May 1, 2014
Senator Edward J. Markly (D-Ma) Introduced a bill on April 8th, 2014 that, if passed, would allow government robots to scour the internet for perceived “commission of hate crimes” or any material deemed to to advocate and encourage “violent acts and the commission of crimes of hate” The full text of the bill is available here: beta.congress.gov
The proposed legislation, is cited as the ``Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014'' and would grant the government authority to “analyze information on the use of telecommunications, including the Internet, broadcast television and radio, cable television, public access television, commercial mobile services, and other electronic media.”
Exactly what and who will determine the definition of these so called crimes of hate? This is the point where things get interesting.
The bill refers to The Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) enacted in 1990 to define what exactly, thought crimes are. The HCSA defines these acts as those which "manifest prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity"
The HSCA has already stipulated the Justice Department to acquire data on perceived hate crimes, so this latest proposal essentially kicks this into high gear.
Frighteningly enough, the determinations on what actually constitutes hate crimes will be determined by a yet unnamed panel of government bureaucrats.
This grants an as of yet undefined panel of bureaucrats the ability to paint with an uncomfortably broad brush, vague in definition, as to the criteria with which to make these determinations.
We know from the recent IRS fiasco how Federal agencies can and do take actions based upon partisan politics. Emails have revealed the the DOJ was more than happy to begin working with the IRS to prosecute and criminalize tax exempt organizations that promoted ideas and education conflicting with the interests of the party in charge.
This raises concern that groups and individuals who criticize government policy or speak out against favored politicians may well spend time behind bars for speech determined to be inciting hate.
First amendment rights could well be under assault with the passage of this act, and even what I'm writing could be classified as thought crime as I've pointed out the potential for this to be used to squash political descent, or opposing views.
As a rule of thumb, if the potential for abuse exists, abuse will occur.