New York State Senators want "refined First Amendment," laws to prevent trolling, flaming and excluding people from online groups

New York State Senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci and David Valesky apparently missed civics class, because they think the First Amendment grants the "privilege" of free speech, not the right, and that this "refined" view of free speech should be implemented in order to stop people from saying stupid things on the Internet.

Their report suggests that a "refined" First Amendment could be used to stop "happy slapping" (a short-lived violent craze from 2005), trolling, "flaming," and "INTENTIONALLY AND CRUELLY EXCLUDING SOMEONE FROM AN ONLINE GROUP" (the caps are theirs).

Seriously? If we don't let you into the club, it's now a form of cyberbullying? It makes you wonder what happened to these particular Senators when they were kids.

The paper also attacks "anonymity," again ignoring how anonymity can often be extremely helpful to kids who wish to discuss things and ask questions without revealing who they are.

As for where they're going with this? Well, you guessed it: they're planning to introduce new laws to deal with cyberbullying (even though NY already has such a law). The plan is to extend two existing areas of law: "stalking in the third degree" will now include cyberbullying, and "manslaughter in the second degree" will be expanded to "include the emerging problem of bullycide."

(via /.)

(Image: The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from brentdpayne's photostream)