Thursday, May 24, 2012

Republican's Hypocritical Anti-Anonymity Bill!

I just read the following on The Huffington Post regarding The Internet Protection Act being floated around in Albany:
A new bill in Albany has its sights set on anonymous internet trolls. The Internet Protection Act would require sites to have online commenters identify themselves.
The Act, sponsored by Assemblyman Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue) and Senator Thomas O'Mara (R-Big Flats), would require New York-based websites to "remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post."
Assemblyman Jim Conte (R-Huntington Station) explained that the legislation "turns the spotlight on cyber-bullies by forcing them to reveal their identity or have their post removed."
The legislation would also prevent people from posting anonymous criticisms of businesses. "Too often, rival businesses will post negative and false posts to hurt their competition," writes Conte.
And lastly, the bills would help politicians. Conte again: "...the legislation will help cut down on the types of mean-spirited and baseless political attacks that add nothing to the real debate and merely seek to falsely tarnish the opponent’s reputation by using the anonymity of the Web."
Why do I find this interesting?

I think of all the arguments defending anonymous political donations - mostly coming from conservatives - and then I see these proposals - coming from conservatives.

It seems a bit hypocritical for these people to promote a bill that blatantly attacks free speech while other forms of "free speech," namely non-profits that are allowed to collect unlimited funds without disclosing their donor information, are allowed to make "mean-spirited and baseless political attacks that add nothing to the real debate and merely seek to falsely tarnish the opponent's reputation by using" their anonymity.

Just consider the numerous "news" articles that cite anonymous sources, unnamed staffers and aides, and off-the-record officials.  Would a candidate telling an anecdote that eventually makes its way to the web find themselves in violation of this law?  Would journalists protecting their sources be rounded up and put in jail? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts and experiences in relation to this post. Remember to be respectful in your posting. Comments that that are deemed inappropriate will be deleted.