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Anonymous blog posting/ commenting to become illegal in the United States (unless you have only nice things to say), potentially outlaws comment spam

Anonymous blog posting/ commenting to become illegal in the United States (unless you have only nice things to say), potentially outlaws comment spam

US President George W Bush ratified a new law last Thursday that makes it illegal for people in the United States to post anything to a blog that could be deemed “annoying” anonymously.

The law, which was buried in the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act, titled “Preventing Cyberstalking” rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet “without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy.”

The one positive from the law though is that it potentially also outlaws comment spamming in the United States. How many anonymous comment spams does your blog get daily that come from an Anonymous source…lots I’d guess, and there is little question that they would be deemed annoying in a court of law. Perhaps we should start a competition for the first blogger to successfully see a comment spammer thrown in jail for breaching the new laws? Certainly a nice thought!

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(sources: News.com, Slashdot)

View Comments (7)
  • Even if US citizens would be required to disclose their identity in order to make an annoying comment, it would be almost impossible to confirm this information. The outcome would probably be the usage of pen names\nicknames (or usage of phony names is a better definition?) for disclosure needs.

    Oh… and what about comments from non US citizens? Are they allowed to make annoying comments?

    And who can define “annoying? Disagreeing can be categorized as an annoying comment as well, isn’t it?

    It’s nice for a first step, but that is all it really is – a first step among many needed…

  • I don’t like comment spam any more than the next guy, BUT what about the 1st ammendment? (freedom of speach)

    I don’t think there is a situplation that says you have to tell people your name.

    Just another step down the path into the big abyss…

  • Comment spam will always happen, whether there’s a law or not. Piracy, fraud, and other illegal activities still occur with all the laws in place. Of all those who trade files on the Internet, how many do get caught? It’s political fluff.

  • http://volokh.com/posts/1136873535.shtml

    Declan McCullagh has penned a column that is custom-designed to race around the blogosphere. …

    This is just the perfect blogosphere story, isn’t it? It combines threats to bloggers with government incompetence and Big Brother, all wrapped up and tied togther with a little bow. Unsurprisingly, a lot of bloggers are taking the bait.

    Skeptical readers will be shocked, shocked to know that the truth is quite different. …

  • You don’t have a first amendment right when you’re on someone’s website Joe. Freedom of speech doesn’t apply to private publications which is what blogs are.

  • You are right Eoghann,
    I just don’t like Government dipping into things that are best left to the people involved.

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