Who's The Coward? Thin-Skinned NY Politicians Try To Ban Anonymous Comments

from the wow dept

Last fall, we were absolutely amazed at a paper written by some NY state politicians arguing that we have too much free speech, and that we need a "more refined" interpretation of the First Amendment, that outlaws things like "leaving improper messages on online message boards." Well... as covered by Dave Kravets at Wired, some NY state politicians have introduced the same bill, in both houses of the legislature, that would outlaw anonymous speech online. The actual bill is not particularly subtle.

It lays out the purpose front and center:
AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to protecting a person's right to know who is behind an anonymous internet posting
Most of the "bill" is definitions, but the key part is as follows -- written in all caps like a true internet troll:
A WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR UPON REQUEST SHALL REMOVE ANY COMMENTS POSTED ON HIS OR HER WEB SITE BY AN ANONYMOUS POSTER UNLESS SUCH ANONYMOUS 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.
This will, of course, never become law (or if it does, would never survive a Constitutional First Amendment challenge). The Supreme Court has been pretty clear:
Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
You would think that lawmakers would know this, but apparently their fragile egos can't take people making fun of them online.

What's amazing is that the lawmakers behind this seem oblivious to the concerns about the bill, insisting that anonymous posting can only be used for negative reasons."
Too often, online bullies hide behind their anonymity as they inflict pain. My legislation turns the spotlight on cyber-bullies by forcing them to reveal their identity or have their post removed. Once a bully is identified, steps can be taken to end the harassment. Bullying is no laughing matter. The more we can do to combat this abuse, the better off we will all be as a society.
That's from Assemblyman Jim Conte, a sponsor of the bill, who should be forced to not only read the details of the McIntyre case, but also to produce a report about the importance of anonymous speech throughout US history, starting with the Federalist Papers and moving forward from there. It's scary that these people who govern us who don't seem to understand what they're talking about.

Oh, and separately, I kicked this post off by mentioning the paper from last year. It's worth noting that these bills are not actually being brought forth by the same politicians. We have a general policy here at Techdirt where we don't mention political parties unless the party itself is key to the story. When we wrote that original comment, someone in the comments accused us of "hiding" the fact that the paper was written by Democrats. As we noted, we would have written it exactly the same way if it were written by Republicans. So, I will point out that the politicians who introduced bill in both houses in NY are... Republicans this time, which I'm only bringing up because of the contrast from last time. This isn't about parties. It's about clueless politicians, and neither mainstream party has a monopoly on (or, even, a shortage of) them.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:08am

    Does this bill contain a requirement that the "offended party" demanding the takedown verify their own identity as well?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:14am

    So we call them out on their corruption and tell the world.
    Now they want our details for ?????
    Freedom of speech is a bitch when it exposes the truth.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Every comment on this article should be done anonymously in protest.

     

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    TasMot (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:22am

    Who's job is it...

    The RIAA says that "pirating" is just an educational issue and that people knew the facts and the law they would understand and stop doing it (yes, I know, the RIAA doesn't seem to know the facts or the law, but that is beside the point).

    Who is there that can educate these NY politicians as to the facts, the law, the Consitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court rulings that set the precedents that will quickly shoot down these laws if the bills ever get passed.

    On the one hand, these politicians talk about how social services need to be cut to save money and on the other hand, they waste millions of taxpayer dollars writing, compaining for, and then defending in court these bills they want to pass into law that will be struck down by the Supreme Court on Constitutional grounds as violating the First Amendment.

    The RIAA is the wrong group because they can't seem to understand the difference between simple concepts such as theft and infringement. But who can prepare the proper educational materials for these politicians. Is there a law professor, lawyer, or group such as EFF or anybody who can get their ear and make them stop wasting time and money on passing a law that will never stand?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:53am

      Re: Who's job is it...

      Politicians don't care about being educated. People finance their campaigns, and they write laws benefiting those people. Nothing else matters to them.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re: Who's job is it...

        "Nothing else matters to them."

        Not true. You neglect that their revolving door favors also matter to them.

         

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    AG Wright (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:35am

    Unfortunate truths

    I'm too lazy to bother to find out but what are the odds that the people writing the laws are lawyers themselves and actually should know better?
    And to think that they could be judges some day.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2012 @ 11:09am

      Re: Unfortunate truths

      A lot of folks like to say that these politicians don't know the law but they are lawyers and they do know the law, these persons are terrorists and are trying to take our rights away. Any politician who introduces a bill that so blatantly asks for our civil rights to be taken away should be brought up on charges or removed from office for not knowing what "Shall not be infringed" means.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:40am

    Improper messages?

    What does that even mean? It's so vague that it could apply to anything.

    I do thing the free speech argument should stop at hateful abuse and threats, though.

     

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    Pixelation, May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:41am

    Hmm

    "... protecting a person's right to know who is behind an anonymous internet posting "

    Perhaps I'm confused but I don't recall any law granting that right. Why should a right that isn't a right be protected?

     

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      A Guy (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:47am

      Re: Hmm

      Reread the first ammendment

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:02am

        Re: Re: Hmm

        No, he is right (or I am wrong too).

        Where is the right to know who posted something anonymously, as this is the "right" that this bill is supposed to protect?

         

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        Pixelation, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:13am

        Re: Re: Hmm

        "Reread the first ammendment"

        I think you misunderstood my post.

        The first Amendment doesn't create the right to know who is behind an anonymous posting on the internet.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 9:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hmm

          "Reread the first ammendment"

          I think you misunderstood my post.

          The first Amendment doesn't create the right to know who is behind an anonymous posting on the internet.


          Nor does it allow for anonymous speech either, it does cut both ways, asking you to ID yourself deosn't abridge your speech, you are not being stopped from speaking, if being made to identify yourself causes you to not say what you were going to, you didn't really want to say it, ,you were just trying to hurt someone else, far too many people hide behind the internet to be big men and say evil things to others

          but would not dare to speak that way in public, cause they know they would get thier ass beat or arrested

           

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    Blaine (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Bullies

    We should do something about the bullies that are getting themselves elected, so they can take our lunch money, limit our freedoms and torture us from public office.

     

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    Michael, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:01am

    The situation is always the same: they cherry-pick a "problem" so as to present "solutions" designed to circumvent/attack our freedoms.

    Seriously, we have more than enough on our plate as it is: the economy, debt, jobs, education, social security, medicare, etc. But no, somebody's feelings were hurt by an anonymous poster on the internet.

    Give me a break.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:03am

    'You would think that lawmakers would know this'

    they do know that this will never get into law but, given the ridiculous rulings that courts dish out concerning copyright, infringement and website closures/blocking, these politicians are hoping to get it pushed through anyway.

    i am really waiting to see how much the public will put up with over the rights and freedoms that are being taken away by politicians and corporations before they actually have the balls to stand up and say 'enough is enough, as of now, no more crap from you lot or suffer the consequences!!'

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:10am

    Slandering your opponents and their family publicly in negative attacks about their sex lives and affairs = perfectly ok and legal, even if it causes someone to die of a heart attack from the stress and humiliation over the attacks (like president Andrew Jackson's wife did shortly before he won the presidency).

    Saying mean things about politicians online anonymously, like "politician A is a big meanie who wants to kill jobs in our state" = bullying and a serious abuse of free speech rights.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 6:21pm

      Re:

      And no one is saying what you just said. All of that can be brought up with the courts. The court can determine if there is sufficient damages to the offended party to force the name of the anonymous poster. Why do you hate free speech so much?

       

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    Altaree, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:12am

    So, NY is signing up for a new legal bill

    The only people who are going to get anything out of this bill are the lawyers that defend and attack this law. Can the law makers be made responsible for this cost instead of the voters?

     

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    Overcast (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:24am

    So why do they keep their home addresses and phone numbers private?

     

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    John Doe, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:33am

    I have asked this before, but here goes again

    What is the penalty for violating the constitution? You can be fined $87,500 for sharing one song. You can get many years in jail for smoking weed. Yet you pass an unconstitutional law violating the very foundation of our country and you get nothing? Not a fine? No jail time? You even get to keep your office where you are free to violate peoples rights over and over. Sounds fair doesn't it?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:42pm

      Re: I have asked this before, but here goes again

      Why hasn't anybody ever used a fair use defense for sharing one song? It's a small portion of the entire album.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:42am

    corrupted officials get dumber with every dollar given to them.

     

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      Michael Price (profile), May 28th, 2012 @ 5:57am

      Re:

      How are they dumb? Do they make decisions that have a negative impact on them? Well no, they have a very positive impact on them, they get votes and contributions. It's not stupidity it's willing suspension of disbelief.

       

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    Rob, May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:51am

    I'm not surprised. Most politicians probably slept during history class. They seek public office to get rich. Most politicians these days seem to lack a basic understanding of common technology. They lack basic knowledge of our Constitution.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:01am

    bunch of pansies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:27am

    anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

    Censorship comes in many forms,brought about by misinformed,uneducated and petty people.This is just one more example of clueless politicians wanting to look busy and trying to justify their fat (and unjustified)salaries.
    Techdirt (whom I love)is one of the few sites I visit that doesn't require me to register to express my views.
    Of course the fact that I get to be called a coward for not registering is just another example of censorship brought about by peer pressure.Techdirt even allows for the community to report and censor comments they don't like,forcing me to "route around" the community(clicking on the link to view the comment.(none of which I have found to be offensive or inappropriate)).
    I find it completely and utterly amazing that the registered geniuses here, at a site that appears to fight against the erosion of our freedoms, seem to be first ones to apply pressure to register.
    knowing who you are or where you are or your credentials
    doesn't affect my life one way or the other.It shouldn't affect yours either. But you seem to think that it does.
    you can't have it both ways.
    Your either for the constitution of the United States or your not! Pick one.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:21am

      Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

      Of course the fact that I get to be called a coward for not registering is just another example of censorship


      You don't have to be called an Anonymous Coward. You can enter any name you like, even if you don't register. So, even though I disagree that this is a kind of censorship, you aren't subject to it anyway.

      Techdirt even allows for the community to report and censor comments they don't like,forcing me to "route around" the community(clicking on the link to view the comment.(none of which I have found to be offensive or inappropriate)).


      Interesting. I often read the flagged posts, and 99% of the time they are offensive, inappropriate, spam, or otherwise detract from the discussion.

      I also disagree with this as censorship, since even that speech is not suppressed. But I think this is a point that reasonable people can differ on.

      Your either for the constitution of the United States or your not! Pick one.


      Well, firstly, censorship is common and possible without running afoul of the Constitution. Nonetheless, the Constitution rightfully only binds government action.

      Techdirt is not a government agency. That the TD community decides to "hide" certain posts is a lighter form of censorship than you'd encounter if you were to step into my house. There are certain kinds of speech I will not allow in my home, and if you engage in them you will be asked to leave. Do I engage in censorship? Absolutely! It is my right to do so in my home. Is that at odds with the Constitution? Absolutely not!

       

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      Baldaur Regis (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:24am

      Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

      I find it completely and utterly amazing that the registered geniuses here, at a site that appears to fight against the erosion of our freedoms, seem to be first ones to apply pressure to register.
      Would you be so kind as to cite where, in either article or comment, any 'pressure to register' is occurring?

       

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      Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:53am

      Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

      "Of course the fact that I get to be called a coward for not registering is just another example of censorship brought about by peer pressure."

      Censorship would mean that you DO NOT get to comment at all and if you did so your comment would not appear. Being called a coward is NOT censorship nor an example of it. The peer pressure you speak is of is more in regards to at least choosing a unique name to go by. You can register with fake information and be "King Dumbass" for all we care. Just so long as your comments can all from that point forward be sourced back to you. Thus giving you credibility. We're not pressuring you to do anything though, just saying you want credibility then you can gain some by registering any name.

      "Techdirt even allows for the community to report and censor comments they don't like,forcing me to "route around" the community(clicking on the link to view the comment.(none of which I have found to be offensive or inappropriate))."

      TD allows for people to report, NOT CENSOR BECAUSE THEY ARE STILL VIEWABLE, comments that may be offensive or inappropriate or not at all relevant to the conversation/article. You don't have to "route around" anything to view them though, you just "Click here". Also, it's worth pointing out that you are most DEFINITELY NOT FORCED to "route around" or even "click here". That is a choice, entirely up to you to do so. And just because you don't find something offensive or inappropriate doesn't mean a thing. What it means is your sense of what is offensive/inappropriate differs from other people's. But the fact that enough people report/flag a comment to have it semi-hidden means a majority disagree with you and find something about said comment to be worth having to click to view.

      "find it completely and utterly amazing that the registered geniuses here, at a site that appears to fight against the erosion of our freedoms, seem to be first ones to apply pressure to register.
      knowing who you are or where you are or your credentials
      doesn't affect my life one way or the other.It shouldn't affect yours either. But you seem to think that it does.
      you can't have it both ways.
      Your either for the constitution of the United States or your not! Pick one."

      You see, comments like that get reported. Why? Because you're trying to hide an ad hom amongst what you said. "Registered geniuses" is easily interpreted by the rest of us as you meaning "idiots" or "pirates" or what have you. No one is applying any pressure to you at all to register. Again, what has been said is if you want to be credible in our eyes then you'll stick with one name. Anonymous Coward is not going to work. There are too many and it's easy to say, "Nuh uh, that wasn't me. Some other AC must've said it." I'll skip the "writing styles are unique" bit for now. (Hint: I might be an AC but I'm the only person here who ever mentions "writing styles". So that's how I can be identified, when I do mention that that is.)

      Also, I fail to see how saying "register if you want to be viewed as credible and have your comments respected" is in line with eroding other people's freedoms. You're still free to post as an AC, no one has held a literal gun to your head and forced you to register... so it appears your freedom is intact and no one has eroded it in any way, shape or form.

      Registering a username, of any kind, very much adds to your credibility. Which is the point the rest of us are trying to make which you seem to ignore.

      You may not realize this, but I'm actually a Congressman, and I know more about upholding the Constitution than you do. No, I won't reveal who I am or what state I represent, that's not important. Just take my word for it.

      See how that works? That's what you do regularly, if not every day and in every other article. What we want is for you either to tell us who you are in a way we can verify or else stop saying "just take my word for it that I know all I know about everything under the sun". We aren't going to believe a word you say if that's the case.

      "Your either for the constitution of the United States or your not! Pick one."

      Ah yes, the usual argument. You're either with us or against us. You're either against piracy or you whole heartedly support it. You either know Google is evil and orchestrating a vast conspiracy or you're helping them achieve some evil goal. Mhm. And you wonder why some of us here don't take you seriously.

      "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." I like Star Wars, the Sith have an interesting history and back story. Please, don't be a Sith. I'd hate to have something I enjoy ruined by one obnoxious idiot/Anonymous Coward.

      [looks at name appearing with his, and by "his" I mean my, comment, is astounded that he can still be completely anonymous and yet have some credibility by now officially taking a username (even if it's not registered, so don't you steal it!)]

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

        The statement that "Only a Sith deals in absolutes" is in itself an absolute.

         

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          Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

          Snap! Quick, someone tell the Jedi about that.

          Although I think the "absolute" thing only applies if it's how you view literally everything. Not just one sentence about a group of Force wielders who care only about themselves and expanding their power through deceitful and manipulative means.

          Holy crap! I think the studios/labels and their front groups the RIAA/MPAA are composed entirely of Sith!

           

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        Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:37pm

        Re: Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

        Your reply just made my day...Thank You!

         

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        Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2012 @ 9:25pm

        Re: Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

        I wasn't going to reply to your reply to my comment but then thought that maybe I should clear up a couple of details.
        But first,you say you are a congressman...Awesome.I believe you...no one else could write this kind of drivel.
        Idiots?Pirates? Really? that's what you got out of "Registered Genius"Puuullllese!
        I selected genius as a simple way of describing all of the really smart people that hang out here at Techdirt.
        Registered or not.
        I know that if I post a comment here It's being read by some amazing people...It's intimidating to say the
        least, but I gotta say that running with the big dogs is exhilarating.
        But the idea that by registering I gain Credibility is incredible.Do you(and others) mean to say that if I join your
        club you will believe everything I say? Yeah Right.
        If I'm commenting on an article I'll include citations if I think it's relevant but if you don't want to believe me,
        I don't really care.If you disagree with me it's OK.It's only an opinion...and you know what they say about opinions.
        I'm simply not a joiner.I'm not interested in having all my thoughts organized and categorized.
        I read Techdirt's articles and the comments because they're interesting, informative and
        always entertaining
        So to all you geniuses out there (no,not you) keep commenting...I love it!

        Oh, have you figured out my "writing style" yet?

         

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      JMT (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 3:39pm

      Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

      "Of course the fact that I get to be called a coward for not registering is just another example of censorship brought about by peer pressure."

      No, you're not censored at all. You get called a 'coward' because you won't use one consistent handle, even though you would still remain completely anonymous. This prevents others from putting your comments in the context of what you may have said earlier in a post or in a previous post. Not being willing to stand by what you've said earlier is, IMO, 'cowardly'.

       

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      G Thompson (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:22pm

      Re: anonymous commenters comments on registered commenters

      Not being American I am absolutely NOT for the US constitution, instead I prefer the Worldwide UN Human Rights..

      Though if you think being called an Anonymous Coward is a TD invention you are very deluded.

      If you think having a report button and then the hiding of that (via Javascript only which can be turned off and low and behold not hidden) is also censorship you are a fool.

      If you think anyone really gives a flying toss whether you actually register or not, and then want to whine about the process or call the waambulance on a site you allegedly state that "you love" you are an idiot.

      Stating that you think that there is a black and white closed answer to whether anyone who reads, comments, or anything else on Techdirt is either for the US constitution (your US-centric nature is showing) or not leads me and others to believe and understand that you in fact a foolish deluded idiot.

       

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    ch'kody (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:38am

    These people that govern us

    We speak of innovation and how important it is, particularly that we have entrepreneurs that want to take their ideas and execute them. Your phrase "those that govern us" got me asking why aren't there parallels between that of the business world and that of the Government. Elected officials are people too as are the individuals that start amazing companies and the people that make up that enterprise. Yet, there aren't any trailblazers (for lack of a better word) that want a better government system. You have young people that want to code. Where are the young people that want to change the way the government is run with the focus on basic fundamental rights of citizens in mind? I guess it works both ways and you get the government you chose.

     

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    MrWilson, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:38am

    "UNLESS SUCH ANONYMOUS 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."

    Beyond all the other issues with this, we have to say once again that IP addresses do not correspond to a single individual and cannot be used to identify them. On top of that, how is the user supposed to verify that their IP address is accurate when there are a lot of non-tech-savvy people out there who don't even know what an IP address is?

     

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      BeeAitch (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 1:09pm

      Re:

      In addition, don't most ISPs use DHCP? IIRC, my ISP charges more for a static IP. Would I be required by law to pay more to have a static IP, or would my ISP waive the extra charge?

      (The last question is rhetorical, I know who would pay...)

       

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    Fanic, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:41am

    It's been a while since I took a government class but I thought the states were not allowed to pass a bill or law or anything that directly contradicted the amendments? Isn't this exactly that? Or I am totally unaware of how things work now?

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:58am

      Re:

      I thought the states were not allowed to pass a bill or law or anything that directly contradicted the amendments?


      This won't pass. It's pure political theater. Regardless, though, states can and have passed unconstitutional laws. They remain in effect until a court rules them unconstitutional and strikes them down.

       

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    sonicpuk, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:13am

    Nope no bias at all here

    Someone complains about the "name the party" game played by liberals of accidentally on purpose not mentioning party when a democrat does something dumb, but mentioning the party when a republican does

    So in order to "prove" we aren't biased we'll mention the party only when it's a republican

    So in order to prove that we don't leave out the party when it's democrats and include it when it's republicans, we will, leave out the party when it's democrats, then include it when it's republicans

    Yup makes perfect sense if yr a liberal

    You are doing what they commenter complained about to prove that you aren't doing what he complained about?

    We complain cause we see it all the time, if you see an article about an idiot congressman and it doesn't mention party, it's almost for sure a democrat

    The only credit I give you is you didn't call him an "ultra conservative republican" (Since they are from new york they prob aren't all that conservative anyway, if you aren't marching with OWS there I guess yr super conservative)

     

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    Digitari, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Re: who are you

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:42am

    "...UNLESS SUCH ANONYMOUS 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."

    No problem. I lie about who I am all the time on the internet.

     

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    Rich Kulawiec, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:49am

    How terribly quaint

    Ah, more clueless legislators who think "web" == "Internet". Nice to see that some forms of abject ignorance never go out of style.

     

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    khory, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:05am

    Cyber Bullying

    I'm getting tired of Cyber-Bullying being the new catch phrase to get stupid laws passed.

    Isn't most of the actions involved with being an online bully covered by existing laws against threats, defamation, etc?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:22am

    If anyone asks, I'm Big Bird of 123 Sesame Street. My IP address is 127.0.0.1. Nofoolin.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    " This isn't about parties. It's about clueless politicians, and neither mainstream party has a monopoly on (or, even, a shortage of) them." - well said

     

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    JackOfShadows (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Cui bono

    One point I haven't seen raised is exactly to whom the good here. It's pretty obvious that the Supreme Court has ruled on point that such a requirement is unconstitutional but who knows, perhaps a later court might break the other way. That actually doesn't matter in my view. What does matter is who is going to pay the lawyers to get this thing up in *front* of that court. In this case, it is we the taxpayers who are going to be paying those salaries. So, we get the distinct displeasure of funding a (possible) reduction in our future rights. Sad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:34pm

    LOL!

    Q: What do New York City and Podunk have in common?
    A: Podunk doesn't have a World Trade Center either!

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 4:00pm

    I'm sorry Mr lawmaker man, I can't hear you over my outrage that your police force can commit perjury in a court of law and the DA can decline to press charges.
    I'm sorry your more concerned about people calling you a halfwitted fuck online anonymously, than the abuse of power running rampant in the legal system in your state.
    It must be nice that your biggest concern seems to be your butthurt feelings instead of your officers threatening to rape people, but given the number of cases where they have sodomized and murdered people in the process in the past I am thinking there might be a bit of an ass obsession in your state... could this be why they keep reelecting you?

    You might need someone to explain to you that I'm calling you a giant ass.

    I'm just someone anonymous online, you should be all outraged and worked up now... where was that when a nightstick was used to rape and murder someone?

     

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    MAC, May 23rd, 2012 @ 5:22pm

    Free speach...

    They want to kill the messenger.

    That will just make the ones that send the message very angry.

    Can you say 'vote them out of office'?

     

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    MAC, May 23rd, 2012 @ 5:29pm

    Knock at the door...

    It's 3 am and there's a loud knock at the door.

    They are coming for you. In the middle of the night they get you up, beat you and your family, put black hoods on your heads and whisk you away to a world of concrete, steel, fear and pain.

    What was it that you said Mr. Politician? Some offhand comment about how you might expose someone more powerful than you to get their job? Someone less powerful than you want's your job?

    Where are the anonymous cowards to protest your removal?

    Silenced by you; that's where they are...

     

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    btr1701 (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 5:33pm

    Amazing

    I always wonder how ignorant these state politicians must be of the basic workings of the internet to think that any law passed on the state level is somehow going to solve a 'problem' like this. Even if it was actually a problem, no New York law is going to stop it. Does this Conte idiot actually think the state legislature in Albany has jurisdiction outside the state of New York?

    > In addition to banning bully speech and speech critical
    > of business

    ?!?!?

    This fucktard actually thinks it's constitutional to ban speech critical of business? The 'bully speech' bit is bad enough, though a weak argument could be made that it falls under the 'fighting words' exception to the 1st Amendment, but criticizing a business? Really? A frakking 4th-grade Civics class could tell this moron his law is an auto-fail from a constitutional perspective.

    > Conte's bill will make it a crime to post "mean-spirited and
    > baseless political attacks."

    Leaving aside the obvious constitutional question, what is the legal definition of 'mean-spirited', which will have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before a conviction could be obtained?

    > If passed, the legislation will produce a massive
    > chilling effect on political speech in the state.

    No, it won't. It will instantly be declared unconstitutional within moments of someone challenging it in a federal court-- challenges which are surely even now being prepared.

    > The law would require websites to post email addresses for
    > "removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where
    > comments are posted." Those demanding the removal of
    > content they find objectionable, however, would have their
    > anonymity protected.

    Nice double standard there! And apparently these morons are as abjectly ignorant of the Supreme Court decisions protecting anonymous speech as they are the decisions protecting political speech and critical speech.

     

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    Mr bad example (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 5:55pm

    Really?

    "You would think that lawmakers would know this,"

    Really? In an age when most state lawmakers serve no more than 8 years in office thanks to term limits and/or the desire/vanity to rise to higher office, most lawmakers don't know dick...they just have a source of considerable funds to keep getting themselves elected. The days when the lawmakers themselves were knowledgeable about subjects has come to a close, largely because those lawmakers were either failed attorneys, prosecutors, or campaign aides/lobbyists/staff members before being elected...which means they (and their staff, which they re-hire each time they are elected) now rely on paid spin masters in the form of lobbyists to provide the institutional knowledge that once existed in state houses.


    "but apparently their fragile egos can't take people making fun of them online."

    It's my experience in dealing with a large number of politicians over the years I've been alive is that the only group of people with more fragile egos than politicians are teen actors...and some of those teen actors are less spoiled and more mature than many politicians I've met.

    "What's amazing is that the lawmakers behind this seem oblivious to the concerns about the bill, insisting that anonymous posting can only be used for negative reasons."

    I don't find this that amazing at all...it's just an extension of the attitude that tells teachers to teach about the 1st Amendment to the Constitution while a school's administration is allowed to censor the school's newspaper and suspend students for exercising their rights to free speech. Far too many politicians believe that the rules apply to everybody but them.

    Perhaps we should start a grassroots campaign to change state election requirements (much easier to do it state by state than to change the US Constitution) to require that in order to be eligible to run for any office above dogcatcher, one must pass a simple test that demonstrates at least some knowledge of the laws which apply to everyone...but who am I kidding in suggesting that? The same idiots who introduce bills like the one in this article would just game the system so they'd be eligible anyway.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 5:59pm

    The Daily Kos and others already have this policy!

     

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    p, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:59pm

    just input..on subject matter

    not certain why we cannot all get along...? I have many more questions that need answers to, and find that, the answers to my questions are no easily answered. With that life is a beach so why not swim toward a life guard? if only that were so simple for a drowning person?...life is just like that..some have bad days and some just have bad lives...jsyk..coined it..Just So You Know....just like more stuff that keeps getting stolen...oops, there it goes...just like fookin that...
    don't be a hater....dont be hatin on it fix it?..or can You?...no foolin ..fix the hatin' it's not just about black..whites are loosin....not that I keep track of blac and whites..but what I see..black have the majaority....and white is stuck on stupid?

    whole world is droppin' off the map far as I am concerned..it is every person for them selves...just like dat...jsyk...read and weep I do...save me a cookie I remove or eat it later..I gain weight...who cares?

     

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    Daniel Grace, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:35pm

    I didn't realize that TechDirt had a policy of not mentioning the party unless it was relevant. That's also my own personal policy and I commend you for it. Sadly it's something I notice when broken, but don't notice when it's followed, so I didn't realize how awesome you guys were until you pointed it out.

     

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    Afterburner (profile), May 24th, 2012 @ 6:12am

    If they want my home address for a simple internet post under the imaginary problem of cyberbullying then they can quite obviously do unspeakable things to themselves. Cyberbullying is not the problem, if you think otherwise thank the media for that. ACTUAL BULLYING HAS FALLEN OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT.

     

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    John, May 24th, 2012 @ 7:38am

    Conte

    Conte is fighting against raising minimum wage from $7.50 an hour. His father should disown him. People like him make me sick.

     

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    williamwalter, May 24th, 2012 @ 8:13am

    Ban anonymous cowards.

    At times I read comments from people who use very forceful words! The words are not polite, they are nasty! With that in mind, I think it's very dangerous to want to limit speech! Just what to do about it? I have replied to people who have written unpleasant things. I usually try to keep the words civil,but blunt in a safe way! Our current President is making choices I do not feel are in our countries best interest! To radicalize him with nasty words or statements without respect is wrong in my opinion! I will and have written that I do not support him in his quest for re-election! I strongly disagree with him on the things I read, relating to his plans for America! That is my right! To see things from his side is his right also! We are supposed to follow rules we have established by the Constitution and the Congresses since day one! The opinion I have of liberals is they read the Constitution in ways they feel is the only proper way to do so! That is a violation of everyone elses civil rights! The best way to contend with bullies, bad talk, etc, is to respond in public spoken,written,etc. Just keep talking and after awhile the bullies will say or do something to identify themselves! Then the public can determine who thet wish to believe, follow, condemn,ignore! It's a real anxiety prone way of exercising free speech,but like our laws,we are innocent until proven guilty! Freedom of speech used by bullies will come to light with the Public eventually! The freedoms America affords itself come with a price tag! We pay that price while relying on John Q Publics ability to see clearly! Totalitarianism is the alternative if we act too strongly on speech! The former President George W. Bush, went after Bin Laden in an open manor! I do not know if he sent a strike force to kill bin laden covertly! I hope he didn't! President Obama sent and claimed credit for sending a strike team to execute Bin Laden! They succeeded!
    I find it rather odd that the current President being a Democrat who wants peace, would use assassination, instead of talk, to heal our troubles! President Bush stikes enemies of the U.S. openly, and is criticized for it! President Obama strikes enemies of the U.S. covertly and is praised by the critics of President Bush! It seems a punch to the back of an enemies head is much honored by the Democrats; while an open challenge to our enemies, face to face, is frowned on! Our American Freedoms were established by free speech desire, amonst other things! I just don't see Democrats who claim to be fair minded, always playing/acting/living by those rules! The current death of Bin Laden says America is willing to fight with any rules needed to be safe! Well! that is opposite of what our Constitution proclaims! We fight to win with Honor, and we give our lives with Honor, when it is determined the need has arose! Congress and the Presidency with their actions,attest to the Honor, rated and earned! People used to come to America knowing: we always try to use Honor in everything! If we misused an action, we seek redress! I missed out on the civics class in High School, I was a freshman for three years and then left school!

     

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    williamwalter, May 24th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Ban anonymous cowards.

    At times I read comments from people who use very forceful words! The words are not polite, they are nasty! With that in mind, I think it's very dangerous to want to limit speech! Just what to do about it? I have replied to people who have written unpleasant things. I usually try to keep the words civil,but blunt in a safe way! Our current President is making choices I do not feel are in our countries best interest! To radicalize him with nasty words or statements without respect is wrong in my opinion! I will and have written that I do not support him in his quest for re-election! I strongly disagree with him on the things I read, relating to his plans for America! That is my right! To see things from his side is his right also! We are supposed to follow rules we have established by the Constitution and the Congresses since day one! The opinion I have of liberals is they read the Constitution in ways they feel is the only proper way to do so! That is a violation of everyone elses civil rights! The best way to contend with bullies, bad talk, etc, is to respond in public spoken,written,etc. Just keep talking and after awhile the bullies will say or do something to identify themselves! Then the public can determine who thet wish to believe, follow, condemn,ignore! It's a real anxiety prone way of exercising free speech,but like our laws,we are innocent until proven guilty! Freedom of speech used by bullies will come to light with the Public eventually! The freedoms America affords itself come with a price tag! We pay that price while relying on John Q Publics ability to see clearly! Totalitarianism is the alternative if we act too strongly on speech! The former President George W. Bush, went after Bin Laden in an open manor! I do not know if he sent a strike force to kill bin laden covertly! I hope he didn't! President Obama sent and claimed credit for sending a strike team to execute Bin Laden! They succeeded!
    I find it rather odd that the current President being a Democrat who wants peace, would use assassination, instead of talk, to heal our troubles! President Bush stikes enemies of the U.S. openly, and is criticized for it! President Obama strikes enemies of the U.S. covertly and is praised by the critics of President Bush! It seems a punch to the back of an enemies head is much honored by the Democrats; while an open challenge to our enemies, face to face, is frowned on! Our American Freedoms were established by free speech desire, amonst other things! I just don't see Democrats who claim to be fair minded, always playing/acting/living by those rules! The current death of Bin Laden says America is willing to fight with any rules needed to be safe! Well! that is opposite of what our Constitution proclaims! We fight to win with Honor, and we give our lives with Honor, when it is determined the need has arose! Congress and the Presidency with their actions,attest to the Honor, rated and earned! People used to come to America knowing: we always try to use Honor in everything! If we misused an action, we seek redress! I missed out on the civics class in High School, I was a freshman for three years and then left school!

     

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    TheBuzzSaw (profile), May 25th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    "Rights"

    Since when is it a right to know who is behind an anonymous internet posting? If we're taken to TRIAL, yeah, you probably have some right to know who your accuser is... but an anonymous Internet posting? Sorry. That is not a right.

     

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    Kevin (profile), May 28th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Not Law

    Constitutions are not law.
    A Constitution lays out how a country is to be managed and the boundaries in which law may exists. The same applies to any Bill Of Rights
    Matters regarding the constitution are dealt with the highest court in each country. That court can only decide if an action is within the realms of the country's constitution. It cannot apply law to it's decision.
    Actions against so called illegal downloaders are dealt with under law.
    Breaches of the constitution is not dealt with by Law but by civil action.
    If you note actions taken is the highest court are never listed as the people vs but always as an individual or group vs.
    If a society disagrees with a law then an individual or group can challenge the legality of a law in the highest court but only for that court to decide if that law is constitutionally valid.
    So if people here disagree with the actions of law enforcers then challenge it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 9:13pm

    true, TD does allow a form of censorship, shame on TD for allowing that, others in the community decided I "don't need to see that" because it "offended" them, not me, but them, so those few who felt offended got to decide to hide the comment from me?

    just because I "can" click to see it, doesn't change the fact that TD allowed the post to be censored by a few people and the choice of the auto assigned name "Anonymous Coward" is an attempt to coerce people into identifying themselves, something that you say you are against?? hypocrite much???

     

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