Sorry, Anonymous Scaredy Cats, But Your Days May Be Numbered


The United States' New Jersey state legislature is apparently considering a bill that would disallow anonymous speech on forums. While this may be insignificant in the sense that the NJ state legislature can only legislate New Jersey, the proposed bill is bold in its attempts:

This bill would require an operator of any interactive computer service or an Internet service provider to establish, maintain and enforce a policy requiring an information content provider who posts messages on a public forum website either to be identified by legal name and address or to register a legal name and address with the operator or provider prior to posting messages on a public forum website.

The bill requires an operator of an interactive computer service or an Internet service provider to establish and maintain reasonable procedures to enable any person to request and obtain disclosure of the legal name and address of an information content provider who posts false or defamatory information about the person on a public forum website.

In addition, the bill makes any operator or Internet service provider liable for compensatory and punitive damages as well as costs of a law suit filed by a person damaged by the posting of such messages if the operator or Internet service provider fails to establish, maintain and enforce the policy required by section 2 of the bill.

via Slashdot


Um... so what does that mean

Um... so what does that mean (in real life - and for the non-"native speakers" among us)?

Easy enough

We will just all run our forums out of Canada, cheaper anyway, and New Jersey can sit and spin on a B.O.B. ( battery operated boyfriend ).

Another Example

Just another example of how our representatives are out of touch with not only technology, but our daily lives.

damn I'm glad I moved out of that state.

That won't pass in it's present form, although it should stir up alot of controversy. Before it gets passed there will be all sorts of specifics added, loopholes inserted, and expensive legal ambiguities wrapped around it (based on past history).

There are way too many lawyers in New Jersey.

Some states used to have

Some states used to have laws that you had to stop your horseless carriage at each railroad crossing and wave a red lantern to warn any wandering trains that you were about to cross the tracks in your newfangled automobile. Such laws were made by Fat Old Guys (FOGs) who had their own carriages and drivers and had never driven an automobile in their lives but knew that they scared the horses.

Same thing with the people legislating these laws. They don't actually do these things for themselves they have their staff do "Internet things" for them so it's no skin off their teeth to propose stupid laws cos somebody horse got spooked on a forum and there was nobody around to blame.

Land of the free

Guess the freedom to be yourself means that you have to be yourself.

don't do business in NJ

wow. that bill is both really short-sighted, and just fucking dumb on top of it.

they want to bar anyone from running a forum based in the state of new jersey whose members don't agree to complete disclosure of all personal information, including physical address. super.

for those who do run forums out of NJ, there's the tacit agreement that the person running the forum is entangled in members' liability for whatever the courts may decide is "false or defamatory".

that should go over really well.

on the upside - it seems to make it COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE for someone in the great state of NJ to run a forum that doesn't conform to the legislature's rules.

unless the forum owner registers it out of somewhere else. gosh, our legislators are good. makes me feel extra-terrific about paying taxes.

4. Any person who is damaged by false or defamatory written messages that originate from an information content provider who posts such messages on a public forum website may file suit in Superior Court against an operator

that's like busting the 7th-grade math teacher for the content of the notes that kids passed in class...

oh that's funny

>Guess the freedom to be yourself means that you have to be yourself.

Is it just me? that's really funny lol

Death Sentence

All NJ web hosts might as well pack your shit and move now.

Party over.

Silly Question

would require an operator of any interactive computer service

Would that be forums as in specific hosted 'forum software/script' or would that include a public forum/gathering place that you are able to post messages on -- ie. blogs, chat rooms?

If it's strictly for certain scripts/forum software - I don't understand why the rest keep on keepin on no strings attached. Same deal - IMO.

btw - is Threadwatch a blog or a forum? :P

Do I have to present a

Do I have to present a picture ID in order to register on a forum or what?

Everything can be faked

Exactly HOW is a forum operator supposed to verify the "info" people submit?

A little public discussion and sunshine in the Garden State

I went to high school in the town where this particular legislator began his political career as a town planner and mayor. I moved out of town before he filled those roles, but my parents still live there. The forum that seems to have made him froth at the mouth is this one:

Honestly, I love it. I've never posted there, but in an effort to keep an eye on the town where my parents live, I check it out every so often. It includes sparkling tidbits of information such as where the best pizza in the county can be found, and sometimes some real dirt on politicians. It's one of the very few open forums in the area where people can meet and share information about the community.

Politics like this is what convinced me to leave New Jersey a few years ago, and I've been trying to get my parents to move, too. I feel sorry for them that they had to put up with someone like Biondi as mayor for a few years. What credibilty does some free speech from an anonymous poster have, unless maybe that person is digging a little too close to the truth?

Ridiculous legislation.

the horizon

As long as everyone is thinking forward on this issue, lets' project a bit more.

Nowadays most AM radio stations are owned by a few companies, and many, many of them are "faith-based" (that is another word for religious) or politically motivated (like those fair, balanced programs that purport to present both sides of every issue LOL)

Nowadays most FM radio stations are owned by a few companies, and many of them are "faith based" or politically aligned. Stern, Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc are making the move to private radio (Xm, Cirius) just like most good TV moved to cable some time ago.

Many, many newspapers are owned by the same publishing moguls, and those guys almost always have very strong "beliefs" whether they be political or religious or fanatical or related to historical alien invasions.

Nowadays there is very little premium programming slated for the pubic-accessible television (broadcast) channels. Most top-tier sporting is off on the cable (private) stations, or satellite or PPV, and those that are on broadcast TV are chopped up by editors and riddled with advertorial "insertions".

The recent Academy Awards showed that almost none of the big blockbuster movies that were shown in theatres across the nation warranted awards... the flip side being almost all of the quality movies (given awards) somehow didn't get exposure to the public (quality as rated by movie makers, not promotors).

In short, the public media is being controlled more and more and can be expected to be so censored going forward, just like TV, just like radio, just like the newspapers....just like the Internet. If you have any doubt about the amount of power that can be attained through even blatant manipulation of the current TV-watching/radio-listening population here in the states, take a look at the past 6 years of American politics.

The next forum you join just might present a contract for you to digitaly sign, granting indeminity to the operator for all such liability. You can't read the forum posts unless you grant indemnity, and so you can't sue unless you agreed not to sue, or you assumed the liability.

In short, I guess we need more lawyers (!)

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