NY Lawmakers Want To Do Away With Anonymous Online Comments

Anonymous hate-mongering,name-calling and venom-spitting has been around the Internet since before many of the people reading this post even had an e-mail address. While most of us have just come to accept that this is part of the cost of having an online community, state lawmakers in New York have drafted legislation that intends to do away with anonymous commenting.

According to the legislation, introduced earlier this year in both the state house and senate, “a web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous posted 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.”

One sponsor of the state senate bill says it would, “help lend some accountability to the Internet age.”

But an attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology tells Wired.com, “This statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York,” by providing a “heckler’s veto to anybody who disagrees with or doesn’t like what an anonymous poster said.”

As Wired points out, it’s hard to imagine a world in which this bill would pass any legal challenge, but it’s nice to know that our politicians continue the time-honored tradition of wasting their time on pointless legislation.

New York Legislation Would Ban Anonymous Online Speech [Wired.com]