back to article Revenge pornography ban tramples free speech, law tossed out – where else but Texas!

A Texas appeals court last week ruled that the US state's Relationship Privacy Act, which prohibits the disclosure or promotion of intimate images without the consent of those depicted, is unconstitutional. Enacted in 2015, the Texas law was intended as a way to stop what's known as revenge porn, in which a person discloses …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Murky waters here. I guess the legislatures didn't bother to consult with judges or legal scholars than before writing and passing a law?

    1. rg287 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I guess the legislatures didn't bother to consult with judges or legal scholars than before writing and passing a law?

      Seems par for the course. When New York rushed through a "something must be done" prohibition on "large capacity" magazines for firearms they forgot to include an exemption for military and law enforcement.

      For 24 hours every Police Officer in New York was committing a criminal offence simply by carrying their issued sidearm (with a >7round magazine) until they hastily ran back and got some grown up lawyers to fix their shonky legislation for them (like they should have done the first time around).

  2. The Nazz Silver badge

    Education, education, education

    Maybe there'd be no need for a revenge porn law if politicians, smarmy lying twats or the like, actually meant what they said via "soundbites" and actually provided a *proper* education. A bit like the old playground lessons* used to provide.

    *Yeah, you know, those time periods of a distant past when pupils were allowed outside (forced outside when pissing it down) to mingle with one another, some bigger, some meaner, some both.

    Some consistency is surely required.

    Expectation pf privacy? Yeah, right, you give your boy/girl/trans friend an intimate picture and expect them to do nothing but gaze at it.

    Meanwhile Faecesbook, Google ( who allegedly bought over Obamas regime ) and the like can trample all over everyone's privacy with impunity and immunity.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Education, education, education

      So your argument is, "we need better people, these ones are defective"?

      If we lived in that world, we wouldn't need laws at all.

      As for the "old playground lessons" - I remember those. But I don't remember that people were particularly more virtuous in those days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Education, education, education

        Well, yeah, actually we do need better people. I don't think it's an argument so much as an observation. I'll also concede to the OP that the legal code could use some pruning too. As to revenge porn, I think the problem is as much about how we consume it as we distribute it. If there is a problem, we're all complicit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Education, education, education

      No, no-one wants your nudes, right enough - an aging, balding, overweight white guy can't give them away. But everyone isn't you. Some people get hunted, their phones get hacked and they get stalked.

    3. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Education, education, education

      Expectation pf privacy? Yeah, right, you give your boy/girl/trans friend an intimate picture and expect them to do nothing but gaze at it.

      My partner and I exchanged a few smutty images when dating. I certainly never shared hers with anybody, and to my knowledge she has not betrayed my trust by sharing mine.

      Basic common decency, sadly not so common these days.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Education, education, education

        Oh, definitely. That's why it was called universal decency before 1980.

      2. Arctic fox
        Thumb Up

        @rg287 Re: "Basic common decency, sadly not so common these days."

        I remember dear Dad saying to me many, many years ago "son, there is a big difference between the exercise of liberty and taking liberties". Revenge porn is clearly taking liberties which IMO cannot and should be defended. "Basic common decency" (as you point out) is the matter in a nutshell. See icon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @rg287 "Basic common decency, sadly not so common these days."

          "I remember dear Dad..." I think you misunderstood him as clearly you are missing the point that if you never take embaressing photos or allow them to be taken then you can never experience revenge porn. That is taking a liberty when you demand additional protection for your own perving

          You could experience invasion of privacy but we already have a law for that as well as one for indecent exposure which one would have thought "smutty images" comes under.

          Sick of hearing deviants demanding new laws, at everyone else expense, because they get sexual pleasure from exposing themselves and do not like to be recognised as being a perv.

          My answer to this whole issue is charge the person depicted in these images via the existing exposure/porn distribution laws. Much cheaper

          1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

            Re: @rg287 "Basic common decency, sadly not so common these days."

            So (assuming you have sex at all) you do it only in the dark under the blankets? Because causing your partner to see you naked would be indecent exposure, right? (OW! I think I hurt my eyes from rolling them too hard!)

      3. BillG
        WTF?

        Re: Education, education, education

        My partner and I exchanged a few smutty images when dating

        Not a smart idea in any context.

        A few years back I bought a used phone off eBay. When I examined the memory I found no smutty pictures, but I did find family photos and - shocker - a photo of the previous owner's driver's license! I wonder what I might have found had I run an undeleter on the memory. And, with the Snowden revelations, we know that certain agencies read all our text messages and share the smutty photos.

        Absolutely not should anyone send any identifiable smutty images.

  3. ashton

    "where else" well how about uk ? atm uk and germany are going full on nk against free speech.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Given that neither country has a constitution or a guarantee of free speech, there is nothing to wonder at, apart from how much freedom you do actually have.

      I think the UK and German restrictions are well balanced, you can say pretty much what you want, as long as you don't call for violence against or the death of other people or ethnic groups, or things like revenge porn. Balanced discussion? Fine. Racial hatred? You need to look at yourself, before opening your mouth.

      We are supposed to be living in a civilized world, yet people prove every day that this is not the case; whether it be racial hatred, revenge porn, gun crimes, terrorism or any number of other things.

      Having to claim freedom of speech for such things means you have run out of rational arguments, as to why you think such things are acceptable in a civilized society.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        ...I think the UK and German restrictions are well balanced, you can say pretty much what you want, as long as you don't call for violence...

        Funny, that. If I happen to believe that the Nazi government didn't plan the systematic slaughter of Jews in gas chambers and want to state my arguments for believing this, I'll get locked up....

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          @Dodgy Geezer

          Your belief falls straight into the totalitarian's trap.

          Holocaust denial, like many other cries of "foul", is a whole lot more subtle than that. You posit an absurdity, but the people being tarred by the brush are much more likely to be historians questioning not the event of the Holocaust, but particular details or stories from it.

          And of course a big grey area between legitimate historical research (and shutting it down) and the strawman of outright denial.

          1. Steve the Cynic

            Re: @Dodgy Geezer

            Holocaust denial, like many other cries of "foul", is a whole lot more subtle than that. You posit an absurdity, but the people being tarred by the brush are much more likely to be historians questioning not the event of the Holocaust, but particular details or stories from it.

            The problem with laws that ban Holocaust denial is that they can have a sort of Streisland effect. After all, the full-whack denier can point to the ban and say that if the facts of the Holocaust are so secure, safe, and solid, why are they banning the mere act of denying them. He can go on and say that if these "facts" are so weak that they must be backed up by the law, that they cannot stand by themselves, then there is not enough reliable evidence that it happened.

            It is *specious* reasoning, of course - the law's theoretical basis is more likely to be a question of blurring the lines of hate-speech and similar concepts than trying to shore up weak historical evidence with legislation - but that doesn't matter to the "true believer". He wants something he can point to that says that the preponderance of evidence against his belief is just plain wrong, lies, or whatever, and these laws serve as well as anything else.

            Now I should make it clear that I'm not trying to deny that the Holocaust happened. Some of the details, especially the detailed numbers, do sound "inflated", but clearly *something* happened that is more or less as described.

            It's still a bad idea to enshrine such a ban in law. If the facts can stand by themselves without the aid of the law, let them do so, and stop giving deniers a stick to beat the history with.

            1. manchesterj

              Re: @Dodgy Geezer

              The germans kept quite good records and the numbers are not inflated. The denial thing is only a crime in Germany as far as I know. Personally I think people who deny it should just be forced to listen to the testimony of some of the people who survived and spend some time watching the some of the programs explaining what was done at places like Sobibor - then they might understand why denial is considered offensive by so many people.

              1. Mike Ozanne

                Re: @Dodgy Geezer

                "The denial thing is only a crime in Germany as far as I know. "

                No, denial per se is not a crime in Germany, the denying would have to be done in such a way that it constituted an incitement.

                Holocaust denial is a particular offence in :

                Austria, Belgium, The Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia and Spain

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Having to claim freedom of speech for such things means you have run out of rational arguments, as to why you think such things are acceptable in a civilized society.

        How many times must it be said? (Just 'cause you happen to disagree with it).

        Hate speech IS FREE SPEECH!

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith Bronze badge

          We had a vote a few minutes ago to remove your right to vote, Michael, based on your point that your name also starts with an M. Didn't tell you though, but that doesn't matter now - you should've know.

          Anyway, next vote: do we burn all the disenfranchised people with names starting with M who call for disenfranchisement of others, thinking that's "free speech"?

        2. israel_hands

          Hate speech IS FREE SPEECH!

          There are plenty of ways in which speech is restricted that you don't blink an eye at. You can't lie in court, you can't phone up a company and tell them you've planted a bomb, you can't threaten to kill someone, you can't tell the police your neighbour is a murderer, or just make up random lies about them.

          None of those restrictions are unreasonable and adding racial hatred and inciting violence to that list is also completely reasonable. All of those restrictions exist to protect people from malicious arseholes. Don't try and claim your human right is being infringed if your only intent is then to infringe the rights of others.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            So it would seem nearly everyone is against free speech. Let me ask a question. Did the Germans have free speech when Hitler came to power to enable them to speak out against the situation and what was happening? I think the answer to that would be no. Therefore free speech does have it's uses. There are also the scientists that questioned whether the earth was round (heresy they would say), no free speech and were all living on a flat earth. (Though we know it's not flat because if it was cats would have pushed everything off the side by now). Free speech just needs to be balanced and right but then who decides what is right?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Did the Germans have free speech when Hitler came to power to enable them to speak out against the situation and what was happening? I think the answer to that would be no."

              However, the reason for that was not legislation but the risk of having your head kicked in by the SA. Free speech laws are of no avail when the opposition has the people with guns (or owns most of the media).

          2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            @israel_hands

            well put, sir, well put.

        3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Hate speech IS FREE SPEECH!

          And constitutionally protecting hate speech is why America is so utterly fucked-up, has so many problems, is a failed state.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Hate speech that is merely hate speech

          All we have to do is tease out the nuance that distinguishes it from calls for lawlessness.

          Simples.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @big_D

        "I think the UK and German restrictions are well balanced, you can say pretty much what you want, as long as you don't call for violence against or the death of other people or ethnic groups, or things like revenge porn."

        Unless that is you make an amusing video of a dog trained to make a hitler salute when certain nazi phrases are spoken in which case you are arrested, prosecuted and fined. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-43478925

        I wish the law was that incitment to violence was a crime but other things aer not but that is NOT the law. Hate speech is an offence and that is disturbing.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Unless that is you make an amusing video of a dog trained to make a hitler salute when certain nazi phrases are spoken in which case you are arrested, prosecuted and fined. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-43478925

          I wish the law was that incitment to violence was a crime but other things aer not but that is NOT the law. Hate speech is an offence and that is disturbing.

          Phrases included in that video included "Gas the Jews", followed by giggling. He then shared the video to youtube where it had over 3 million views in order to drive traffic to his other (equally shite) videos. He was supported in court by EDL's Tommy Robinson. He claims it "accidentally leaked" (on to his public youtube profile? pull the other one, its got bells on it) and didn't realise it had that many views.

          We don't have free speech in the UK, and never have had. If you want to live in that sort of world, America is across the pond, enjoy.

      4. LucreLout Silver badge

        Having to claim freedom of speech for such things means you have run out of rational arguments, as to why you think such things are acceptable in a civilized society.

        Clearly they're not acceptable.

        The bit I struggle with is how circulating photos of your ex's norks left looking like a plasterers radio, can in anyway be classified as "speech". Surely the intent of free speech was that discussion of literally anything could not then be rendered verbotten because of the whims of the current executive.

        Tammy from Texas really shouldn't have to worry about what Billy Joe did with the naughty pictures she let him take before moving on to a better relationship. If he spaffs them all over the internet, then he should be birched or prosecuted - depends if the state get him before her brothers.

        The lasting harm publication of such private pictures do to the women (and their children) involved surely must outweight considerations towards a bitter and vengeful ex-partner?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: or things like revenge porn.

        "things like"? Is that a term of art in the legal profession?

        I suppose if we are wondering if particular speech is worthy of protection, we can just ask you. Because you'll know it when you see it.

        Right?

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: or things like revenge porn.

          I suppose if we are wondering if particular speech is worthy of protection, we can just ask you. Because you'll know it when you see it.

          This is why we have judges, and why they are separated from the political process. Like hardcore pornography, hate speech doesn't need explicit listings of what is or isn't hate speech, we rely on our judges to "know it when they see it".

          I think it works better than your "free speech". Our far right are laughing stocks of the country, yours arrange torchlit marches where they wear white hoods and shout anti-semitic abuse, and are condoned by your president "on both sides".

          1. pauhit

            Re: or things like revenge porn.

            Ah, see, here in America we don't have peerless paragons of virtue who do not suffer from the lapses in moral integrity us mere mortals contend with to act as arbiters on controversial subjects. Must be nice to have people so exemplary that they can be relied on to rule fairly on their judgments of "knowing when they see it", while the proles can safely sit in their basements deliberately misrepresenting and misunderstanding another countries laws.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: or things like revenge porn.

              Ah, see, here in America we don't have peerless paragons of virtue who do not suffer from the lapses in moral integrity us mere mortals contend with to act as arbiters on controversial subjects

              Yes, we can all clearly see the problems that your politicised judiciary cause you, but why do you need to be snarky about it?

              Must be nice to have people so exemplary that they can be relied on to rule fairly on their judgments of "knowing when they see it"

              It really is.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'Balanced discussion? Fine'

        yeah, try criticising western feminism for being illogical, poorly researched or emotive. You'll see how your balanced discussion goes.

      7. PatientOne

        "Given that neither country has a constitution"

        Sorry, got to be the pedant here: The UK doesn't have a codified constitution, but it does have a constitution. As much as I dislike Wiki, this is the link:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_Kingdom

      8. Mike Ozanne

        "Given that neither country has a constitution or a guarantee of free speech, there is nothing to wonder at, apart from how much freedom you do actually have."

        The Germans would be surprised that they "have no constitution" because, well, they do...https://www.btg-bestellservice.de/pdf/80201000.pdf please note article 5 in particular :

        Article 5

        [Freedom of expression, arts and sciences]

        (1) Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures, and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.

        (2) These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honour.

        (3) Arts and sciences, research and teaching shall be free. The freedom of teaching shall not release any person from allegiance to the constitution.

        The UK's constitution is less formally documented but the ECHR has been part of statute law since 1998

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      "where else" well how about uk ? atm uk and germany are going full on nk against free speech.

      One hates cute Dogs... The other is busy bunging up its ears, and going here look at this cute Cat instead.

      Personally I say we get rid of all Politicians, who's name starts with 'M' (Macron, May & Merkel for starters).

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Got to be Missing Joke icon

        Personally I say we get rid of all Politicians, who's name starts with 'M' (Macron, May & Merkel for starters).

        Oh, well, of course that would solve everything....

        We'd also need to ban anyone 'we' don't like from having a name starting with any letter but 'M' as well.

        Michael starts with an 'M', and you are talking politics....

  4. John Savard Silver badge

    Interesting Precedent

    I suppose next all the laws against unauthorized disclosure of classified information, unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets, and copyright infringement, by the same logic, will be thrown out as being in violation of the First Amendment.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Interesting Precedent

      That's not my reading of the story.

      They seem to be saying that this law is unconstitutional. Not that there would be any problem with a better-drafted law against revenge porn, or any of the other things you mention.

  5. arctic_haze Silver badge

    The logic of the ruling is scary

    I can hurt other people because this is my "free speech". Really?

    Next, they will rule that shooting at people in Texas is also a form of constitutionally protected free speech.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

      Apparently this was too broad...

      (2) "Promote" means to procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do any of the above.

      I can see how cloudy services and ISPs might get caught up in that. But whether that's a need to strike down the whole law...

      1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

        Re: The logic of the ruling is scary - no it is sensible

        I would agree that the clause is too broad - under this rule showing a picture to a friend would be an offense. If it was restricted to publishing on an online network (or a newspaper) then it might possibly be reasonable. Ask yourselves - have you ever shown a picture of a previous girlfriend (or boyfriend) to someone ?

        With that clause, it should be easy to get the law thrown out in a federal court as violating the First Amendment.

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith Bronze badge

          Re: The logic of the ruling is scary - no it is sensible

          Nudes of them? Are you crazy?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "have you ever shown a picture of a previous girlfriend"

          An intimate one? Of course, never. Never felt the need to brag about being able to get close to a naked woman and show it to friends as a proof, or worse, to exploit and laugh about them.

          Also I have an habit to delete images of any ex, I don't really need to collect them.

          Maybe because I'm a gentleman - who learnt to respect others - and I'm an atheist, it's not because I fear some god wrath after death. We have only this life, it's too precious to waste it in stupid nasty things.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

      Isn't there a governor who blackmailed his mistress with an intimate photo of her taken without her consent? A law against revenge porn would put many politicians in trouble.... they could no longer use those images to blackmail, because, if they did, they would violate a law and be automatically in trouble...

      1. ragnar

        Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

        No need, blackmail is already a criminal offence.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

      I can hurt other people because this is my "free speech". Really?

      Next, they will rule that shooting at people in Texas is also a form of constitutionally protected free speech.

      Your logic is scarier. Your logic is If [expression] is hurtful toward [someone], then government bans it. For now this [expression] is just pictures.

      At one point, that [someone] is replaced with the allies, the enemies, and then the government themselves. BAM you get today's communist China censorship. For a reference, If [picture of Winne the Pooh] is hurtful toward [the president], the government bans it. Yes, it's very hard to find pictures of Winne the Pooh in China.

      There are a lot of things that the government and laws shouldn't be involved. Expression is one. They should just let the social media bans them instead. Also 'shooting at people' can be considered physically hurting someone, so the government can just say that's attempted murder/ murder.

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith Bronze badge

        Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

        "Just" pictures!

        Pictures that often ruin people's lives, whether taken with consent or not.

        No wonder you posted that anonymously - you won't even give your on-site pseudonym, yet think posting other people's intimate photos is fine! A coward *and* a hypocrite.

    4. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

      "I can hurt other people because this is my "free speech". Really?"

      That is free speech. It gives you the right to offend people. But the offended people have the right to reply, to offend back, to compliment to talk truthfully about a subject.

      If you remove parts of free speech, it is no longer free, as it doesn't allow the chain to continue or to be added upon.

      So suck it up and stop being a pervert.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

        > That is free speech. It gives you the right to offend people.

        Funny how I can say anything I want about muslims, blacks and hispanics but I risk losing my job if I call Barbara Bush a racist.

        Funny how I am encouraged to draw the prophet Mohammed to demonstrate freedom of speech but am threatened with violence for wiping my backside on the flag.

        1. pauhit

          Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

          I don't think you actually live in the US, because if you said anything even slightly unkind towards any minority group in the public sphere here, you would be crucified. Yeah, you can say mean things about others to your personal relatives and friends, but I would hate to live in a country that attempts to legislate that.

    5. Mike Ozanne

      Re: The logic of the ruling is scary

      "Next, they will rule that shooting at people in Texas is also a form of constitutionally protected free speech."

      No they'd argue that if the circumstances meet the criteria that it is a common law right of self defence supported by any additional statutory rights, else they'd call it murder.... bit like Britain really, where your right to self defence is established in common law and supported in statute by the Criminal Law Act 1967 and the Human Rights Act 1998..

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's Texas...

    If your boyfriend shoots a picture of you nude, shoot him back... With a Smith and Wesson.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's Texas...

      You've been beaten to it. There's a traditional song.

      "Once I wore my apron high/now I wish that man would die"

      ...[]...

      "Past my door and past my gate but sure won't pass my .38"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is logic to it.

    I get that in the UK the postman who carries the photo of your ex has to be chemically castrated, but Texas has ruled that this is a step too far. Intent matters and if you didn't know that a photo was taken without someone's consent then now you do and you need to get rid of it.

  8. Bump in the night

    Reasonable expectation of privacy

    That's been an established precedent in the U.S. Even if it's conveniently forgotten by some who think there is no such thing as "reasonable" or "expectation of privacy" anymore.

    It also seems to hold up in court when someone with lots of money doesn't want their image used.

  9. ricegf

    "Several revenge porn laws have run into constitutional problems."

    So... NOT only in Texas, then.

    1. Don MacVittie

      Admit to thinking that myself...

      "Well, since you provide a list, perhaps your headline writer should have RTFA to answer their own question."

  10. RandomFactor
    WTF?

    Ignoring the fact that Texas is about 2x the size of Germany and not some small monolithic paleolithic group think land as it is portrayed...

    As written this law put cloud services at risk if someone uploaded content, before the service was made aware the content was an issue. That's a bit complex but in short this would require -everything- to be vetted before it could be made available by a service. That would certainly affect free speech and eliminate the effective 'common carrier' status that cloud services enjoy currently.

    Now as i see it the laws regarding cloud services and censorship are out of whack anyway.

    Currently it is very much a have your cake and eat it too arrangement here.

    Phone companies were exempted from liability as common carriers because they did NOT censor content whatsoever.

    Cloud services get all that protection of common carrier status but are allowed to censor anything at any time without repercussion or recourse.

    Personally i feel this pendulum needs to swing a bit, if the service takes it upon itself to censor/demonetize/shadowban legal content then it should lose this effective common carrier status and become liable for its content.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This happens quite a lot. Courts will always strike down laws that unnecessarily infringe constitutional rights.

    It's not that It's not that the court is saying that there can't be a law against it, it's that the law was too broad.

    Of course, the article itself was sensationalist and misleading, because journalism..

  12. Ima Ballsy
    Terminator

    Ah Tyler ....

    And Marshall and Longview ... only places in the world where a deranged sociopath felon could get a favorable ruling on :

    "Your Honour, I really needed to buy those AK's and AR's and 9MM for my comfort Items ..."

  13. earl grey Silver badge
    Headmaster

    gun crime

    It's not a thing.

    Crime committed with a gun...

    Crime committed with a knife...

    Crime committed with a truncheon...

    Crime committed with a car...

    Crime committed with a lorry...

    Those are "things".

  14. JRGJRG

    One way to look at this is as a wedge issue to get the feds' foot in the door to start to regulate the originally neutral Internet as a first step on supposed beneficial purposes, and then seek gradually broader application and more control.

    Why have a new law to do this? As they called it "sextortion" what's wrong with just extortion simple? We have blackmail laws, too, and laws against intentional infliction of emotional distress. Why do we need the feds in on this, when it fits well with states' police powers?

    We must always look beyond the supposedly beneficent purposes to passing new laws when there's a suspiciously political motive involved.

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