This is interesting, and the first I'm hearing of this… right in my own backyard too.
I think you all will be just as humored by it as I was, because, ya know, it actually affects you!
The short story goes… New York legislators want to outlaw all anonymous comments on the web, and have introduced what they are calling the Internet Protection Act.
Essentially, the bill, introduced on Monday by co-sponsors Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte and Republican Senator Thomas O’Mara, is an attempt to "crack down on cyber-bullying" by banning all anonymous commenters on all New York-based websites, including: social networks, blog forums (like Shadow And Act), message boards (like Shadow And Act), or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages (like Shadow And Act).
So pretty much the entire web, right :)
My question, without having read the bill, is how do they define an "anonymous commenter?" Will everyone be required to have some kind of internet ID created by the government (local or federal), which you'll then use to navigate the web, much like you do the real world with your driver license or passport?
Here's how the bill defines an anonymous poster:
ANONYMOUS POSTER IS ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO POSTS A MESSAGE ON A WEB SITE INCLUDING SOCIAL NETWORKS, BLOGS FORUMS, MESSAGE BOARDS OR ANY OTHER DISCUSSION SITE WHERE PEOPLE CAN HOLD CONVERSATIONS IN THE FORM OF POSTED MESSAGES.
Ok, so, unless I'm just not reading that correctly, that's just about every freaking person on the Internet right? Alrighty then!
And according to the proposed bill, website administrators (like myself) will be held responsble for the above, stating:
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.
A brave new world indeed.
I'm sure you can see where this would create problems, despite the fact that its intentions are well-meaning (at least, they appear to be).
So all you out there reading this (not just the trolls; and God knows we hate Internet trolls), beware, because Big Brother is coming after ya!
And I thought the Republicans were all about less government.
Anyway… I'll just let Jay Smooth speak on it as he usually does so well: