Kentucky Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Make Anonymous Cowards Illegal

from the so-many-problems dept

Just about everyone seems to be submitting the story from last week about a local Kentucky legislator who has put forth a bill to make anonymous comments online illegal. I first saw the story on Digg, but it's been submitted about 30 times already and is starting to show up elsewhere -- sometimes with inflammatory headlines (including the one at Digg). First off, this is for Kentucky only. Second, the chances of the bill getting anywhere are slim to none. Third, even if it does miraculously pass, there is no way that it would be enforceable. In fact, even the guy who introduced the legislation admits as much. Fourth, the bill is clearly unconstitutional, violating our rights to anonymous speech (which has been reaffirmed many times by US courts). Fifth, it goes against section 230 of the CDA in that it puts the blame on service providers for the speech of their users, rather than putting the liability on the users themselves. In other words, while this gets some attention as a ridiculously bad bill, the chance of it actually going anywhere or having any impact at all is virtually nil.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: anonymous content, comments, free speech, kentucky


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:01pm

    First Post

    So Sue Me ;)

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

  • identicon
    Iron Chef, 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:19pm

    That makes as much sense as the Boulder Colorado legislator who wants to lock cats indoors and keep them on leashes...

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

  • identicon
    Jake, 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:39pm

    Very true, Iron Chef. But since I spent nearly ten years being woken up by the family moggies and next-door's tomcat trying to disembowel each other, and have met numerous people on the Internet whom I'd just love to be able to identify -albeit probably not for the reasons this legislator has in mind- I can see why they're attractive in the abstract.

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

    • identicon
      Iron Chef, 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:20pm

      Re:

      Hi Jake,

      I enjoyed your comments immensely! But I have to ask, have you read the commentary from the legislator?

      Like the efforts of this Kentucky legislator, they could be equated to trying to kill a fly with a jackhammer. Someone’s feelings were hurt. And until it’s realized that the GEN-X crowd inherently doesn’t like criticism, as they were brought up thinking they were “special” (Thanks, Fred Rogers) we’re going to continue infighting.

      Things have changed. The world is becoming more complex and globalized. Someone needs to step up and be the voice of reason.

      Again, this is a societal problem.

      http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2008/mar/09/keeping-kitty-on-a-leash/

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

      • identicon
        Jake, 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:50pm

        Heh. I figured that just going by the above article would enable me to give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he just wants the chance to hunt down every moron he meets online and set their house on fire.
        On a serious note, I'm all in favour of compelling the owners of discussion forums and the like to be more proactive in keeping some measure of order, but the proposals he's putting forward are grossly disproportionate and in direct contradiction to a couple of dozen different laws. If he's serious about this and not pulling some kind of rentaquote publicity stunt, his best bet is to push for an amendment to the CDA compelling service providers to delete posts, ban users and inform the relevant authorities where possible in the event of a criminal offence -but not a civil one- being committed through their site.

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

        • identicon
          Iron Chef, 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:27am

          Re:

          Easily the ideology behind "Wikinomics" by Don Tapscott is that "It will only hurt you if you let it."

          So does it hurt, Jake?

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

          • identicon
            Jake, 11 Mar 2008 @ 9:55am

            Re: Re:

            Iron Chef: I don't quite follow you. I'm not saying I'm not thick-skinned enough to handle the odd troll, but I don't see why they should be allowed to get away with distressing the more sensitive and annoying the hell out of everyone else. Nor do I think 'Generation X' are going to grow up without some prodding, and God knows what kind of damage some of the examples I can think of will do when they get old enough to vote.

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

            • identicon
              Jason Still, 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:18am

              Re: Re: Re:

              Iron Chef: I don't quite follow you. I'm not saying I'm not thick-skinned enough to handle the odd troll, but I don't see why they should be allowed to get away with distressing the more sensitive and annoying the hell out of everyone else. Nor do I think 'Generation X' are going to grow up without some prodding, and God knows what kind of damage some of the examples I can think of will do when they get old enough to vote.


              maybe I'm misreading you, but the last members of generation x have been of voting age for quite some time

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

            • identicon
              Iron Chef, 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:19am

              Re: Re: Re:

              You win, my friend. :-)

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

  • identicon
    illegalprelude, 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:08pm

    lol

    hahaha. Mike, I love the topic. Only regular readers of the site I believe get it. But here is what I dont understand, why spent the money to attempt to pass such ridiculous laws and to what purpose. And more so, is that tax payer money being used to do such things?

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

  • identicon
    It Wasnt me, 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:36pm

    wanted to post as "Anonymous Coward" but 1st poster beat me to it :(

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:13pm

    haha

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:33pm

    politicos like to push bills they know won't fly, if they know it'll generate headlines. That's how they maintain name recognition. Bad legislation uses up term time and is far easier to craft than good legislation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:34pm

    That's it I'm boycotting Kentucky. No more Bourbon, Chicken and horse races.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:35pm

    I bet they support King George

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

  • identicon
    Known Coward, 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:42am

    Kentucky Lawmaker

    He can go fly a kite.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2008 @ 1:36am

    Bite me Kentucky

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2008 @ 1:49am

    Don't they have anything better to do? Like inbreeding... bestiality... something else?

    Those wacky Kentuckians. When will they learn?

    ~Ju don know who I am.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2008 @ 2:49am

    Wow! the home of the brave and the home of the free. Will they try to ban proxy's next? Go after servers NOT in their Sate or the US for that matter?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2008 @ 2:49am

    Wow! the home of the brave and the home of the free. Will they try to ban proxy's next? Go after servers NOT in their Sate or the US for that matter?

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

  • identicon
    Michael G., 11 Mar 2008 @ 2:55am

    We pay these people to do what?

    It just amazes me that we pay, and some of you elect, these people to sit up there and waste time on bills that haven't a chance be passed. Days, weeks, maybe months to come up with something that even he knew was a waste of time when we're all about to pay $4.00 a gallon for gas with no end in site.

    Signed: Senator Whistle Dick

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

  • identicon
    Dave Feustel, 11 Mar 2008 @ 3:34am

    How about no anonymous voice votes in Congress

    If we're going to ban anonymous internet access, how about
    banning also anonymous voice votes in Congress so we know
    how each representative votes (or not) on every bill. No
    more unrecorded voice votes!

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

  • icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), 11 Mar 2008 @ 3:53am

    Weelll, I think them fellers in Kin-tucky...

    ...oughter be aspending less time afrettin'bout the dang internets and more time aworryin'bout the dang shortage of first cousins in the bluegrass state.



    (OK, I admit, that one was harsh.)

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

  • identicon
    Jason Still, 11 Mar 2008 @ 5:50am

    as a kentuckian...

    As someone born and raised in western KY and a current resident of Louisville, I'd like to apologize to everyone for this guy's foolishness as well as pretty much everything more than about 35 miles east of Louisville (especially Lexington and specifically the University of KY, anyone who's attended it, thought about attending it, or been a fan of their sports teams). If we give you bourbon will you forget about that half of the state and forgive us?

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

  • identicon
    Overcast, 11 Mar 2008 @ 6:40am

    So then I would lie about who I am?

    Would 'Overcast' qualify as 'non-anonymous' or do I have to use my REAL name?

    I guess someone pissed him off on a blog.

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

  • identicon
    ME, 11 Mar 2008 @ 6:52am

    yuh

    Kind of like all that illegal pr0n.

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

  • identicon
    Neal, 11 Mar 2008 @ 6:58am

    Sigh...

    As if Kentuckians weren't mocked enough for their stupidity now we've got lawmakers who'd consider themselves proud to be dumber than a fifth grader.

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

  • identicon
    James, 11 Mar 2008 @ 9:19am

    Kentucky Jelly

    Call up the 800# on the KY bottle and tell them that "Kentucky" Jelly just doesn't taste right (bonus points if you use a thick southern accent).

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

  • icon
    John (profile), 11 Mar 2008 @ 3:32pm

    Why??

    Like post #18 mentioned, why in the world was this bill even introduced? If the guy sponsoring the bill thinks it has no chance to pass, then why even start the process? Why waste time, money, and resources on a bill that is clearly useless? Are the lawmakers that bored or that desperate for attention that they propose bills which will never pass?

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

  • identicon
    happycat, 3 Apr 2008 @ 6:49am

    why does the content of message boards even need to be monitored? i have every right to proclaim jews did 9/11 just to piss off ridiculous people who take this stuff seriously. not to mention it's true lamo XD

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

  • identicon
    johnyymathew, 18 Nov 2008 @ 10:40am

    This blog is more interesting and adds excitement. I recommend people to share ideas through their blogs which may help others. ------------------------ johnyymathew kentucky drug rehab

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

  • identicon
    Tammy, 15 May 2009 @ 1:33pm

    Anonymous Cowards

    I think thi bill should be passed. Topix has gotten way out of control in our town. It is hurtful and some of the worst stuff that I have ever seen. Children are actually doing polls on who is the fattest in school. Who is the ugliest. These kids that are being cyberbullied cannont help themselves. This needs to stop

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.