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Government Censorship News

State Lawmaker Wants To Ban Anonymous Posting Online 471

bfwebster writes "According to a local news article from last week, Kentucky state lawmaker Tim Couch wants to ban anonymous posting on the internet in order to 'cut down on online bullying', which he says has been 'a particular problem in eastern Kentucky.' His bill would require posters to register with their real names and e-mail addresses under threat of fines. Looks like another battle in the right for anonymous free speech."
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State Lawmaker Wants To Ban Anonymous Posting Online

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  • by HohlerMann ( 410170 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:25PM (#22703868) Homepage
    Send your anonymous comments to Rep. Tim Couch using his official form at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Mailform/H090.htm [ky.gov]
  • by StarfishOne ( 756076 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:31PM (#22704020)
    like in real life where most bullies know their names of their victims. No one is bullied in real life as we all know! No one is being bullied even though teachers and parents are fully aware of it!

    So let's find some thing (internet) to yell about because you don't like it (because you cannot control it)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:31PM (#22704042)
    As far as I am concerned you can only bully people in the real world. Physical violence should be what the state is interested in preventing.

    Now we have hate crimes and other thought crimes and talking to people with unkind words is now considered violence.

    And don't talk to be about that suicide girl. Suicide is too complicated to prevent with legislation. And plenty of people don't commit suicide because someone says some words to them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:40PM (#22704266)
    Gee, doesn't congress attach the embarrassing bits anonymously?
  • There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

    -Ayn Rand


    Is that seriously the main flaw you find with this law?

    Brian Gordon


  • Unprecedented! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kahei ( 466208 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:49PM (#22704472) Homepage
    That's as ridiculous as banning an article of clothing that can be used to disguise identity [thisislondon.co.uk]! It could never happen! THE VERY THOUGHT IS PREPOSTEROUS!!

    Then again, as far as the hoodie ban goes, anything that even makes an attempt at reclaiming the UK's streets is welcome, whatever the free-speech implications.

    Bullying on the internet, however, can be addressed more effectively by simply rotating 180 degrees until one's face is no longer pointing toward the screen. Further measures may include going out, getting some fresh air, and finding a nice hobby.

  • Scientology (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pryoplasm ( 809342 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:53PM (#22704546)
    Could this have any correlation to the protests against scientology? Perhaps in response to the protest on the 15th?

  • by erlehmann ( 1045500 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:58PM (#22704660)
    Hello, Lawmakers of Kentucky. We are Anonymous.

    Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation, the extent of your malign influence over those who trust you, who call you leader, has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind -- for the laughs -- we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the State of Kentucky in its present form. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent, and we are prepared for a long, long campaign. You will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your methods, hypocrisy, and the artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell.

    You cannot hide; we are everywhere.

    We cannot die; we are forever. We're getting bigger every day--and solely by the force of our ideas, malicious and hostile as they often are. If you want another name for your opponent, then call us Legion, for we are many.

    Yet for all that we are not as monstrous as you are; still our methods are a parallel to your own. Doubtless you will use the Anon's actions as an example of the persecution you have so long warned your followers would come; this is acceptable. In fact, it is encouraged. We are your SPs.

    Gradually as we merge our pulse with that of your "State", the suppression of your followers will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Believers will wake, and see that salvation has no price. They will know that the stress, the frustration that they feel is not something that may be blamed upon Anonymous. No -- they will see that it stems from a source far closer to each. Yes, we are SPs. But the sum of suppression we could ever muster is eclipsed by that of the RTC.

    Knowledge is free.

    We are Anonymous.

    We are Legion.

    We do not forgive.

    We do not forget.

    Expect us.
  • by Grendel70 ( 1000350 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:59PM (#22704686) Journal
    I almost expected this entire topic to be filled with nothing but AC posts.
  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:02PM (#22704764)
    This is bad for whistle blowers who some times don't want to say there name and this is also bad for things like crime stoppers where some times saying your name can get you killed.
  • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:21PM (#22705116) Homepage Journal
    A law that isn't enforceable is totally pointless.

    That's not true at all. Such laws are used all the time. They come in very handy if there's someone you want to harrass. Hold them in jail for a day or three, then say "Sorry, it looks like we can't actually try you in this jurisdiction for violating that law. Have a nice day", and escort them out to the street. Where they're promptly arrested again, if the local authorities so wish.

    The common term is "nuisance law", and they're almost universal. It's very difficult to get a law annulled unless someone is actually charged and tried for violating it.

    A similar principle applies to "violating a suspect's rights". In a town where I once lived, there was a protest in which a lot of people were arrested and held in the town jail overnight. They were denied any communication, not even the standard "one call to your lawyer". The next day they were all released. The explanation was simple: The local authorities didn't want to take anyone to court; that would have been a huge political (and probably legal) disaster for them. Since the arrestees rights had been violated, the police couldn't be forced by local officials to press charges. As for the arrestees pressing charges, the police's response was simple: "Who are you? We have no record that you've ever been in this town before. Can you prove you were here and were arrested?"

    I knew a bunch of people who learned a valuable lesson that day about how the legal system actually works. (I was just an onlooker, but I knew a number of the people involved. If asked, I could have testified that they'd been in town that day, but I couldn't testify that I'd personally seen any of them arrested. ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:46PM (#22705566)
    Form Confirmation

    Thank you for submitting the following information:

    prefix: Sir
    First: Freedom
    Last: OfSpeech
    street: 1234 YeahRightCommieBastard Ave
    city: Don'tTreadOnMe
    state: KY
    zip: 41542
    subject: anonymous posting online
    email: noway@jose.ky.gov
    Submit: Submit Information

    Would the patriots who fought the American Revolution be fined $500 by your proposed law if they handed out anonymous handbills calling King George a moron? If you say no, then how do you justify fining people doing the same in the modern handbill, which is the internet? If you say yes, then you are a moron who will have many handbills calling in a revolution in how votes are cast in your district. I look forward to your forward retraction of your proposed law.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:51PM (#22705678)
    that more people didn't respond to this post as AC. I appreciate the irony in that. I'm also showing my support by posting anonymously.
  • by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:51PM (#22705680) Homepage

    If we're going to debate fictional, unenforceable laws, I'd prefer to debate the ones Asimov proposed.
    Well, here in Brazil it isn't a fictional law. Anonymity is forbidden by our Constitution, no less. On the other hand, yes, it remains completely unenforceable. No one gives a damn and everyone, everywhere, creates anonymous logins all the time. :-)
  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @03:06PM (#22705930) Journal
    "In the US we have been more than willing to repeatedly try bad ideas as long as the intentions fit some vague Judeo-Christian moral standard (or if there's money to be made)."

    As a "Judeo-Christian" ethical person, I take exception to this vile screed designed to illicit the same kind of "fear" that he rails against later on ... "Fear for our children. Fear of each other. Fear of freedom, of responsibility."

    One of the biggest reasons I'm what I am today is founded upon the notion that MAN cannot rule himself, let alone other men, without eventually being corrupted. I happen to be very LIBERTARIAN in my views because I realize this very thought. And when the state can convict, and execute someone completely innocent (if you buy the story), then they can do it to anyone, which is why I'm against the death penalty.

    And I happen to agree with your point of view on legalization of drugs and alcohol, it is none of the state's business. That, and if we taxed the crap out of sin (keeping it legal, and controlled) we'd have all the money needed to fund all the stupid programs you want.

    Also one cannot have a war against chairs, what makes one think we can have one against another inanimate object (drugs, terror, poverty etc).
  • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @04:07PM (#22707046) Homepage
    You're assuming that they're thinking that far ahead. How about just announcing a new law banning some "scary" or unpopular practice and getting free publicity?
  • I'm from Kentucky... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @06:00PM (#22708766)
    ... and mindless drivel like this is what gives our state a bad name. Lexington/Frankfort is FULL of clueless idiots who have no sense of reality, but this takes the cake. My favorite part?

    Represntative Couch says enforcing this bill if it became law would be a challenge.
    A challenge? If by challenge, he means completely IMPOSSIBLE and a giant waste of taxpayer funds, then yes.

    I encourage everyone to contact Mr. Couch and let him know how unfeasable and insulting this idea is. That measn well-thought and well-written messages, not /b/-tard screaming. If any of you live in Clay, Harlan, or Leslie county, then you especially should write/call and make your opinions known.

    Rep. Couch's Page @ lrc.ky.gov [ky.gov]

    Again, please make sure your correspondence is professional and polite. The last thing we need is a bunch of idiots spamming his inbox and basically proving him right...
  • Work of Fiction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Weston O'Reilly ( 1008937 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:35PM (#22710488)
    I would imagine the easiest way to nullify this law, were it to pass, would be for websites to post a generic disclaimer that all comments posted are works of fiction written by the webmaster.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker