There is a group of legislators in the state of New York who have introduced a bill to ban “baseless political attacks” on the Internet.
If the bill is signed into law, blogs operated in the state of New York will be required 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.”
Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte said the legislation would cut down on “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” and “turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity.”
I can understand the concern of lawmakers in New York State. They are dealing with cyberbullies who regard this sort of legislation as off-the-wall nuts. These cyberbullies do things like quote the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from interfering with free speech.
The next thing you know, voters will go to the polls and vote for challengers.
This sort of thing must be nipped in the bud.
State Senator Thomas O’Mara, who is co-sponsoring sponsoring the bill, said the law would “help lend some accountability to the internet age.”
That’s what we need more of: accountability. All those opposed to accountability, please stand up. (And have your ID with you.)
The following would be protected from anonymity: any messages on social networks or blogs. Also covered are message boards or “any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.”
From now on, anyone who posts a message must list either an email address or a phone number.
With lawmakers like these, the people living in New York State know that their interests are being protected from unscrupulous people who wish to remain anonymous.
Had this law been in force in 1787 and 1788, those cyberbullies who wrote the Federalist Papers would not have been allowed to hide behind that fake Publius pseudonym. They would have been required to post their email addresses: