Tennessee: Post an offensive image online? Go to jail

After criminalizing the shared use of Netflix accounts, Tennessee law makers continued to demonstrate their misunderstanding of the internet by passing a law that makes it illegal to post offensive images online.

The law makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” that could “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to anyone who views it — which is about as ridiculous as making it illegal to open your eyes for fear of seeing something you don’t like.

Violators found guilty could get up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines. What’s worse, the law can be applied to anyone who finds the image offensive, not just the person the image was directed to.

The law itself is actually a revision of pre-existing legislation that criminalizes the act of making phone calls, sending emails or other general communication that the sender reasonably knew would cause “emotional distress” to the recipient.

Aside from the over reaching nature of the legislation, it’s likely to come under heavy fire from activists who will be quick to point out the questionable violations the law has to first amendment rights.

Photo via Josh Pope

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