May 23, 2012
Jim Conte, a New York Republican, has declared himself an enemy of the First Amendment and the Constitution. He is pushing the so-called Internet Protection Act, legislation that would make it illegal to post anonymously on the internet under the guise of protecting children who are victims of “cyber bullying.”
State Republican Senator Tom O’Mara introduced the legislation on May 3.
In addition to banning bully speech and speech critical of business, Conte’s bill will make it a crime to post “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks.” If passed, the legislation will produce a massive chilling effect on political speech in the state.
New York state government is attempting to pass the measure in both the Senate and the Assembly. The legislation has been referred to the Codes Committee in the Senate, and the Government Operations Committee in the Assembly.
Both proposals are identical and would effect messages posted on message boards, blogs, social networks, and “any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.” The law would require websites to post email addresses for “removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.” Those demanding the removal of content they find objectionable, however, would have their anonymity protected.
“Had the internet been around in the late 1700s, perhaps the anonymously written Federalist Papers would have to be taken down unless Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay revealed themselves,” notes David Kravets, writing for Wired.
Conte and O’Mara represent the current generation of authoritarian-minded statist politicians who exploit children in order to ram through draconian proposals.
“With more and more people relying on social media and the Internet to communicate and gather information, it is imperative that the legislature put into place some type of safeguard to prevent people from using the Internet’s cloak of anonymity to bully our children and make false accusations against local businesses and elected officials,” he writes on his tax payer funded web page.
If you live in New York, call or fax your “representative” now and demand that this atrocious legislation be defeated. Only a loud chorus of protest will force the spineless, Constitution-hating career politicians in New York from passing Conte’s bill.
The bill in New York has serious ramifications for the rest of the web, especially if web servers are located in that state. It may also be used as a template on the federal level.
It is no mistake Conte’s legislation specifically mentions political speech, especially free speech directed at “elected officials” who are contemptuous of criticism and efforts to change the government or drastically reduce its power and keep it in check, as the founders knew it must be if tyranny is not to gain a foothold.