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Censorship Communications Government Social Networks Twitter Politics

Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist 169

Posted by timothy
from the how-is-this-playing-in-peoria? dept.
New submitter rotorbudd (1242864) writes with an article at Reason about Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, who ordered police to track down whoever was responsible for a parody Twitter account mocking him."Guess the good Mayor has never heard of the Streisand Effect. 'The original Twitter account had a total of 50 followers. The new account has over 200.'"
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Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist

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  • by vajrabum (688509) on Friday April 18, 2014 @06:02PM (#46791899)
    We have it here too, but it's enforced by the courts not by the police.
  • How appropriate... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 18, 2014 @06:06PM (#46791927) Journal
    Hasn't Peoria been a cultural touchstone for humorless reactionary behavior since whenever "Will it play in Peoria?" was coined?

    Also, can they not afford enough legal advice to tell them that basically every step of this plan is practically a textbook case of 'How to incur legal exposure in absurdly obvious ways'?
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 18, 2014 @06:13PM (#46791989) Journal

    In Canada you can parody anyone. For example Justin Turdeau instead of Justin Trudeau (leader Liberal party Canada). It's funny and you can't get sued never mind have the police come after you. It's called freedom of speech.

    Legally, yes; but none of that kicks in until after some sort of legal proceeding actually occurs. If the cops just break down your door, shoot your dog, and seize everything that looks evidentiary and/or worth 'losing', and then no charges are filed? Well, if you have the resources to lawyer up, you could probably make a civil case out of it; but otherwise you just got protected and served.

  • Twitter rolled (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Friday April 18, 2014 @06:20PM (#46792029)

    So basically if a Jackboot^W LEO asks for account info on anyone without a warrant or even reasonable evidence that a crime has even been committed, Twitter will just hand over your private details to them without question.

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Friday April 18, 2014 @06:56PM (#46792217)
    This IS the exception, not the rule. We ARE more free than Russia. Comparisons can be made, and we're on a slippery slope, but lets be a little more realistic here. If I write a scathing article about my local mayor, I won't get killed in a dark alley. I'm in Portland. Scathing articles about Sam Adams were a party trick for a little bit. Poor bastard.
  • by Mr_Wisenheimer (3534031) on Friday April 18, 2014 @07:00PM (#46792233)

    . . . then impersonating a public official is not going to either. The Supreme Court basically ruled that you can outright lie about serving in the military because that is your first amendment right.

    Now if someone is trying to lie about being a public official to get into a restricted area or hell, lying about being a veteran to get a free lunch at Denny's on Memorial Day, that might be a crime, but this guy defrauded nobody.

    The best case scenario for the mayor is a civil lawsuit for libel, but it is so blatantly obviously a parody account that it would just be a waste of everyone's money. But why use your own money to sue someone when you can send the police to unconstitutionally harass them?

  • by ShaunC (203807) on Friday April 18, 2014 @07:10PM (#46792265)

    Yes, parody is protected in the US, and parody against public figures has a long history of protection. However, once you piss off a politician, you can expect to be raked over the coals no matter what your rights. It's going to be expensive unless you can get the EFF or someone similar on board.

    Now wait, did I just hear that some guy named Ardis likes to slob knobs in a McDonald's restroom?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2014 @07:24PM (#46792319)

    The US does have a rogue government at this point, and they and the police have ruled themselves above the law. If this continues, a bloody revolution is inevitable, except with all the nutjobs hoarding guns, screaming about "that nigger muslim needs to show his birth certificate!" things could end up even worse. The likelyhood of the US being broken down into a bunch of smaller territories run by local warlords is pretty high. The US we used to love might never exist again.

  • Dat Streissand (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2014 @07:27PM (#46792333)

    > The original Twitter account had a total of 50 followers. The new account has over 200.

    People almost care!

  • by BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:49PM (#46792689)

    That's the sad reality of things; the government will revoke your freedoms whenever they wish, and make up some bullshit rationalization ("You still technically have free speech, but only when you're in free speech zones!") to try and fool idiots into accepting it. Try getting onto most planes in the US and you'll have your rights violated by our good friends at the TSA, and the justification for that is something very similar.

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Friday April 18, 2014 @10:07PM (#46792955)

    Welcome to the United Corporations of America, where our communications are censored, our community governments are contracts and our government leased with the option to buy.

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday April 18, 2014 @10:44PM (#46793045) Homepage

    ahh... in a clear case of a government attacking its citizens, some douchebag shows up to bitch about corporations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19, 2014 @12:44AM (#46793359)

    Well, what do you expect when that's who runs the government?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19, 2014 @07:54AM (#46794121)

    "Douchebag is a democrat, oh he's such a typical democrat, see, this bitch is a typical bitch like all democrats. Dirty, dirty democrats".
    After discovering he's not a democrat but a republican
    "Douchebag is a republican, but he's not a real republican, he should be kicked out of the still totally awesome republican party".

    If somebody is part of the party you don't like, it's proof the that entire party is bad.
    If somebody is part of the party you do like, he's bad for the party.

    Hypocrit much?

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