Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

Postby Anna » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:52 am

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20 ... oomed.html

In Germany there are very restrictve rules, if some writes in a forum things which can be criminal, example: fashist or discriminating things or similar, the owner of the forum can get into a big trouble, if he's not fast enough in deleting the post.
Or an owner of a website has always to put his adress into the website, incl. telephone number.

This here goes much further, and it's the USA...
You've got free speech, but obviously it is not allowed to that anonymus.
Well when will it be that it started like this here?

Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

By Ryan Paul | Published: March 10, 2008 - 10:15PM CT

Kentucky lawmaker Tim Couch has proposed a bill that would criminalize anonymous Internet posting. Web site and forum operators would be forced to collect and publicly disclose identifying information about all of the visitors who post content on their sites. Failing to do so would lead to a fine of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

The bill, which extends Chapter 369 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, would mandate collection of the complete name, mailing address, and e-mail address of all visitors who post Internet content. Web sites would have to display names next to all relevant content and establish procedures that enable anyone to obtain the rest of the information. The bill stipulates that mailing address and e-mail address only have to be supplied to supplicants in cases where someone has posted "false or defamatory" information.

Case law has unambiguously established that state regulation of the Internet constitutes a violation of the Commerce Clause. Couch's proposal also likely falls afoul of the Constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of speech. If passed, Couch's proposal would be doomed to a swift demise in the courts. In addition to serious legal obstacles, Couch's bill would also face insurmountable implementation challenges. Web site operators have no means with which to validate the identification information they receive from users or guarantee its accuracy. If it were even legally permissible, a state-wide ban on anonymous posting would have little impact because it would not be enforceable against web sites outside of the state of Kentucky. Indeed, such a law would likely compel site operators to move their web sites out of Kentucky.

Finally, the proposal itself is ideologically antithetical to American culture and values. Anonymous publication is a time-honored tradition that has figured prominently in America's literary and political landscape. Early American political philosophy was heavily influenced by Thomas Paine's anonymous pamphlet Common Sense, and by Cato's Letters, which were anonymously published by British writers John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon. Some of America's greatest literary works have also been published under pseudonyms—for instance the works of Mark Twain, who we know today as Samuel Clemens.

Couch—who says that he has been the victim of anonymous Internet criticism himself—acknowledges that the bill is probably unconstitutional and claims that his goal is to draw attention to Internet bullying, which he says is a serious concern for many young people in his district. He does not intend to rally support for the proposal. "I think right now (online posting) is pretty much just on its own. It's a machine that's going to go its own way," Couch told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "The state can try to pass some rules, but I don't really think it would do anything."

Proposing an inane, unconstitutional, and unenforceable law seems like a poor way to raise awareness of an issue. It looks like Couch needs some remedial education in civics and constitutional law, and I'm sure plenty of anonymous critics on the Internet will have similar opinions to share.
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Re: Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

Postby draque » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:04 am

Reading through that, I saw that Couch wasn't as crazy/stupid as he seemed... towards the end it mentions that he admitted that it wouldn't be a good law and that it was unlikely to ever be adopted, but would be a high profile headline to bring up the topic of cyber bullying. The concept itself still does seem funny to me, though. You might as well legislate the sun rising in the west.
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Re: Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

Postby Alfador » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:07 am

Couch—who says that he has been the victim of anonymous Internet criticism himself—acknowledges that the bill is probably unconstitutional and claims that his goal is to draw attention to Internet bullying, which he says is a serious concern for many young people in his district. He does not intend to rally support for the proposal. "I think right now (online posting) is pretty much just on its own. It's a machine that's going to go its own way," Couch told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "The state can try to pass some rules, but I don't really think it would do anything."


What.

Proposing an inane, unconstitutional, and unenforceable law seems like a poor way to raise awareness of an issue. It looks like Couch needs some remedial education in civics and constitutional law, and I'm sure plenty of anonymous critics on the Internet will have similar opinions to share.


I AGREE. I was going to angrily post something like this after reading the paragraph above, but now all I can do is agree wholeheartedly. Lawmakers should NEVER propose a bill they do not actually want to see passed.
Arf! *wagwagwag*
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Re: Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

Postby Chameleon » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:04 pm

Image

Time to cart me off to jail for my critisism.
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Re: Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

Postby Alikat » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:38 pm

Also known as the "I'll SUE You! I'll Sue You in ENGLAND!!!" Bill of 2007.
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Re: Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

Postby strange_person » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:03 am

I' d hate to see what capital-A Anonymous would do if this was regarded as having any kind of a chance.

No, wait, I'd love to see that.
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Re: Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

Postby draque » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:12 am

March with "SHOOP DA WOOP!" and LOLcats picket boards, most likely....
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Re: Lawmaker's attempt to criminalize anonymous posting doomed

Postby strange_person » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:56 am

The physical side of things wouldn't really be the interesting part, though. We'd get to see what those NSA supercomputers are really capable of, when compared with the mother of all botnets.
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