The end of the BLINK tag!

No more POP-UP, POP-UNDER ads! No more stupid PUNCH THE MONKEY ads!

Via “ – Cyberstalking law opens debate on what’s annoying“:

The law makes it a crime to anonymously “annoy, abuse, threaten or harass” another person over the Internet.

Oh. Wait.

So, it’s okay to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass someone if you’re not anonymous?

Well. Time to pick a good, well-known pseudonym again, I guess. Then, let the harassment begin!

What exactly is the legal definition of “annoying” anyway? That’s a bit subjective. The legal test is whether someone felt annoyed? How would one ever test for perjury on that?

Of course, by “annoy” “someone” I suppose this will become a great way for corporate lawyers to pursue and attack disgruntled consumers. If not for that “anonymous” element, this could become the Basil Faulty law. After all, the Internet would run so much more smoothly, if not for those pesky users!

I half expect to see a revival of the “internet driver’s license” idea next. Then again, there were times, working technical support, that didn’t seem to be such a bad idea. There must be a certain victorious joy in legislating against what other people do.

That reminds me of a quote I once heard. What makes a good law is when laws are created not to stop others from doing something but to help oneself stop a behaviour. I don’t think I agree with that so much, but it’s something to think about.

There’s been a lot of discussion about how there’s no right not to be annoyed. Well, now there’s a law making it illegal to annoy.

This is a case of waiting for the other shoe to drop. This could be the beginning of a string of horrid legislation, or, this could be the beginning of some obscene trial practice.

It’s got the potential of being a train wreck.

This echoes a long standing debate withing the BBS community about anonymity. There’s something that feels sinister about people being anonymous, and there are definitely people that take advantage. The veil of anonymity, or more accurately, perceived anonymity, gives people a feeling they can say things they might otherwise not. That’s a double-edged sword, it’s a tool used to create a forum with a particular character. For Sysops, it was an aesthetic design choice.

Yeah, it’s just another in a series of poorly done governance of behaviour online or related to technology. This really signifies to me that the intersection of law and technology really is still a moving target.