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NJ Bill Would Prohibit Anonymous Posts on Forums 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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NJ Bill Would Prohibit Anonymous Posts on Forums

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  • Brrrrrrr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grrr ( 16449 ) <cgrrr@grr[ ]et ['r.n' in gap]> on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:08PM (#14860263) Homepage Journal
    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 />

  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:09PM (#14860273) Homepage Journal
    ...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.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:10PM (#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?


    Let's hope our clever and very smart politicians never find out something like the usenet even exists.
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:10PM (#14860279) Homepage Journal
    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 ...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:16PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:19PM (#14860387) D508 []

    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.
  • by aminorex ( 141494 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:20PM (#14860400) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:20PM (#14860402) Homepage
    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.

  • I'm just curious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trogdor8667 ( 817114 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:23PM (#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.
  • by BertieBaggio ( 944287 ) * <> on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:24PM (#14860445) Homepage

    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!

  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:33PM (#14860550)
    The founding fathers are sooo pre-911.
  • State Lines (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RandomPrecision ( 911416 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:34PM (#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)?
  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:36PM (#14860582) Journal
    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!
  • Workaround: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <> on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:40PM (#14860629) Homepage Journal
    Invite-only. So it's no longer "Public".

    Thanks, Google...
  • by Pantero Blanco ( 792776 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:47PM (#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.
  • Deare Reader (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:52PM (#14860788)
    'Tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright!

    yr. svnt.

    Poor Richard

  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:53PM (#14860799) Homepage
    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:Uh huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:54PM (#14860802) Journal
    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.
  • Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:55PM (#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.
  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:02PM (#14860902) Homepage
    This could get bitch slapped by the Federal Courts for interfering in interstate commerce.

    Not only could, it would. What I've been waiting for somebody else to mention is that it also violates the First Amendment, making the bill unconstitutional in two entirely different ways. This bill doesn't have the proverbial snowball's chance of making it into law because enough legislators are lawyers that some of them will see how impossible it is. Frankly, I doubt it will ever get to a vote, but be killed in committee.

  • Re:Brrrrrrr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:12PM (#14861018) Journal
    "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."

    It can be false and defamatory without causing harm. Currently, the burden is on the person seeking the information to demonstrate that they suffered damages as a result of the information. This bill aims to circumvent that, so that no judge or panel of judges would have to be consulted.

    You can bet that the bill was intentionally worded poorly and vaguely -- it allows for:

    (1) Enforcement to be wide open to interpretation, so that it can be used by those in power or running for office effectively;
    (2) The court to establish the boundaries of the law after it has been passed, if it passes in current form (which, as you say, is highly unlikely).

    It's a common tactic in NJ -- write a bill that overreaches in scope, hope it gets through, and then allow the courts to restrict the law. You know, see what you can get away with. Also, by overreaching they establish a 'middle ground' which is what they wanted in the first place, and get credit for compromising to reach that middle ground.

    Biondi's a bit of a [insert slanderous term here], anyway -- . []

    Of note, he sponsored a bill to extend implied consent to blood testing for illegal substances -- and allow reasonable force to get that test if the suspect was involved in an accident causing serious bodily harm.
  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:14PM (#14861029)
    While what you are saying IS true, America IS destroying itself with rediculous legislation... America's saving grace seems to be that other industrialized nations are doing the same thing.

    I mean, European governments and the EU have no shortage of retarded legislation restricting free speech, commerce, and privacy on the internet. And places like China definitly don't have speech internet legislation that I would want to emulate, although they tend to be moving towards more freedom (where the U.S. and Europe are moving towards less).

    It would be very reasuring if the current Totalitarian insanity was was somehow limited to the United States... but Europe especially seems eager to mandate and legislate on virtually all aspects of human life. The U.S. won't be irrelevant so long as everyone else in the world is knocking on Big Brother's door too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:17PM (#14861057)

    Someone who has appointed two Supreme Court Justices that espoused a view that the Constitution matters - not their personal opinions.

    As if they'd say anything else if they actually wanted their appointment to be confirmed. You're funny.

  • by dR.fuZZo ( 187666 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:19PM (#14861089)
    It's not that a law like this couldn't be enforced. It could be. On every online forum? No. On a case by case basis, say, when someone posts something a large corporation doesn't like? Oh, yes. Yes, it could be. "Well, Mr. Forum Admin, we see there's a request for the identity of this member of your online community -- you don't have their identity? What? Well, I guess you'll have to remove the comment now, and you'll be lucky if we don't shut you down for not following the law and collecting identities as you're supposed to."
  • by mariox19 ( 632969 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:27PM (#14861207)

    Actually, check the criteria in the U.S. Code. [] You may be a member of what is called the "unorganized militia." I'll print it below for your convenience.

    Title 10 Subtitle A Part 1 Chapter 13 Section 311

    311. Militia: composition and classes
    Release date: 2005-07-12

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

    (b) The classes of the militia are--
    1. the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    2. the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    Don't be led by the recent release date into believing that this is something new. This is very old law.

  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:31PM (#14861251) Journal
    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.

    Actually, I think it just means that you aren't a particularly useful member of the militia. It's sort of like being a member of the citizenry -- just because somebody doesn't vote or participate politically doesn't mean they suddenly stop being a citizen.
  • Look at the monkey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnotherBlackHat ( 265897 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:34PM (#14861296) Homepage

    The New Jersey legislature is considering a bill that would require ...

    Another stupid bill that has essentially zero chance of passing, but which will generate a huge amount of outrage.

    Whenever I see a story like this, I always wonder what it is they are trying to distract people away from.

    -- Should you believe authority without question?

  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:36PM (#14861312) Journal
    Which is the point: anonymous posting and gun ownership are two sides of the same coin. One is the pen, the other the sword.

    I couldn't have said it better, and I didn't want the comment to languish in 0 point land.

    The pen IS mightier than the sword. The sword is only needed when they try to outlaw the pen...
  • by geoffspear ( 692508 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:37PM (#14861316) Homepage
    Of course, the founders were smart enough to specifically say, in the 9th amendment, that the enumeration of rights in the previous 8 amendments didn't take away any other rights.

    Unfortunately, they were not smart enough to add "no really, we mean it, moron" to the end of each amendment. Or to establish a system of ostracism for government officials who can't comprehend phrases like "no law" and "shall not be violated".

  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:39PM (#14861350) Homepage Journal
    While people bitch and whine about the slowness of our "timesharing" legal system (really good way to decribe it!), normally it is more to our advantage than not -- gives additional evidence a chance to be found, etc.

    Still, the people who wind up in limbo, waiting for the legal wheels to grind their slow course and mash bad laws out of existence, are not going to be happy with their lost time and lost defense money; they don't get compensated for that, do they?

    I did get the feeling, when I RTF Bill, that it originated as backlash courtesy of some powerful person who felt personally burned by an anonymous forum post (libelous or not), and who wants an instant way to ID and grab parties who so offend, and shake them by the neck until they shut up.

    (BTW thanks for all the informative posts over the years.)

  • by telbij ( 465356 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:40PM (#14861359)
    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.

    That's just the symptom. The real problem is one that all great civilizations face: abundance decreases motivation and creates a false sense of entitlement. Just look at companies like Enron who fabricate business models out of thin air. There's so much money floating around the United States, that monetary success has very little to do with creating any kind of value. Meanwhile, developing countries like China are plowing full steam ahead. Right now the United States is basically just riding a wave of lucky historical opportunity. Given the concentration of wealth and power, that wave can carry the US by intertia for quite some time, but maybe not as long as most Americans think.
  • by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:47PM (#14861419) Journal
    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?
    Even if a law "makes it to the books," it can still later be declared unconstitutional. The courts don't approve laws before they become official (in the U.S., anyway; some countries they do); but it can strike them down later, when a challenge is presented against that particular law. This also means that a bad law can be on the books (and enforced by the executive branch) for a few years before it gets struck down, and there's rarely any restitution to those punished under that law while it was in effect.

    The usual response is that the courts should have to approve laws for constitutionality BEFORE they go into effect, but that usually ends up giving the courts too MUCH power... but that's a much longer discussion. :)

  • by Gorm the DBA ( 581373 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:56PM (#14861492) Journal
    This is how it would play out (assuming NJ actually passes this piece of trash):

    Day 0 - Legislature passes bill, governor indicates it will be signed. state laws dictate at some future date law will come into affect. (For purposes of argument, let's assume NJ has a 90 day rule, that's pretty typical).

    Day 1 - ACLU, EFF, and about 3 dozen other organizations start finding people willing to be defendents in a "Test Case", as well as lining up counsel (ie lawyers) and other needed assets.

    Day 5 (at the latest, it takes time to write legal briefs) - ACLU, EFF, et al file lawsuit under the title of the lead test defendant, with Federal Court allegding that the law infringes on rights of test defendant in some way.

    Day 6 - Federal judge reviews pleading and determines that there is, in fact, a decent chance that the law might be unconstitutional, files a temporary restraining order prohibiting New Jersey from enforcing the law.

    Day 374 - Case actually comes to trial.

    In the meantime, no one can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, threatened with prosecution, or in any other way hit over the head with this law, it is forbidden to be enforced until judgement is rendered.

    (Worst Case scenario) Day 380 - Judge determines ACLU is wrong, law is allowed to go into effect. At this point, prosecutions could begin, assuming the restraining order is not continued to allow appeal (which would almost certainly happen)

    (Best Case scenario) Day 380 - Judge determines New Jersey was smoking crack and the law is patently wrong, rules for test defendents. Temporary injunction is made permanent (assuming NJ doesn't appeal).

    So, in short, until the Courts and the lawyers are done, this will have no effect at all.

  • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot,kadin&xoxy,net> on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:00PM (#14861538) Homepage Journal
    Wait ... what?

    I got something about a camel, and a tent, and campaign financing. Can you run that metaphor by me again?
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:07PM (#14861616) Homepage
    . The legislature is... just us. They're representative of the people they sprang from. If they're sneaky and self-serving, well, that's what we are. Why do you expect angels?

    Americans have always hated and mistrusted their representatives. They knew they were crooks, because they knew damned well that they'd do the same if they were in power. I should coin a cool Latin phrase for this concept.

    We're not an honest people. Politicians learn to call their constituents honest and good, knowing damned well how sneaky and underhanded the Peeple really are. Peeple don't want honest representatives. The "politians" are scapegoats for all that we dislike about our culture, about ourselves.

    The peeple don't want to be represented by angels. They want bastards who will steal as much as possible for their district. Hence the problem. If they wanted angels, they'd elect ministers and professors. They don't; they elect lawyers and businessmen, and expect some payback for their votes.

    Biggest practical problem for getting rid of the truly odious moneygrabbers is the way we finance campaigns. Corporations are legally individuals. The SCOTUS has ruled that money is speech, so corps can spend as much as they like under the First Amendment right of free speech. We refuse to publically finance elections. We don't want to eliminate lobbyists. Logically, we have the system now where corporation A puts money in slot B to produce result C, and that's the way we want it.

    Don't like it? Then ban all - ALL - contributions to political campaigns. Finance them with public funds. Provide the candidates with FREE air time, as we did before 1987. Making politians pay for airtime has made the rich the only winners in this idiocy that sprang up in the last two decades. There is no other solution. Else elections will simply be bought, and the lawmakers will have to take in money to pay for their reelection campaigns, so laws will be bought. Remove the money. And, oh yes, ban lawmakers from ever working for the people who lobby them after they leave office. That's simply bribery post-office.

  • by AlterTick ( 665659 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:08PM (#14861623)
    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.

    Indeed there are far too many folks who are either ignorant of, or intentionally ignore the 9th Amendment:

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    However, as a strong believer in the 9th Amendment I would be loath to take up the banner of the Living Document crowd. "Living Documentists" are word twisters and shades-of-gray, "it depends of what you think the word means" semanticists. They're intellectually bankrupt in that they seem to think the constitution is a rubbery, flexible thing that can be molded into whatever their "modern vision of society" requires. The classic example is the attempt to recast the 2nd Amendment as only assurance that states are allowed to have a [militia/National Guard], rather than a guarantee that the check against tyranny of an armed populace remains.

    No, Strict Constructionists (or rather, Originalists) have the right idea, but the current crop of conservative ones we have around display a maddening tendency towards specific, selective blindness. I believe the founding fathers meant exactly what they wrote in the constitution, and that it only requires that you actually read it for it to be effective.

  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:08PM (#14861630)
    Actually, gun control in America was invented by the Klu Klux Klan... they wanted to be able to kill black people without black people being able to fight back, so they pressed for a gun licencing scheme which would exclude blacks, by charging a licence fee too expensive for most of the former-slaves to afford, and just general intimidation in the licencing process.

    You see, in history, every oppressed minority, or enslaved group has been denied the right to possess weapons. Traditionaly only the upper classes and ruling classes had been allowed to own weapons and be trained in their use. That is why people many diverse people such as Mohandas Ghandi, George Orwell, Malcom X, all felt that citizens should be allowed to be armed.

    The "left" in America is really a politically correct version of the "Right". The reason they want all Americans disarmed, is because they know that every oppressed minority and enslaved group was not allowed to own weapons. They intend to make the citizens slaves while the upper class and the ruling class run our lives from above.

    Citizen disarmament is the fundamental first step in despotism and totalitarianism, and no person can be against slavery, genocide, and oppression and support gun control. Citizen disarmenet is the universal first step to facism.

    You are a facist and totalitarian... you are either just too smart to admit it, or too dumb to understand it.
  • Re:Brrrrrrr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cl1mh4224rd ( 265427 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:31PM (#14861852)
    Comes a vacuum, as posters retreat who aren't criminals but have reasonable fears of retribution, and a clear need for anonymity...
    I don't know... People might actually have to start actively fighting for their rights instead of talking about fighting for their rights.

    I think it's already a sad state of affairs when people think they have to fight for anonymity as a right, as if it's the only way they think they can speak freely.
  • by KilobyteKnight ( 91023 ) <bjm.midsouth@rr@com> on Monday March 06, 2006 @06:25PM (#14862308) Homepage
    Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "04ef2712aae8e67c518674[edited]" and "a106408624fa50f546c21449[edited]" and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number "[edited]" and your username "KilobyteKnight".

    Normally I would have just ignored this. But I felt like responding to the obviously politically motivated modding in an anonymous fashion. Seems like any time I express a conservative view, I get modded in such a way, so apparently I should do so anonymously from now on.

    Strangely enough, I get the message above while trying to post anonymously. It's not so anonymous it would seem. It's particularly ironic that it should come in a topic about outlawing anonymous posts to message boards.

    I don't blame the Slashdot editors for this. I understand the need to try to prevent trolls. It's perfectly reasonable to do so. I think I just got caught in one of the unintended consequences of automating the process.

    It is a bit frustrating to have been (I feel) unfairly modded down, then have my ability to post anonymously temporarily revoked because of it.

    But anyway... I was originally just going to point out the cowardace of modding down views because you don't agree with them. I don't mind you not agreeing with me, but trying to prevent others from hearing what I have to say makes you no better than the NJ politician.
  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @06:47PM (#14862483)
    I love it that people who want to ban firearms always talk about nuclear bombs. Nuclear bombs are not a weapon in any conventional sense of the word.

    But in regards to nuclear weapons, I support complete nuclear disarmament... If private citizens are not allowed to own nuclear weapons, then I think governments should not be allowed to own nuclear weapons either. That would avoid any problems of having an "upper class" of the nuclear armed, and a "lower class" of those without nuclear weapons. Since most of the governments on the planet do not have nuclear weapons, and they have only ever been used in war once and it was generally considered a bad idea, there is no reason to believe that nuclear disarmament isn't possible. But even if we accepted the unlikely and a bit silly situation that people would want or could even afford privately owned nuclear weapons, do you think that is some how more dangerous than Bush and Putin having nuclear weapons?

    However, I don't see how it would be practicle, or desirable, to eliminate firearms. Firearms are useful for law enforcement, protecting national borders, defense against wild animals, personal defense against criminals, armed revolution against facist governments, sport and hunting, etc., etc... Since we need firearms, they should not be controlled only by an elite ruling class, they should be the property of all the people. An armed population can replace a professional army, and eliminate the danger that a defensive military can be used for imperialism and agression. An armed population can also be the final defense against despotism or government sponsered genocide - if the people are armed, you can have a people's revolution and overthrow the government.

    So, my views on weapons, the Constitution, and the views of great advocates of freedom (such as the ones I gave, Ghandi, Malcom X, George Orwell, who were all against gun control), are all very consistant. Gun control, and disarmament of the people is not only reasonable and safe... it is not only completly consistant with the idea that people shouldn't have nuclear weapons, but it is the most important right of all - because an armed population is the final guardian off all democracy and all other rights.

    Like I said, those who are for gun control, are for totalitarianism. They are either too smart to admit it, or too stupid to understand it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @07:02PM (#14862602)
    The problem is, as soon as you decide that the meaning of "the people" is flexible and doesn't necessarily mean "people", you tumble headlong into complete abrogation of the entire BOR.

    The USSR gave "the people" freedom of speech too. Except "the people" exercised their rights through state owned and operated printing presses. John Q. Public could still get thrown in the gulag for saying something unpopular.
  • A Historical Note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edward.virtually@pob ( 6854 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @07:19PM (#14862700)
    Don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but our country was founded in part by the reaction to anonymous letters printed in the Colonial newspapers by our Founding Fathers. So banning anonymous speech is utterly unamerican.
  • Re:Frist post (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @07:20PM (#14862706)
    This is an attack on our natural human right (god-given if you prefer) to voluntary association. As human beings, we have an intrinsic right to associate with whomever we please, whenever we please, and however we please, so long as it remains voluntary. Who says so? Human nature.

    I don't care how they sugarcoat it -- this is outright oppression. Who is the violent man here: the guy who wants to post anonymously on some discussion board which people view voluntarily, or the guy who wants to employ coercion as his means to an end? I think we all know the answer.
  • by gorehog ( 534288 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @07:38PM (#14862850)

    I have spent a good part of today deliberating on this story and have constructed a carefully reasoned and highly cogent argument against the bill. It follows in the next paragraph.

    Fuck that noise.

    I feel that my reasoning is plain and does not require explanation.

    For those with questions I refer you to the Declaration of Independence, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and the Colonial Revolution of 1776.

  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @10:00PM (#14863626)
    You can always vote and more importantly get active, join or form a organization dedicated to voting this bastard out of office. Get people registered to vote. Give rides to people on voting day. Make up some flyers and hand them out.

    You know, get off your ass, go outside, talk to people and do something.
  • by mosel-saar-ruwer ( 732341 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:32PM (#14871774)

    Mod parent up. It's also a violation, IMHO, of the First, Fourth (right to privacy) and 14th Ammendmants to the Constitution, and the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3).

    I have long been of the opinion that we need to add an explicit right to anonymity to the constitution, to include both intellectual anonymity [e.g. the right to post anonymously on the internet, or the right to send anonymous SMTP traffic, or the right to publish books or other works under a pseudonym], but also to include a right to practical anonymity: The right to cross state borders anonymously, the right to drive a car anonymously [without e.g mandated big-brother toll-road RFID shiznat], the right to a non-traceable currency [such as classical, NON-RFID'ed paper bills and metal coins, as opposed to traceable VISA/Mastercard/Discover transactions], the right to send mail [or packages] anonymously, etc etc etc.

    Hell, I'd go so far as a right to give birth anonymously: Did you know that nowadays little newborn babies "have" to get SSID#s? What the fuck does a newborn baby need an SSID# for?

    It's enough to make you want to move to the wilds of Montana and go completely off-grid. Just disappear from "mainstream" society altogether. Give birth to little babies and never even register them with the state. Homeschool. Conveniently forget to file income taxes. Tell the state to go fuck itself.

    Hell, that's basically what all these Mexican illegals are doing, and if 40 million of them can do it, then why can't I?

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.