Bill Post of the Oregon House of Representatives falsely claims on his Facebook page that an unconstitutional bill he sponsored has the ability to put an end to the online publication of personal and confidential information. His exact words were:
"HB 3047 passed the House today. If it passes the Senate and becomes law, it will put an end to posting private and confidential information in order to harass or harm individuals. As always this is a liberty issue for me and I was honored to co-chief sponsor and co-carry it on the House floor today." - Bill Post (R - Keizer)
His claim has several problems: 1) The bill violates the First Amendment of the federal constitution on its face; 2) Federal courts have recently struck down similar bills; 3) Even if Supreme Court were to uphold the bill it would be unenforceable due to the international nature of the internet.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech." That fact needs no further explanation. HB 3047, which we are uploading as a PDF, also constitutes a content based restriction on speech conditioned on subjective claims of emotional distress. There are some forms of speech covered by the bill that are not free speech such as posting home addresses for the purpose of inciting violence against people or placing them in fear for their safety, but this bill goes beyond that. It creates a civil cause of action based on "severe emotional distress" and includes "anxiety" as a form of such distress. If the Oregon Senate passes the bill and it is signed by the Governor some could seek injunctive relief in the form of censorship against anyone that posts their home address online just by claiming to have suffered anxiety. We frequently post home addresses of government officials if we consider them dangerous or we want to help non-violent demonstrators decide where to picket. Officials like Bill Post would likely try to use this law to make us remove their information. We do not have to do that and trying to force our hand in such matters would be a bad idea for reasons we will elaborate on later.
In 2017, The United States District Court for Eastern District of California granted a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a similar law in Publius v. Boyer-Vine (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCOURTS-caed-1_16-cv-01152/pdf/USCOURTS-caed-1_16-cv-01152-2.pdf). The California law against doxxing government officials (Section 6254.21(c) http://www.sccoplanning.com/Portals/2/County/Planning/policy/Government%20Code%206254_21%20and%206254_24.pdf) at issue in that case was strikingly similar to HB 3407 with the only significant differences being that HB 3407 applies to everyone as opposed to just government officials and Section 3254.21(c) only applies when "intending to cause imminent great bodily harm that is likely to occur or threatening to cause imminent great bodily harm to that individual." A blogger calling himself "The Real Write Winger" decided to fight back against a law requiring gun owners to register for inclusion in a government database by creating an online tyrant registry featuring the home addresses and phone numbers of legislators that had voted in favor of the bill. He also gave each tyrant in the registry the opportunity to remove their names, "the only way for a tyrant to have their name removed from the tyrant registry is to pass laws which repeal the laws that got them added to the list." We are in the process of doing the same thing to members of the Oregon House of Representatives that voted in favor of HB 3047 and any members of Oregon Senate that sponsor or vote in favor of it in the future. Like The Real Write Winger's list, ours is also "a constantly updated list depending on future votes." The court held that Section 3251.21(c) was a content bases speech restriction and relied on the following precedent from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to support their conclusions:
"Content-based laws - those that target speech based on its communicative content are presumptively unconstitutional and may be justified only if the government proves that they are narrowly tailored to serve compelling state interests." Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, 135 S. Ct. 2218 at 2226 (2015)(https://casetext.com/case/reed-v-town-of-gilbert-4)
"As a general matter, state action to punish the publication of truthful information seldom can satisfy constitutional standards." Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514, 527 (2001) (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/532/514/)
The court went on to say "several cases demonstrate that the First Amendment protects the right to publish highly personal information of private individuals, such as the names of rape victims and juveniles involved in legal proceedings, when they relate to matters of public concern." The court also said that speech made in the context of protest is a matter of public concern. That pertains to CopBlaster.com specifically because we dox government officials as a form of protest. It could also be extended to disputes involving private citizens due to the simple fact that doxxing is usually done to protest someone for something. The court cited another example from SCOTUS "holding injunction on dispersing pamphlets with realtor's home phone number and urging recipients to call him to urge certain political stance was prior restraint that violated First Amendment" Org. for a Better Austin v. Keefe, 402 U.S. 415, 417 (1971)(https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/402/415/). Then the court moved on to the strikingly similar case of Brayshaw v. City of Tallahassee (https://casetext.com/case/brayshaw-v-city-of-tallahassee) in which a federal court in Florida ruled against a law that made it a crime to "publish or disseminate" the home addresses of police officers. The court also cited a case in which the Fourth Circuit upheld the right to post social security numbers online and concluded "that highly personal information has public significance when inextricably associated with political speech." Since CopBlaster.com exists in part for the purpose of criticizing people that enforce laws, assist others with the enforcement of laws, attempt to cause laws to be enforced, and other things the inclusion of home addresses is a matter of public concern that HB 3047 cannot constitutionally hinder.
The Court in Boyer-Vine went on to say that California Section 3251.21(c) failed for not being narrowly tailored. The Court said, "There is no dispute that Plaintiffs lawfully obtained and truthfully published information that was readily available online. When lawfully obtained, the truthful publication of that information falls within the First Amendment's ambit." Oregon HB 3047 is far broader in that it does not require intent to injure or threaten, but simply that a "reasonable person" would suffer "anxiety." The statute in Brayshaw was considered "overinclusive in proscribing speech that is not a true threat." The court in Sheehan v. Gregoire (https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/272/1135/2296098/) reached a similar conclusion "[W]hen the government itself injects personal identifying information into the public domain, it cannot credibly take the contradictory position that one who compiles and communicates that information offends a compelling state interest." Sheehan involved a Washington statute that prohibited the dissemination of home addressees and other information "with the intent to harm or intimidate." If the state of Washington cannot constitutionally enforce a law against publishing home addresses "with the intent to harm or intimidate" then surely the state of Oregon cannot constitutionally enforce a law that prohibits doing the same with the intent to cause anxiety.
The fact that HB 3047 is worded to "protect" everyone and not just government officials does not change our analysis. Surely police officers who depend on having numbers in the right places for tactical advantages would allegedly suffer greater anxiety than a private person as a result of having their home address posted online. They can't be in two places at once, so defending their home while waging war on the public can be difficult. The same can be said of people like Bill Post who cited a personal experience as his motivation for sponsoring the bill. Legislators depend on the protection of law enforcement to strip people of their rights with impunity. Surely a legislator like Bill Post would allegedly suffer far greater anxiety than a private person should his address be made publicly available. Normal people do not make enemies like government officials do. This bill is clearly intended to protect government officials and not private people. If anxiety is not enough to justify a content based restriction on speech directed at government officials then it is not enough to justify a content based restriction on speech directed against private citizens.
Finally, HB 3047 like Section 3251.21(c) is not narrowly tailored because "it does not differentiate between acts that "make public" previously private information and those that "make public" information that is already publicly available." In fact, HB 3047 seems primarily aimed at sharing information that the government itself made publicly available via public records such as Bill Post's home address. HB 3047 is so broad that it only addresses "to disclose" and defines "disclose" as "transfer, publish, distribute, exhibit, advertise and offer." Under that broad definition one could argue that hosting private information constitutes "distribute, exhibit" or "offer" despite the fact that websites hosting such content are not considered "information content providers" under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. By no stretch of the imagination could a statue be constitutionally enforced in such a manner.
Even if HB 3047 were held to be legal that does not mean that it is capable of hindering us. Due to the international nature of the internet it is not possible for one state to put an end to things simply by passing laws against them. We have already moved our servers to companies in foreign countries that ignore "orders" from American courts. If anyone in the United States, including police officers, judges, and other government officials, want anything about our content to change they have to satisfy our requirements. They cannot simply say that by having a physical presence within their borders that they can make us do things. They can request that something be done, call that request a "lawful order," and we can simply say "no," This is what would happen in any case in which an American court issues an "order" asking us to take something down in accordance with HB 3047 unless we find some reason to remove it based on our own criteria. Jailing us for contempt would not be a good idea because the thousands of home addresses belonging to government officials that we do censor voluntarily would automatically be uncensored should the owner be prevented from logging into his account for 14 days for any reason. As a result any effort to force compliance with HB 3047 before we are able to mount a successful constitutional challenge in court would have the opposite result. Our founder is a former convict who spent over a year in general population at an active United States Penitentiary (USP Victorville). The only higher security facility that they could have sent him to would have been Administrative Maximum in Florence, Colorado (ADX Florence). He is not afraid of a little jail time. He also knows that the right combination of offshore trusts and bank accounts can render any stateside monetary judgment uncollectable.
According to public records, William Ronald Post is a 60 year old resident of Salem, Oregon. His last known address is 5135 Lacey St. That property was purchased in 2016 by POST W & C FAM TRUST. We believe the letter "C" to be in reference to his wife whose first name starts with that letter. We are not including her name or that of his kid because our quarrel is not with them. It is common for people to purchase property through a trust when they wish to keep their names out of public records as it relates to the property. Records also list 1251 Clearview Ave. NE in Keizer, Oregon as current through some time this year. Post is technically the representative for Keizer, so we suspect him of having residences in Keizer as well as Salem. He must after all live in the district he represents at times to represent it.
CopBlaster.com has every right to create a public registry of Oregon lawmakers which includes their home addresses and condition the criteria for being included on their voting practices. We have every right to do what we must to avoid being injured by unconstitutional laws because everyone has a valid claim of right to the protection of the Bill of Rights. Even if that were not the case we could continuing operating normally anyway.
Note: Please do not use any information on this page for a criminal purpose. That includes damaging property or people, or threatening to do so.