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Legislation In New York To Ban Anonymous Speech Online 398

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-funding-the-internet-anonymity-police dept.
Fluffeh writes "Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte said, '[this] turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity.' Republican Senator Thomas O'Mara added, '[this will] help lend some accountability to the Internet age.' The two are sponsoring a bill that would ban any New York-based websites from allowing comments (or well, anything) to be posted unless the person posting it attaches their name to it. But the bill also goes further, saying New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, must 'remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.'"
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Legislation In New York To Ban Anonymous Speech Online

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:13AM (#40085715) Journal

    21 2. A WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR UPON REQUEST SHALL REMOVE ANY COMMENTS
    22 POSTED ON HIS OR HER WEB SITE BY AN ANONYMOUS POSTER UNLESS SUCH ANONY-
    23 MOUS POSTER AGREES TO ATTACH HIS OR HER NAME TO THE POST AND CONFIRMS
    24 THAT HIS OR HER IP ADDRESS, LEGAL NAME, AND HOME ADDRESS ARE ACCURATE.
    25 ALL WEB SITE ADMINISTRATORS SHALL HAVE A CONTACT NUMBER OR E-MAIL
    26 ADDRESS POSTED FOR SUCH REMOVAL REQUESTS, CLEARLY VISIBLE IN ANY
    27 SECTIONS WHERE COMMENTS ARE POSTED.

    What about CDNs physically located in NY that serve news and video from very popular sites [wikipedia.org]? And how are you going to verify all this information? Like, I go through Tor, I tell you I'm Jim Conte, I give you his home address and then I verify that I'm indeed him and all this time someone on the staff of this news site is ... doing what exactly? Verifying how? Are they calling ISPs and saying "Hey, does this IP address check out for this home address? And how on Earth are they going to be able to afford to do this for anonymous comments?

  • As usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Squiddie (1942230) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:15AM (#40085733)
    Lawmakers don't have a clue what they are doing and whenever they do something it's only for the ruination of things we enjoy.
  • by durrr (1316311) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:17AM (#40085743)

    They are technological illiterates like most legislators and belive that human laws work like laws of nature, if you write them down they'll start enforcing themself.

    Did i mention they're also first rate morons?

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:17AM (#40085749)

    Guess I won't be posting on any more websites hosted in New York.

    What a great way to drive business away from your state. How long before they're all relocated in Jersey? Days?

  • by KillaBeave (1037250) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:20AM (#40085775)
    ... that sissies are not allowed on the internet. Is trolling/cyber-bullying bad, sure it is and I'm not condoning it. It's just sad that people are so thin-skinned that some goobers in politics feel the need to attempt to outlaw trollish comments!

    Of course this probably has nothing to do with cyber-bulling or trolling and likely has everything to do with stopping leaks, dissent and general repression of free speech. After all, there is no speech more free than anonymous speech. Are they banning anon tips to the police and anon letters to the editor as well?
  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:23AM (#40085813) Journal
    Just goes to show how out of touch our legislators have become to believe it's even technically possible, let alone constitutional.
    They're so disconnected from reality (i.e. the normal lives of their constituents) that it's like being ruled by space aliens.
  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:24AM (#40085819)
    Anonymity is necessary for Joe Public to exercise his right to free speech. The rich and powerful can't crush him like a bug if they don't know who he is.
  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:30AM (#40085897)

    This is why children generally shouldn't be online unsupervised any more than they should be wandering the town unsupervised. By the time they're old enough to do that, they're usually old enough to cope with a little cyber bullying.

  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlKaMo (106874) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:31AM (#40085911)

    This law would likely do exactly the opposite of what it's theoretically intended to do. When someone posts something that you don't like, you'll have all the information you need to stalk and harass the poster. Forget online bullying, this would enable physical bullying.

  • by freeweaver (2548146) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:41AM (#40086011)

    Yes it is impossible to enforce. But please don't think for a second that the people writing these "laws" are just stupid, that would be dangerous.

    The intention behind this move is simply to create a legal framework which allows those in control to censor ANY comment which is contrary to propagandised opinion.

    If you or I make a valid yet controversial comment on a website based in NY, the appropriate people will be alerted, the comment will be taken down, and a statement will be issued in its place:

    "This commenters identification could not be verified."

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:45AM (#40086045)

    What about CDNs physically located in NY that serve news and video from very popular sites [wikipedia.org]? And how are you going to verify all this information? Like, I go through Tor, I tell you I'm Jim Conte, I give you his home address and then I verify that I'm indeed him and all this time someone on the staff of this news site is ... doing what exactly? Verifying how? Are they calling ISPs and saying "Hey, does this IP address check out for this home address? And how on Earth are they going to be able to afford to do this for anonymous comments?

    Show me you palm, Jim Conte. Hmmm... yes, yes... see that line there? I can tell you by the look of it: your wish will be granted, in a very near future, no Websites will be hosted and no CDN-es will have presence in NY... but when it happens, if you'll remind your voters about your success, they'll throw rotten eggs at you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:47AM (#40086079)

    21 2. A WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR UPON REQUEST SHALL REMOVE ANY COMMENTS
      22 POSTED ON HIS OR HER WEB SITE BY AN ANONYMOUS POSTER UNLESS SUCH ANONY-
      23 MOUS POSTER AGREES TO ATTACH HIS OR HER NAME TO THE POST AND CONFIRMS
      24 THAT HIS OR HER IP ADDRESS, LEGAL NAME, AND HOME ADDRESS ARE ACCURATE.
      25 ALL WEB SITE ADMINISTRATORS SHALL HAVE A CONTACT NUMBER OR E-MAIL
      26 ADDRESS POSTED FOR SUCH REMOVAL REQUESTS, CLEARLY VISIBLE IN ANY
      27 SECTIONS WHERE COMMENTS ARE POSTED.

    What about CDNs physically located in NY that serve news and video from very popular sites [wikipedia.org]? And how are you going to verify all this information? Like, I go through Tor, I tell you I'm Jim Conte, I give you his home address and then I verify that I'm indeed him and all this time someone on the staff of this news site is ... doing what exactly? Verifying how? Are they calling ISPs and saying "Hey, does this IP address check out for this home address? And how on Earth are they going to be able to afford to do this for anonymous comments?

    Adding to that, how does this measure stop anonymous posting or increases accountability?

    My details:

    John Smith
    (917) 345-3445
    59 W 46th St
    New York, NY 10036

    Prove it isn't me.

  • by KillaBeave (1037250) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:48AM (#40086087)
    Very true, but I hope that I can instill in my daughter enough self-confidence and common sense that she'll be able to brush this type of stuff off as the worthless ramblings/rants of people who are lashing out because they are subconsciously aware that they are "peaking" in HS ... and life is all downhill for them.

    Everyone had to deal with this type of stuff growing up in one way or another. How one dealt with it says quite a lot about their character or lack there of. Dealing with assholes is a fact of life that will never go away and a life skill that we all sadly must learn. Thankfully my daughter is only 3 and I've got a while before I need to deal with this type stuff.

    I very much agree that there is currently a large failure in schools to mitigate these situations in meatspace. I really think they're harping about the "cyber" part of it because there's a paper trail for them to fall back on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:58AM (#40086199)

    Hello? Thomas Paine published Common Sense anonymously. James Madison published The Federalist Papers anonymously, and Ben Franklin published a whole host of material anonymously. Anonymous political discourse was absolutely instrumental in creating the United States.

  • by silentcoder (1241496) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:06AM (#40086287) Homepage

    >You could hand write everything, but making copies would be very troublesome and time consuming.

    Oh and this line... guess those historians also got wrong the date of the invention of the printing press - since this event which changed the world forever is supposed to have happened a long time before the U.S. constitution got it's first amendment.
    Wait... didn't Benjamin Franklin use to run a newspaper ? With a printing press ?

    If anything we have LESS anonymity now than we had back then. Nobody 400 years ago could actually prove beyond a reasonable doubt which printing press produced a copy, or where it was originally typeset.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:13AM (#40086383)

    This is why I never bought the whole "we should leave more things up to the states to decide" line of argument

    As someone living in Wisconsin, I completely agree.

    I shudder to think how much worse the fuckheads in this state's government would have screwed us if they'd had more power. They did enough damage with the power they have. We've got a full-blown witch hunt going on right now [todaystmj4.com] over people who signed a recall petition against Governor Walker, our Supreme Court justices are physically assaulting each other [jsonline.com], disenfranchisement efforts are in full swing [thinkprogress.org], and women now have to prove to a doctor they're not being coerced before they're allowed to have an abortion [jsonline.com] (because, you know, there are tons of forced abortions in this country, am I right?) and allowing schools to restrict sex-ed programs to abstinence-only [huffingtonpost.com]...

    Luckily we can still recall our reps, although they did everything they could to try and take that right away from us, too. [dailykos.com]

  • by Cytotoxic (245301) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:21AM (#40086485)

    so then, how is it you know these people published anonymously...and exactly what it was they had published? seems it wasn't so anonymous.

    Because they won.

  • by Bigby (659157) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:39AM (#40086733)

    So you are saying it is better that those things happen to 300,000,000 people instead of 5,700,000?

  • by beowulfcluster (603942) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:41AM (#40086771)
    So where is Slashdot based? There wouldn't be many comments left on here if anonymous ones are banned. The cowards aren't the only ones, obviously.
  • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:48AM (#40086869)
    Really? How easy is it to sell your house, find a new house, buy the new house, get a new job, and locate good schools for your children??

    If you think that's easy, then it's just as easy to move to another country like Canada.

    Moron.
  • by Lucky75 (1265142) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:56AM (#40086999)
    When you give power to the local states, you're not making it smaller, you're just shifting the power to someone else who is just as corrupt and gets less media attention.
  • that's backwards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PJ6 (1151747) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:11AM (#40087245)

    '[this will] help lend some accountability to the Internet age.'

    Why don't we focus on transparency and accountability in our leadership first?

    How could the problems caused by any individual even begin to compare to the damage government failures cause?

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:20AM (#40087427) Homepage Journal

    apply this to all media, including print and radio.

    What? You can't really verify someone's identity when they call in to a radio show? And those letters to-the-editor are similarly also difficult to ascertain the true authorship of?

    Oh my, we've NEVER had any way to do this? The horror!

  • by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @11:07AM (#40088247)

    Are you shitting me? I sit on an HOA Board of Directors for only one reason: no one else wants to do the job. My predecessor *died* and I was brought in because they needed to prevent receivership and loss of property value for everyone that would entail. I do my best to avoid as much of it as I can.

    Let me make this clear. HOAs may seem like they are not accountable. I have joked that I could spend money building a statue of myself in the common area and no one could stop us, but do you know why? Because no one can be bothered to actually a) go to meetings, b) read the shit we send them, c) vote. That doesn't mean, however, that I am less accountable. I am a lot more accountable than some senator or representative. I "represent" only 200 households, not 300,000. And all of those people know where I live. When I take a walk, I invariably pass their houses. The thing is, no one is holding me accountable for anything. The most we get are people bitching at us at hearings when they didn't read the rules and painted their deck puke green and now they have to fix it. And I wouldn't even care about that as much, except as a Director, I have a legal obligation to act in the best interests of the community and according to it's legally enacted rules and covenants.

    We literally have to collect proxies and elect ourselves at the annual meeting. If that's a tyranny, then it is one that is being run with the fullest cooperation of the tyrannized.

    There is no reason this has to be, except the fact that no one wants to bother. And I don't blame them. Being on an HOA Board isn't privilege, it's work. If you wanted to move to my community and get elected to the board, I will be happy to step down. Of course, I will move from the community as soon as I can if you are a moron and enforce nothing, but please don't get the idea that there is no accountability. There is plenty, it's just that no one bothers to care.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @11:12AM (#40088331)

    This is why I never bought the whole "we should leave more things up to the states to decide" line of argument

    And this is exactly why I DO buy the whole "we should leave more things up to the states to decide" line of argument. State legislatures can do some pretty stupid things, true. But the damage they can do is limited and localized for the most part.

    Just wait until the US Congress hears about this proposed law and starts salivating at the prospects. I'd rather have New York websites instead of all US websites on my "do not visit" list.

    Posted anonymously just because I can (for now).

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @11:35AM (#40088739)

    Many Slashdotters might not read or reply to Anonymous Cowards as a general rule, but they'll defend their right to comment!

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @12:15PM (#40089371) Homepage Journal

    "How easy is it to sell your house, find a new house, buy the new house, get a new job, and locate good schools for your children?? "

    With the exception of children (as I have none) it hasn't been difficult at all.

    Finances, learn how to control them.

    If you think it's not easy, I'm willing to bet you aren't taking good care of your finances, savings, etc.

    And I've got both dual-state and dual-country citizenship (CA/TN, USA/UK)

    Who's the moron, here?

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