Is there any sense behind a bill that outlaws anonymous posts?

"Freedom of speech? ID first, please."

This is basically what New York lawmakers Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue) and Thomas O'Mara (R-Big Flats) are calling for with the ironically named "Internet Protection Act."

And exactly who will be protected? According to Murray and O'Mara, businesses subject to unfair reviews by competitors as well as victims of libel, slander and cyberbullying.

That sounds fair enough. But the U.S. Constitution — which our presidents are sworn to uphold — explicitly defends the right to free speech. That is one "protection" that this proposed New York bill conveniently ignores.

A person shouldn't need to give their name, address or social security number in order to rant, rave or remark online. Though the value and credibility of anonymous public posting is at best questionable, it is still essential for laws to respect our right to free speech.

At best, the state would be overstepping its bounds by imposing this regulation on privately operated websites. At worst, it would be imposing invasive measures on an already overly censored society.

Disagree? Wait just one moment — let's see some ID first.

(Staff Writer Bruce Siwy can be reached at bruces@dailyamerican.com)
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