Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Electronic Harassment

The House Judiciary Committee today passed out two bills relating to harassment in an effort to further increase protections for people who are being harassed or stalked electronically. House Bills 615 and 622 add electronic communication to the list of defined forms of harassment and harassment by stalking.

“We are taking all forms of abuse and domestic violence extremely serious,” says House Judiciary Chairman Jon Riki Karamatsu (41-Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele). “Passage of these bills will update the current statute with all of the existing forms of today’s technology,” he explains. “It is important that we (legislators) keep current in order to best serve our constituents.”

The bills both received a single committee referral and will now go for a full House floor vote before crossing over to the Senate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

(c) Repeatedly makes telephone calls, facsimile, or any form of digital communication, including but not limited to electronic mail transmissions, without purpose of legitimate communication;

This would appear to include spam, and that could be a good thing, if it could be enforced.

The danger here is that the legislature continues to provide prosecutors more weapons to simply inflate charges against alleged perpetrators. Have you ever heard of email address blocking? And what of online blogs, such as this one? What would prevent politicians or other public figures from using such a statute to stifle free speech and peaceful dissent?

This bill would do nothing to protect victims from physically violent thugs such as Alapeti Tunoa, but it could certainly intimidate legitimate expressions of frustration, injustice, or even righteous anger.