One might have expected the news that several Republican state lawmakers in New York want to pass a law essentially banning anonymous comments on the web to be met with outrage.How stupid is this? PC Magazine sums it up thus:
But the reaction from New York's digital-media proprietors seems to be more of a collective eye-roll.
"This is a misguided idea that indicates a lack of understanding of not only the essence of the web but also the principles of the First Amendment," said Gaby Darbyshire, the attorney and chief operating officer for Gawker Media. "I don't believe it will come to anything."
"This legislation is going nowhere," said Andrew Rasiej, chair of the NY Tech Meetup and founder of Personal Democracy Forum (and an adviser to Capital). "Its not OK anymore for politicians not to know how the Internet works. The sponsors of these bills basically self painted the word 'dinosaur' on their backs with this one."
It's always funny when clueless do-gooders try to put the Internet toothpaste back in the tube.In other words, it's moronic, and nothing more than another one of those laws proposed by people who don't understand, or don't use, the internet.
This week we learned that New York lawmakers are considering legislation that would ban anonymous speech on the Internet. This is an idea that's dumb on so many levels, it's difficult to figure out where to start dissecting it.
Let's run through the facts, which Wired's Threat Level blog alerted us to earlier this week. It seems there's a bill (S06779) going through both state chambers that calls for the administrators of New York-based websites 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."
The targeted parties would include "any individual who posts a message on a website including social networks, blogs forums, message boards, or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages."
Let's call that a commendable covering of all the bases. Let's also call it an unenforceable, business-killing, First Amendment-violating monstrosity of a brain fart.
It will never pass, and it would be struck down by the courts even if it did. And then there's this little problem of fundamentally changing the entire nature of the internet to suit the whim of an out-of-touch state legislator.
And you can take my previous commentary on this issue (which has been zilch) as being commensurate with my degree of concern.