New York state lawmakers have proposed a ban on anonymous online comments.
Called the Internet Protection Act (A.8688/S.6779), the legislation would require a web site administrator to pull down anonymous comments from sites, including "social networks, blogs forums, message boards or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages."
The bill states:
A web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate. All web site administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.
This is just the latest attack on free speech and privacy on the internet. I am sure that most of you remember the SOPA legislation that was proposed earlier this year and soundly defeated possibly as a direct result of a backlash from all over the internet.
Supposedly THAT legislation was designed to protect intellectual property and stop online piracy, but of course it would have done much more and seriously impacted our Constitutionally protected rights of free speech.
This time they found a different excuse to shut us up.
Among the bills' sponsors are New York Assemblyman Dean Murray and Sen. Thomas O'Mara, who say the proposed law is to fight cyberbullying.
"Cyberbullying has become one of the great tragedies of the Internet age," O'Mara said at a press conference.
"Numerous national studies tell us that upwards of 40 percent of students have experienced some form of cyberbullying at least once, and they feel helpless in the face of it. Victims of anonymous cyberbullies need protection. We're hopeful that this legislation can be helpful to the overall effort to deter and prevent anonymous criminals from hiding behind modern technology and using the Internet to bully, defame and harass their victims."
Everybody wants to stop cyber bullying, myself included, but THIS is clearly just an excuse to take away the rights of citizens to spread information not controlled by giant media conglomerates as well as our right to speak out and share our opinions without fear of retribution by those who want to shut us up.
By the way I have little concern this will pass, but be warned that it is just one of many attempts coming down the pike to gain control of the internet, which in my opinion is possibly the greatest tool to ensure free speech since the invention of the printing press.