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First Amendment Rights Watch: Criminalizing the Internet

In the last few years as my work has increasingly integrated with the Internet, blogosphere and Netroots, I've been constantly reminded that there are a lot of great people out there - but I've also been reminded that there are a number of really crazy, nasty, unhinged and generally bad people out there, too. The Internet's unique mix of interactivity, instant response and anonymity can really bring out the worst in people - all you have to do is read the comments sections on many major blogs, both liberal and conservative, to know that there's a lot of hate out there.

However, the Internet is a terrifically democratizing force, and while most of us can't stand the haters who try to hijack this medium for their own sad agendas, any effort to criminalize speech in this medium is really unacceptable.

Unfortunately, such an effort is underway, headed by Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA). As Wired magazine notes, her bill, HR 1966, is called the "Cyberbullying Prevention Act" and includes this section:

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