Some General Legal Commentary

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, introduced by the United States Congress, needs to be repealed or amended to allow carriers to be prosecuted for criminal offences that their blogs may carry and to be sued for punitive damages for torts. At present the carrier is immune, and threats can be made at will by violent minded people who hide behind anonymity. This U.S. statute excepts federal criminal liability, so a carrier is open to criminal prosecution for felonies. It is open to private prosecution for federal felonies, but not for torts. As mentioned by John Dean, former counsel for Richard M. Nixon, who was struck off after Watergate and imprisoned, but who is now a redeemed and fairly respected journalist and author, Section 230 has opened up a wild west on the internet, which is a place where anyone can be threatened and subjected to felonies with very little redress in law. This is why violent minded crooks use pseudonyms and hide behind anonymity. Even the strongest of circumstantial evidence cannot bring a prosecution. The result is dangerous, psychopathic anarchy, as is well known. Obviously Section 230 needs to be repealed or modified to allow carriers to be prosecuted and sued, and to oblige carriers to keep records of blog owners and participants. Sometimes a blog may run up thousands of serious criminal offences, so the punishment should be long terms in prison. Such blogs grossly violate all the norms of societal decency, norms that have taken thousands of years to evolve, so the Act has had the opposite effect to that intended. At present the carrier might only have the IP address of a blog owner or participant. The law needs to be changed to oblige the carrier to keep full names and addresses, telephone numbers and e mail addresses of participants of for example, a hate blog, and reveal all information when ordered by a court. However, I think that a court can be asked by lawsuit to remove an entire blog. Much heavier punishment is needed for hate bloggers, up to life in prison for making one death threat, multiple terms of life in prison for making repeated threats. On 29th July 2015, James Woods filed a John Doe lawsuit in the California Superior Court for $10 million in defamation damages against an anonymous person who accused Woods of being a drug addict. The filings are all on

The sum of $10 million in damages was accepted by the Court as reasonable, and eventually the Judge asked the attorney for James Woods to find the identity of John Doe. So in a John Doe filing, an identity has to be found at some point. Therefore at present, any violent psychopath can start threatening innocent people on the internet with little possibility of being identified. They can say anything, use all kinds of foul and threatening language, become as irrationally stupid as they want, and the law and law enforcement sit idly by and do nothing. A new law is needed to allow Courts to read a blog that is saturated with violence and wildly pejorative language, and to remove the entire blog by Court Order, without having to find identities. Many innocent young people have been killed by this kind of gratuitous and murderous electronic violence. The police authorities appear to be able to do nothing at all.

%d bloggers like this: