Sanchez, with the introduction of the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, clearly has a great interest in censoring.
Still, the Democrat from California makes several valid points that cyberbullying…
has lasting consequences on our nation’s youth. The 13-year-old Meier’s suicide is clearly a tragedy. But how she characterizes the measure is simply untrue.
“Put simply, this legislation would be used as a tool for a judge and jury to determine whether there is significant evidence to prove that a person ‘cyberbullied’ another,” she wrote in the Huffington Post. “That is: did they have the required intent, did they use electronic means of communication, and was the communication severe, hostile, and repeated? So — bloggers, e-mailers, texters, spiteful exes and those who have blogged against this bill have no fear — your words are still protected under the same American values.”
But that’s not what the proposal says. It goes way beyond youth cyberbullying. As we said the other day, the measure seemingly outlaws logging onto the internet.
But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what H.R. 1966 says:
(a) 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.
(b) As used in this section —
(1) the term ‘communication’ means the electronic transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user’s choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received; and
(2) the term ‘electronic means’ means any equipment dependent on electrical power to access an information service, including e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones and text messages.
This measure and Sanchez’s electronic defense of it are so emotionally distressing to us that, if adopted, perhaps Sanchez should be the first to be prosecuted under the statute.
We strongly urge Sanchez and the measure’s 14 other congressional backers to promptly withdraw this proposal.