Internet Wants to Be Free

New York Politicians Move to Ban Anonymous Commenting

Senator O'Mara (

This should go over well with our tech-obsessed mayor. A piece of legislation proposed in both New York state houses seeks to ban anonymous commenting from New York-based websites.

As a person who writes on the Internet, this sounds amazing! How about a name to go with that thoughtless feedback, Mr. Not So Nice Guy? Of course, as a proponent of the First Amendment, we would like to tell Senator Thomas O’Mara where he can put this bill. Anonymously, of course. Read More

Law and Order

Oregon Law Targeting Twitter Mobs Defeated by Twitter Mob

Oregon State Capitol, Salem

A proposed Oregon law that could have criminalized tweets about Occupy Wall Street has died in committee due to public outcry.

State senate bill 1534
would have made illegal the “use of electronic communication to solicit two or more persons to commit [a] specific crime at [a] specific time and location.” The now-dead bill would have carried penalties for using Twitter, Facebook, etc. to call on others to engage in criminal activity as severe as the punishment for actually committing the act.

Oregon State Sen. Doug Whitsett, the chief sponsor of the bill, said he was targeting “flash mob crimes,” in which many people descend on a specific location at a specific time to commit a crime, a scenario that was actually not completely made up: a “mob” of four people who “may be using some of the social media such as Facebook and Twitter to schedule an event if you will” robbed a Victoria’s Secret in Georgetown last summer, and gang members in New York reportedly used Twitter to coordinate the annual “Crips Holiday.” Read More