Anonymous No More

It looks like New York doesn’t have much respect for the privacy of its citizens. Or at least, Senator Thomas F. O’Mara doesn’t.

Sen. O’Mara wants to pass a bill that would forbid internet users in New York from being anonymous when posting online. To sum it all up, the bill would require that any anonymous post online is subject to (read: must be) removal if the poster refuses to post and verify their legal name, IP addresses and current home address. Stalkers, you may come out of hiding now.

There are so many things obviously wrong with this proposal that I don’t even feel it’s necessary to say them. But I must point out one thing that irked me from the article:

Anonymity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the United States was founded, in part, thanks to Thomas Paine’s anonymously written, pro-revolution pamphlet Common Sense. On the other hand, 12-year-olds who post anonymously on the internet can be rather unpleasant and cause real problems by cyberbullying. Whether you think the good outweighs the bad, this news is troubling indeed: A far-reaching bill introduced in the New York State Senate could end the practice of posting online once and for all.

The part that annoys me is highlighted in bold. This has nothing to do with bullying, whatsoever. Yes, it’s true that immature teens and preteens do abuse (what should be) their internet privileges, but that’s the fault of the parents who allow them online without monitoring with they do, not the government for not passing such a law sooner. In my opinion, if a kid can’t be trusted to use the internet responsibly, they shouldn’t be allowed to use it until they’re 18 or older anyway (I’ve been using the internet alone since I was 10, but I knew better). However, that’s a topic for another time.

The point is this bill is not only intrusive, but also poses a threat to all internet users. When I read the article at first, it sounded like the choice was up to website administrators, but that is not the case. They must remove the comment upon requested and since there are jerks and trolls online, it will happen. I consider the danger of a 12-year-old being stalked and kidnapped a much greater risk than an immature 12-year-old creating nasty comments and emails.

This is why we don’t give idiots too much power. Or power at all.

Sources:

Yahoo: New York Senate bill seeks to end anonymous internet posting
Geekosystem: Ludicrous Bill In New York State Senate Endeavors To End All Anonymous Posting On The Internet
Tecca, original source: New York Senate bill seeks to end anonymous internet posting

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