Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Kentucky rep sponsors bill banning anonymous internet posts

Maybe we should limit legislative sessions to 2 days per year to try to minimize the damage these well meaning meddlers can do.

A representative in the Kentucky House, wants to pass a law banning all anonymous internet posting.

The proposed bill http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/08RS/HB775.htm The synopsis is

AN ACT relating to information technology. Create new sections of KRS Chapter 369 to establish definitions relating to Internet Web sites, blogs, or message boards; require registration prior to posting information to these interactive services; identify persons, businesses, or entities that post information to these interactive services; establish penalty provisions.

This type of bill is wrong for a lot of reasons such as:

 

  1. This will be a headache for webmasters as far as compliance as well as the fact that it will create additional expenses. The web is still in it’s startup phase and this will create an undue burden for web operators.
  2. The web is global. If laws like this go through, there will be a nightmare patchwork of laws that sites will be bound by.
  3. Privacy is necessary. Tim Couch is active in the NRA. He should realize that many employers have an anti gun bias. If this bill passes, then people will not be able to express their opinions anonymously. They will have to either shut up or risk their jobs. Also, some gun owners might not want to post something because they don’t want to advertise the fact that they own firearms to everyone.
  4. Many people use online forums for support for physical and mental health issues. Employers have been known to fire people becauese they, or their family, have health issues simply because they feel that the employee can’t work effectively or that their health insurance rates will rise. So, if this bill passes, a woman looking for support for breast cancer will have to do so knowing that her identity is available.
  5. This unfairly affects US Subjects… er I mean Citizens. Citizens pay taxes, register to vote, and their kids register for the draft. Federal and state legislators have been derilict in their duties by allowing 12 to 20+ million illegal aliens into this country. Under a bill like Couch’s, decent law abiding folks are the ones who can be tracked, not the illegal aliens using fake ID.
  6. There are already mechanisms that can be used in the cases of terrorism or severe harrassment. A court order can be obtained and IP records examined. Even if someone goes through several layers of anonymous proxies they can eventually be trackesd.

Overall this is an ill conceived idea that, if enacted, will be a textbook case of “the law of unintended consequences”..

This is a case where the words of Thomas Paine are more than appropriate
“That government is best which governs least.”

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