Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy signed into law legislation that prohibits cyber-bullying of minors in Albany County through online communications. The measure seeks to address a growing problem facing young people and protect victims from cyberbullying.
“This is a growing problem for children and it is our responsibility to do all that we can to protect them,” said McCoy. “The technology is moving at lightning speed and we have to do something to protect kids. Technology is great and it has improved out lives in many ways, but there is a downside. I have long supported and fought for a law like this. I commend the legislature for moving swiftly to enact this important law.”
The cyberbullying law was passed last month and will provide law enforcement with a way to prosecute those who by “electronic means” post statements on the internet or through a computer or mail network, “with the intent to inflict emotional harm on a minor; sexually explicit photos, private or personal information or false sexual information with no legitimate public, personal or private purpose.”
Those who violate the law will be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
After the county’s previous law was nullified in July by the Court of Appeals for being too broad, a new version was crafted with assistance from the county attorney. The court ruled that county could pass a new law that more sharply defined the definition of cyberbullying and that the new law should apply only to minors.
“As a father and government leader, this is a big concern of mine,” said McCoy. “Kids are using new apps that provide anonymity and a sense that what they are saying or doing has no lasting impact on themselves or others, but it really does. More than half of the kids surveyed by the federal government report that they’ve been cyberbullied and those who are cyberbullied are not likely to speak up about it. This will give them a voice and protect the right to free speech.”