State Senator, Ira I. Silverstein, introduced Illinois Senate Bill 1614 which attempted to create the Internet Posting Removal Act. It’s intent was to reduce cyberbullying with a law that restricted anonymous web posting.
As Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn noted, the bill would have required website administrators to remove anonymous comments, upon request, unless the anonymous poster agreed to attach his/her name to the post and confirms that his/her IP address, legal name and home address are accurate. The operative requirement is giving that personal information if requested.
The legislator introduced the bill because, “I do a lot of reading, a lot of research and I came across the idea that had been suggested that kids can be very mean on the Internet, and I thought this might be a way of controlling that”.
After introducing the bill, Silverstein withdrew it because he said that he took much heat over the idea.
Social media has made it easier to bully someone anonymously. This bill raises the question of whether posting an anonymous message should be a form of protected freedom, or whether that only extends to speech and not the hiding. I would think that web administrators would really want no responsibility in requiring and maintaining such information, or having to respond to such requests.
I would be surprised to see any legislation like this to get enacted on the state or federal level. Still, the days of “Say that to my face” are gone. People aren’t even saying it behind backs anymore.
Pic o’ day is like the Internet, some things are just hard to explain: