New York Legislature Ponders GOP Bill To Outlaw Anonymous Web Comments

New York GOP Assemblyman James Conte wants to make it illegal to leave anonymous comments on the internet. SRSLY. Wired weighs in:

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.” Had the internet been around in the late 1700s, perhaps the anonymously written Federalist Papers would have to be taken down unless Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay revealed 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. He added that the legislation provides a “heckler’s veto to anybody who disagrees with or doesn’t like what an anonymous poster said.” Sen. Thomas O’Mara, a Republican who is also sponsoring the measure, said it would “help lend some accountability to the internet age.”

Under the proposed bill, New York-based sites would be commanded to remove any anonymous comment “unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”