Tuesday, February 7, 2012

State Of Oregon Looking To Criminalize Social Media Use FOR EVERYONE

According to this Mother Jones article and twitter buzz all day yesterday, the State of Oregon has a bill on the table that would criminalize the use of twitter, or really, ALL social media for all Oregon State residents and anyone living outside of Oregon. The bill specifically states that the law applies to anyone living outside of Oregon.

According to the bill's author, Oregon Senator Doug Whitsett, it is designed to prevent only overt criminal activity, but the bill's language does not clearly state that. The language used in the bill would have the legal effect of making the use or even ownership of a social media account such as Twitter or Facebook a FELONY. The bill has absolutely no First Amendment exemption and no possible legal defense to the charge of  "electronic communication to solicit two or more persons to commit [a] specific crime at [a] specific time and location."

Speakers at yesterday's hearing overwhelmingly opposed the bill, and this following statement was obtained: Dan Meek, an attorney representing the Oregon Progressive Party, added: "I have to say, this is the kind of law that I would expect to see in Myanmar, Turkmenistan, North Korea or Zimbabwe, but not in Oregon."

The real kicker to this bill? The message does not have to actually be seen or even received by anyone as an element of the offense. The thought police are here! 

So, just HOW does this impact radio? The impact on radio because extremely high numbers of licensed amateur radio operators, SWL's, and commercial broadcasters use social media to post political commentary, personal opinions, and to promote programming. The Tweets and Facebook postings made by such people are sometimes cryptic to those outside of the radio circles and as such, this law could be applied to call out some non-existent "conspiracy".

ALL people involved with radio and social media should contact the State of Oregon to voice their lawful statements about this draconian bill.

****UPDATE**** Apparently, this bill died in committee and isn't ever going anywhere. This update as of 2/10/2012

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