A new bill in Albany has its sights set on anonymous internet trolls. The Internet Protection Act would require sites to have online commenters identify themselves.
“This statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York,” said Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology, according to Wired, adding that the bill allows a “heckler’s veto to anybody who disagrees with or doesn’t like what an anonymous poster said.”
Albany will likely have to think of another solution to cyberbullying, a real problem.
Assemblyman Jim Conte (R-Huntington Station) explained that the legislation “turns the spotlight on cyber-bullies by forcing them to reveal their identity or have their post removed.”
The legislation would also prevent people from posting anonymous criticisms of businesses. “Too often, rival businesses will post negative and false posts to hurt their competition,” writes Conte.
And lastly, the bills would help politicians. Conte again: “…the legislation will help cut down on the types of mean-spirited and baseless political attacks that add nothing to the real debate and merely seek to falsely tarnish the opponent’s reputation by using the anonymity of the Web.”
There have been no votes yet on the measure, introduced in both the Senate and Assembly. If The Act were to pass, however, it likely wouldn’t stand to constitutional muster. (See: First Amendment)
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