Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sign Your Name to Posts? Or Else?

From our friends over at the Stranger Slog,
Did you hear the one about the New York state lawmakers who forgot about the First Amendment in the name of combating cyberbullying and "baseless political attacks"?
Proposed legislation in both chambers would require New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, 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."
From the story at Gizmodo:

The Senate and Assembly measures, which are identical, cover messages on social networks, blogs, message boards or "any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages."

The bills also demand those sites to have a contact number or e-mail address posted for "such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted."

Oddly, the bill has no identification requirement for those who request the takedown of anonymous content.

The NY Legislature seems to have forgotten about the First Amendment (or does that not cover anonymous comments?). 

Here's hoping our Legislature doesn't try this.


Anonymous said...

As a vigorous defender of the right for people to speak out without identifying themselves ... I would fight that one tooth and nail. The issue of commenting civility, etc., has to do with the rules set and enforced (or not) by site owners. We do not require registration or real names; we have strong rules and we enforce them. (But I also believe that site owners have the right to NOT have those same types of rules. As long as your readers know what to expect.)

And for those who say real names solve everything ... I have seen much fouler comments on our site's Facebook page, and nasty arguments.

Pass a law like that, and next thing you know, you won't be able to speak up at a public meeting or in a town square without having ID scanned. No thanks. - Tracy @ WSB

Student of History said...

We should send each and every supporter of that bill a copy of the Federalist Papers.

Anonymous said...

Again. I don't use my real name primarily because I don't want potential or existing clients (I am self-employed) who Google me to have to weed through hundreds of comments about education, knitting, cats, kids, camping, etc. just to find the professional stuff.

Solvay Girl

Jan said...

Dang, Solvay Girl -- I have been assiduously trying to follow those knitting posts for years!