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NJ Bill Would Prohibit Anonymous Posts on Forums

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the glad-we're-not-in-nj dept.

487

An anonymous reader writes "The New Jersey legislature is considering a bill that would require operators of public forums to collect users' legal names and addresses, and effectively disallow anonymous speech on online forums. This raises some serious issues, such as to what extent local and state governments can go in enacting and enforcing Internet legislation."

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487 comments

Frist post (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860247)

First post! (Soon to be illegal)

With apologies to Douglas Adams (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860255)

> This raises some serious issues, such as to what extent local and state governments can go in enacting and enforcing Internet legislation.

Assemblyman Peter J. Biondi: Come off it, Mr. Coward! You can't stand in front of the tanks in Tienanmen Square indefinitely! This law for the information superhighway has got to be built, and it's going to be built!

Anonymous Coward: Why's it got to be built?

Biondi: What do you mean "why"? It's a law! You've got to pass laws! You were quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time, you know.

Anonymous Coward: Appropriate time?! The first I knew about it was when you pre-filed Assembly Bill No. 1327, the cops showed up and they said they were ready to come and take me away!

Biondi: Have you any idea how much damage the government would suffer if we just let the law roll straight over you?

Anonymous Coward: No, how much?

Biondi: None at all.

Vogon: Apathetic bloody citizenry. I've no sympathy at all.

Predictable results (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860261)

"In other news, roads became congested today as a wave of trucks was seen hauling piles of servers across the New Jersey state line..."

Brrrrrrr (4, Insightful)

Grrr (16449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860263)

An operator of an interactive computer service or an Internet service provider shall 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.

Comes a vacuum, as posters retreat who aren't criminals but have reasonable fears of retribution, and a clear need for anonymity...

<grrr />

Re:Brrrrrrr (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860391)

I RTF Bill and it'll get slapped down by the courts.

The bill does not define "reasonable" and it does not require a court to find that information posted is "false or defamatory".

And "false" information is not necessarily defamatory. Maybe if the bill said "False and defamatory" it'd stand a chance, because truth is an affirmative defense against charges of libel/slander.

I can scream defamation/libel at the top of my lungs and it doesn't matter for shit until a Judge says "yea, that was libel."

This Bill is poorly written from a legal standpoint, not just in it's comprehension of the internet.

Re:Brrrrrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860634)

This is great. When Biondi just mistypes his birth year, I can get his address. People make false statements about *themselves* on the 'net most often!

Where can I dump the bodies then?? (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860806)

Part of me being a good New Jerseyan, requires that I know AT ALL TIMES, where are good places to "dispose" of a body This law would clearly infrige upon the rights of a select few people, and thus prevent us from being able to pursue our livelyhood, and is there clearly unconstitutional.
Later, Franky "The bulldog"

Uh huh (1)

Chunes (932213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860267)

And this will be enforced... how?

Re:Uh huh (1)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860307)

And this will be enforced... how?

Or, why even have the law when IPs addresses are easily tracked. Using those anonymous proxies are useless many times because; one, many sites, including /., block any traffic coming from them; two, those proxies add sooo much time to the packets that I get time-outs all the time making them useless.

Bah, it's just some politician grandstanding over nothing.

Re:Uh huh (0, Offtopic)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860310)

The intellectually weak and the state they affect will go into a decline or have a slower growth than their surrounding states - Kansas and NJ comes to my mind.

The Internet and information abundancy is a new challenge for humans and evolution will sort between them.

Re:Uh huh (4, Insightful)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860802)

And this will be enforced... how?

1. By all companies that rent server space moving out of New Jersey.
2. By all websites that allow users to post putting "Persons located in New Jersey are not permitted to comment, because your state's legislators are fools. By hitting submit, I affirm I am not currently located in the State of New Jersey" beside every submit button.

A law isn't a law... (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860273)

...unless it can be enforced.

My fear about unenforceable laws such as this one is the true power behind the law. Sure, it will be hard to enforce, but the powers the State will request to try to enforce it will play directly into the hands of those willing to finance the system.

Anonymous posting is harmless, yet un criminalizing it I can easily see how it can play into the hands of the RIAA and the MPAA -- giving them (and others) greater power in their cartels.

Re:A law isn't a law... (4, Insightful)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860400)

An a law isn't a law, if it has already been found to be unconstitutional. There is a body of SC precedent that holds that (1) anonymity is a protected free speech right, and (2) the first amendment applies to the states as well as the federal government. In this case, 1+2 = 3: Any such state law is prima facie unconsitutional.

Re:A law isn't a law... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860408)

My fear about unenforceable laws such as this one is the true power behind the law. Sure, it will be hard to enforce, but the powers the State will request to try to enforce it will play directly into the hands of those willing to finance the system.

I suspect however, that this law will not reach the light of day. Surely the Supreme Court of NJ will see it for what it is and overturn it, if NJ lawmakers are stupid enough to pass it in the first place. I personally will lobby against this locally. Ultimately, even if it should make it through the tortured NJ legal system, the US Supreme Court will strike it down, for if nothing else, it's clearly a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Re:A law isn't a law... (4, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860476)

This is the problem with any structure of checks and balances -- there is no penalty for violating the oath to uphold a given constitution.

How about an amendment to all the Constitutions with a 3 strikes and you're out law? If a law-maker votes for 3 bills that are later found to be unconstitutional, they're booted.

It amazes me how much junk makes it past the various Supreme Courts, though. Sure, this law might get tossed, but how many more make it to the books?

Re:A law isn't a law... (2, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860799)

I disagree. The legislators can have their guesses, but in the end, they don't know how courts will rule. The checks we have now seem adequate.

Re:A law isn't a law... (2, Funny)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860430)

kind of like the thin edge of the camel's nose... just waiting for all the campaign financing to get the rest of the camel through and into the tent...

Re:A law isn't a law... (4, Informative)

njchick (611256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860642)

Unfortunately, it can be enforced. From the proposed bill:
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.
Basically, if you orerate a forum in New Jersey, your site must have data for your users, whether they are from New Jersey, New York or Papua New Guinea. If you don't have such data, you are in trouble, not your users. If the data is proven to be incorrect, you are also in trouble. Jurisdiction of the users doesn't matter, neigther does it matter whether the users have any legal right to be anonymous.

Also a way to shut people up (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860275)

So you have to get proof of ID? Nice. Now, how do you do that? By sending a copy of your passport to a forum admin? Great, thanks for opening a new and interesting opportunity for Nigeria scammers. Don't have to send lengthy mails around, all you need now is his bank account, you already got the harder to get part.

Will I provide my real name if no such proof of ID is required? Hardly. And who would take it upon himself to prove that I am really myself? Hell, you can register DNS entries with fake IDs, do you really think your neighborhood forum admin will go to greater lengths than companies making some bucks with holding databases of their users?

But the bill goes further than that. A forum admin is liable for slander on his board. Now, ain't this great? Sure, you can't shut people up, first amendment and all that. But you can make sure nobody dares to offer services that would allow you to execute said right. No board, no discussion, no dissent.

Less direct than China, but by no means less efficient. You can't shut them up per se, but cover them in enough red tape that they can't go to the lengths required to stay out of harm's way and shut up "voluntarily". Either you can sink enough money into the identification process of your users to make SURE they are who they claim to be, or you can just as well shut down your board because you can't afford the lawsuits that just might spring up when someone dares to say a word someone important doesn't enjoy hearing.

Yes, yes, I can understand that it's not cool to hear slander and libel on boards. But the tools to get the person under your thumb are already here. IP logs exist, trace them to their source and you got who you need. Case closed.

So what for do you need the poster ID?

*sigh*

Let's hope our clever and very smart politicians never find out something like the usenet even exists.

Or, add more charges. (1)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860362)

Let's say you post on some forum and you're trying to pick up some 11 yr-old. Now, if they catch you, not only can they charge you with soliticing a minor (or whatever it's called) but they can also charge you with posting anonymously or with a fake ID. I'm sure posting with a "fake ID" will become illegal under that law if it's passed.

Re:Also a way to shut people up (1)

Unordained (262962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860651)

Just a note: seems Amazon's "REAL NAME (tm)" feature depends on the submitter having agreed to use the name on his/her credit card. It's not precisely the same as valid ID (in that you could be using a stolen CC) but at least it doesn't require sending your DL or passport to the forum admin. It does, however, involve giving out your CC info, at least enough to have it validated. I somehow doubt you can run a CC for $0.00 for validation, considering per-transaction fees, so getting yourself validated would mean handing out your CC info to -someone-, though it could be a trusted third party, and having it billed for a minimum amount to cover the cost of the transaction. Pay-to-play?

Re:Also a way to shut people up (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860743)

It is possible to verify CC info with no cost to the CC holder. The business doing the verifying, however, will incur costs.

Re:Also a way to shut people up (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860747)

Well, you might be able to register a DNS with a fake name, but according to ICANN rules it can be suspended if they deem it fake.

Re:Also a way to shut people up (2, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860767)

But the bill goes further than that. A forum admin is liable for slander on his board.

As it happens, they're not, I doubt this bill could change that even if it became a law. 47 USC 230(c)(1) basically says that forums et al are not liable -- with regard to libel or slander, among other things -- for posts where the content was provided by someone else, generally the user who made the post.

This federal law trumps state law.

I can picture it already. (4, Funny)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860278)

Instead of anonymous users, you'll have:

Name: Hugh Jass.
Address: 123 Fake Street.
Email: yourmomma@home.com

Brilliant idea!

Re:I can picture it already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860498)

Nah, just use this one instead:

Peter J. Biondi
1 East High St.
Somerville, NJ 08876

I wonder what our Founders would think? (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860279)

Many of them posted handbills - anonymously - at public places.

Some of them posted scurious tracts arguing for Common Sense and other radical ideas, many using pen names (the same as anonymous postings).

I for one welcome our Thought Police Masters and bow to them in the East five times a day ...

Re:I wonder what our Founders would think? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860327)

That sounds like something a terrist would say!

What would the Founders think? You have to ask? (2, Informative)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860373)

Re:What would the Founders think? You have to ask? (2, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860603)

Thanks for the link. It's been a while since I've reviewed the Federalist Papers.

One thing that stands out from the wiki entry is at the end. The part regarding the Bill of Rights. The last two sentences read:

Supporters of the bill of rights argued that a list of rights would and should not be interpreted as exhaustive; i.e., that these rights were examples of important rights that people had, but that people had other rights as well. People in this school of thought were confident that the judiciary would interpret these rights in an expansive fashion.
That got my attention because the current configuration of the court has a near majority of people who view the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution in general, as limiting rights, not expanding rights. I know Scalia in particular thinks that the Constitution is not a living document but says what it says and should never be interpreted otherwise.

Unfortunately it appears that the writers of the Papers were correct in their assessment.

Re:I wonder what our Founders would think? (5, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860550)

The founding fathers are sooo pre-911.

Congratulations, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860694)

funniest /. post I've seen in some time.

Anonymous posts are just plain wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860281)

About time they took measures to stop this.

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860283)

(Posting as AC for obvious reasons)

The gist is that it is to protect people from slander and such, but of course it is just a way to keep track (more easily) of who is saying what on websites. If the privacy groups do not get this thing shot down, hopefully the web business folks will complain that it will cost too much to implement... that generally is more effective in getting the government to agree with you. Which is itself rather sad.

F*ck'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860286)

So we all start pretending to be someone else instead of Anonymous. Fuck em; fuck em again.

Yeah but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860292)

does this include anonymous cowards? :P

I don't see how this is a problem. (1)

SteveWhitty (950075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860293)

As a law, it's unenforcable. New Jersey doesn't control the internet outside the state lines. And within the state lines, how can a forum operator ensure that all his/her users give accurate information? Even if this law passes, it won't survive the first time it gets enforced.

Re:I don't see how this is a problem. (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860347)

The fair Garden State will turn into the State of Decay. How better to encourage online participation than to threaten fines or jail for those doing what other people in every jurisdiction but China already allow?

Re:I don't see how this is a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860412)

Even if this law passes, it won't survive the first time it gets enforced.

It doesn't matter how ineffective the law is. Other states probably have representatives that feel the same way as the NJ government. After seeing that this bill has passed in NJ, more states will follow suits and it will become harder to be anonymous.

I didn't think of it that way (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860772)

New Jersey doesn't control the internet outside the state lines.
This could get bitch slapped by the Federal Courts for interfering in interstate commerce.

FYI, just about everything can be filed under interstate commerce if the Feds twist logic hard enough.

Send me to jail then. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860311)

Don't send me to jail for being a coward.

Ah, the sweet sweet sound... (2, Interesting)

Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860314)

of America flushing itself down the toilet of total fucking irrelevance.

I was skiing this week with a friend of mine who manages a half-billion dollar investment fund. His skepticism about the US was withering. It will not be very long before the world economy interprets America, with its spaghetti of ludicrous, paranoiac IT legislation, DMCA bullshit and general hostility towards 'the other', as damage, and routes around it.

Maybe the last person in the US with a job which does not involve burgers could turn out the lights.

Re:Ah, the sweet sweet sound... (0, Flamebait)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860549)

I was skiing this week with a friend of mine who manages a half-billion dollar investment fund. His skepticism about the US was withering. It will not be very long before the world economy interprets America, with its spaghetti of ludicrous, paranoiac IT legislation, DMCA bullshit and general hostility towards 'the other', as damage, and routes around it.

And just where is he going to move to to be more "relevant"? Europe with its socialism inherent and impossibility of making a go of it? Russia filled with organised crime, or Canada with the same eurosocialists in power? Africa with 15c to rub together, or Asia where you can make millions in one of a hundred currencies so devalued they're worthless anywhere else? South america where the greens are so entrenched in industry that it's nearing impossibility to make a profit?

If he thinks he's got it bad in the USA your friend really needs to get out into the world a bit more.

You're truly clueless (1)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860711)

Pssst! Your US-centric worldview is showing. You're the one who needs to go out and see the rest of the world. Not only are you wrong about all those places, but America is still falling behind, fast.

Re:Ah, the sweet sweet sound... (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860780)

Sounds like you need to get out into the world. We are quickly becoming the antiquated laughing-stock of the world.

Re:Ah, the sweet sweet sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860809)

As opposed to every European counry, which are already irrelevant.

I'm truly shocked... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860334)

...that more people aren't posting as Anonymous Cowards under this topic.

First criminal! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860339)

First criminal!

Founding fathers of US used anon speach (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860340)

It's amazing how much of the colonial-era writings of Ben Franklin and many other founding fathers of this country was done under aliases/pen-names/fake-IDs.


Between the risks of identity theft and crackdowns on anon speach, it seems like a pretty good idea for everone to have a backup-ID of their own; in case their primary ID is stolen or if they need to speak anonymously.

At the same time.... (3, Interesting)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860368)

Might want to remind the New Jersey legislature that "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

At least with the First Amendment, they can get out of it by saying "It says "CONGRESS" shall make no law, not New Jersey."

Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"? (0, Troll)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860434)

No?

Then shut your trap.

Re:Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860568)


Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"?
(Score:3)
by brunes69 (86786) Alter Relationship on Mon March 06, 14:23 (#14860434)
(http://www.keirstead.org/ [keirstead.org] )
No?

Then shut your trap.


"Well-regulated militia" does not mean what you apparently think it does. If the PP is an American citizen,
the 2nd Amendment applies to his/her right to keep/bear arms... this is fairly well established.

Re:Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"? (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860582)

Actually, if you're an adult capable of bearing arms, you are a member of the militia. As far as the 1st amendment goes (or the rest of the Bill of Rights for that matter), they are extended to the states through the 14th amendment. Wow, that 1st degree in Political Science, was actually worth something!

Re:Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"? (-1, Flamebait)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860705)

I'm an adult, physically capable of bearing arms. I am not now, nor will I ever be, a member of a militia- I do not own a gun, I have never fired a gun (outside of a water gun), and I have no wish to train to be a professional killer. I find the very idea insulting and abhorrent. So no, try again.

Re:Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860791)

Your definition of "militia" doesn't matter when you're interpreting the Constitution. As used in the Constitution, "militia" means all citizens eligible for military service.

Re:Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860810)

Well if you live in the United States, and are a citizen thereof, then you are in a militia whether you like it or not. There are such a things as selective service and military drafts. While yes the military of the US is currently all volunteer there is no guarantee that it will remain that way. In the past it has been both volunteer and conscripted. So yes, odds are you are a member of a milita.

Re:Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860680)

yes, I am

Re:Are you a member of "a well-regulated militia"? (4, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860729)

"A well-educated populace being necessary to a nation, the right of citizens to read shall not be infringed."

Using your interpretation of the second amendment, the above sentence would prohibit anyone who isn't well-educated from reading. Also, as the other poster pointed out, "militia" as it is used in the Constitution is a much broader term than you seem to think.

Are you a member of "the people"? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860778)

Because that's who the 2nd Ammendment gives the right to bear arms to.

No really, read it again.

Yep (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860821)

I'm the Commanding Officer of the House Where I Live Militia.

I'm also the Inspector General and Sergeant at Arms. We have very loose naming, but our regulations are otherwise quite strict. Since our membership highly exclusive, our discipline has so far been perfect.

So come get my gun if you want it. Oh, but find me first.

Which is the point: anonymous posting and gun ownership are two sides of the same coin. One is the pen, the other the sword. If New Jersey or Congress try to take away one, they will suffer defeat by the other.

Re:At the same time.... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860436)

The Supreme Court has held that the 14th Amendment causes all of the restrictions provided by the US Constitution to be applied to the states as well.

Woo Hoo (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860383)

I personally can't wait for the nasty replies to enforcement efforts to be posted on the Pirate Bay's ``legal threat" pages. . . . .

Speaking truth to authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860384)

FUCK YOU!

It's unconstitutional (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860387)

http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca-sub/faq.cgi#QI D508 [chillingeffects.org]

Anonymous pamphleteering is protected under the first ammendment. There are a number of cases that set a precident for this. For this NJ law to stand would fundamentally change the law of the land.

Isn't it kind of pointless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860392)

This seems to be about protecting people from libel.

This is kind of pointless. Forums are inherently unreliable. It's very hard to smeer someone online because virtually nobody will believe you. Especially if you post anonymously. They'll just assume that the poster has a grudge against the victim. And if the harm done is sufficient, there will usually be ways to determine who posted defamatory information without requiring logging.

Papers, please. (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860399)

RFID, banning anonymity--what next, random searches on the street and in your home?

I hate politicians.
 

Re:Papers, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860560)

Well, it's the people who put them in power, so you better just generalize some more and say "I hate people". Honestly, though; how many people AREN'T cockbiting fucktards? We act as if politicians and lawyers have a monopoly on being cunts.

I am sure this will go over well. (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860402)

So, only people whose IP says they are from NJ will be forced to register.

The result?

  - People in NJ who want to remain anonymous to do obnoxious postings will use a proxy

  - The people who will be hassled and thus pissed off? The people who live in NJ and are not doing obnoxious postings.

Way to bring home the vote fellas - by pissing off all your constitients.

Dead on Arrival, I'd say. (4, Informative)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860404)

This is silly. The New Jersey Supreme Court has already decided [usatoday.com] that citizens of New Jersey enjoy a strong First Amendment right to anonymity in their online postings.

I doubt this bill even gets out of committee, let alone gets passed by the NJ Assembly so that it can be immediately struck down by a NJ judge. As for why, then, a hopeless, pointless bill was introduced by Assemblyman Biondi -- mmmm, maybe he's got an election coming up? Needs to do a little grandstanding?

Re:Dead on Arrival, I'd say. (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860700)

My bet is Biondi got trolled by an anonymous coward and is seeking revenge.

How's this going to be enforced? (1)

Wizardry Dragon (952618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860407)

Now, I Am Not An American Politician Nor Am I An American Lawyer, but isnt something of this scope -completely- out of the scope of a state? How are you going to keep people from other states from posting anonymously in a forum? How are you going to keep people in your state from posting in other states' forums anonymously? It sounds almost completely unenforcable to me.

~ Wizardry Dragon

jurisdiction (4, Informative)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860545)

It's not unenforceable, it's just unconstitutional, and therefore will not happen.

You may be thinking that New Jersey has no jurisdiction over people who live in other states. Not true. New Jersey asserts jurisdiction over everyone who lives in New Jersey and also everyone who does business in New Jersey, or who materially affects a citizen of New Jersey or the general interests of the citizens of New Jersey.

Hence, if you, Joe Citizen of any U.S. state other than NJ, or even a citizen of another country, do something over the 'net that affects someone in NJ, and is illegal under NJ law, then a NJ court will have no problem issuing a warrant for your arrest. The governor of NJ (or rather one of his underlings in law enforcement) would then issue a request for extradition to your state or country. If that request is granted, then your home state or country arrests you as a courtesy to NJ and (if necessary by force) sends you to NJ to stand trial.

How often is extradition granted? Depends. Between the states of the United States, or between countries of the EU, almost always. For credible accusations of traditional crimes of violence, like murder, rape, arson, or robbery, then again almost always. For nonviolent crimes, and crimes where public policy differs widely, like fraud, child custody violations, or Internet crime such as this one -- all bets are off.

So in this case, you're almost certainly right -- if New Jersey criminalized anonymous posting, I doubt very much if most states in the Union, let alone most Western countries, would honor an extradition request. But as a general rule, you do not escape a state's jurisdiction merely because you don't live there.

two points. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860415)

1. Misleading headline.
Every Slashdot user who read that headline probably thought immediatley of "anonymous coward" posts on Slashdot -- but this isn't about posting without a handle, it's about posting without your legal name and address on file! I'm not logged in, to make a point about New Jersey (I just pointed my cantenna across the state line to NJ - good thing I live on the eighth floor), but if I were logged in, I would still be making an "anonymous post".

2. ... collect users' legal names and addresses, and effectively disallow anonymous speech on online forums.
I do not think this word means what the submitter thinks it means.

How to enforce it (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860423)

Quite simple (in the head of the many pesky bugs (aka poly-ticks)):

You, as the board admin, are liable for everything that happens on your board. If you don't find someone to blame other than yourself, you're hanging for it.

So they shift the burden of proof to the ones running the boards. Can't prove that it's someone else? Ok, we'll take you instead.

The net effect will most likely be, that people who run their boards in NJ move out of the state. If more states pass that law, it will move out of the US.

And even if services like this have to run in some land that ends on -stan, they will keep running. The question is only, which country will get the tax generated that way.

Re:How to enforce it (2, Interesting)

MadRocketScientist (792254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860795)

Not exactly.
Key points of the proposed bill:
  • You need to set up a registration system where users are required to use legitimate info. However, I don't see anything that states you have to verify the information provided
  • You must maintain a procedure to make this infomration available if a user posts false or defamatory information. You don't have to hand over the information if there's no proof of damages.

So you're covered as long as you have a "registration required to post" setting. As resources are not readily available to give board operators the ability to validate any information submitted, this will be effectively unenforcable.

I'm just curious (2, Insightful)

trogdor8667 (817114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860432)

I own a website with forums, and, while I don't accept anonymous posts at all, I do have a userbase from the entire world. If I'm in Tennessee, and my server is in Atlanta, how would this affect me? Would I have to collect everyone's information to comply with this law (that only affects NJ)? Would I have to collect names and addresses of only New Jersey residents? Would I have to do anything at all, since I am not in New Jersey? This scares me, because it makes it sound like if I do have to collect these addresses, if someone says "Screw you [insert name here]" and that person sues me, if I don't have the legitimate info to pass off to them, it becomes me who's in the frying pan.

This TERRIFIES me. I should not be held responsible for someone else's stupidity, or this country's obsession with lawsuits.

Seems a bit sudden... (2, Insightful)

BertieBaggio (944287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860445)

First up, does anyone have the background to the reasoning behind this? Was there some big case in New Jersey that was predicated on an anonymous post? Or was this the result of a crack-fueled late night in the NJ legislative chamber?

Secondly, if they expect this to pass, how do they expect it to apply? I've heard of the MPAA sending DMCA takedown notices to Swedish websites and such, but how do they expect this legislation to be enforced? Is there method to their madness?

Will they expect any 'internet forum' sites hosted in NJ to require this data? Or US-based sites that [potentially?] cater to NJ users to do this? Or are they ignorant and exepct everyone to follow it? I can see the first and the last being possible explanations, but still...

Regardless, this is an opportunity to send a clear message saying that yes, we actually do want some privacy and anonymity. If it is resoundingly struck down and that its rejection is so reported then other policymakers elsewhere might take the hint. Just maybe.

And if it does pass... well then I'm just glad my hosted websites are located in sunny California!

Ummmm nothing to do with anonymous posting, really (-1, Troll)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860449)

This is about enforcability. There are good reasons to require the site owners to make a good faith effort to keep real information on their users. Some users commit libel/slander, harass, break copyright law, etc. and law enforcement needs a way to be able to get these users. Notice that they aren't saying that you have to post under your full name.

I don't like it, but it's not a blow to freedom of speech. There are good reasons why they need to get the names of people who are doing this stuff. However, the problem becomes very simple to get around. NJ residents can host a site in another state and say that they are just cooperating with another person. Have a "group blog" where a friend of yours just happens to moderate a comment here and there, but say that your out of state friend is the real owner.

And stop worrying about Dick Bushy Cheney throwing you in Gitmo for freedom of speech use. Unless you're agitating for the establishment of a caliphate in the US or providing material aid to known terrorist groups, you're not going to be picked up by **this** administration. Don't kid yourselves either that your speech will be really anonymous if they really want to find out who is saying what. The FBI will arrest your forum's site admin on some bogus charge, administer the site, log everything and that's all she wrote for your "anonymity."

Re:Ummmm nothing to do with anonymous posting, rea (4, Interesting)

taustin (171655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860657)

Some users commit libel/slander, harass, break copyright law, etc. and law enforcement needs a way to be able to get these users.

The same can be said of anonymous pamphlets. The same has been done with anonymous pamphlets.

And yet, anonymous pamphlets have been very specifically ruled to be constititonally protected by the Supreme Court.

The cops' "need" to find people does not supersede the people's right to free expression, even anonymously.

Don't most boards do this already, though? (1)

wuffalicious (896539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860669)

I thought most boards on the net already log your IP address. Your IP address can be traced back to your ISP, and your ISP can usually provide your info in such a case where it's actually appropriate to disclose it. I don't see why enacting a law for this is even necessary.

Pretroll (-1, Offtopic)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860450)



                You are reading Slashdot on a free day pass. Thanks for the support.

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        in The Mysterious Future!


        from the drives-that-are-bursting-at-the-seams dept.
       

               

                        roundisfunny [comcast.net] wonders: "We currently do not have any mailbox restrictions for our Exchange users - which has led us to have a 420 GB mail store for 320 users. Our largest mailbox has over 13 GB in it. One of the main concerns for us is the time it takes for a restore. We have encouraged archiving, but now have 250 GB of .pst files. What sort of limitations does your company have on mailbox size, amount of time you can keep mail, and archives? Please mention your email platform, type of business, and number of users."
               

                        IT [slashdot.org] : Harvard Offers Sneak Peek Into Their Network

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        ScuttleMonkey [slashdot.org]

        in The Mysterious Future!


        from the what-makes-you-tick dept.

       
               

                        Bob Brown [nwfusion.com] writes "Harvard University doesn't usually talk much about its internal network, but here, the guy overseeing it opens up about the homegrown and commercial tools used to manage the massive system [networkworld.com] ." From the article: "Harvard, as of late, has been exhibiting another telco trait - considering the network as part of the university's critical infrastructure. As such, its construction is considered during the initial planning phases of building renovation, new construction and campus expansion projects. The data networks that are being built today, at Harvard and similar institutions, are being built to host a variety of IP-based traffic. Most every physical-plant control device, whether it be security cameras, chilled water-valve actuators or parking garage card readers, are being designed to work with the IP network"

               

                               

This story is currently under construction.


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                        GamesIndustry.biz has a piece looking at what game developers think will be required to ensure that Nintendo's Revolution doesn't go the way of the GameCube [gamesindustry.biz] . From the article: "While this mutual exploitation between indies and Nintendo may grant the GameCube some stay of execution, the Kyoto giant's next home console will require a very different approach to marketing. Solid details about the Revolution remain sparse, yet Nintendo has stated it hopes to attract a different audience to the one being aggressively chased by Microsoft and Sony. This is the console that will support a back catalogue of twenty years' worth of Nintendo games, as well as new titles utilising the intriguing new controller."

               
This story is currently under construction.

Unconstitutional in 1960 (5, Informative)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860455)

MR. JUSTICE Hugo Black, writing for the Supreme Court of the United States in Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960), declaring unconstitutional a California ordinance requiring that handbills and pamphlets be signed:

Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all. The obnoxious press licensing law of England, which was also enforced on the Colonies was due in part to the knowledge that exposure of the names of printers, writers and distributors would lessen the circulation of literature critical of the government. The old seditious libel cases in England show the lengths to which government had to go to find out who was responsible for books that were obnoxious [362 U.S. 60, 65] to the rulers. John Lilburne was whipped, pilloried and fined for refusing to answer questions designed to get evidence to convict him or someone else for the secret distribution of books in England. Two Puritan Ministers, John Penry and John Udal, were sentenced to death on charges that they were responsible for writing, printing or publishing books. 6 Before the Revolutionary War colonial patriots frequently had to conceal their authorship or distribution of literature that easily could have brought down on them prosecutions by English-controlled courts. Along about that time the Letters of Junius were written and the identity of their author is unknown to this day. Even the Federalist Papers, written in favor of the adoption of our Constitution, were published under fictitious names. It is plain that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most constructive purposes.

  We have recently had occasion to hold in two cases that there are times and circumstances when States may not compel members of groups engaged in the dissemination of ideas to be publicly identified. Bates v. Little Rock, 361 U.S. 516 ; N. A. A. C. P. v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449, 462 . The reason for those holdings was that identification and fear of reprisal might deter perfectly peaceful discussions of public matters of importance. This broad Los Angeles ordinance is subject to the same infirmity. We hold that it, like the Griffin, Georgia, ordinance, is void on its face. [362 U.S. 60, 66]


Of course, the Court's membership isn't the same as it was in 1960. The President can appoint who he wants to the Supreme Court. So, who'd you vote for, for president, in 2004?

Re:Unconstitutional in 1960 (-1, Flamebait)

KilobyteKnight (91023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860785)

Of course, the Court's membership isn't the same as it was in 1960. The President can appoint who he wants to the Supreme Court. So, who'd you vote for, for president, in 2004?

Someone who has appointed two Supreme Court Justices that espoused a view that the Constitution matters - not their personal opinions. Who'd you vote for?

Is it just me ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860466)

Or are most of the state and federal elected officials pushing for a point of 'Violent Citizen Uprising' ???

Granted this is at state level, and not federal, but when I see one 'asshat' politician thinking this is someway somehow 'representative of what their states people want', I think it is time for that politicians tenure* in office to be up.

The 'day' anything like this EVER gets passed in the U.S. (state or federal), is a day I become a ghost on the Internet.

So long 'Anonymous Coward'! I knew thee well ....

/to lazy to see if its to late

Perhaps Mr. Biondi (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860471)

Should take a leaf from the British MP who suggested that the answer to email spam was to require everybody to have their zip code as part of their email address.

I have to show ID to post to the Bon Jovi board?? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860536)

Oh man, just forget it. Ritchie just isn't worth the hassle.

-Eric

State Lines (3, Insightful)

RandomPrecision (911416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860562)

What happens if I anonymously post on a New Jersey forum from Illinois?

For that matter, what makes it a New Jersey forum? The physical location of the server? The physical location of the forum admins?

And if another state supports anonymous posting, but the anonymous posting happens to be on a NJ server...

Isn't this why the federal government controls interstate relations (i.e., currency)?

sick of this shit (1)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860594)

I am so sick of seeing shit like this in the good ol' United States of America. Land of the Free^W^Wcriminals, home of the Brave^Wcowards.

Is speech really so dangerous? Why are so many people so hellbent on preventing other people from speaking their minds? Libel, slander? That's bullshit. There is no slander so damaging that NJ needs to restrict freedom of speech like this, which would possibly be the largest restriction on speech ever in U.S. history.

Anyone who supports this legislation should be hung. I'm not even kidding.

Hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860667)

My name is Peter J. Biondi. I'm an assemblyman for the 16th District in the State of New Jersy. Now that you all have my real honest and true name, I have a few things to say.

You are all gay atheist child molesting retards.

Thank you.

Your friend,
Peter J. Biondi

P.S. Please don't sue me.

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