Illinois Bill SB1614 Attacks Internet Anonymity

Posted on February 21, 2013. Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , |

An Illinois Democrat State Senator, Ira Silverstein, has introduced a bill called the Internet Posting Removal Act. The bill synopsis states that the bill Creates the Internet Posting Removal Act. Provides that a web site administrator shall, upon request, remove any posted comments posted by an anonymous poster unless the 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. Effective 90 days after becoming law.

It seems that, at least in Illinois, that not just guns are a threat to public safety, but anonymous postings on the internet are a threat as well. People have been writing anonymously forever.

To jump back into history again, the men who penned the Federalist Papers (papers written in support of the Constitution) and the anti-Federalist Papers (papers written warning of the dangers of the Constitution) often wrote using pseudonyms, making them anonymous. Pseudonyms such as Publius, Cato, Centinal, Brutus, and the Federal Farmer. We are pretty sure of their identities today, but they were anonymous back then, to be sure.

Many writers used pseudonyms, such as Stephen King (Richard Bachman), Janet Evanovich (Steffie Hall), and James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (Robert Jordan) just to name a few. There are reasons for anonymity, because for whatever reason, you don’t want people to know who you are or where you are at.

One of the great, and fun things about the internet is being able to say some things anonymously. Of course, this allows people to say things that they wouldn’t normally say in polite conversation, and it easier to be brave when no one knows who you are. In other words, it allows people to be assholes.

As far as I know, being an asshole wasn’t illegal, until now, I guess.

Look at the wording of the synopsis.

Remove any comments by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her… legal name and home address are accurate.

Confirm to whom? The site administrator? Will full legal names and addresses now be posted on the internet with your comments? Isn’t that an invasion of privacy?

How does Silverstein define an Anonymous Poster?

“Anonymous poster” means any individual who posts a message on a web site including social networks, blogs, forums, message boards, or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.

In other words, you don’t even have to be anonymous. All you have to do is post a comment on the internet, and you are considered an anonymous poster. And as such, you have to surrender your full legal name, home address, and phone number to the site administrator.

These sites never get hacked, you know.

I am getting so fed up with “elected officials”. Granted, I don’t live in Illinois, but what the hell are these people thinking? They keep trying to take our rights, and tack conditions on to them, to create conditional rights.

I don’t recall anything in the First Amendment saying that we can’t speak anonymously. I do remember this, however:

Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech….

Oh, and there is this from the Illinois State Constitution:

    All persons may speak, write and publish freely, 
being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

Everything on the internet leaves a trail. If someone says something truly libelous, it can be tracked down to the source, and usually the computer that it came from. There is no need for this legislation. It’s just a waste of time.

Of course, this fool will get re-elected. I realize that it most likely won’t go anywhere, but it is these harebrained ideas that clog the system up, and slow down or prevent more important work from moving forward.

How ironic is it that the Land of Lincoln has been taken over by Democrats?

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