Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Making the Case": CNN has a new legal program Saturdays with Don Lemon; a hint of more clamp down on Internet speech?

Don Lemon hosts a new special report program on Saturday nights on CNN, “Making the Case”.
The program opened with a report that two prisoners released from a northern Florida prison under forged documents, where a judge’s signature was forged on an adobe document.  Both men were apprehended at a motel in Panama City FL without incident.

But the main focus of the program was the bullying case in Florida, where a twelve and fourteen year old girl are charged with cyberstalking and where the parents may be prosecuted.  Much of the show concerned the limits of freedom of speech on the Internet, which they involve making personal attacks on others, or particularly publishing embarrassing photos of others, which may be technically legal in many cases. 
These practices have been thought to be protected by the First Amendment, and service providers (like Facebook and YouTube) have been viewed as immune to downstream liability under Section 230 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.  But many are calling for more liability for parents and possibly for service providers.  The show hinted but did not mention specifically that some state attorneys general want to weaken Section 230 as it might apply to state criminal laws (like with cyberbullying) or prostitution.
There was also discussion of a case in Maryville, MO where two teenage girls were apparently assaulted and the state has failed to prosecute the perpetrators, and the family has been forced to leave town.

CNN does not seem to have a specific web page for this show yet.  

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