A dangerous First Amendment fishing expedition.
Nothing creepy about that. Can we also get a bill to study leftist advocacy to commit harassment, conduct illegal protests and engage in environmental crimes "outside the zone of first amendment protection"?
Thirteen House Democrats have proposed legislation that would require the government to study hate speech on the Internet, mobile phones and television and radio.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and 12 other House Democrats, would look at how those media are used to "advocate and encourage violent acts and the commission of crimes of hate."
Jeffries says the NTIA needs to see how hate speech is transmitted over the various new modes of communication that have sprung up over the last two decades.
"The Internet is a wonderful vehicle for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship," he said. "But it can also be used as a platform to promote hate and target vulnerable individuals.
"This legislation will mandate a comprehensive analysis of criminal and hateful activity on the Internet that occurs outside of the zone of the First Amendment protection."
While acts of violence are obviously illegal, various incitement provisions can be and are used to muzzle speech that offends someone on the loosest theory that such speech is linked to violence.
Some of the most tenuous forms of this argument have come into play in Europe where critics of Islam have been charged with crimes for acts of violence committed by Muslims or that might have been committed by Muslims outraged by their speech.
If a crime has been committed, then it should be prosecuted. If there is a conspiracy involved, it will come out in investigating the crime. But that's not hate speech. It's conspiracy to commit an act.
This bill isn't necessary for the investigation of individual crimes. Instead it is targeting speech first and crime second, at best. It's looking at speech that advocates something, not speech as part of a criminal conspiracy. And that makes this a dangerous First Amendment fishing expedition.