Tennessee Has Made It A Crime To Post Offensive Pics Online

Really, Tennessee? Apparently the state has just passed a law making it illegal to post pics that could “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to the viewer. Questions for Tennessee: 1) how are you going to enforce this law? 2) how are you going to interpret this law? and 3) What the hell? Ars Technica is on the beat:

A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines…

The ban on distressing images, which was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last week, is also an update to existing law. Tennessee law already made it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender “reasonably should know” would “cause emotional distress” to the recipient. If the communciation [sic] lacked a “legitimate purpose,” the sender faced jail time…

In a blog post, constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh points out just how broad the legislation is. The law doesn’t require that the picture be of the “victim,” nor would the government need to prove that you intended the image to be distressing… He calls the bill “pretty clearly unconstitutional.”

It’s difficult for me to fathom by what thought process a democratically elected group of US representatives pass laws so egregiously unconstitutional, idiotic, and impossible to enforce in any meaningful way. I’m facepalming. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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