Distressing Images
Congratulations Tennessee! Governor Bill Haslam has put your state in the national spotlight and, for once, it has nothing to do with Bonnaroo or how bad the Titans are. The republican executive of the state signed a ban on "distressing images" into law last week that we're sure constitutional lawyers are going to have a field day with. Anyone who sends or posts an image online (and yes, that includes TwitPics) that they "reasonably should know" would "cause emotional distress" could face several months in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. The best part? Anyone who stumbles across the image is a viable "victim" under the law and the government doesn't even have to prove any harmful intent. So, Tennessee residents who aren't cautious enough using Google image search could get a few people in trouble. Another, and perhaps more perturbing, part of the same bill also seeks to circumvent restrictions on obtaining private messages and information from social networking sites without a search warrant. We give it about a month before this gets struck down on obvious grounds that it's unconstitutional.