One of the big stories last year was the rash of teen suicides – many of them gay youth – that appeared to be triggered by cyberbullying. An new California law – SB 1411 makes it illegal to impersonate someone in order to harm, intimidate or defraud someone. Left unaddressed by this law are situations where people aren’t impersonating someone but are engaged in this activity.
First Amendment & Satire
Because of free speech concerns, the law carves out an exception for parody and satire. This pretty much gives defendants an automatic defense but it is probably necessary for purposes of passing constitutional scrutiny.
I know that its great for legislators to get their names attached to laws that address hot topics but beyond that – is this law really necessary? Are the existing legal remedies for this situation inadequate because the behavior occurs online? I’m not convinced.