Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Brazilian Politician Says No One Should Be Anonymous Online

from the does-anyone-think-through-unintended-consequences-any-more dept

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.

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  • identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 6 Nov 2006 @ 6:03pm

    Moronic - but I love it!

    So all I have to do to get some dumb braziliian's details is to write a piece of software to read his certificate! and all a smart brazillian has to do is use IP over DNS and skip out the ID! the only ppl who win are the smart crooks.

    Anything like this cannot work if there are ppl who are not in countries where this law applies, so good luck to the brazillian govt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, 6 Nov 2006 @ 6:19pm

    What? That's it? To be REALLY effective, the law should also force you to send your photo too!

    And its got to be a recent one, none of this 1990's BS!


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stu, 6 Nov 2006 @ 7:34pm

    as I said on a previous post . . .

    What if lots of governments agree to some really abusive laws? They can do it one country at a time, quietly, with no fanfare.

    As we've all seen - just because a law is stupid and/or ineffectual, doesn't mean it won't be passed - and enforced.

    The Green Frog Metaphor
    Placed in boiling hot water, he struggles to get free.
    Placed in cool water that is warmed slowly, he is too weak to get out by the time he realizes that he's in trouble.

    Anyone feeling a bit warmer yet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 7 Nov 2006 @ 5:34am

    Identity Theft...

    Oh there's no post here. Just read the title...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jimmy, 7 Nov 2006 @ 6:23am

    Keyword: Look up POLITICIAN;
    -somebody whose main political motive is self-advancement

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Concerned citizen, 7 Nov 2006 @ 7:31am

    The way I see it, you don't have to know somebody in order or to talk to them in person, so why should it be a law in order to talk to them online? People should have the same privacy online as you do in real life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justin, 7 Nov 2006 @ 8:51am

    This would just make spoofing that much more effective. You'd have tons of innocent people getting accused of crimes they did not commit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ian Rae, 7 Nov 2006 @ 9:26am

    Surveil the data, not the people

    The effect of any such requirement will lead to the opposite of what is intended, driving people to anonymizers and encrypted communication en masse.

    If you have to surveil internet traffic, surveil the data but not the people, please.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ed, 8 Nov 2006 @ 9:33am

    Some perspective point of view

    In first: Politician are the same, no matter the country. Dumb people, unfortunately have no nacionality.

    Second: Brazil is not the first, for sure!!!

    Third: Is better a law to do it, by this way, at least you do know what you can/cannot do. Instead some places wher the government do it with not so clear means... all the time!!

    Forth: this is a great BUll$¨%$%&¨ indeed.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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