Legislation aimed to remove anonymity from the
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
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
Internet Libeler got 23 years in Prison.
For more on this issue, see the book
Web Stalkers: Protection from Internet