Oh, you didn’t know that? Well it sure is. What does that mean for Intentious? What does that mean for comedians? What does that mean for Andrew Bolt?
What does that mean for opinion and free speech? God only knows.
Have a look at the below case, and before you go all “he deserved it” on my ass, keep reading.
The first Queenslander charged over Facebook vandalism for plastering child pornography over sites set up to pay tribute to two slain school children has been jailed for three years.
The Brisbane District Court was told Bradley Paul Hampson, 29, posted offensive messages and photographs on Facebook “RIP tribute” pages for a 12-year-old boy stabbed at a Brisbane school and a nine-year-old Bundaberg girl abducted and murdered in February last year.
Prosecutor’s said Hampson “posted” photographs of one victim with a penis drawn near their mouth and highly offensive messages, including “Woot I’m Dead”, “Had It Coming” and others too offensive to publish.
Judge Kerry O’Brien jailed Hamspon for three years, but ordered he be released after serving 12-months.
Judge O’Brien ordered Hampson be placed on a two-year probation order upon his release from jail.
Look, so sure, this example I’ve given you above is extremely malicious. Granted that this arsehole deserves some form of harsh treatment, but technically, what is the illegal act stated here? No, not possession of child pornography. No, it was not hacking into a private website (it was a public page). The crime was offending people. Making mouths dangle open in horrific distaste. That’s a crime today apparently. I find that extremely offensive. It makes my mouth hang open in horrific distaste. Can I please jail the fucking government now?
Back in the old days when you violated a public website’s terms of service you were banned and kicked off the website, not thrown in jail.
This isn’t just an isolated case for Nanny State Australia, either. As Gizmodo reported back in April,
One of the Internet‘s basic tenets—the right to be as much of a myopic, infantile asshat as humanly possible—is currently under attack in Arizona. A sweeping update to the state’s telecommunications harrasment bill could make naughty, angry words a Class 1 misdemeanor. Or worse.
It’s a dangerous precedent, yet another bill written and supported by legislators who fundamentally don’t understand the nature of the internet. And I’m not just being a, well, you know.
Arizona House Bill 2549 passed both legislative houses last Thursday and is now awaiting approval from Arizona’s governor Brewer. The statute states that:
“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.”
Twenty five fucking years? That’s err, overkill, surely, for some potty mouth threats. It’s important to understand that this isn’t 25 years in jail for actually carrying out an actual violent behavior. This is for merely working up a person by typing out something intentionally upsetting. Being upset now makes you not only entitled to sue a person for the damage to your precious psyche, but the state will actually step in and label you a criminal, maybe even a felon!
“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to… annoy or offend”
Well there you have it. Can I even say “GET FUCKED ON BEHALF OF THE INTERNET” without being called a criminal now? Or is it also now a crime to type in ALLCAPS?
A British university student has been jailed for 56 days for inciting racial hatred after posting offensive comments on Twitter about the collapse of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba.
Magistrates in south Wales sent 21-year-old biology undergraduate Liam Stacey to prison after he admitted the charge at a previous hearing last week.
Stacey broke down in tears as he was taken away in handcuffs.
The student was reported to police and arrested after posting a number of tweets mocking the player…
Stacey was taken to task by other users after he used offensive language to say that the player had died, prompting him to respond with a tirade of personal abuse.
56 days… you’ve got to be joking!
As the creator of Intentious, I will tell you now, I abhor the sick behavior the likes of the people above and trolls who actually take it way, way too far, who push teenagers to suicide and all that kind of despicable online behavior. However, in both cases above I believe that the unfortunate circumstances of the subject should be totally irrelevant to the actual “offensive” words. Yet it is not. They are not sentencing these people based soley on the language they used, they’re judging them based on the timing of their crime, ie: in both cases occurring after some bad thing which had befallen the subject, which, while insensitive and vile, still seems completely illogical to me from a legal standpoint.
So I will vehemently guard my right – and your right – to free speech, regardless of who you may offend with your views or posts or comments. What happens to the public who reads some post they think is offensive? They get upset. That’s about it. They just get upset. Upsetting someone is illegal.
If these anti-offense laws are not out to eventually have in their targets people like bloggers, opinion writers, commenters and so on, why so vague, generalist and all-sweeping with the statute wording?
If these laws are set up only to deter evil, sadistic sickos, why can’t they make it any more specific to the kinds of behavior that is condemned? At the very least, maybe it should say “being proven to reasonable doubt that you are a malicious sadist” is illegal. The way the law is now, you could be taken to court for saying, for example, that women who dress like sluts are arguably irresponsible for their own safety. Someone offended by that point of view can just say “It’s illegal to offend. In fact, it’s illegal to even annoy!” and the judge could say “well I’ll be damned, they’re right. Away with you!” slam down the gavel, and slap you with a class one misdemeanour or a huge, bankrupting fine.
Now, is that fair? Or is this the governments just having a big ol’ troll at our expense?
This is not about protecting the innocent, this is about control. I’ll tell you exactly why stupidly generalised laws like these are popping into legislation all around the world and people being made very public examples of:
It’s all part of a big, elaborate attack on mainly the Internet, that tool that scares politicians, freaks out private companies and makes people apprehensive to market anything lest something negative be said in opposition by some anonymous person completely entitled to their opinion. It’s no secret that governments and businesses alike, want to end the days where individuals can have voices. These laws are very real progress to make it legal to persecute, silence and prosecute anyone who uses the last bastion of open media to say anything out of line. Just you wait, mark my words that next you will be hearing about civil lawsuits on individuals who post negative opinions about a brand or celebrity on a Facebook page.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Intentious itself, which exists to share news that stirs the pot, is only legal for another few years. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Click below to watch the ingenious Steve Hughes (who at this rate, is probably a felon in several states) say it better than I ever can:
I guess the only positive that could come out of this is that Fred Phelps could be in jail soon.
- N.Y. governor signs far-reaching child porn ban (usatoday.com)
- More jailed for crimes against the environment (standard.co.uk)
- UBC student given probation, no jail time in Stanley Cup riot (theprovince.com)
- Man jailed after strip poker sex attack (nzherald.co.nz)
- Ariz. Tribe Boosts Jail Time for Reservation Crime (abcnews.go.com)
- Yes, The 2012 GOP Platform is For ‘vigorously enforced’ Laws Against Pornography and Obscenity (reason.com)
- Troll wars: Cops tackle surge in online hate crime sparked by Gers crisis (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Man jailed for sharing ‘worst’ of child porn (abc.net.au)
- Shelf Life – Don’t Feed the Troll (comicbookresources.com)
- Andrew Bolt: How a few trolls convinced Lewandowsky sceptics were mad (junkscience.com)