Archive for the ‘freedom of speech’ tag
New York State politicians in March 2012 drafted and introduced a bill to both chambers of the New York State Legislature that is designed to “provide the right to know who is behind an anonymous internet posting”. The bill, if passed, would require website administrators to police their websites and set up special methods from which 3rd parties can request to force public, or otherwise remove, a specific post on a website.
The legislation is viewable here:
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. The civil rights law, is amended by adding a new section
79-o to read as follows:
S 79-O. ANONYMOUS INTERNET POSTER; RIGHT TO KNOW.
A WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR UPON REQUEST SHALL REMOVE ANY COMMENTS
POSTED ON HIS OR HER WEB SITE BY AN ANONYMOUS POSTER UNLESS SUCH ANONY-
MOUS POSTER AGREES TO ATTACH HIS OR HER NAME TO THE POST AND CONFIRMS
THAT HIS OR HER IP ADDRESS, LEGAL NAME, AND HOME ADDRESS ARE ACCURATE.
ALL WEB SITE ADMINISTRATORS SHALL HAVE A CONTACT NUMBER OR E-MAIL
ADDRESS POSTED FOR SUCH REMOVAL REQUESTS, CLEARLY VISIBLE IN ANY
SECTIONS WHERE COMMENTS ARE POSTED.
The theory, according to New York State Senator Thomas O’Mara who introduced the bill in the New York State Senate, is to deal with the issue of cyberbullying. Comments the Senator made to Mashable in this article stated “This legislation is an attempt to do something about that [cyberbullying]”.
The senator’s idea is, if someone is being cyberbullied, they can force the website operator to publicize who is doing the cyberbullying, which will somehow prevent it from happening. The reality of the situation is, the most damaging cyberbullying is done publicly through Facebook and other social media avenues where peoples’ names are attached to who is making what comments — the most famous of which was the Myspace mom case that was acquited in 2009.
The chances of this bill becoming law seem questionable given constitutional arguments made by the Electronic Frontier foundation, who already commented on this to Mashable that The right to speak anonymously is part of the First Amendment. So is this another attempt by government to watch what you are up to online, or are they just going about it wrong to try to stop Cyberbullying?
Webmasters, web hosting companies, and datacenter providers nationwide are watching this one very closely!
Let us know your comments — what do you think New York law makers are really up to with this bill?