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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 going_the_2Rpi_way ( 818355 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:22PM (#22703820) Homepage
    hope in hell of being enforced, or are at the very least enforceable.
    • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:28PM (#22703950)
      Is that seriously the main flaw you find with this law? Would you rather they come up with a free-speech-restricting law that's more enforcable?
      • If we're going to debate fictional, unenforceable laws, I'd prefer to debate the ones Asimov proposed. This is no more free-speech-restricting than my picking up a stone and calling it a free-speech restricting rock. But I know what you're going to say -- "Lisa, I want to buy your rock..."
      • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:33PM (#22704092)

        No, that isn't anyone's main flaw. But it should be mandatory that these lawmakers should have at least enough of a clue to determine if what they are proposing is even possible before they start drafting legislation.

        This makes as much sense as drafting a law making it illegal for it to rain on Thursdays. The frightening part is that the bozo drafting the law doesn't see why it's a problem.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:18PM (#22705046)
          Simple, they'd say, it's the ISP's responsibility ;)
          • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:56PM (#22705766)

            Simple, they'd say, it's the ISP's responsibility ;)

            First off, I have no idea why this got modded to -1 because that's exactly what they'll most likely do.

            The problem is, how would an ISP manage this with any degree of certainty? What is to stop me from logging in to Slashdot using Tor [torproject.org] and giving any contact info I wish?

            And let's say I do bully someone and it goes to court. Taco could wind up paying thousands in fines for it. So let's say that happens and he decided to get tough and crack down on false IDs.

            How do you do it?

            The answer is the same one you'd give if you were trying to comply to the "no rain on Thursdays" law. You can't.

            So this is a law that is impossible to comply with, even if you wanted to in the first place. That's why it's a bad idea. Well that, and the whole "right to privacy" thing, which is another discussion.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by bhtooefr ( 649901 )
              The other option is to refuse to business in Kentucky.

              GeoIP to prevent anyone from Kentucky from buying a subscription, anyone?
        • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:34PM (#22705352)

          But it should be mandatory that these lawmakers should have at least enough of a clue to determine if what they are proposing is even possible before they start drafting legislation.

          The question of whether something is within the capabilities of the state to enforce is (supposed) to be addressed by the administration's (governor's) veto power. If a legislative body passes a bill that they cannot reasonably implement, they have that chance to make their point.

          Unfortunately, there is no requirement that a bill be vetted for its constitutionality by the courts. Once passed into law, the courts cannot consider it until a case is brought before a court empowered to make such a decision. That means: someone has to violate the law and then spend years and millions of dollars (occasionally contributed by advocacy organizations) to see the case through the requisite trial and appeals.

          I suspect that some legislators know this and just submit their bills in the hope that nobody will have the balls to stand up for their rights.

        • by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:38PM (#22705418) Homepage
          Actually, it' might be the main flaw. The major problem I have with these kinds of laws aren't IF they are enforcable, but how much the enforcement will cost and who will pay for it.

          An initiative like this will cost millions if not billions of dollars. It would probably be more effective to just set up a victims fund and pay for counseling for anyone who gets bullied. We waste so much money in this country on ridiculous activities like this, when we could be housing the homeless, educating our kids, or researching cures for cancer.

          It should not only be mandatory that lawmakers have a clue about feasibility, but every bill that's passed should have a study done as to the ultimate costs and the methods of funding the new law. If the money isn't in the budget the lawmakers can't pass the bill. If the lawmakers don't have enough money to conduct an adequate study, the bill also shouldn't be passed.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by fishbowl ( 7759 )
            >The major problem I have with these kinds of laws aren't IF they are enforcable, but how much the enforcement will cost and who will pay for it.

            So you totally miss the part about it being illegal to establish a prior restraint on free speech, or for government
            to introduce a "chilling effect" on what is otherwise a First Amendment protected activity.

            This legislation would be fought from so many different angles, it's almost amusing.

            Conservatives will not want to be forced to reveal their identities when
      • I imagine he mentions it because it's the most practical concern that the state lawmakers would pay attention to. Free speech rights have been restricted by the supreme court before, and this law would easily fit the constitutional test if they only forced minors to register (I seem to remember this being the case in Ender's Game, but I'm not sure). This would also ring more true with the populace as a whole.
      • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:45PM (#22704360)

        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


        • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:49PM (#22704486)
          Among the larger financial supporters of the coalition against drugs in america

          Tobacco Companies
          Alcohol Companies
          Private Prison Companies

          We incarcerate more people than china.
          We strip away a very particular group of people's voting rights through selective drug law enforcement.
          We have double the drug use of Amsterdam (where drug use is legal).

          • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:19PM (#22705062)
            I agree that it is off-topic (tho it was technically a tangent to the Ayn Rand comment) but not intended as flamebait.

            I just recently saw a movie on the drug war and it was pretty upsetting (including fairly substantial and substantiated evidence) that the CIA under reagan (who I voted for) ran cocaine into america to support their revolution in central america.

            The bits about private prisons was very disturbing. I've known for quite a while that we imprison people in the US at a higher rate than the rest of the world.

            But to see an LA policeman relating how the CIA contacted him to ignore selected drug lords in an open public meetings (and to see the CIA director's obvious distress) was pretty shocking to me so I guess it was waiting to spew out somewhere.

            It pulled no punches-- drug users were shocking dregs in some cases. But so are extreme alcohol and tobacco users.

            We have so many bad laws related to this area- and now that they are tying "any drug sales == support for terror" they are able to ignore civil rights at increasing levels.

            Then you get some cheesehead like this guy wanting to ban the equivalent of posting anonymous hand bills and it is extremely irritating.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by lupine ( 100665 ) *
              As a resident of Wisconsin I would like to point out that this idiot is from Kentucky. So you can call him a bluegrasshead or say that he has cheese for brains, but do not call him a cheesehead.

              Representative Tim Couch [ky.gov] Bio Highlights:
              Church of God
              Hazard Community College
              NRA. Natl Wild Turkey Federation
              Hyden Masonic Lodge 664
          • by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:20PM (#22705072) Journal
            This completely asinine anti-Anonymous law is not a new trend in our government. 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). Fear also works well enough. Fear of the anarchists, and then the communists, and then the terrorists, and then the "cyber bullies". Fear for our children. Fear of each other. Fear of freedom, of responsibility.

            Look at what happened with America's failed experiment to outlaw alcohol. What did we get? A thriving underground drug culture and a massive new revenue source for organized crime. We've been making the same mistake for 70 plus years only this time we seem content to just let things continue in this broken dysfunctional state. Drug use causes harm, but prohibition is worse.

            But, money is being made on all sides of the "War on drugs" so no one in power really wants it to end.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              "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 himsel
      • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:52PM (#22704544)
        A law that isn't enforceable is totally pointless. If it is a legit, enforceable law, then you can debate if it is a good one or not, but an unenforceable law is just the height of stupidity and a waste of time. I mean we could pass a law saying the sun needs to be cooler, but there is fuck all we can do to make that happen, so it would be a waste of time.

        I'm not saying I agree with laws that are restricting speech, but at least if it was a law that was enforceable then there could be a point to it. You could debate if it was a good idea or not, if the tradeoff was worth it. Here, it is just a fucking waste of time since regardless of any merits, it just won't work.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jav1231 ( 539129 )
          "A law that isn't enforceable is totally pointless"

          Not entirely. You're assuming the intent is to actually enforce law. Many such laws are passed everyday and are designed simply to foster a sense of accomplishment and augment power. Most are then marketed as necessary "for the safety of our children." When election time comes guess who the vast unwashed are going to vote for?
        • 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. ;-)

        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:23PM (#22705158) Homepage
          Not only that, but when you pass unenforceable laws, you tend to devalue laws in general.
      • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:54PM (#22704590) Journal
        Laws that can only be enforced selectively are simply another form of tyranny. (ie: dominance through threat of punishment and violence)

        That is yet another and separate reason it should not pass, in addition the First Amendment issues.
    • "....hope in hell of being enforced, or are at the very least enforceable."

      But, it would be feasible!! I think in his bill, he requires that each of us on the interweb be assigned a personal, and uniquely identifiable "tube", from which we all have to post and email from.

      No sharing or using anonymous tubes, if you get caught....fine and jail time.

      See? It is simple as that!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by GarryFre ( 886347 )
      We all knew the names of bullies at school. It didn't stop them. Take one look at Uselessnet and you see bullying from folks who give out their names, emails and all kind of stuff. Stupid people (bullies) stand by their stupidity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      His bill would require posters to register with their real names and e-mail addresses under threat of fines

      All they have to do is import the technology from China - the "other place" that wants to do the same thing ...

      Please remind me again what's the difference between the "land of the free" and "dirty commie bastards".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tsiangkun ( 746511 )
        In the land of the free, companies own the people,that make the money, that is used to influence the government. The elite are international banksters, and the government is a puppet executing their wishes while protecting their names and faces.

        In dirty commie strongholds, governments own the people, that run the companies, that makes the money, that funds the government. The elite are the government, and since everyone knows who is really in charge, revolution is more attainable and more likely.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rucs_hack ( 784150 )
        Please remind me again what's the difference between the "land of the free" and "dirty commie bastards".

        Easy, the land of he free has Moms Apple pPie.
        (Now available from a frozen food isle near you..).

        Seriously though, the main difference is that while the US government might get angry at you, or take you to court over something you said, they won't have you taken away in the middle of the night and executed. That's a biggie, trust me on this.

        I was going to add that you wouldn't be imprisoned for life witho
    • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:37PM (#22704202) Homepage
      "Represntative [sic] Couch says enforcing this bill if it became law would be a challenge."

      Couch went on to acknowledge that Space is big, that there are quite a few people in China, that antidisestablishmentarianism is a long word, and that John McCain is not very young.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "that there are quite a few people in China"

        which is quite apt, as China is another country that intends to ban anonymous posting online, with the difference that they actually have the manpower to enforce it.
    • by penguin_dance ( 536599 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:03PM (#22704782)
      Well, it's IMPOSSIBLE to find everyone who is illegally trading music. It's IMPOSSIBLE to stop every speeder. But they DO manage bringing charges against SOME who do. Never blow off a proposed law just because it's difficult to enforce. Because as stupid as the law is, it WILL net some poor saps who will either have to just up and pay the fines or have the funds to take it to the supreme court.

      Laws like this need to be nipped in the bud. BEFORE they get passed so we don't have to spend the $$ to fight them back out of existence. This law is draconian and clearly unconstitutional--obviously this guy or one of his big donors has their panties in a wad over something said anonymously about them and it just frosts them that they can't find out who it is.

      And lawmakers like this one need to be nipped in the bud and tossed out of office.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:23PM (#22703826)
    We should ban stupid politicians. Unfortunately, how do you ban ignorance?
  • by illegibledotorg ( 1123239 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#22703840)

    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.'
    Evidently, both computer owners in Eastern Kentucky are upset at each other.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#22703846) Journal
    Like the Mickey Mouse Act [wikipedia.org], this bill has the informal title of "Tim Couch's 14 Year Old Daughter Just Clicked on a Goatse Link Bill."
    • Re:Informal Title (Score:5, Informative)

      by erlenic ( 95003 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:03PM (#22704780) Journal
      I'm willing to bet that the most appropriate title would be the "Tim Couch got his feeling hurt by an online troll Bill".

      He claims that this is to prevent cyber-bullying (I hate that term) in our schools, but he probably wants to get revenge on the owner of kyvotes.org. It's a website that lists all the bills being debated in the legislature, and gives people the ability to comment on those bills. Considering the extreme ignorance of almost all of our legislators, they get ripped pretty badly. Here's the discussion for this bill: http://www.kentuckyvotes.org/2008-HB-775 [kentuckyvotes.org]
  • Because every message board on the internet is legally subject to whatever state laws this guy can push through... I know /b/ is!
  • 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]
  • Please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SameBrian ( 945591 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:25PM (#22703882)
    If you're getting bullied online by anonymous people and taking it seriously, then your parents messed up big time somewhere along the way. I grew up with the internet, and was constantly harassed by anonymous idiots. I just knew better than to take them seriously, since they are SOME IDIOT ON THE INTERNET!!!!!1!!1!!!!lim(x->0)[sin(x)/x]. I'm getting really sick and tired of parents trying to use the legal system to protect their kids. The idea is that the legal system protects kids from things they don't understand. I'm pretty sure that the average child understands that some anonymous person on the internet cannot harm them and that they are probably just some other stupid kid. I wish parents would start actually raising their kids. My parents did a great job, and it was their first time.
  • OK, Arrest me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:25PM (#22703884)
    Just figure out who I am so you can find me.
    • That's just another twist in this proposed law.

      If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

      It's the site operators he's going after. Here's hoping /. has a big slush fund. Or will we just not be allowed to post AC anymore? I wish writing and trying to pass unenforcable, not to mention unconstitutional, laws wasn't a pass-time activity for some of our elected officials.

  •   there's really no purpose in discussing this - its simply fodder for humor.

      with that said, methinks said politician would be quite chagrined to have his doings on TEH INTERWEBS completely revealed to the world.

      any takers?
  • Not A Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:27PM (#22703922)
    If you don't want to be bullied online, stay offline.

    And if you think any country's laws - including the USA's - can regulate the world-wide Internet, you're dreaming. All this law would accomplish is to cause the creation of anonymous blogging centers in countries with stricter privacy laws.

    And by the way, hasn't the Supreme Court already said that you have a right to be anonymous online?

    The only people who would benefit from this are the individuals, corporations, and politicians seeking to quash dissent by outing, and then suing, those who post unflattering comments, no matter how truthful. And those aren't the people I want to be helping out.

  • Ummm... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:28PM (#22703948) Journal
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't SCOTUS already rule that anonymous speech is protected?

    Ah yes, here we go: http://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity [eff.org]

    Yet another law just waiting to be struck down, and it took five seconds on Google to demonstrate why.
    • which I don't see happening anytime soon, but there you go.

      As far as the actual topic goes, I believe anonymous posting should be allowed, just like anonymous tips to the police regarding any illegal activity. Unfortunately, most people are not using anonymity for good reasons, but because they want to get away with whatever they're doing - be it the 'bullying' mentioned here, or libel/slander, etc; things that themselves are likely to have a negative impact on another, with no particular virtue other than
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stanislav_J ( 947290 )

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't SCOTUS already rule that anonymous speech is protected? Ah yes, here we go: http://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity [eff.org]. Yet another law just waiting to be struck down, and it took five seconds on Google to demonstrate why.

      Ah, so SCOTUS decisions are written in stone, are they? If that were true, we would still be counting African-Americans as 3/5 of a person. Courts change, attitudes change, decisions that seemed immutable get overturned or reversed or gutted. Don't think it

  • Won't pass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:28PM (#22703974) Homepage Journal
    Bills like this don't get anywhere in America. Unless he can come up with some religious reason to deny anonymous postings, there won't be any support from his constituency. You start messing with the first or second amendment in Kentucky and it's going to be an uphill battle.
  • How in the world can I claim "First Post" otherwise?
  • Hey Tim Couch,

    Why not try to pass other non-enforcable laws too. Try these ones on:

    "Tim Couch bans gravity in the state of Kentucky."
    "Tim Couch raises speed limit for light."
    "Tim Couch bans beer in all counties."
    "Tim Couch raises smoking age from 18 to 64."

    Why don't you actually pass a useful law that helps to reduce racisim, which is rampant in your state and is the core issue around much of the 'bullying' problem?
    • What kind of a law can reduce racism? I was under the impression that you could not legislate thoughts... If people are racist, laws sure as hell wont change it. How about we trying changing society to reduce racism instead of changing the government?
      • You could have anti hate crime laws so that assaults against a person of another race are given longer sentencing. Never mind that you could never tell if the guy was assaulted because he happened to be a different race, or if it was just coincidence.
    • Let's add to this, Hillary Clinton legislating that you would have to purchase health insurance.
    • "Tim Couch sets the value of pi to 3.2 in the state of Kentucky"

      Well, it almost worked for Indiana [wikipedia.org].

    • by faloi ( 738831 )
      If he wanted to stamp out racism, he'd be better served leaning on his counterparts in California, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. Or any of the other 22 states that ranked higher in race motivated hate crime offense per the FBI [statemaster.com]. Or at least he'd be better served if he thought he could regulate thought.
  • 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)
  • Great Idea! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tim Couch ( 1253912 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:31PM (#22704036)
    Because nobody would ever think of giving false information when they register, right?
    - "Tim"
  • We absolutely need govt. regulation for websites. Greedy private companies, looking out only for their own profit will do nothing to stop problems such as online bullying, adult content targeted toward children, spam, etc.

    It is a loony libertarian idea to say that private individuals and companies, left to themselves will sort it out.

    • by Itninja ( 937614 )
      Didn't you read Lord of the Flies? Everybody knows that, when left to their own devices, good people will always be nearly wiped out by ugly red-headed children. A person can be good, but people are dicks. Maybe evolution will spawn a conscience mutation soon.
  • So instead of trying to analyze the problem of cyber-bullying and trying to find a real solution, this guy wants to prevent a completely normal, and often useful, activity.

    How did this guy become a lawmaker? Law is all about balancing rights of many segments of society (sometimes conflicting). You can't just pass a law to help a certain segment while instantly treading on the rights of everyone else. Or perhaps he thinks being anonymous online is "no big deal" unless you're a bully or something.
  • I think it's a great idea, the US can fuck up the internet on their side as much as possible, then all us Europeans can make more money from the increase in US users to our websites.
  • Next, they will attempt to ban attempts to disguise your identity in public by wearing masks [wikipedia.org].

    Posting disparaging comments online is analogous to meeting in a library and making disparaging comments. The latter is protected by the Bill of Rights under the Freedom of Assembly. The former should be protected by the same bill.

    And besides... anonymous posts online can technically be traced back to an IP address and that can be traced to a specific computer with a specific location and knowing the time can

    • I remember when somebody robbed a jewelry store where I live. They charged them with wearing a disguise while committing a crime, along with a bunch of other things. So, indeed, under certain circumstances, it is illegal to hide your identity.
    • I thought everyone on slashdot uses TOR...
      • Banning services that let people browse through an anonymous/encrypted proxy server that is harder (impossible?) to trace would be a different fight. I think the focus of the litigation is to require people to post there real information whenever they slander other people's MySpaces. I doubt those people are using the advanced techniques to truly make themselves anonymous.

        Also, as somebody who doesn't think of internet browsing as something that I should go out of my way to protect, I don't use TOR.

  • and then watch the bill burn in a flame of un-enforceability. We can join with our 4chan brethren, sing cumbaya around the fire, and make marshmallows. :)

    Pedobear not allowed. I don't want the FBI Party van showing up. Those damn bastards have no sense of fun...... I tried to spark a joint and the bastards tried to arrest me!
  • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:47PM (#22704442) Homepage Journal
    We need to ban anonymous posting to the internet because bullies who post anonymously are hard to track down.

    So we'll make them register their names and email addresses with the state.

    But they can get literally thousands of email address, for free, from services that aren't subject to our state's (or even country's) laws, and there is no mechanism even possible to police what email address or name they actually use, so they can continue to post anonymously.

    And even though we can't track down anonymouse cyber bullies now, we'll be able to later, when they're not using the name or email address they registered with the state.

    In addition to having no effect whatsoever, we will give them a legal defense of "Well, that's not my name or email adress! I registered those with the state, just like the law requires, so how could it be me?"

    This doesn't even look like an attempt to "do something." In fact, it looks more like an attempt to protect bullies than punish them.
  • Unprecedented! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kahei ( 466208 )
    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,
  • 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 turtledawn ( 149719 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:55PM (#22704622)
    This bill is something the senator introduced at the request of his constituents, and would apply only to Kentucky residents. The way he was quoted in the original story makes it clear that he thinks it's hairbrained, unlikely to pass, sure to be shot down if it is, and he won't vote for it. Don't go beating up on the guy for trying to appease his constituency- for all I know, one of them is my grandmother-in-law, and I've certainly said any number of things to get her to stop pestering me.

    (I love you Sandra, but you're not the most computer savvy individual)
  • 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.
  • and I want a law passed that forces all governments to give me 10% cut of their rack... taxes. We both have the same chance getting our wishes granted.
  • 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.
  • hilarious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jgarra23 ( 1109651 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:26PM (#22705198)
    That'll be amusing when he tries to get this passed. I'd love to see this bill get laughed at when he is informed that it has virtually no enforceable methods and that international users will just see this as another ignorant "Stupid American" method of trying to control what it cannot.

    Oh, before anyone mods me as flamebait (which the zealots love to do) I'm a patriotic American and in case you haven't heard about something called The Monroe Doctrine...
  • 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...
  • by Hotawa Hawk-eye ( 976755 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:19PM (#22711198)
    Here's his official web feedback form [ky.gov]. Note that while it requires you to provide your name and address, nothing validates that those are actually your real name and address. You might want to point that out to the representative.

In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.