Bill to Make Anonymous Posting Illegal

A Kentucky lawmaker want to make anonymous internet posting illegal. From the article:
"The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site."
Apparently the current argument against the bill (or at least the only one mentioned in the article) is that it violates first amendment rights. My critique is that it inhibits rights to privacy, which should extend to the right to have an online persona that is distinct from and not connected to an offline persona. I know plenty a blogger who only continues to blog because she can do so anonymously. This is especially important when it comes to individuals who blog about controversial issues, such as fledgling civil rights movements.

In addition, I wonder what would happen to the traffic on blogs that critique the current administration were such a law to come into effect. We have already seen what happens when you bash Bush on your MySpace page: you get visited by the U.S. Secret Service.

Not to mention the fact that such a law would cost so much money to enforce that the U.S. government might have to take some money from the military spending budget in order to finance it. Hmmm, maybe this is a good bill...


indil said...

What a nice, juicy article to discuss! Nice find. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the absurdity of the proposed bill. I'm curious though (to make things interesting): what is this right to privacy you mentioned? I don't recall anything like it named in the U.S. Constitution. Peoples' privacy are frequently and legally violated when the good of the many outweigh the good of the few. I'm not sure preserving and defending privacy on principle alone will always be the right course of action. The question then is whether there can ever be an instance where it's just to violate privacy for the greater good.

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