Cyberbullying & Sexting Bills Proposed

As reported by Gina Macris in the March 18, 2011 edition of the Providence Journal, three (3) bills have been introduced in the General Assembly, which address cyberbullying and sexting. The introduction of legislation comes at the conclusion of a six month long study by a special Senate commission into the issue.

One of the bills would prevent students from accessing social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Linked In, etc during school hours unless they had permission. Another bill would allow the police to subpoena IP addresses from Internet service providers to help identify the owners of computers used to commit cybercrimes. The final bill would address crimes, such as stalking, harassment when minors are involved.

Rhode Island has passed some cybercrime laws already. Pursuant to 11-52-4.2- cyberstalking and cyberharassment is prohibited:

Whoever transmits any communication by computer or other electronic device to any person or causes any person to be contacted for the sole purpose of harassing that person or his or her family is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. For the purpose of this section, "harassing" means any knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, or bothers the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be of a kind that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, or be in fear of bodily injury. "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."

(b) A second or subsequent conviction under subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, by a fine of not more than six thousand dollars ($6,000), or both.

If you or a family member have been charged with cyberbullying, sexting or other Internet related crimes or are the victim of an Internet crime, please allow attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Contact Robert H. Humphrey at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at rhh@rhumphreylaw.com.

Categories: Cyber Crimes