Hacking Speech: Informational Speech and the First Amendment

Matwyshyn, Andrea M. | January 1, 2013

The Supreme Court has never articulated the extent of First Amendment protection for instructional or “informational” speech—factual speech that may be repurposed for crime. As technology advances and traditional modes of speech become intertwined with code speech, crafting a doctrine that expressly addresses the First Amendment limits of protection for informational speech becomes pressing. Using the case study of “vulnerability speech”—speech that identifies a potentially critical flaw in a technological system but may indirectly facilitate criminality—this Article proposes a four-part “repurposed speech scale” for crafting the outer boundaries of First Amendment protection for informational speech.