New York State Legislators Want to Ban Anonymous Comments

05.23.12 Allison Burtch

The cowboys in the New York State Assembly and Senate are trying to wrassle the wild from the internet frontier. And their lasso is spinning directly towards you, internet. The bill, called the Internet Protection Act, was introduced on Monday by co-sponsors Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte and Republican Senator Thomas O’Mara. In an attempt to “crack down on cyber-bullying,” they’re going after anonymous commenters on all New York websites, including:

“social networks, blog forums, message boards or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.”

So basically, all of the internet. They want every comment ever made on New York City websites to make sure the poster’s:

“IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate. All web site administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted…clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.”

Because the one thing we want on the internet is for everyone to know what we’re doing on the internet (hi DHS!). Conte is also looking out for your Yelp reviews. He wrote that “in addition to cracking down on cyber-bullying, the bill also prevents people from posting anonymous criticism of local businesses,” which really should be the responsibility of the individual website. Leave small businesses alone! We don’t need even more government, right? This might not be the ultimate reason, though, because Conte does admit that removing anonymity is an attempt to curtail “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks.” He might be forgetting Santorum’s “Google problem” was far from anonymous.