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I wonder what all of you think about this

Kentucky Lawmaker Wants to Make Anonymous Internet Posting Illegal

Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.

The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site.

Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted.

If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

Representative Couch says he filed the bill in hopes of cutting down on online bullying. He says that has especially been a problem in his Eastern Kentucky district.

Action News 36 asked people what they thought about the bill.

Some said they felt it was a violation of First Amendment rights. Others say it is a good tool toward eliminating online harassment.

Represntative Couch says enforcing this bill if it became law would be a challenge.

Source

27 Comments:

  • I think he has way too much to hide and it is showing by these sort of ideas. Although, it is true that the rednecks in my region are notorious for online bullying. TN too. But, Todd, you know as well as I do that if they wanted to bust people for online bullying, all they have to do is finger the post and later query the isp administrators. I think a fine for such an act is more appropriate. And it could help fund something else for the state, killing two birds with one stone. Not to mention, giving some badly needed techies an opportunity to show their stuff while earning a good pay.

    By spy153, at 9:23 AM

  • I wish they would do that with online porn too.

    By spy153, at 9:25 AM

  • I do not know about other sites but at lottery post our e-mail address is on record with our username if it is necessary to find the actual person.
    Great thinking ahead Todd.

    By JAP69, at 10:08 AM

  • As far as other sites go I think it is a good idea to have on record the actual indentity of the person using a username.
    The bad apples make it necessary for all.

    By JAP69, at 10:13 AM

  • "If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

       Representative Couch says he filed the bill in hopes of cutting down on online bullying."
    _________________________________________

       It's obvious that this isn't about reducing internet crime of any type; it's about reaching into yet another businessman's pockets in order to keep their coffers filled. If Mr. Couch really wanted to do something about internet bullying, criminal penalties would be provided for the perpetrator. Instead, he elects to fine the webmaster, an action which punishes the victim rather than the person who actually violates the proposed law.
       I've never posted to a public forum without having to agree to the same restrictions and provisos contained in Couch's bill. When I click on "I Agree," the responsibility for what I write rests squarely on my shoulders, and if I post something which is considered inappropriate, my post is deleted from public view, and I'm punished by the webmaster in accordance with the terms by which I agreed to comply. This policy warrants that the punishment fits the crime, and for those of us who have a need to be heard, it's enough to keep us in line.
       The way things are going, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to read tomorrow that some idiot who had enough money to get himself elected has sponsored a bill which would impose a tax for every post we make on ANY online forum. I can hear many of you saying, "No, Jim, they could never do that, because it would violate the First Amendment." In truth, such issues worry us much more than they concern any legislator, and I believe this article should be sufficient evidence of that.
       Jim

    By jim695, at 10:24 AM

  • "Much ado about nothing"

    By Ms. Pat, at 10:35 AM

  • 1st Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    The internet skewers, twists, rips, and walks around the 1st. amendment. This is bad legislation. I have no problem in giving my info. but people will find a way to skirt it, fake it, and abuse it anyway. Fining web operators is a money grab. Enforcing it would create another bunch of useless, overpaid, govt. bureaucrats that would be wasting our tax dollars, Rep. Couch should get off the couch and get the local police involved in Eastern Kentucky and take care of it locally.

    Spy has a point, since AlGore invented the internet, he is directly responsible for the abuse of women and children becoming a multibillion dollar business on the internet, if anything should be addressed, it is porn, read the first amendment again. I want the govt. (IRS) to collect taxes on that, not my home office. It is a worldwide issue and problem that is debasing human decency and dignity.



    By jarasan, at 10:46 AM

  • I think the people that have bad intentions can always get around this someway. Why add one more thing you can't enforce. It's just another way for the government to "get paid".

    By jackpotismine, at 11:37 AM

  • I think most message boards and chat rooms would lose a large percentage of their members, especially women who want to remain anonymous for their own protection. The entire bill is just the opposite of what internet users are told to do everyday which is to protect their identities online. Any web site has the user's IP address if he feels that person is breaking the law, or threatening harm to another. I once reported a chat to AOL when I first got online 10 years ago. I'm not sure if they did anything about it, but I can't even repeat what this man wrote. New to the net, I was shocked. He was talking about his plans to murder people of a certain race. I was 46 and I just discovered that there are many sick, depraved, corrupt & perverted people all over the world sitting behind computer monitors. Anyway, although I agree with Ms Pat, I also agree with Jim. We're losing our right to privacy. Now half of us can't even vote in private any more.

    By justxploring, at 1:03 PM

  • I don't like it. If someone doesn't want to give their full name when posting online in a chat or message board they shouldn't have to. I agree with others when they say that the govt. is just trying to get more control of us.

    By ThatScaryChick, at 1:24 PM

  • Another example of how current day politicians think. Draft and pass a bill that is dead on arrival.

    By bobby623, at 1:40 PM

  • I think if it happens it would cause a lot of webmasters to screen posters comments before posting and make sure that the proper security is in place to skirt around it.

    By Tenaj, at 1:48 PM

  • If there's online bullying then law enforcement already has ways of addressing the issue which are highly effective.

    Parents are responsible for their children's actions, responsible for applying parental controls to computers children have access to, also responsible for observing sites their children access. Installation of a custom HOSTS file can block access to many sites .... with it installed you simply don't go there. http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

    Spaware Blaster [freeware] also blocks sites.   Anti virus software with parental controls is another layer to block sites.

    Rep. Tim Couch's proposal appears to be yet another extension of powers of the nanny state.

    Finally posting a person's real name on the internet would be an open invitation for even more identity theft, potential stalking, you name it ..... why not paint a fluorescent orange bullseye on your back and be done with it.

    By konane, at 2:09 PM

  • For the record here, I agree with those who are against this bill. First of all, I believe Mr. Couch is a *state* representative, meaning his bill would be filed to become law in Kentucky, not Federal law. So his last statement about being difficult to enforce is obviously true. If I'm not mistaken, Kentucky is not the data center capitol of the world, so most web sites are not hosted there, and most webmasters do not live there. So how the heck would it be enforced?

    The Internet is a global thing, so as we've seen, even federal Internet laws are difficult to enforce, let alone a state law.

    All web developers worth their salt capture IP addresses of each post, so if they wanted to add legislation to force webmasters to capture IP addresses, I guess I wouldn't be vigorously against that. After all, providing an IP address is the only way your computer is able to receive a response every time you click something, so such a law would not erode any rights that have not already been eroded. The only thing it would do is enforce good programming practice.

    In my opinion, having an IP address is better for law enforcement than having a name anyway. Having a name is useless, because there is no way to verify if it is correct or not. Having an IP address absolutely captures the pathway through the Internet that was used to post something. Even if the person used an anonymizer service, it does provide the start of a trail if law enforcement needed it.

    If law enforcement wanted to find someone who posted something illegal, they would obtain the IP address from the site owner, then they would lookup the ISP that is currently leasing that IP address, and finally they would obtain a court order demanding to know which customer was logged on to that IP address at the date/time the message was posted. Some ISPs even keep a record of Internet traffic that was placed over their wires for the past x number of days, so they may even be able to reproduce the exact series of steps the person took.

    Again, capturing an IP address is already done by practically every web server and forum site already, and/so there is nothing evil about it.

    The point is, if someone was really using the Internet for illegal purposes, the mechanisms are already in place to find them. This proposed bill is just harassment and unnecessary money-grabbing from someone who obviously does not understand Internet law enforcement.

    By Todd, at 2:10 PM

  • I don't like it at all this country is becoming a nanny place. Anyway whats to stop someone from going to the library or other terminal and posting under an assumed name or the name of a well respected citizen.

    By four4me, at 4:42 PM

  • I agree with Jim695 & jarasan. I also would *not* dismiss this just because it's "Kentucky". Utah is working on a bill to designate some ISPs "community friendly" i.e. they censor traffic. It will be "voluntary" ... with fines for not complying. In my diggings around, I have found that it is "poor" areas, "minority" groups, and otherwise "ignorable" people & places where these incremental policies are test-run. We operate by "case law" in this nation. Something starts out in cow-town and sets a precedent to be eventually rolled out nationwide. This bill may not be passed in KY, on it's first reading, but it may put the bug in the ear of a California assemblyman. Get it? The CA guy introduces it. "California is considering it". Now it's national news. Tag "it'll help protect children", "help law enforcement", and "prevent terrorism" onto it, and you've got yourself a new tax and an extra level of site admin... if you want to stay in business. By the time you get around to caring and complaining, they have a list of 10 places where it's "been tried & working for 5 years".

    By time*treat, at 6:45 PM

  • Todd, I can't believe you think that about KY. Granted, they aren't the data center capitol of the world. But they aren't as dumb as everyone thinks, either. And to think there aren't that many websites or webmasters here is....well... ignorance. If you want to kick me off here for that statement, fine. But don't diss my state and expect me to say nothing about it. Especially when you are wrong. In essence, you were calling ME and everyone from KY stupid and computer illiterate.

    And the only ones who should be concerned about this bill are the webmasters who are going to be fined for others' stupid behavior online. I bet half of the people who act like that online are big wusses in real life. Or losers in other ways.

    By spy153, at 7:32 PM

  • @spy153: You are making up things and feelings I never stated. I stated facts about how there are not a lot of major sites based in Kentucky, so that would translate into a difficult-to-enforce law. Or would you like to name some for me?

    YOU are the one who is translating that fact into "Ketuckians are dumb" or some other thing that I NEVER said and NEVER even hinted at. Give me a friggin break.

    By Todd, at 8:12 PM

  • I'm sorry if I translated that wrong, Todd.

    Here are a few website design and development companies:

    Kywebsites.com
    www.rbdesignstudio.com
    www.interceptdesigns.net/
    www.logodesign77.com/
    www.elinkdesign.com
    www.webtechns.com/
    www.3rddimensiondesign.com/about.html
    www.netmediaone.com/website2004/hosting.html
    www.webmediainteractive.com/webdesignservices.html
    piercemultimedia.com
    http://www.ixwebhosting.com/index.php/v2/pages.dspmain

    The list goes on.

    By spy153, at 8:33 PM

  • Again, you're making up stuff I never said. I am certain that many web design companies exist in Kentucky. I can read through the yellow pages too.

    The law has NOTHING to do with web design companies. It has to do with where the law is enforced, which is where a site is hosted, or where the owners of a site lives.

    So which big forums are hosted within Kentucky, or which web site owners (of big forums) live in Kentucky)? Or maybe you can compare how many big data centers are within Kentucky vs. how many are in California, New York, Illinois, or Texas?

    Note, before you misinterpret again, that I did not say that NO web sites are hosted in Kentucky, and I did not say that NO web site owners live in Kentucky, and I did not say that NO data centers are in Kentucky. I am specifically talking about a percentage of sites and owners and data centers are in Kentucky. I am saying that majority of big sites and owners and data centers are not in Kentucky.

    You should go back and re-read my comments to see that I was proving how making this as a state law in Kentucky was unenforceable due to the much lower volume of data centers in Kentucky. It's like saying that New Jersey is not the dairy cow capitol of the world. Should New Jersey people get pissed off when I state that?

    I can't believe that I need to spell this out in such excrutiating detail, and I assure you that this is the last. You are obviously way too sensitive to anyone who mentions your state in any capacity. I happen to like Kentucky, as I have mentioned in a previous blog.

    By Todd, at 8:47 PM

  • Kentucky shares its borders with several states, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Missouri, I think it is the most.

    By jarasan, at 10:30 PM

  • Ay Caramba! Hopefully you're not using the fact of many border states as an argument against my last post! I don't think I could take another non-sequitur!

    By Todd, at 11:28 PM

  • Not at all. I have lots of book maps and I just happened to be perusing it the other day and noticed that it bordered seven states! I had to visit Paducah for a couple of days back in the eighties when I lived in GA. I traveled a lot back when there was airline called Eastern. I saw the demise of Eastern at Hartsfield as it was happening, it was surreal being on the tarmac and seeing all those parked aircraft lined up and no one fussing over them, just sitting there, hurriedly parked, not lined up, I was thinking about all the people who lost their jobs, one of those things one never forgets.

    By jarasan, at 11:55 PM

  • I used to fly Eastern Airlines out of Logan.   It was one of those companies you thought would be around forever.

    By justxploring, at 12:52 PM

  • Well Todd, you sure opened up a can of worms and PO'd a few with this one, didn't you? LOL.
    My little 2 cents worth, not sure it's even worth that much. I do think that we are losing our liberties and freedom little by little each day. As much as I think we need to be ever more vigilant against any more attacks, I also hate "Big Brother" telling me what I can and can't do. I don't think more laws like this do any real good for anybody. Couch probably is just trying to make himself look good.

    By rcbbuckeye, at 4:37 PM

  • Many of our own Georgia state legislators come up with some truly dumb ideas not founded in reality, so in this case it sounds like hot air. Lets hope anyway ... it's a lame idea.

    By konane, at 11:28 PM

  • @rcbbuckeye: That's true (about Couch probably just trying to make himself look good), but I've seen the same thing happen in other states too (including mine), and it usually stems from a constituent of theirs using a forum to post negative information. Politicians with their power threatened by an anonymous person will do almost anything to find out who is inflicting the damage. So I tend to think of these bills as very selfish - not done "for the common cause".

    By Todd, at 2:27 PM

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