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Tennessee Lawmakers Censoring The Internet?

June 10, 2011 by  

Tennessee Lawmakers Censoring The Internet?

Lawmakers in Tennessee may have run afoul of the Constitution in passing a recent law. The law makes it illegal to “transmit or display an image” online if it is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone — anyone — who views it.

“Tennessee law already made it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender ‘reasonably should know’ would ‘cause emotional distress’ to the recipient,” Ars Technica reported.

“The new legislation adds images to the list of communications that can trigger criminal liability. But for image postings, the ‘emotionally distressed’ individual need not be the intended recipient. Anyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you ‘should have known’ that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you could face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines,” the article read.

Constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh recently discussed the law in a blog post, saying it was “pretty clearly unconstitutional.”

“If you’re posting a picture of someone in an embarrassing situation — not at all limited to, say, sexually themed pictures or illegally taken pictures — you’re likely a criminal unless the prosecutor, judge, or jury concludes that you had a ‘legitimate purpose,’” Volokh wrote.

“Nothing in the law requires that the picture be of the ‘victim,’ only that it be distressing to the ‘victim’… And of course the same would apply if a newspaper or TV station posts embarrassing pictures or blasphemous images on its site.”

The full text of the law is available here.

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  • Vicki

    Well Well Well. Since ANY image will be distressing to someone this “law” would pretty much shut down all television, All cable, All movies, All Youtube. All websites that have any images. All religious sites,

    The mind boggles.

    Tennessee. Get a grip.

  • Terry Crane

    That would effectively rule out any pictures of Obama!

  • Dan az

    The first step of removing truth amazing!
    I guess this would qualify then.
    Please do NOT turn on A/C as soon as you enter the car.

    Open the windows after you enter your car and then turn ON the AC after a couple of minutes.

    Here’s why: According to research, the car dashboard, seats and air freshener emit Benzene, a Cancer causing toxin (carcinogen – take time to observe the smell of heated plastic in your car).

    In addition to causing cancer, Benzene poisons your bones, causes anemia and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk of cancer. Can also cause miscarriage.
    Acceptable Benzene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. ft.
    A car parked indoors with windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benzene.
    If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level.

    People who get into the car, keeping windows
    closed will inevitably inhale, in quick succession, excessive amounts of the toxin.
    Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver.. What’s worse, it is extremely difficult for your body to expel this toxic stuff.

    So friends, please open the windows and door of your car – give time for interior to air out -dispel the deadly stuff – before you enter.

  • Cawmun Cents

    I bet they have a poster sized picture of Anthonys’ Weiner on the wall of the house of legislation there.And they’re proud of it.

    • Dan az


  • BigBearCO

    Does this mean showing a picture of the Prophet Mohammad would be illegal because it would distress the followers of Islam?

    • BigBearCO

      It appears to me the Tennessee lawmakers are upholding sharia law.

  • CJ

    Pretty much does away with about half of Craigslist, doesn’t it? Do these idiot ‘lawmakers’ really think this will stand up to any scrutiny?

  • Qcman

    Don’t send the photo of the deer you got while hunting. Most outdoors magazines will be put out of business.

  • Victor V. Vector

    They do and are very talented at this sort of thing in the south. The main characteristic that it ocurred in the south is the fact that they never thought for a moment about constitutionality, they merely acted without thinking. They’re really talented at that.

  • Sheepdog

    Welcome to Nazi Tennessee, the new prototype for Nazi America. Andrew Jackson would be proud. NOT!

    So they want to lock people up and drain them of their money for pictures that are “upsetting.” Well, nearly everything is “upsetting” to someone! Oh, and that picture of the little kid at the top of this article, REALLY frightened me!

    Just wait, the one thing that will remain will be PORN! because porn is a cash cow, just like weapons sales, and banking.

    Next, it’ll be a felony to be snarkey because it might hurt someone’s feeling. Kiss the Internet goodbye comrades! We must be POLITICALLY CORRECT so we can make America “nice” again. “God Bless America,” right. WRONG! God, HELP America…

  • Deeperpolitics

    More horse manure being fed to the public by the power-elite.

    I put together a blog titled “Fabricating the Myth of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda – Bill Woollam” Anyone may google search that blog if you’re interesting in understanding just how manipulative our government leaders have become over the last fifty years.

    Censoring the internet is ludicrous when anyone can go to a movie theatre or turn on their television and see even young ninja teens slicing, dicing, shooting, stabbing and killing the characterized enemies on screen.

    We are so misled today. We are told that:
    – military warfare is “peacekeeping” and “defense”
    – citizens defending their country from NATO/US aggression are called “insurgents”
    - killing citizens and vital infrastructure during these illegal wars on Middle Eastern nations is called “collateral damage”
    - giving trillions of dollars to corrupt banksters is called “a bank bailout”
    - criticizing illegal warfare and aggressive/exploitative policies of NATO/US/ or Israel is called “anti-American” or “anti-Semitic”

    We are lied to and manipulated daily.

  • jopa

    When the author (Darcy) failed to mention if they were Democrats or Republicans doing this dastardly deed.I would have to guess it was the Republicans again taking away American freedoms.

  • Brian

    This is what the 2nd Amendment is for. Better to stand your ground and fight than be locked up in a cage by tyrants


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