Arizona Is All Like, Maybe Let's Make It Illegal To Be Annoying Online

If it annoys you to no end that people write LOL when they are doing no such thing or still insist on overusing exclamation points in emails, you might want to move to Arizona. The state is considering a bill that would make it a criminal offense to be annoying on the Internet.

The Associated Press says the bill is a bi-partisan one that is on its way to Governor Jan Brewer’s desk, and is an update to telephone harassment and stalking laws. It adds in computer and smartphone technology, and would ostensibly protect victims of online stalking, harassment and likely, bullying. Many cases may have been dismissed because the law hasn’t kept up with technology.

“There’s a bona fide need to protect people from one-on-one harassment,” said Rep. Vic Williams, a Republican, who has been a key supporter of the bill.

Of course, this whole situation could wheel wildly out of control pretty darn fast, say the bill’s opponents. The thing about free speech is that it’s not a crime to say what you want, even if it annoys or offends someone. The bill’s sponsor Rep. Tim Vogt said, however, that the language in the bill would be updated to make sure that it’s all copacetic.

“This is not meant to affect constitutionally protected free speech or activity or speech authorized by law,” Vogt said.

If it’s left as is, the bill would get you in trouble for speaking in satire, political debate or trash talking. That would not work for this site.

Ariz. bill against ‘annoying” online to get change [Associated Press]