Originally published: October 27, 2010
Last updated: October 27, 2010 - 6:13pm
A federal judge today an injunction against a new Massachusetts law that tried to apply its "matter harmful to minors" law to the Internet.
Because it's difficult to ascertain someone's age on the 'Net, that attempt turned out to be far too broad. The fuss began back in February, when the state supreme court ruled that the "matter" which could harm minors did not legally include electronic transmissions. The result: overturning a conviction of a man who engaged in lurid instant messaging chats with someone who he believed to be 13 (in reality, "she" was the police, who arrested the man when he tried to meet the "girl"). Alarmed at the prospect of sexual predators texting away to minors, the state legislature acted quickly -- perhaps too quickly. In April, the "harmful to minors" law received a brief update -- not more than a couple of paragraphs -- but they had profound implications for free expression. The new law extended "harmful to minors" to the Internet. In addition to smutty books, films, pamphlets, pictures, plays, dances, and even statues (!), Massachusetts decided that the "matter" which might harm minors would now include: "electronic mail, instant messages, text messages, and any other communication created by means of use of the Internet or wireless network, whether by computer, telephone, or any other device or by any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical system."
- UK makes online safety lessons for kids compulsory
- Cabinet Officials Cite Concerns About Senate Version of Reporter's Shield Law
- Rev. Jesse Jackson Pays Tribute to Parker Legacy, Calls Others to Pursue Media Justice
- FCC: Investigate BPL interference
- Judge Denies Injunction in Microsoft, Motorola Patent Suit
- FCC Backs More Conditions For Sirius-XM
- Chinese Media Assail Google
- MSTV Pushes Back on White Spaces
- Apple Patent Ruling May Alter Tech Tactics
- Court: Sex Offender Facebook Ban Unconstitutional
- The Internet War
- Groups say FCC proposal not real network neutrality
- NAB To Congress: Check Into Spectrum Hoarding By Time Warner Cable, Dish
- How can the US seize a "Hong Kong site" like Megaupload?
- Beijing Tightens Cyber Controls