New York wants to ban anonymous speech online

Posted on May 23, 2012


Lawmakers in New York State are proposing a new legislation that involves the Web, and no, it’s not SOPA-esque or another CISPA-like spy-bill. Politicians in the Empire State want to outlaw anonymous speech on the Internet.

Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte says that the legislation he co-sponsors, Bill no. S06779, would cut down on “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” and “turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity.”

Mean-spirited? Baseless? In other words, Mr. Conte is one of a handful of elected officials in New York wanting to make the Internet a more attractive place by ensuring that people looking to speak their mind aren’t afforded that right unless they want their personal identity exposed to the world.

The bill was proposed back in March and is described as “an act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to protecting a person’s right to know who is behind an anonymous internet posting.”

According to the proposed legislation, the administrator of any website hosted in New York State shall, upon request, remove comments that were “posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agreed to attach his or her name to the post and confirm that his or her IP address, legal name and home address are accurate.” Additionally, the bill calls for all website administrators to have their own contact information “clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted” to allow for irked readers to demand censorship.


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