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Talk Back Poll: Should Anonymous Comments Be Banned?

A NYS bill is looking to stop websites from publishing malicious anonymous responses. What do you think, Lindenhurst?

A new bill in Albany is looking to combat cyberbullying by prohibiting Internet users from posting anonymous defamatory comments.

The Internet Protection Act, sponsored by Assemblyman Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue) and Senator Thomas O'Mara (R-Big Flats), would force a website administrator to "remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post," upon request.

According to the bill, a website would either have to provide a phone number or e-mail address where users could ask to have false, anonymous comments be removed from the site unless the commenter identifies him or herself.

Murray explained anonymous opinion-based responses would still be allowed, but potentially libelous statements would require user identification, if requested.

Assemblyman Jim Conte (R-Huntington Station) expressed his support for the bill, saying it "turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identities or have their posts removed."

In an age where a simple Google search could detail a person’s entire background, anonymous comments could be a major concern for users. Conte and other supporters of the bill argue anonymous statements, especially false ones, could essentially destroy an individual’s reputation without the ability to hold the commenter accountable for his or her statements.

The bill would also forbid users to post anonymous criticisms of businesses, which Conte said, would cut down on competitors posting negative or false reviews of a rival business.

Conte and Murray both admitted to being cyberbullied through anonyomous political attacks.

The main criticism of the Internet Protection Act is it could hinder freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment.

“This statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York,” Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology, told Wired.

He said the bill allows a “heckler’s veto to anybody who disagrees with or doesn’t like what an anonymous poster said.”

While the U.S. Constitution prohibits states and Congress from abridging free speech, it doesn't detail specifics about anonymous statements, nor online comments.

Do you think anonymous commenting should be banned?

Take the following poll and share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Robert Deacon June 06, 2012 at 08:19 PM
The idea of the review is to express ones like or dislike. I feel all reviews good or bad should be accompanied by the name of such or at least an email address if not both. This practice would really curb the amount of cyber-bulling of business and individuals. I would like to see a field for rebuttals and or for a thank you for the kind review. Robert Deacon www,vangocleaning.com
Denise Botiglione June 07, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I think there should be some name or email or link associated with every comment. You dont have to post your photo but at least own up to the comments you leave whether they are good or bad. I just think that if you are going to post something at least have the "#@&!" to own up to it with a name. We definitely need to curb the cyber-bulling as Robert said.
Bruce June 07, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Infringement of freedom of speech is what a ban would be.
Robert Deacon June 07, 2012 at 11:38 PM
No nation grants absolute freedom of speech to its citizens, for to do so would leave citizens unprotected from slander and the nation incapable of protecting its vital secrets. Restrictions on speech are thus sometimes clearly necessary, while other times, appeals to public order, national security, and other values are used to justify repression of speech that goes beyond established norms. Murray explained anonymous opinion-based responses would still be allowed, but potentially libelous statements would require user identification, if requested. (if requested) Assemblyman Jim Conte (R-Huntington Station) expressed his support for the bill, saying it "turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identities or have their posts removed." (slander, lying) It's simple..... have your say and be an adult and stand by what you say, not just saying it to hide and hope that you were heard, let them know you want to be heard,and saying here I am being heard!!! or risk having your so called speech (post,comment review) removed or taken down. Robert Deacon www.vangocleaning.com vangocleaning@aol.com 631-974-7034 PS to steal a line from Kramer on Seinfeld " Jerry Im out here and LOVEIN IT" as so am I. TY

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