I saw this today and while I’m not terribly surprised that people who don’t understand the internet want to regulate it, I was still taken aback:
In Rep. Jim Conte’s own words:
“In addition to cracking down on cyber-bullying, the bill also prevents people from posting anonymous criticism of local businesses. Too often, rival businesses will post negative and false posts to hurt their competition. With more and more people turning to online reviews, it is important to ensure that the posted information, good or bad, is from actual customers and not rival competitors.
Finally, the legislation will help cut down on the types of mean-spirited and baseless political attacks that add nothing to the real debate and merely seek to falsely tarnish the opponent’s reputation by using the anonymity of the Web.”
Is Cyber-bullying a problem? Yes. But this is throwing the baby out with the bath water. The internet thrives BECAUSE one can be (relatively) anonymous online if they choose. At the end of the day, websites can use existing tools such as Facebook Connect to crack down on trolling or anonymous content. People need to take responsibility for the content that they consume and share online instead of clamoring for censorship, even if it’s in the name of preventing things like cyber-bullying.
I wonder how these Assemblymen feel about anonymous campaign donations/disclosure rules and superPACs?