Free Speech and Cyberbullying

There is a difference between Free Speech and Cyberbullying. Please read.

Free Speech is not – intimidation.

Free Speech is not – harassment.

Freedom of speech as defined on Wikipedia –

Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libel, slander, obscenity, sedition (including, for example inciting ethnic hatred), copyright violation, revelation of information that is classified or otherwise.

The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”. Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others” or “[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals”.

Cyberbullying – definition for wikipedia

Legal definition

Cyberbullying is defined in legal glossaries as

  • actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others.
  • use of communication technologies for the intention of harming another person
  • use of internet service and mobile technologies such as web pages and discussion groups as well as instant messaging or SMS text messaging with the intention of harming another person.

Examples of what constitutes cyberbullying include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, falsely discredit, or humiliate the recipient. The actions are deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior intended to harm another. Cyberbullying has been defined by The National Crime Prevention Council: “When the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.”

A cyberbully may be a person whom the target knows or an online stranger. A cyberbully may be anonymous and may solicit involvement of other people online who do not even know the target. This is known as a ‘digital pile-on.’

There currently is no federal statute regarding cyberbullying.  Dealing with the issue is on the state level.  There are currently 34 US states with such laws. (just a quick google search gave me this info.)  I am not sure how these things are handled outside the US.

I am not a lawyer, but I am pretty sure most online services have a clause in their TOS regarding conflict resolution takes place in the state where the service is housed.

This is all I have to say.  You all need to think about this and how it affects you now and will effect the future.


2 responses to “Free Speech and Cyberbullying

  • Bock McMillan

    Hear, hear! We all needed a refresher course on this, thanks Petr. 😉

  • Doc Nuccitelli (@TheiPredator)

    My name is Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D. C.F.C. and I am a NYS licensed psychologist and certified forensic consultant. Your post was sent to me via Google Alerts and I’m writing to compliment you on your informative information addressing cyberbullying. As author of a new Information Age Forensics construct, iPredator, I am a cyberbullying, cyberstalking, internet safety, cybercrime, online sexual predation, internet addiction & criminal psychology educator & consultant. Thank you for helping to educate online users about the dangers lurking in cyberspace and issues related to cyberbullying.
    Regards,
    Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D., C.F.C.
    NYS Licensed Psychologist
    CEO, iPredator Inc.

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