Newsflash: Entire Second Life Population Faces Jail Time!!

by walkerspaight on 10/01/06 at 8:10 am


by Walker Spaight

In a development with shocking ramifications for the virtual world, Second Life’s entire population of 100,000 or more residents found itself facing imminent jail time — and not the cornfield kind — after U.S. President George Bush signed a new law last week that forbids using the Internet to "annoy, abuse, threaten or harass" someone without disclosing one’s true identity.

As CNet’s Declan McCullagh reports, the language that makes it illegal to post annoying messages to forum boards or send them via email was added to the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, which already forbade such activities via the plain old telephone. Now you can be clapped in irons and/or fined for sending such messages via teh InterWeb. Oh noes!

Does this spell the end of forum trolls and other idiots? Or will the U.S. jail population swell enormously as the result of a crackdown on Internet-based annoyers? Only time will tell, but this and other recent stories make it clear that VW residents are going to have to watch their virtual backs like never before.

Comments thread now open for non-annoying posts…

7 Responses to “Newsflash: Entire Second Life Population Faces Jail Time!!”

  1. Papa Doctorow

    Jan 10th, 2006

    Not very likely, check out the discussion at Boing Boing…

  2. TrannyPet Barmy

    Jan 10th, 2006

    Here’s the full story :

    Since it already was against the law to threaten or harrass via the net, all this new amendment means, is it’s now against the law to try and cover yourself up whilst doing it, which, when you think about it, ‘in for a penny in for a pound’, why would any one actually care about this new thing ? If you’re going to harrass or threat, you’re not going to make it easy for you to get caught doing it by making your identity known now are you ?

    It’s also a bit daft to, in that it will encourage people to go take the law into their own hands. How many times in the past have you really wanted to go around some one’s house and punch their lights out after them having posted some BS on a forum about you ?

    So really this actually means next to bugger all other than you’ll get a little extra time(if convicted) for consealing your identity, and that you’re more likely to get a good kicking for something you’ve said even prior to getting arrested for it, not that it effects me any anyway since i’m not on US soil, thank fuck.

    TrannyPet Barmy
    The REAL ONE

  3. Walker Spaight

    Jan 11th, 2006

    Whoops, I meant to include that link instead of two links to Clickable Culture. Be right back after I fix it…

  4. Papa Doctorow

    Jan 11th, 2006

    TP, I agree, US Laws tend to be written with the best intentions (stopping Spam, etc.) but as is demonstrated time and time again, when well intentioned laws are in the wrong hands, they can have very bad consequences.

    You do raise an interesting point about jurisdiction issues though. I believe if you annoy someone on a server based in the US, that falls under US jurisdiction. Surely, if you launched a DDOS against a company in the US, they could prosecute you to the full extent of US law (assuming you live in a country with an extradition treaty). Given America’s foreign policy (and their involvement in just about every major war in the 20th Century) it’s not a country that will allow you to “throw stones from the other side of the fence” so to speak, and I have a hard time believing that ANY country, for that matter, would allow you to blatantly flout its laws (unless of course your a diplomat, in which case, we should go out drinking sometime).

    Good to BS you with you since SC shut down btw. ;-)

  5. TrannyPet Barmy

    Jan 12th, 2006

    Yeah i agree, extradition is an option, however, highly unlikely for anything other than death threats, since straight slander is a civil offence not criminal.

    Look at our Gary McKinnon, he supposedly hacked the US’s Pentagon and NASA, and apparently did some quit big damage and revealed a number of secrets, and still the Brit government is umming and arring as to weather to allow his extradition.

    Too bad about SC man, just kind of got annoyed with the lack of mutual benefit between the site and it’s users, that and lack of time to do much with it. Been working more on SLAlt than anything else, data compressed sockets being the most recent/current aspect.

    TrannyPet Barmy

  6. TrannyPet Barmy

    Jan 12th, 2006

    I think you’ll also find that in the UK, part of our outbound extradition process is to acertain weather an offence has actually been committed.

    ie; yes the offence(as per US Law) may have been committed in the US, however, if it’s not an offence here, then we won’t extradite the ‘defendant’ to the US.

    for example, the US Law may say “to call a dog a ‘wanker’ on the net is illegal”, so i call a dog a wanker on the net, so the US tries to extradite me. No law in UK law saying i cant call a dog a wanker on the net, so the extradition proceedings would end there. (then of course just to wind the US up some more, i’d go back on the net calling dogs wankers so more :) )

    TrannyPet Barmy

  7. unhygienix

    Jan 20th, 2006

    In other news, the entire SLHerald staff was observed fellating Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton and her former President Husband.


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