New York Senate Bill Seeks to Destroy Anonymous Comments on Web

Anonymity on the web is a tricky issue. On one side of the coin, the ability to write things on the Internet anonymously can be a good thing. People can express their opinions and beliefs on the web without risking their lives or retaliation. This is especially true if they are expressing taboo or unpopular ideas. With anonymity, people can do or say worthwhile things without feeling scrutinized or monitored by others.

On the other hand, anonymity on the Internet can unleash the darker side of people. It allows people to say or do things they normally wouldn’t do. Due to such anonymity, people today are being faced with online threats, harassment, and reputation damage, which is why so many people are investing in reputation management services. Regardless of which side you take on the issue, you might not have a choice if a proposed bill gets passed.

A new bill introduced in the New York State Senate by Sen. Thomas F. O’Mara, S6779, aims to end anonymous posts on the internet. If passed, the proposed legislation would make it legal for webmasters to remove anonymous posts on the web if the user does not disclose their legal name, IP address, and home address. Critics of the bill say it goes against the First Amendment. They also agree that openly disclosing personal information on the web such as a home address could be extremely dangerous.