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NY Senators Want To Make Free Speech A Privilege 624

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the silence-will-still-be-permitted dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A group of four NY state senators have written a paper suggesting that free speech should be looked upon as a government granted privilege rather than a right. They're specifically concerned about cyberstalking and cyberbullying, and are introducing legislation to make both of those against the law. Among other troubling concepts, they argue that merely 'excluding' someone from a group is a form of cyberbullying."
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NY Senators Want To Make Free Speech A Privilege

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  • I am offended (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:23PM (#37605384)

    by this attempt, and expect restitution for their callous behavior and pissing on the Bill of Rights.

    • Re:I am offended (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bonch (38532) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:31PM (#37605486)

      I knew they were Democrats when their political affiliation wasn't mentioned in the headline. Seriously, it's a strange trend you'll begin to notice if you follow the news--when Democrat politicians do something unpopular, political affiliation is often left unmentioned.

      • by Bodhammer (559311)
        You mean like when they forget to mention that the guy who was planning to blow up the Washington Monument and Pentagon is (dare I say it!) a Muslim?
        • Re:I am offended (Score:4, Informative)

          by swalve (1980968) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @08:18PM (#37606716)
          That's because it doesn't matter.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mr100percent (57156)

          If you're going to look at it that way, did they state the religious affiliation of the guy who crashed his plane into the IRS building, or the guy who shot up the Holocaust museum in DC, or the guy who shot Congresswoman Giffords, or the guy who threatened to blow up the Bed Bath and Beyond? They were all Christians and these were all recent incidents.

          • by Rostin (691447)
            I read the IRS guy's manifesto on the day that it happened, and I looked it up again just now to be sure. The only time he mentions religion is to pillory the Catholic church and then "organized religion" more generally. That doesn't prove he wasn't a Christian of any stripe, but in the absence of any evidence that he was (which I'm having trouble finding), it does make it seem less likely.

            Loughner (the "guy who shot Congresswoman Giffords") was almost certainly not a Christian. A little googling reve
      • It's called confirmation bias.

      • Re:I am offended (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheBrutalTruth (890948) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @07:18PM (#37606094)
        Horseshit. They are POLITICIANS, you troglodyte. Call 'em what you want - they all do the same bullshit.

        Now get off my lawn...

      • by Maltheus (248271)

        Or their actions are outright blamed on their opponents, as was the case with the Obama-as-Hitler protest signs. It didn't matter that they had LaRouchePac written right on them, they're still associated with the right-wing to this day.

        • Re:I am offended (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @11:14PM (#37607952)

          This is because Americans are so stupidly caught up in this two-party mentality, they think politics is like a stupid sports game, with two sides, one winner and one loser. So if you say anything against one "side", then you must automatically be rooting for the other "side". I see it all the time on these discussion forums. Say anything critical about Obama (who's been a great Republican president so far), and someone will call you a "teabagger" or Republican or similar. Say anything critical about the current Republican politicians and someone will call you a liberal or Democrat or similar. And even if you're posting under the same moniker, no one ever seems to notice when you're bashing both sides, and just can't seem to wrap their minds around the idea that someone might favor neither "side".

      • by Bob9113 (14996)

        Seriously, it's a strange trend you'll begin to notice if you follow the news--when Democrat politicians do something unpopular, political affiliation is often left unmentioned.

        That sounds like a pretty important thing to have some actual data on. If you have skills cutting code, and you sincerely believe that is happening, you should scrape some news sites, run the stats, and hang the documented bias flag around the neck of the culprits.

        Short of that, on the other hand, it sounds like you're making unfound

    • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

      by cappp (1822388) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:31PM (#37605488)
      Only thats not at all what's written. Read the entire report [nysenate.gov] for yourself, you'll be pleasantly suprised.
      The quote given is taken completely out of context, infacT the report notes on the page previous that

      THE CHALLENGE LIES IN PROTECTING TEENAGERS FROM CYBERBULLYING WITHOUT TRAMPLING ON THE FREE SPEECH PROTECTIONS AFFORDED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT. THIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION ACCOMPLISHES THAT IN THE FOLLOWING WAY:

      The report has some fairly decently nuanced considerations and is being damned by a single, out of context quote. Hell read onto the next page if you like

      IN SUMMARY, ALTHOUGH SPEECH IS GENERALLY PROTECTED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT, THERE ARE INSTANCES IN WHICH RESTRICTIONS ARE WARRANTED. IN

      HOLY SHIT, THEYRE CONSIDERING THE LAW AS IT'S WRITTEN AND APPLIED IN THE REAL WORLD, NOT MY IDEOLOGICAL BUNKER!!!!!

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Funny)

        by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:42PM (#37605624) Journal
        Reading the primary source is cheating, you're supposed to be outraged, not curious.
      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:50PM (#37605730)

        Only thats not at all what's written. Read the entire report [nysenate.gov] for yourself, you'll be pleasantly suprised. The report has some fairly decently nuanced considerations and is being damned by a single, out of context quote. Hell read onto the next page if you like

        IN SUMMARY, ALTHOUGH SPEECH IS GENERALLY PROTECTED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT, THERE ARE INSTANCES IN WHICH RESTRICTIONS ARE WARRANTED. IN

        HOLY SHIT, THEYRE CONSIDERING THE LAW AS IT'S WRITTEN AND APPLIED IN THE REAL WORLD, NOT MY IDEOLOGICAL BUNKER!!!!!

        Actually, no. The first amendment is pretty clear - and prior restraint is a violation of free speech. Just because something is bad doesn't mean you should ban it - you can still make certain types of statements a crime - but to suggest that preventing someone from uttering them is not a first amendment violation is wrong, IMHO.

        They may be trying to make a good faith effort to not violate the first, but I think they fail.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by B1oodAnge1 (1485419)

        ALTHOUGH SPEECH IS GENERALLY PROTECTED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT, THERE ARE INSTANCES IN WHICH RESTRICTIONS ARE WARRANTED.

        HOLY SHIT, THEYRE CONSIDERING THE LAW AS IT'S WRITTEN AND APPLIED IN THE REAL WORLD

        There is no "general protection" for speech in the first amendment, there is absolute protection:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

        How are they considering the law as it is written?

        • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gmailPASCAL.com minus language> on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @07:06PM (#37605946)

          Considering the 1st amendment as absolute protection is something that I'm pretty sure has absolutely never been done. There's precedent out the wazoo for it, from defamation laws to false advertising laws to copyright laws.

          • It's actually directly mentioned in the paper in question:

            IN SUMMARY, ALTHOUGH SPEECH IS GENERALLY PROTECTED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT, THERE ARE INSTANCES IN WHICH RESTRICTIONS ARE WARRANTED. IN VIRGINIA V. BLACK, FOR EXAMPLE, THE COURT RULED THAT “THE PROTECTIONS AFFORDED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT () ARE NOT ABSOLUTE, AND WE HAVE LONG RECOGNIZED THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY REGULATE CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF
            EXPRESSION CONSISTENT WITH THE CONSTITUTION. THE FIRST AMENDMENT PERMITS ‘RESTRICTIONS UPON THE CONTENT OF SPEECH IN A FEW LIMITED AREAS, WHICH ARE OF SUCH SLIGHT SOCIAL VALUE AS A STEP TO TRUTH THAT ANY BENEFIT DERIVED FROM THEM IS CLEARLY OUTWEIGHED BY THE SOCIAL INTEREST IN ORDER AND MORALITY.’”

            ...

            THE NEWYORK COURT OF APPEALS FOUND THAT PORTION OF THE STATE’S HARASSMENT LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL EXPLAINING THAT SPEECH MAY BE “ABUSIVE,” EVEN “VULGAR, DERISIVE, AND PROVOCATIVE,” AND STILL NOT FALL WITHIN THE REALM OF “CONSTITUTIONALLY PROSCRIBABLE EXPRESSION.” THE COURT FURTHER EXPLAINED THAT SPEECH COULD ONLY BE RESTRICTED WITH REGARDS TO “WORDS THAT INFLICT INJURY OR OTHERWISE INCITE IMMEDIATE VIOLENCE OR [BREACHES] OF PEACE,” AND THAT IS WHAT REMAINS THE LAW NOW. THE INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE BELIEVES THERE SHOULD BE CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE WHO CYBERBULLY AND COMMIT BULLYCIDE AND THAT THOSE CONSEQUENCES PROPOSED IN THIS BILL ARE WITHIN THE ABOVE STATED PARAMETERS OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.

            so they're not inventing something new here.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kohath (38547) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:52PM (#37605752)

        Why don't these Democrat NY State Senators mind their own business?

        It's possible to exercise freedom outside the perfectly defined bounds of the First Amendment, you know.

        It's also possible to govern without trying to be everyone's Mom. Why should we tolerate governments trying to take away every tiny sliver of human freedom except the ones that are explicitly protected by the Bill of Rights? We all know these people would take away even more freedoms if they could get away with it.

        Do you want the author of this piece arrested for "Cyberbullying"? Or the Slashdot editors? Just wondering.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eparker05 (1738842) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:54PM (#37605770)

        In essence;

                WE ARE AWARE OF THE EXISTENCE OF A CONSTITUTION THAT PROTECTS PEOPLE'S RIGHTS, BUT WE WILL CIRCUMVENT THESE PROTECTIONS IN THE FOLLOWING WAY:

        It also has a plenty of nuance, read the next page if you like

                IN SUMMARY, ALTHOUGH SPEECH IS GENERALLY PROTECTED, OUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THIS FACT SHOULD MAKE YOU LESS SCARED THAT WE ARE ABOUT TO ERODE YOUR RIGHTS. IN

        Holy crikey, the OP might have made some sense.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kreigaffe (765218) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @07:00PM (#37605850)

        it's textbook knee-jerk reactionaryism.

        cyberbullying. root word: bullying. THE SAME SHIT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOREVER. except now you put "... on a computer!" and are granted a new patent I MEAN a new call to action to restrict the rights of citizens BECAUSE OF THE CHILDREN!

        rights, mind you, that aren't meant to be restricted. these are not rights granted by the government. these are rights inherent to all people by virtue of their being people -- these are simply rights which the government has recognized the infringement of is inexcusable and tyrannical.

        I like the part of the bill where it mentions "...USING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION DIRECTED AT A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE YEARS,..." .. "CAUSES MATERIAL HARM TO THE MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL HEALTH, SAFETY OR PROPERTY OF SUCH CHILD ."

        And yes, they do say free speech is a privilege GRANTED BY THE FUCKING STATE -- and not an inborn, inalienable right.
        What bullshit.
        This is not the use of force to prevent the unjust use of force, these fucktwits have corrupted Mills for their own big-government nanny-state ends. This is simply the outright abuse of force and twisting of the very concept of our rights recognized, not granted, by the government. I'm sorry. Words do not hurt. You can call me what you want -- it only affects me as much as I allow it.

        You want to deal with cyberbullying? Get some fucking parents with half a clue to raise their kids. Get some schools that aren't afraid to deal with troublesome students. And yes, they are. Little Jimmy, you see, is special needs, and only acts out because of his bullshit ADHD -- and his parents, gosh, any time the school punishes Jimmy they're down there causing a ruckus because they KNOW Jimmy didn't punch that poor boy and call him a fag! Jimmy wouldn't do that!

        Kids: Ignore unkind words that bother you. If someone physically harms you, that's fucking assault and don't let the school fucking feed you any bullshit -- you were fucking assaulted, and if they don't want to deal with it get the fucking cops involved. No, it's not fair you keep getting picked on. Life's not fair. Don't do stupid shit like take nude photos of yourself -- they WILL be distributed, what the hell were you even thinking in the first place. The more you let the bullies know this shit bothers you, the more they will bother you.

        This law? This law is bullshit. Flaming some 20 year old is not a crime. I don't give half a fuck. This very post could be argued to cause "... MATERIAL HARM TO THE MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL HEALTH, SAFETY OR PROPERTY OF SUCH CHILD". Fuck that. A child under 21? Since when were fucking children able to enter into binding legal contracts.

        Fuck you, New York, fuck you and your liberal fucking totalitarian dreams and desires.

        Oh, and the one citation of a court case I saw in that mess of shit? Was for a case involving cross burning. They used that to justify their crap. Y'see, the difference is, in that case, the burning of the crosses was intended to intimidate -- it was a threat. There are actually already laws regarding the making of threats of violence. Nope, let's not apply those, let's just throw the fucking philosophical foundation of our constitution in the shitter FOR THE CHILDREN!

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RazzleFrog (537054) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @07:02PM (#37605894)

        You were that easily fooled? It's exactly like saying - "Not to insult you or anything but you are an idiot." Just because they preface it by saying that they don't want to piss on the first amendment. If YOU read the whole thing you'll see they are trying to broaden a couple of decisions to be so all-encompassing and vague that even this message I am writing right now will be covered if there happens to be a minor reading it who gets offended.

        • by Zancarius (414244)

          You were that easily fooled? It's exactly like saying - "Not to insult you or anything but you are an idiot." Just because they preface it by saying that they don't want to piss on the first amendment. If YOU read the whole thing you'll see they are trying to broaden a couple of decisions to be so all-encompassing and vague that even this message I am writing right now will be covered if there happens to be a minor reading it who gets offended.

          The OP you're responding to worries me, but mostly because I don

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @07:10PM (#37605998)

        They might be nuanced considerations, but the considerations lead to some really, really stupid consequences. The VC blog [volokh.com] has some more level-headed analysis of their proposal.

        The end result is still that the proposed limitations on free speech will lead to some serious abuses. Not to mention that I find it strangely disturbing that a human being of 20 years, 11 months and 360 days is described as a child.

        It's not complete crazy talk, and, unlike some others, find it an idea that should be discussed in the open. And then the idea should be shot into itty, bitty little philosophical pieces.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

        by airfoobar (1853132) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @07:15PM (#37606052)
        How nice, you posted a few select bits and pieces where they SAY the 1st Amendment is important, but didn't post the bits and pieces where they say the 1st Amendment sucks and should only be applied half of the time. Did you miss these parts:

        [Freedom of speech] should be treated not as a right but as a privilege -- a special entitlement granted by the state on a conditional basis that can be revoked if it is ever abused or maltreated.

        In the case of cyberbullying, the perceived protections of free speech are exactly what enable harmful speech and cruel behavior on the internet. it is the notion that people can post anything they want, regardless of the harm it might cause another person that has perpetuated, if not created, this cyberbullying culture. but "hate speech" that causes material harm to children should have consequences.

        In summary, although speech is generally protected under the first amendment, there are instances in which restrictions are warranted.

        Quick! Save the children from the hate speech!! Freedom of Speech will not be abridged except when it will be.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        You missed the parts that's written:

        Proponents of a more refined First Amendment argue that this freedom should be treated not as a right but as a privilege — a special entitlement granted by the state on a conditional basis that can be revoked if it is ever abused or maltreated.

      • Because what usually results from rules like this is the indirect results are more likely to be what people fall victim too. There will be a good chance of prosecutions versus people who did not know the audience was a protected age range and there will be ambushers using this law. Throw in adults hit with the law by protected age people claiming offense when none was directed towards the affected group, yet the affected group claims offense.

        So your basically stating that certain age groups should feel its

    • It will never happen. Those guys do not understand the U.S. Constitution, if that is their true goal. It would probably be best that the citizens of those states that elected those individuals vote them or impeach them out.

      Can we move past these incompetent goofballs?

    • Yeah, but I can magically guess everyone's intent. Intent is the most important thing ever when it comes to speech. They didn't intend to offend you!

      Intending to offend someone through the use of words is absolutely horrible. That's why 99% of the people on the internet likely need to be taught a lesson.

  • Welcome to Canada? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jailbrekr (73837) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:25PM (#37605400) Homepage

    In Canada, we do not have free speech in absolute terms like our southern counterparts. The difference between us and what those senators are suggesting is that we have a Charter of Rights which protects us from any attempt of gov't approved censorship. It can be annoying at times, but it keeps the holocaust deniers at bay.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:28PM (#37605438)

      why would you want to keep the holocaust deniers at bay by giving up the right of free speech?
      are holocaust deniers that big a pest or is your free speech worth that little?

    • The Canadian government can override those rights with the notwithstanding clause, where the US gov just ignores the constitution. (same result)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zirbert (1936162)

      In Canada, we do not have free speech in absolute terms like our southern counterparts. The difference between us and what those senators are suggesting is that we have a Charter of Rights which protects us from any attempt of gov't approved censorship. It can be annoying at times, but it keeps the holocaust deniers at bay.

      We actually have massive government-perpetrated censorship. So-called "human rights commissions", which are government bureaucracies, impose large fines, with no real legal recourse, on those targets (carefully chosen, of course) who violate the supposed rights of others not to be offended. As long as those others are members of the correct groups, of course.

      I know a lot of people in general, and Slashdot readers in particular, won't/don't agree with many of Ezra Levant's positions, but he's done more to sh

  • insert government moderated speech here

  • Tree of liberty, blood of patriots, permanent freedom, temporary safety, et cetera.

    (I await the SA with bated breath)
  • What is next not voteing for someone or saying that you will vote for the other guy is a form of bullying as well?

  • God damn Republicans (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:27PM (#37605428) Journal

    Those god damn Republicans continuing to erode our rights like this, first Bush and the Patriot Act and now . . . what? They're Democrats? Oh, well then, carry on.

    • by bonch (38532)

      Seriously, it will be interesting to see how Slashdot's usual anti-corporation, pro-government readership reacts to this submission.

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      I want to get a grant from the NAACP!

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Democrats always seem to be more for censorship. Look at Tipper Gore. Perfect example.

      I'm largely OK with the first amendment as it stands, though I would like some clarifying language about freedom of speech not being freedom of corruption. It is widely perceived that Congress are a bunch of whores, collectively for-sale to the highest... well... any... bidder. As this perception is corrosive to our system of government, any activities that contribute to these views should not be allowed. I would argue t

  • If excluding someone from a group is cyberbullying and cyberbullying is illegal, then that would presumably apply to all committees, press conferences, political funding bodies, etc. Right? Or is it only groups out of favour with the politicians in power who can't exclude?

  • by jo42 (227475) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:29PM (#37605454) Homepage

    They spent World War II fighting the Nazis. Then they spent the Cold War fighting the Communists. Now they are becoming them. Fucking bastard asshole bags of shit. Hang'em high.

  • Wow, exclusion is a form of bullying. Post-modernity gone amuck.
    • by black3d (1648913)

      Once I was in World of Warcraft (to judge me!) and I was inviting folks to a dungeon group in The Deadmines. I'm a nice guy and nothing rude was said, however one kid messaged and asked if he could come - I said "no, you're too low level" (we had no high-level toons running us through, and the highest member of the group so far was level 17 - kid was level 13 - backstory for anyone familiar with the game :)).

      Anywho, he replied "You have to take me!!!!" when I said no, he replied "I'm reporting you to a GM!!

    • post-modernity ended somewhere at the end of the 90ies... we are now into Post-postmodernism also called post-millennialism which is also know (probably more appropriately) as pseudo-modernism

  • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:38PM (#37605574)

    The standing precedent is that the First Amendment is really just a law against "prior restraint." In other words, the courts have decided that, the First Amendment just says the government can't stop you from speaking. However, they can punish you for your speech after you do it!

    I think most normal people would find this interpretation of the First Amendment as ridiculous. But guess what? It is the precedent that our courts have upheld.

    • by idontgno (624372)

      That's an interesting perspective. Care to back it up with actual precedent? While doing so, please dispel if possible* the common concept of "chilling effect", which couldn't possibly exist as a consideration before the law if your assertion were true.

      *Here's a hint: don't even bother trying. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that laws punishing, for instance, political speech is effectively prior restraint and specifically uses the phrase "chilling effect" or "deterring effect" to describe the situati

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        Here's a hint: don't even bother trying.

        Obscenity.

        You're right, I didn't even have to bother trying.

      • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @10:34PM (#37607754)

        *Here's a hint: don't even bother trying.

        Previous poster beat me to it, so here is another: thought crimes involving taboo subjects of the moment, like writing "child pornography" fiction, drawing "child pornography" cartoons or even just attempting to write a scholarly text on the subject, a work that disagrees with the official stance of the Holy Inquisition and which points out the psychotic attitude towards sex and minors in modern societies. People are in jail for this, and other "free speech we didn't like" crimes in the USA.

        Writing a book that glorifies the aims of the current "enemies of the state", such as for example Al-Queda, is also likely to deprive you of your freedom, this time even bypassing the judicial system all-together and straight into some secret "detention centre" complete with "enhanced interrogation techniques" or should your book become too popular, simply executed without any due course whatsoever, something that has been demonstrated rather forcefully just a few days back.

  • by Sarusa (104047) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:41PM (#37605608)

    Just to drive it home, since the summary and article avoid it scrupulously, this is a Democratic party proposal from an 'Independent Democratic Conference'.

    Not because I think the Republicans are any better, but people seem to need reminding that both major political parties hate the Bill of Rights and love short sighted dangerous 'fixes' for whatever they think today's social panic is.

  • by milbournosphere (1273186) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:42PM (#37605626)
    All the article links to is a report which is in all caps, and is very hard to read. Here's the official copy, as linked to by the NY State Senate. http://www.nysenate.gov/files/pdfs/final%20cyberbullying_report_september_2011_0.pdf [nysenate.gov]
  • I find the whole fixation on "cyberbulling" to be stupid and offensive.

    No one's forcing these kids to commit suicide. No one is killing them. But more importantly, no one is helping them deal with the emotional/verbal abuse either.

    Being emotionally/verbally abused or bullied is a part of life. It's GOING to happen. It sucks, but that's how it is. The correct solution is for adults to help kids learn how to deal with it, not find ways to make it illegal.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @07:21PM (#37606136)

      Sexual assault is a part of life. It's GOING to happen. It sucks, but that's how it is. The correct solution is for adults to help people learn how to deal with it, not find ways to make it illegal.

      Right? Why not?

      Cyberbullying is not exercising your right to call Tommy a jerk online. Its systematic harassment bordering if not jumping off into full on psychological torture.

      It should be illegal along with all other forms of harassment, stalking, and so forth.

  • by readin (838620) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:48PM (#37605700)

    Senators Want To Make Free Speech A Privilege 52

    Why does it not surprise me that the senators are all Democrats?

  • Dear Senators, you should be locked up for saying that. Now how do you feel? Sincerely, somebody who didn't get an F in high school civics and who would like very much to see your transcripts.

  • Ending Democracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jodka (520060) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @07:05PM (#37605926)

    The culprits are:

      Jeffrey Klein [wikipedia.org]

      Diane Savino [wikipedia.org]

      David Carlucci [wikipedia.org]

      David Valesky [wikipedia.org]

    They of a growing movement to end democracy. See, for example, North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue's suggestion that federal elections be suspended. James Taranto provides other examples [wsj.com].

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @09:01PM (#37607096)

    Christ. To get to the original source article [nysenate.gov], you have to click links through two different intermediate sites, one of which is the Volokh Conspiracy, which while always interesting is not exactly an unbiased source.

    Remember kids, when you get your news from Slashdot, you're getting it fourth-hand. It's good to read the news, it protects your rights as a citizen. Kinda like a condom. But do you really want to protect yourself with a fourth-hand condom?

    Anyway, on to the meat of the matter: the original article doesn't clearly come down on the side of the scare-quote that's being passed around. It says, IN ALL CAPS FOR GOD'S SAKE, that some people think free speech rights should never be limited, while others think a less extreme approach, with exceptions for grievous harm to others, is needed. Its tone does seem to suggest it favors the latter, which is disturbing, but as an "oh my God these guys want to burn the Constitution" freakout document, it lacks a little punch.

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