Tennesee bans posting of offensive images online, a move towards tightening internet behavior, which controversially makes everyone in the giant internet space a potential victim.
The law defines it a crime to post images that is likely to frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to someone who sees it.
Violation could cost upto spending a year in jail or a fine of $2,500.
Critics have called the law unconstitutional and vague as the “emotionally distressed” individual may not be the intended recipient of the image posted.
The law seems to be an update on the already existing law in Tennesse which condemns people from making phone calls or sending emails meant to offend people.
The new law fails to understand the vastness of the cyberspace and how broad the legislation is. Unlike emails or phone calls, images posted online will not just be viewable to a particular individual. So how would the initiator reasonably know that the image wouldn't cause emotional distress to anyone who uses the internet?
Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, points out that a wide variety of images, pictures of Mohammed, or blasphemous jokes about Jesus Christ, or harsh cartoon insults of some political group, could “cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities,” triggering a liability to censor images online in a controversial move tightening the governmental screws on Internet behavior.
It would also apply to the media wherein a newspaper or TV station posts embarrassing pictures or blasphemous images on its site, it would be violating the law.