Bill introduced to add “public electronic communications networks” as a means of harassment to law in Ireland

On April 16, 2015, an Irish deputy introduced a bill that would update a previous legislation, the Post Office (Amendment) Act 1951, which protects against harassment via snail mail, telephones and (as of 2007) SMS messages. The proposed amendment would introduce a provision dealing with “offences in connection with public electronic communications networks”. Among other offenses, violators would be looking at sentences ranging from 1-5 years and fines of up to €75,000 if they cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another by sending, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that the sender knows to be false.

In addition, the proposed amendment would provide for the seizure of devices used to send the annoying messages, including computers, cell phones, and internet itself.

According to Techdirt, the fact that the bill would simply add the words “electronic communications network” to an old law may have several unintended consequences as outlawing ebooks (insofar as they are fictional and therefore false), and jailing people for annoying others.


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