New York Politicians Want to Ban Anonymous Internet Comments

A New York State Assemblymen wants to fight cyberbullying and “baseless political attacks" with a new bill that would ban anonymous web posts. The bill would make it so that all New York-based websites have to "remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post," according to Wired's Threat Level.

The bill is the brainchild of Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte, who claims that it would eliminate “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks" and "turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity."

Republican Sen. Thomas O’Mara is also sponsoring the bill, which he claims will "help lend some accountability to the internet age."

But Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology sees the bill as an overreach and a stifling of the First Amendment right to free speech.

"This statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York," he said, adding that the bill provides what he calls "heckler’s veto" to anyone who disagrees with what an anonymous poster has said.

The bill would affect blogs, websites, and social networks, and would require operators to have a telephone number and a contact email to deal with takedown requests. Those making the takedown requests do not seem to have any criteria for filing a complaint or for identifying themselves…

At the end of the day, even if this bill were to pass, there's no way it could stand against a constitutional challenge in any court. Anyway you can read more about the bill here.

Source: Wired

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