Legislators from the State of New York proposed a new legislation want to outlaw anonymous speech on the Internet.
Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte says that the legislation he co-sponsors would cut down on “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” and “turns the spotlight on cyber-bullies by forcing them to reveal their identity,” reported RT News.
The bill is an attempt “to amend the civil rights law, in relation to protecting a person's right to know who is behind an anonymous internet posting.”
If this Bill no. S06779 is enacted the administrator of any website hosted in New York State will be forced to 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.”
Freedom of Speech
As RT News commented this legislation will require all website administrators to have their own contact information “clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted” to allow for censorship of the posted anonymous information/comments, if anyone complains that the content is unpleasant or disagree with it.
It’s essential to preserve anonymity, and to appreciate why it’s vital. Anonymity protects whistle-blowers and others for whom speech can be unfairly dangerous.
A civil rights lawyer with the Center for Democracy and Technology tells RT News that if this Bill is passed this restrictive legislation would chill freedom of speech not just online but will infringe to our First Amendment rights. The attorney commented: “This statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York,” and provides a “heckler’s veto to anybody who disagrees with or doesn’t like what an anonymous poster said.”