A sure-fire way to marginalize open discourse on blogs

Courtesy of NJ Assemblyman Peter Biondi:

2.  The operator of any interactive computer service or an Internet service provider shall establish, maintain and enforce a policy to require any information content provider who posts written messages on a public forum website either to be identified by a legal name and address, or to register a legal name and address with the operator of the interactive computer service or the Internet service provider through which the information content provider gains access to the interactive computer service or Internet, as appropriate.

Here is the bill. So I would have to maintain this information and turn it over to the government when requested? I am no legal scholar, and don’t even play one on TV, but this strikes me as someone waaay overstepping the boundaries of government’s purposes. I would hope that Virginia would never even consider legislation like this. Rules are one thing. Government enforcement is another.

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  1. TrvlnMn March 7, 2006 at 15:11

    And it’s no surprise that it is a Republican making this sort of proposal.

    Speaking of course in generalities, conservatives do well in talk radio but with online blogs the other end of the political spectrum has a clear head start, and a better handle on the medium. Not to mention how much the medium has the potential to satisfy the “whistle blower” in all of us.

    Right now it’s just looking like the republican big brother is trying to reign in free speech in a medium that they do not do as well in.

    Additionally outside of the fact that someone could’ve signed up using a fake name and address, a lot of what is being proposed is redundant and only serves to try and intimidate a potential whistle blower. The ISP’s already have methods in place to keep track of their users, it’s called IP numbers. And the only time someone cannot fake their name and address is when they sign up for internet service.

  2. Ray Hyde March 8, 2006 at 14:27

    And in Virginia there is a similar proposal regarding making public the names of the owners of pets.

    I don’t know who dreams these things up, don’t they know that pets own people?