Re: Privacy and Law Enforcement

Ross A. Finlayson (
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 02:47:53 -0400

Well, the proposed law as it is engrossed by the Illinois House is HB 0792.

The Internet allows us to view it online:

What this bill states is that it becomes a Class A misdemeanor to propagate information about cannabis or controlled substances that will lead to the furtherance of illegal activities.

Thus, any sent information about cannabis or controlled substances becomes illegal under this proposed law:

"7 ... when he
8 or she transmits information about a controlled substance by 9 the Internet knowing that the information will be used in 10 furtherance of illegal activity.

So, in this case, unlike other laws, ignorance is protection. So is a disclaimer "This information is not to be used, and is not known to be used, for the furtherance of illegal activity".

This law, in my opinion, is unconstitutional. It is legislating the intent of Free Speech, which is unconstitutional. It is a dumb law. Other laws already cover drug trafficking, and they deserve examination at all levels.

This legislation amends two mentioned Acts, the Cannabis Control Act,, and the Illinois Controlled Substances Act,


Of interest is the Illinois Liquor Control Act of 1934, Other Illinois Control Acts, most unrelated to controlled substances:

Another interesting Illinois House Bill on this subject is the Internet Privacy Act,, to whit:


      New Act
          Creates the Internet Privacy Act.  Contains only a  short
      title provision.
 1        AN ACT in relation to Internet privacy.
 2        Be  it  enacted  by  the People of the State of Illinois,
 3    represented in the General Assembly:
 4        Section 1.  Short title.  This Act may be  cited  as  the
5 Internet Privacy Act."

This would appear to be the extent of the Illinois Internet Privacy Act at this time, that is, it has no effect. Perhaps they are still working on this bill, which deserves much work. In regards to the subject of this thread, it will be interesting to see its eventual state.

There is an Illinois bill, and other state bills, having to do with disposition of State databases, that is, large containers of citizen information. This bill,, states that commercial purchasers of state databases must disclose their use and not solicit the citizens whose data is in the database, or use the data illegally, but that is all. This still leaves it open for purchasers of state databases to use citizens' data without their knowledge or consent, which is a problem. The government misuses citizens' private personal data, perhaps they should not hold it, they certainly should not sell it. Some data is public, like property records, and should be freely available to any and all. Let those that want access to citizens' data purchase a license to it from the citizens, or not have it.

These are some simplistic examples of one state's laws on the books for this year. Illinois is a fine state, as is each state. As a country, we have more than 200 years of accumulated law, the most part of which is good. One of the weaknesses of our legislation through elected representatives is that some laws are railroaded by the representatives without informing the public or also against what the public would vote.

It takes an informed, educated, voting populace to ensure fair democracy.

Ross F.

Chuck Kuecker wrote:

> An aside on this subject...
> Here in Illinois, our state house just voted 114-0 to enact a 'law'
> prohibiting any discussion of illegal drugs on the Internet. Seems to me
> that I heard something about 'freedom of speech' in this country?
> At least this 'law' still needs to be passed by the state senate...
> Chuck Kuecker

Ross Andrew Finlayson
"C is the speed of light."