A couple years ago, we wrote about some laws being proposed in the US that would require anyone sending a file over the internet to include their real name and address with it. The purpose was to basically make file sharing more illegal, since they could then crack down on anyone who shared a file without including their identifying information. Of course, the side effect would be to destroy online anonymity, while opening up people to pretty serious privacy violations (small side effects to protect Hollywood, of course). It appears that Brazil is now having a very similar debate. Slashdot and Broadband Reports both point us to a proposed law in Brazil that would effectively outlaw online anonymity. It would require anyone participating in any number of standard internet activities, including joining a chat room or writing a blog, to do so while revealing their full name, current address and phone number and the Brazilian equivalent of a social security number. To accomplish this, apparently every internet user would be required to get a special ID certificate, and make use of it every time they got online or participated in any of these activities. This is the natural response of someone who fears the technology and fears anonymity, but gives little thought to the unintended consequences that a loss of privacy entails, including tremendous overhead burdens to manage all of this, while also making the tool much less useful and much less likely to be used for any of the many positive things it provides. It's also unlikely to even accomplish its stated goal of making it harder for cybercriminals to act. Those people already know how to get around such things and appear as someone else entirely online. It's a bad and short-sighted bill -- so hopefully it doesn't get very far.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Case Over No-Fly List Takes Bizarre Turn As Gov't Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So
- Dallas Police Rule Change Gives Officers 72 Hours To Get Their Stories Straight After Shooting Citizens
- Canadian Government Rolls Out National Cyberbullying Legislation And, No Surprise, It's Problematic
- Lawyer For Cop Charged In Beating Death Of Homeless Man Claims Officer Didn't Use ENOUGH Force
- South Korean Politicians Want Video Games Placed Alongside Drugs And Alcohol In Legislation For Addiction