I see that the New York State Legislature, or at least a few members, are proposing a ban on anonymous comments on blogs, newspaper comments, and similar things. As this site runs out of my house with a server in downtown Ithaca, I'd definitely have to change my policies here.
Overall, I'm not thrilled about the legislation. I have very mixed feelings about anonymity on the Internet:
On the downside, anonymity gives jerks of every kind the opportunity to hassle other people without consequences.
In a world where the consequences for taking a stand can be drastic, and where organizations of every kind indulge in crazed efforts to suppress information that doesn't mesh with their PR story, there absolutely needs to be an outlet for anonymous speech.
There's also a huge group of people in the middle who have something useful to say but aren't thrilled about handing over their name and address to everyone who might disagree.
The bill itself feels to me like it comes from a group of powerful people who want to shut down speech that might be dangerous to them. Yes, there could be a positive impact on reducing the number of cyber-bullies of all kinds, but the cost to useful political conversation seems far too great. I won't be surprised if this passes, given a climate in Albany that includes for example the Governor's office assembling dossiers on a reporter they considered too critical. It seems like an excellent tool for keeping information under the control of a few powerbrokers with an interest in maintaining New York's gross dysfunction.
via Slashdot.Posted by simon at May 23, 2012 11:27 AM in politics (state) , tech , why