop and this bill will give a threatened person new legal ground to stand on.

    Pass this bill.

  • I would agree that cyberbullying is a problem. But much like SOPA, this approach is way too broad, and the collateral costs are simply too high. They either weren’t thinking it through, or knew exactly what they were doing and just used the bullying issue as an excuse to enact limits on protected free speech. They don’t understand the medium, so they fear it and must control it.

  • I would agree that cyberbullying is a problem. But much like SOPA, this approach is way too broad, and the collateral costs are simply too high. They either weren’t thinking it through, or knew exactly what they were doing and just used the bullying issue as an excuse to enact limits on protected free speech. They don’t understand the medium, so they fear it and must control it.

  • This is a clear violation of our 1st amendment rights. Government, at all levels, cannot re-write the Constitution at the whims of a few.

  • This is a clear violation of our 1st amendment rights. Government, at all levels, cannot re-write the Constitution at the whims of a few.

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