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Don Burleson Blog 








Legislation aimed to remove anonymity from the web

In the article Anonymity in an age of full disclosure, we see that states are considering laws requiring ISP's to disclose personal identities when offenses are charged:

It seems as though virtually all of the problems of the Net stem from this one flaw ... If we eliminate anonymity online, we can create a far more civil place."

Lawmakers in New Jersey seem to agree. Two new recent bills -- A1327 and A2623 -- introduced to the state assembly require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to disclose user information in any claim of defamation. If these bills were to pass, individuals who are accused of online bad-talk in New Jersey would face instant disclosure of their identities to their accusers.

The author then goes on to confuse this legislation with a violation of free speech:

"In addition to enabling countless futile law suits, these bills would violate the right to free speech and anonymity, something some may call the very essence of the internet. "

Of course, the legislation does not violate free speech at all, it simply makes people responsible for their own words, just like every other publisher in the world.  Free Speech is alive-and-well in this legislation, and they contain nothing about disclosing the identity of anyone who has not been charged with committing a criminal act.

Also, the legislation only applies when a primae facie case has been presented and approved by a judge, where the victim provides the alleged criminal publication for judgment.  This will be a Godsend to those who alleging serious crimes such as stalking and harassment, but also personal torts such as libel, defamation, tortuous interference, invasion of privacy and false light.

It's not about freedom of speech, it's about the abuse of anonymous speech to injure innocent people.  Criminal libel cases are rising and people are getting stiff prison sentences for publishing vicious lies about people on the web. This Internet Libeler got 23 years in Prison.


For more on this issue, see the book Web Stalkers: Protection from Internet Psychopaths.


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