On Thursday, President Bush signed into law a must-pass DoJ appropriations bill which contained a little gotcha for the internet. For decades, making anonymous abusive phone calls has been a federal crime, good for up to two years behind bars -- and the term "abusive" has included threats, harassment, and the much weaker "intent to annoy." Now, that telecommunications law has been extended to include the Internet, so when you post an anonymous troll to wind up your least-favorite blogger, you may break the law. This is silly: the law needs to start taking into account the qualitative differences between things like telephones, email inboxes, blogs, and IM accounts. A 3 AM phone call is different from a post to blogger.com calling me a jerk. I don't need federal protection from that Night Elf who keeps /chickening my Orc.
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