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Censorship United States

Illinois Politician Wants a Kill Switch For Anonymous Speech Online 522

Posted by timothy
from the well-you-did-say-jehovah dept.
New submitter OhSoLaMeow writes with a story at The Daily Caller with unpleasant news from the Illinois state Senate, where a state senator has introduced a bill that "would require anonymous website comment posters to reveal their identities if they want to keep their comments online." From the article (warning — obnoxious ads with sound): "The bill, called the Internet Posting Removal Act, is sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein. It states that a 'web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless the 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.'"
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Illinois Politician Wants a Kill Switch For Anonymous Speech Online

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  • Death of Slashdot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Talderas (1212466) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:25PM (#42972299)

    Hardly. Unless your servers are located in Illinois the bill is meaningless.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:30PM (#42972363)

      That politician's mouth is in Illinois. Can we get a kill switch for attention-seeking asshats who want to take away our rights?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Illinois politicians are about as far left and as corrupt (not suggesting the two are related) as it gets in the US. Nobody that lives here could be at-all surprised by this.

        • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @05:12PM (#42972969)

          No, there's a grand mixture of fools and thieves from both parties, governors, senators, mayors, lots of convictions. Not far left. Big mixture there.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by interval1066 (668936)

            Not far left. Big mixture there.

            Chicago is notoriously democratic, and corrupt, however.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2013 @05:53PM (#42973471)

              Yes, but Democrats aren't far-left. They're a center-right pro-big-business party.

              They only appear to be far-left to far-right extremists.

              • by anagama (611277)

                Thank you. I'm so sick of people conflating leftists and liberals with Democrats. Doing so is like calling GWB a fiscal conservative.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by SampleFish (2769857)

                Cheers! The green party is farther left than the Democrats.

                "The political terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution (1789–1799), referring to the seating arrangement in the Estates General: those who sat on the left generally opposed the monarchy and supported the revolution, including the creation of a republic and secularization,[5] while those on the right were supportive of the traditional institutions of the Old Regime. Use of the term "Left" became more prominent after the re

        • If true, in that this pol is left-leaning, wouldn't it make more sense that he'd totally support anonymous speech? Liberals from the line of Locke, et al, would frown on repressing freedom of speech.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jimh69 (2845587)
        We have one. It's called an election. Sadly it has been broken for some time.
      • by HippopotamusX (2628523) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @05:53PM (#42973473)
        Senator Ira Silversteen, the man behind the bill, is the Illinois majority caucus whip - effectively third in line in the IL senate. He shared an office suite with Obama.

        They were close colleagues. This is from the New Yorker in 2010:

        As a rising politician with Ivy League connections, Obama had financial backing from all over, including from a class of young black entrepreneurs. But he has had Jewish mentors throughout his career. Philanthropists like Bettylu Saltzman, Penny Pritzker, and Lester Crown were crucial to his campaigns. His friend and neighbor the late Arnold Jacob Wolf was a rabbi. Michelle Obama’s cousin Capers C. Funnye, Jr., is the first African-American member of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom, a congregation on the South Side. One of Obama’s closest colleagues in Springfield was Ira Silverstein, an Orthodox Jew, with whom he shared an office suite in the Capitol building; Obama acted as Silverstein’s shabbos goy, turning on lights and pushing elevator buttons for him on Saturdays.

        Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/03/29/100329taco_talk_remnick#ixzz2LZl8gLSJ [newyorker.com] [newyorker.com]

      • by flyneye (84093)

        Yeah it sounds like one of those cases where the attention whore can "want a kill switch" in one hand and " shit" in the other hand, then observe which hand fills first.
        His constituents should be outraged and demand he be drug tested immediately.

      • by wiredlogic (135348) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:01AM (#42976157)

        Every elected official in this country takes an oath to uphold the laws of the nation. By introducing the Internet Posting Removal Act Ira Silverstein his demonstrated his contempt for the constitution and is unfit to serve in the Illinois state senate.

    • by icebike (68054) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:34PM (#42972435)

      Hardly. Unless your servers are located in Illinois the bill is meaningless.

      EVEN if the servers are located in Illinois this law would be unconstitutional. Its unconstitutional even under the State Constitution.
      It goes nowhere, and if it succeeds in getting passed, it gets bitchslapped by the courts.

      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:44PM (#42972591)

        Not necessarily; it'll only get "bitchslapped" if the courts do their jobs properly. Lots of stuff is unconstitutional (whether by a state constitution or the US Constitution) and is still enforced; the 4th Amendment in particular has been null and void for a long time (if you don't believe me, try carrying $100K in cash around and get yourself searched by the cops, or even just go through airport security with it).

        • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:52PM (#42972711)

          Cops: Why are you carrying $100K in cash?
          You: I'm going to the Apple store.
          Cops: Carry on.

        • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @06:10PM (#42973675) Journal

          Lots of stuff is unconstitutional (whether by a state constitution or the US Constitution) and is still enforced; the 4th Amendment in particular has been null and void for a long time ...

          Much of the second as well. That's why you can't have machine guns, silencers, short shotguns, and a number of other guns or accessories in most states and to have them where the states don't ban them you must go through major federal hoops, (fingerprints, $200 tax per item, risk of federal prison {or a shoot the dog, stomp the cat, throw the pregnant wife against the wall and make her miscarry, raid} if the BATF {thinks} your paperwork is defective or you have something you didn't tell them about).

          U.S. v. Miller (1939) said the fed could tax guns that AREN'T suitable for "militia" (military) use, in particular a short barreled ("sawed-off") shotgun (because Miller and his team weren't there to "bring to judicial notice" that they were also called "trench guns" and were an important weapon in WW I). The federal and state governments have taken that to mean they can tax any gun any amount, erect arbitrarily draconian red tape barriers, then bust anyone for screwing up the red tape or failing to pay the tax - "revenuer"/"untouchables"/Waco/Ruby Ridge style.

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:52PM (#42972713)
        ...You hope.

        I've got more faith in a supreme pizza than I do the supreme court...
      • by TheSpoom (715771)

        Even if it doesn't get slapped down, websites with anonymous posting can just use geolocation and block Illinois.

        • by icebike (68054)

          Even if it doesn't get slapped down, websites with anonymous posting can just use geolocation and block Illinois.

          Why would they bother? Websites not located in Illinois need not concern themselves with Illinois law.

    • by detritus. (46421)

      Not really, this may even have CFAA implications. Violate a website's terms of service that is now mandated by state law to provide your actual information on a server in Illinois and the feds will have a field day once the Illinois authorities finds your information to be incorrect, incomplete or untraceable. It doesn't matter where you are in the US.

    • by frovingslosh (582462) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:44PM (#42972587)
      How gutless would /. have to be to let that happen? Far better would be to proactively cut off all Illinois users from /. and instead give a message crediting Ira Silverstein with plenty of contact information. Let the citizens of Illinois thank Silverstein for his protection if they feel that is appropriate, or have them let him know that they are not pleased. Do this before the bill is voted on, so that the Illinois users can have an impact on the way the bill goes.
  • by epyT-R (613989) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:28PM (#42972337)

    The fact that there's even ONE politician (yeah there are more) at a state level in this country advocating for this should be setting off alarms in everyone. What the hell are these ivy league lawschool graduates being taught that makes them think like this?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:31PM (#42972369)

      (cough)Democrat(Cough)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Both sides do this equally. It is just a matter of who is paying the bills today.

    • by msauve (701917) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:33PM (#42972413)
      I call myself Publius, but I'm really James Madison, Alexander Hamilton or John Jay (take your pick).
    • What the hell are these ivy league lawschool graduates being taught that makes them think like this?

      Law, obviously.

    • What the hell are these ivy league lawschool graduates being taught that makes them think like this?

      They're being taught that you will get money from lobbyists by taking extreme positions...
    • by swb (14022)

      I expect this at the State and especially more local levels.

      It's my perception that the lower the level you get in government, the more controlling and power-hungry the officials are and the less they care about rights. And, more worryingly, usually the better access they have to law enforcement willing to enable abuses of power.

      We're all familiar with the high profile abuses by the FBI or other federal agents, but really, it seems like they have a lot higher risk profile in terms of abuse (even if they ha

  • How are all these treasonous socipaths getting elected anyway?

    And yes, treason. Treason is betraying your country, and since your country is its collective people, betrayal of your constituents like this should be considered treason.

    • Re:WTF... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RichMan (8097) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:34PM (#42972425)

      > betrayal of your constituents like this

      In the 21'st century a politicians constituents are the various lobby interests that give him money to run the campaigns that get them elected. "citizens" don't come into the picture except as demographics to be manipulated by the advertising campaign.

      I suspect this bill was advanced directly in the interests of one of the senators "constituents".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It stems from something way pettier. Someone anonymous on the internet was mean to him, and he tried to found out who but couldn't, so now he's got this. The text also matches, nearly exactly, a proposed bill in NY that was absolutely trashed there as well. Here's an article with the texts as well.
        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130219/10065822029/illinois-politician-seeks-to-outlaw-anonymous-comments-allow-anonymous-gun-ownership.shtml

    • Re:WTF... (Score:4, Informative)

      by medcalf (68293) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:38PM (#42972491) Homepage
      You should, perhaps, read the Constitution, which defines treason. It is not this. Something does not have to be the apex of bad to be bad. This is bad, and it's unconstitutional, but it is not treason.
      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Maybe not, but it should be. Proposing any law which is obviously unconstitutional should be considered treason, and prosecuted as such.

    • Re:WTF... (Score:4, Informative)

      by msauve (701917) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:39PM (#42972509)
      We have this thing called a Constitution, which conveniently defines treason for us:

      Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

    • They are elected by ignorant people who find things they don't understand scary. What happens when somebody bullies a little kid online, we need a way to hold people responsible! It's important to hold website admins responsible for the trolls of D3ath2Merca.
      Somebody needs to make them read the "Federalist Papers," to educate them on the importance of anonymous speech.
  • What is to stop people from making up a "fake real name" and just plucking an address out of the phone book?

    Will this bill require web site admins to require commentators to register with credit card number or cell phone number?

    Please.

  • All posts to all forums should from here on in, come from Sen. Ira Silverstein. Should be easy enough to get his address, IP, and even a few other juicy details. Make all anon. posts come from this turkey and sooner or later, he'll get the point.

  • Who voted him in? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    http://votesmart.org/candidate/18194/ira-silverstein

    Checking that page, with a guy refusing to give statement on important topics, no speeches, no nothing and still in office since 1999?! What kind of interests are behind him, considering he was an outsider when he got into office.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:37PM (#42972461)

    freenetproject.org = absolutely no one can censor (delete) anything.
    Also of-course it is anonymous (more then TOR).
    Downside: it's slow.
    But best thing we have now for truly NO CENSORSHIP, good for online anonymity.
    got 3 minutes?

    For geeks only (need patience!)

    - freenetproject.org grab .jar (sorry, it's java)
    - java -jar thefile.jar (and -console if headless)
    - http://localhost:8888/ (from separate firefox profile, block outside-localhost access by setting invalid proxy if you want, disable java/flash if you want, JS also not needed)
    - in wizard set LOW or NORMAL security (you can't have HIGH unless you know >10 freeneters practically)
    - later, go to Freenet Message System and install it - its 100% uncensorable board (will take hour to start up, it's normal. create id, solve captchas)
    - do NOT use Freetalk (extreamly slow), but on very fast (ram/hdd=ssd) computer try Sone and WoT plugins (Twitter!)

    Greetings from anons, Johny and tgs3 see you there :)
    If questions ask us there and #freenet on irc2p and freenode.org

  • Article 11 (interstate commerce) and Amendment 1 (free speech, free association) rulez the Illinois foolz

  • by Rougement (975188) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:43PM (#42972559)
    If they have nothing to do except introduce bullshit bills, we should stop paying them and send them home. We could use the money to hire better teachers, fix up a crumbling bridge or something.
  • This places Illinois on equal footing with Syria, China, and China. I mean that sincerely: if China were advancing this bill, there'd be a huge outcry over the obvious human rights violations.

    There is nothing in the Constitution that grants government the power to register or regulate all of your speech, and the first amendment explicitly states that it can't. Why do these little dictator wanna-bes keep insisting that this time it's different?

  • Since this is a politician, I assume that the bill is aimed at posts that provide unflattering information about politicians, or other public figures, say that they went to foreign country on the governments dime to meet a mistress/mister.

    So here is how I see this going down. Some public figure get pissed off because some anonymous person has said they enjoy going to parties where they pretend to be a cow and get milked. The public figure uses the law to squash the anonymous posts. The person who posted

  • "No person shall be considered for any public office who cannot sign up for a free web mail account and send an email by his or her self."

    That should reduce the political idiocy by a third, I hope.

  • We'll also have to register what we watch, read, listen to and do with a local office so we can told what were allowed.
  • by Tailhook (98486) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @05:01PM (#42972841)

    Inconvenient Party affiliation omitted, twice in one day.

    Back here [slashdot.org] we have a Democrat state senator Toni Harp [ct.gov] from Connecticut trying to "Ban Kids From Using Arcade Guns." Now we have Democrat state senator Ira Silverstein [ilga.gov] of Illinois with another statist gem.

    Could we please stop this game? When we're raging [slashdot.org] about Republicans there is no hesitation qualifying names with parties. I know it's inconvenient that all bad government isn't the fault of fundies, but pretending statists aren't a problem isn't helpful behavior.

  • This is an excellent idea!! It's further explained in THE DICTATOR'S PRACTICAL INTERNET GUIDE TO POWER RETENTION (aka "Dictator's guide to the Internet") [pwd.io] section 3.1, "Suppressing anonymity (who)": "There are two things that are simply not compatible with the regime you run: anonymizing tools and data-encrypting tools. With anonymizing tools, you can perhaps control and monitor internet activity, but you cannot tie this activity to a certain individual. Anonymity thus makes accountability evaporate. With d
  • Some days, after reading about the same type of posts from allegedly-clueless politicians over and over again, I truly wonder if we're not the ones being played here.

    It feels as if they exactly know how to propose things that will set us off, and the precise language that guarantees people getting up in arms about it.

    Maybe they're really the craftiest, most masterful trolls there ever was? Elevating the art of trolling to heights the kiddies cannot even dream about? At least on Slashdot, it never seems
  • Yet being an AC is okay when donating money, which the supreme court ruled equates to speech.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @05:27PM (#42973171)
    He's not even bothering to say "It's to protect the children" or "Economy!"? Just straight up "Gotta limit free speech" and assume everyone is already on board?

    The voters are pretty gullible. It doesn't take great salesmanship to get this through, you're just being lazy dude.
  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @06:11PM (#42973693)

    ... lets go after that Silence Dogood [wikipedia.org] character. Then we'll see about the rest of these troublemakers.

  • by skine (1524819) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @06:17PM (#42973739)

    Won't this require the entire internet to become 18+?

    As it stands, most places that allow people to post are 13+, since that is the minimum age due to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. However, it would seem that requiring 13-17 year olds to post their real name online and confirm their personal details is a little sketchy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2013 @07:08PM (#42974153)

    I don't know why anyone with any sense would allow their kids to have their real name and faces on the internet on a easy searchable place.
    It's pretty much like a pedophile menu, where he can choose the nearest kids, know where they go and what they do and do their thing easily.

  • by Beeftopia (1846720) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @08:19PM (#42974673)

    One way to do it - eliminate anonymous speech. Yes, there's a lot of vicious nastiness that internet tough guys and raging nerds say on the internet that they would never say in real life. But what about a whistleblower at a financial company? Or in a politician's office?

    What happens if a citizen writes something unflattering about a politician and the politician decides to pursue a vendetta against the citizen? Politicians have a great deal of power to make that happen.

    Anonymous speech is essential to lubricate the flow of information. It's something that leaders and marketplace gatekeepers have a hard time controlling. It undermines their authority and profit. Which is why we need it.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @10:08PM (#42975435) Homepage

    joe lieberman has already proven senators can have entire sites shut down for too much anonymous posting. wikileaks didnt need a kill switch.

    godaddy.com, largest hosting provider in the world, has already agreed with things like SOPA and warrantless wiretapping.im sure if this senator just politely called up and asked a post or site to be taken down, godaddy would. the TOS for hostgator flat out says they can just stop providing service when and if ever they decide, and theyd never have to disclose the fact a politician wanted a site shuttered.

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