Also new in 2006: it’s now a federal crime to send someone an annoying e-mail anonymously. I’d pay to hear a few FBI agents talking about how’d they go about enforcing this one. I doubt it would stand any realu judicial scritiny (or, I hope it wouldn’t) but it could just be seen as the logical conclusion of a country run by people who all think they’re special (or at least all think they deserve special consideration for something by someone), who have lost any sense of dignity and are on the verge of losing their sense of humor. On the other hand, the law apparently says that it’s okay to flame someone as long as you use your real name, so perhaps this is a mid-term election stunt of some kind.
At any rate, the new law is described here, so take a look for yourself.
Personally, yes, I think cyberstalking is a major problem. Anonymous e-mail that someone may take offense at is another story. Criminalizing it is one of those very tricky propositions that looks great on paper but is probably a lot less effecacious both in terms of prevention and enforcement in real life. The article notes that the version of the bill that passed was its second incarnation: an earlier version of the bill had a higher standard of proof of damage (one had to use an "interactive computer service" to cause "substantial emotional harm.") Criminalizing merely obnoxious e-mail is impossible to enforce unless the FBI plans to filter literally every email that passes between two American citizens. They can’t really do that, can they?
Well, can they?