Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I'm Officially A Criminal

You know, just once it would be really nice if they left law-making to the people who actually know what they’re doing.

It seems the current law-making process right now is this: Some busybody, with far too much time on his or her hands, hears something they disagree with from a guy in the pub, who also has no clue what they’re talking about. The busybody, in a flash of self-righteous indignation decides that ‘something needs to be done’, despite the fact he’s never come into contact with the thing he wants to control. Oh, and doing any research or actual learning about the issue they feel they have the right to control is a huge no-no.

They then goes to someone else who also has no clue about the thing the law will control, but wants a bit of publicity and 15 minutes of fame. Then they pay lots of people in influential places to tell the actual lawmakers about the law they want passed.

What am I blithering on about? Let me explain:

As of January 5th 2006, it has become illegal to post annoying messages on the internet, or to send annoying email messages, without leaving your real name.

Jesus Christ, I’ve been running this blog since April 2005! I must be public enemy number one!

First of all, let me be absolutely clear on this. This is NOT a joke. This is a real law. Plus, I haven’t ‘simplified’ this law by using the term ‘annoying messages’. There aren’t a hundred different descriptions of what is illegal. That is how this law is worded. It is illegal to send ‘annoying’ messages.

This makes the whole thing nonsense right away. I mean, what constitutes ‘annoying’?

On the one hand, spam emails are annoying, and I would love to have spam made illegal. On the other, however, I’ve read forum posts that have pissed me off royally.

Does that mean I have the right to state my opinion? Yes. Does this mean I have the right to post my own message back? Yes. Does this mean I have the right to have the other guy arrested and fined, because his nasty words annoyed me?

No, it absolutely does not.

Sure, make it illegal to harass people. However, what right has the law got to get involved just because you injure someone’s fragile sensibilities?

Let me put it this way. Hands up everyone who’s never annoyed anyone, ever. Making it illegal to annoy someone is like making it illegal to state your own opinions or beliefs, just because they might offend someone else.

For example, on this blog, I haven’t given my full name. I’m also pretty sure that some of my opinions have annoyed some (most) of my readers.

Because of this new law. I’m a criminal. So are most of my fellow bloggers.

I mean, what the fuck? If you read any forum or messageboard on the internet, you’ll see arguments, disagreements…all kinds of people being ‘annoyed’.

If someone annoys me, it gives me the right to annoy them back, not get the law involved.

In practice, this law means that 99.9% of the people who use the internet are both victims and criminals.

What’s next? Make argument illegal? Make differences of opinion illegal? Publish a state-approved list of things you are allowed and not allowed to talk about, in case you have a dangerous opinion that may mildly vex someone?

This also shows that the people who drew up this law have no idea of how the internet works. More or less everyone uses a pseudonym or screen-name on the internet. It’s also a really bad idea to use your real name on the internet. Have these people never heard of identity theft?

Also, why is it only illegal to ‘annoy’ people on the internet? What is it about the internet that makes annoying people so special that the law has to get involved? Why can’t I have my last Boss fined for every single time he pissed me off face to face? Hell, Sunny and I could sue each other for millions of dollars if annoying each other was illegal.

Last, but by no means least, this law pisses me off royally, because it’s another arm of the political correctness monster. Make it illegal to harass people over the internet, that’d be fine…but now it’s illegal to annoy someone?

I’m sorry, but the government is doing it’s damndest to stick its oar in every single aspect of our personal lives. It’s slowly becoming illegal to offend, insult or affect anyone even slightly negatively, however mild or imagined the insult is.

A new law because some idiot one day thought: “Being annoyed is bad. Let’s make annoying people illegal! What’s a hot button topic right now? That’s it! The internet!”

This law makes no sense whatsoever.

In case you haven’t got it yet, think of this:

I don’t agree with every speech or statement the President makes. His speeches and statements are posted on the Whitehouse website. The ones I don’t agree with annoy me. Therefore, I have every legal right to have the president fined and arrested.

You see, ‘The President’ or ‘Mr. President’ isn’t his real name, and George W. Bush isn’t his real FULL name.

In closing, let me say this.

If you get an email or read a message on the internet that annoys you so much that you want the writer arrested… just because it annoyed you and harmed your fragile sensibilities…I suggest you grow a sense of humour, learn to grow a thicker skin…and stop being such a pathetic, whiny bitch.

I’ll expect your court summons.


OzzyC said...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Doesn't it just annoy you when people post a reply that has absolutely nothing to do with your original point?

I will expect your counter-suit.

MC Etcher said...

This law does set a troubling precedent. Brian Grazer might come after me for saying he needs a haircut, but what judge wouldn't immediately agree?

Kato said...

It's not so much that he needs a haircut as that he needs one from a barber whose arms are of equal length.

Why does this law have to be specific to the Internet? Why can't I take all those other people to court that annoy me: telemarketers, elderly drivers, Jehova's Witnesses, Televangelists, solicitors, survey maids, The Steelers, etc.

On the other hand, we can expect Bungie to fight this tooth and nail--if being annoying on the 'net is illegal, the player-base for the Halo franchise will shrivel to almost nothing.