Burned Once Before, Tennessee Lawmakers Reject Attempt To Tighten Cyberstalking Law | Nashville Public Radio

Burned Once Before, Tennessee Lawmakers Reject Attempt To Tighten Cyberstalking Law

Mar 15, 2016

Tennessee lawmakers have rejected a plan to fight stalking over social media.

The proposal, Senate Bill 1962, would have made it illegal to use "third parties" — like social media platforms — to follow, threaten or spy on someone.

In Tennessee it's already illegal to stalk through e-mail and text messages sent by phone, but the state's stalking laws don't include indirect messages, like Facebook posts or tweets. Supporters of the bill say this is a loophole that should be closed.

But opponents said banning indirect messages went too far. Some recalled a 2011 effort by the Tennessee legislature to ban cyberstalking on social media. That law drew fire from legal experts, who said it violated free speech.

Legislators were ridiculed. They responded by repealing the law in 2012 and replacing it with the current statute.