Cyberbullies get green light in New York to make your life hell

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Cyberbullies now have the law on their side in New York when it comes to making your kid’s life a living hell.

Incredibly, New York state’s highest court in Albany struck down an existing anti-cyberbullying law enacted in 2010. The New York Court of Appeals ruled that the law violated the First Amendment in a 5-2 ruling yesterday.

Essentially, the ruling means that virtual harassment, intimidation, and worse are now protected free speech, despite the fact that some young teens have killed themselves because of such taunts in the U.S. The anti-cyberbullying laws in 12 other states are still intact, so there’s hope.

Cyberbullying, according to New York law, means:

  • any act of communicating … by mechanical or electronic means
    • “including posting statements on the internet or through a computer or email network
    • “disseminating embarrassing or sexually explicit photographs
    • “disseminating private, personal, false or sexual information,
    • “or sending hate mail
  • with no legitimate private, personal, or public purpose
  • with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten, abuse, taunt, intimidate, torment, humiliate, or otherwise inflict significant emotional harm on another person.

The ruling was prompted by the sad case of New York teen Marquan Mockey-Meggs, who created a Facebook page where he posted photos of teens he knew with nasty and obscene messages and photos. Cyberbullies, you are now emboldened.


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13 comments
John H. Long
John H. Long

What a petulant, whiny article. No discussion of the reasoning behind the decision, or even about a balance to take into account free speech. Just a "you must love bullies" complaining, perspective free rant.

Welcome to the internet
Welcome to the internet

There's a big mind-control thing going on that's leading to a lot of people in isolation. The only way a cyberbully, who you can easily mute, would affect someone that much is if it's used as an action that's correctable with a depressive attack from the covert organization. If the person has been isolated, it's even easier. Remember, they look for excuses. If it wasn't for them, then there's a good chance this wouldn't even be in the news. Still, free speech is much more important than a flamer. Better social networks need to be developed to help reduce the number of excuses and opportunities covert organization(s) can use to attack people. Also, the idea of never being anonymous, likely perpetuated by various government entities, is a big mistake. It has several negative sociological effects on people, including social anxiety, which is very prevalent today. In addition to many other things, it causes repression based on fear of judgement. Free speech is extremely important (the perpetuation of forced lying serves primarily to hurt people). The existence of free speech can lead us to a world where we know the people who also inhabit it. It can give us a realistic view of the world and serves to help dissipate the phenomenon of targeted apathy (another effect of the covert organization that has been ruining people's lives), among other effects. Also, the primary point is, if we want the truth, people must say what they want to say. The longer people hide, for whatever reason, the longer it will take for the world to find truth. Mute buttons might need to become more popular, although they're rather prevalent.

Jason Gorman
Jason Gorman

Here's an idea, log off, and let the bullies waste their life online, while you go out and meet real people?? Just a thought

Zach Petersen
Zach Petersen

Poorly written legislation deserves to be overturned. Hopefully they can come up with a better way to deal with this issue.

Jack S Wolfie
Jack S Wolfie

Good. Legislating personal interactions is bad. People need to learn to block asshats.

Kevin VanOrd
Kevin VanOrd

Yes--we should force the victims to change their behavior patterns rather than confront the individuals that have behaved in in appropriate ways.