Technology

New York Bill Would Ban Anonymous Online Posting

It looks like more and more lawmakers have something against freedom of speech on the internet. If previous bills only managed to get users angry, now a new bill comes to spark controversy. A New York bill would ban anonymous online posting if approved.

There are in fact two bills that have the same objective. The New York State Assembly is proposing two very similar bills. In fact S.6779 and A.8688 as they appear in the official records are so alike they are in fact the same. According to the lawmakers behind them, these will secure “a person’s right to know who is behind an anonymous internet posting”.

Basically the said bill (bills) would target anonymous online posting. When such posting occurs the posts can be removed without scrutiny. If 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”, the posts will not be removed.

If you’re thinking: “Wait, this is contradictory to my rights in the First Amendment”, you’re right. Sure, the First Amendment doesn’t talk about anonymous speech or online posting, but the Electronic Frontier Foundations have emphasized on several occasions that according to the U.S. Supreme Court “the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment”.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads that the Congress will not come up with a law that in some way abridges the freedom of speech or of the press. For some reasons, Republican lawmakers seem to be quite thrilled about the law.

From Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte’s point of view, the bills we’re talking about are a great idea. He told Wired that such law would reduce “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” and “turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity”. A similar take had Senator Thomas O’Maro, also a Republican. He said that the bill against anonymous online posting would “help lend some accountability to the internet age”.

Wired notes that the two New York bills are “an attempt by lawmakers to prop up Facebook’s falling stock price via an implicit endorsement of the Facebook model of identity on the internet”.

What do you think? Anonymous online posting should be protected or the Facebook model of identity on the internet does make more sense?

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Ronald Silva is one of our newest publishers.He currently lives in Toronto (Canada) with his family.Ronald covers the music and sports sections of DailyGossip.org. Over the past few years, Ronald has participated in various journalistic projects including some of which he started when he worked for a local newspaper in Toronto. Contact him at Ronald.Silva@dailygossip.org.

1 Comment

  1. I’m leaning toward supporting the ban. I don’t think freedom of speech necessarily includes (or precludes?) anonymity. Human and civil rights also entail responsibility. Voicing my opinion may be a protected right, but does it mean that I ought to be protected from taking responsibility for my actions? (in this case voicing my opinion.) I’m not so sure that protecting my right to freedom of speech should negate my personal responsibilities, or should protect me from just consequences of my speech.

    I’m sure a ban would drive quite a few people from using the internet to exercise their speech, but once again, I’m not so sure this would be a bad thing. If these people are too cowardly to put their names to their rants, then why should their rants be protected?

    I don’t know. I could be wrong. I think an unfortunate consequence of a ban would be putting young people at risk of being stalked on-line by predators.

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