The New York Assembly and Senate are considering legislation to end Internet anonymity, entitled the Internet Protection Act. This legislation has produced a torrent of criticism, none of it exactly beneficial. While this proposal does have potential legal problems, it addresses a serious situation, as the legislators who are offering it made clear.
The proposal would not only provide a means with which to address anonymous cyber bullies, but it could also help small businesses such as restaurants, where competitors use various Internet forums to post disparaging if not outright false anonymous comments about others’ businesses.
Anonymous postings on the internet not only can harm the persons or businesses being directly victimized, but they also hurt the public in general. When anonymous posters hide behind the internet to facilitate a crime (such as harassment) or as a vehicle for defamation, innocent men, women and children are openly victimized, and the public is intentionally mislead.
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