So while I was hunting around various news sites I came across a little bit of info that makes me rather sad and has left me kind of in shock. In response to a terrible tragedy where a young girl was gang raped by a group of bullies and then had a good portion of her school bully her into suicide after photos of the act were circulated amongst her peers, Nova Scotia has created the craziest bit of law I have seen in a long time. Here is the long version for those that want to read it, and here is the cliff notes version for the rest of us:
If someone feels that you said something to them online that was mean and meant to hurt you they simply call the courts and request a protection order against you and a judge decides if their claim meets the law’s definition. The definition of cyberbullying, in this particular bill, includes “any electronic communication” that ”ought reasonably be expected” to “humiliate” another person, or harm their “emotional well-being, self-esteem or reputation.”
The issuing of a protection order is an ex parte process- meaning the judge gets to decide what happens without you ever getting a chance to defend yourself- between your accuser and the court. If a judge issues one against you, here’s what might happen:
- The police can seize your computers and phone.
- Your Internet connection can be shut off.
- You can be ordered to stop using electronic devices entirely.
- Your Internet Service Provider or Internet companies, such as Facebook, can be compelled to fork over all your data to the police.
- You can be gagged by the court and prohibited from mentioning your accuser online.
- If you violate any of these orders, you’ll face stiff fines and up to two years of jail time. At this point, your accuser can sue you in civil court.
And if there were not enough reasons to never have a kid, if you are a parent whose child is accused of this you get deemed a Cyber bully for not stopping them and suffer the same penalties. Unless you can prove that you tried really hard to stop them but they just couldn't be stopped.
I just don't know what to say. I went to a couple news sites "reporting" on this and all I saw was them boasting about how the rest of the country needs to copy these laws at a federal level but never took the time to explain what the laws actually do. Am I missing something here or is this as crazy as it sounds to others?