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So I guess ?off will be closing soon, then?

Unless all you anonymous/pseudonym-bearing people come clean.

http://news.com.com/Create+an+e-annoyance%2C+go+to+jail/2010-1028_3-6022491.html?part=rss&tag=6022491&subj=news

(Is it just me, or is the world really getting dumber by the minute?)
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
This won't be enforced. Not in the way it's worded, anyway. They can't possibly.

If anything, they'll use this to stifle anonymous political speech.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
Anyway, doesn't communist China have a similiar prohibition regarding anonymity on the internet?
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
Moron!

Philo (because somewhere in the world it is already Tuesday)
Permalink Is that annoying any anon enough? 
January 9th, 2006
As long as you use your real name there is nothing to be afraid of.

There have been court rulings along this line of thought already. Although there were about something stronger than just "anoying".

In principle I agree with the "no right to anonimity" when you hurt someone else.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 9th, 2006
I can think of all SORTS of valid scenarios where someone's anonymity would be important. ESPECIALLY when talking about public figures.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
The fact that you can think of them doesn't mean that it should be allowed.

Of course all this assumes that you are living in a nation where you can trust the courts to uphold the democratic laws.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 9th, 2006
It assumes that you're living in a nation where you'll make it to the courts.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
Erik,

You're sounding dangerously like McKinstry, by the by.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
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Permalink See you in court, suckers! 
January 9th, 2006
>In principle I agree with the "no right to anonimity" when
>you hurt someone else.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 9th, 2006
>>In principle I agree with the "no right to anonimity"
>>when you hurt someone else.

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_interest
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 9th, 2006
>>>In principle I agree with the "no right to anonimity"
>>>when you hurt someone else.

>>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_interest

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annoying
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
I love it:

The law is called the "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act". Talk about Orwellian language...
Permalink KC 
January 9th, 2006
I won't hold my breath waiting for the extradition warrant to hit the mat...
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 9th, 2006
"You're sounding dangerously like McKinstry, by the by."

Explain.

But, back on topic: I live by what I say here, because I never publish anonimously on the web.

A whisleblower doesn't have to be anonimous. Although he risks more when he isn't.

There can be a conflict between the public interest of the case of the whistleblower and the interest of the organization where the whistleblower works. There should be laws that put the public interest above the private interest of the organization, then there is no need for anonimity.

A "right to anonimity" produces more problems than can be solved by other means.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 9th, 2006
That's right Erik, only protect the popular, government approved speech from people who can show their papers at a moments notice. Other types of speech are just too problematic to be useful.

After all how can we have a strong society if people are allowed to be critical of those in power without the people in power having a chance to fully investigate them and make sure they aren't a terrorist or child molester? Think about it, anonymous terrorist and child molesters saying things and influencing people. Society would crumble!
Permalink ronk! 
January 9th, 2006
"A "right to anonimity" produces more problems than can be solved by other means."

And the rights to practice your own religion, speak freely, and gather in public also cause problems, so do you suggest we get rid of those? After all, the world would be much more orderly if we all just shut up and did what we were told...
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
>There should be laws that put the public interest above the
>private interest of the organization, then there is no need
>for anonimity.

It doesn't matter if there ARE laws, it will still stop people from doing the right thing and blowing the whistle, when they can potentially lose their job, career or even their life.

It's one step further to an unfree country.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 9th, 2006
In a free country you are not afraid to use your own name.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 9th, 2006
You can have your anonimity; just don't call it a right. You got no protection from others exposing you.
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 9th, 2006
> In a free country you are not afraid to use your own name.

How's your job at the Candy, Fireworks and Puppy Emporium?
Permalink because you clearly live in a fantasy world 
January 9th, 2006
> In a free country you are not afraid to use your own name.

Right. I'm sure that the next time you discover illegal activity, you'll be right and sure to send a letter to those committing it so that when they DO get out of jail they'll be sure to call and thank you for keeping the country so "free".
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 9th, 2006
I don't think in general people have anomity from reporting crime. The defendants have the right to cross examine you in the court.
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 9th, 2006
"And the rights to practice your own religion, speak freely, and gather in public also cause problems, so do you suggest we get rid of those? After all, the world would be much more orderly if we all just shut up and did what we were told... "

That is opposite to what I stand for.

A secret church or organisation is much more menacing.

Free speech, but not free to say things that unjustly damage others. Final check whether something is unjust is with the court, as always.

The right of anonimity gives us such things as spam, feeding of religious hatred, and organized hooliganism.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 9th, 2006
>The right of anonimity gives us such things as spam

The danger with spam isn't that it's anonymous. Hell, since it's usually advertising, anonymous it mostly *isn't*.

>feeding of religious hatred

That goes with freedom of speech, not anonymous speech.

>organized hooliganism.

I just don't get this.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 9th, 2006
"Right. I'm sure that the next time you discover illegal activity, you'll be right and sure to send a letter to those committing it so that when they DO get out of jail they'll be sure to call and thank you for keeping the country so "free"."

This has nothing to do with anonimity on the web.

Of course I can go to the police or other authority and tell them thing confidentially. After that they can work to deal with the problem. I am not "publishing anonimously".

When there is a real thread for witnesses they can remain anonimous even in court, but this is exceptional. When this is the case there is a very serious thread in society.

The point is that anonimity can be requiered in exceptional cases, but should not be an a priori right.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 9th, 2006
"...but should not be an a priori right."

So long as you're not committing a crime (the new "crime" of being annoying notwithstanding) it's nobody's business to know who you are. It's the thin end of an ugly wedge, the other end of which is being stopped and asked to provide ID at random...

(It strikes me that "providing your name" is hopeless for identifying individuals anyway, so presumably everyone's also going to need to include their SSN or something every time they make a comment anywhere that someone might find annoying.)
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
I guess it's called slippery slope :)
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 9th, 2006
"So long as you're not committing a crime (the new "crime" of being annoying notwithstanding) it's nobody's business to know who you are."

With that I agree.

And it is only when somebody has a real interest to get to know your identity - because you damaged him - the he should have the right to know it. With a court order.

This is in fact juris prudentia in the Netherlands - a recent high court ruling.

And I agree with that ruling.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 9th, 2006
Slow down there, Hoss, you don't want to get me pair"annoy"ed, while I'm drinking my coffee. :-P

This guy seems to think that article is taking those passages out of context:
http://news.com.com/5208-1028-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=12943&messageID=101329&start=-1
Permalink LinuxOrBust 
January 9th, 2006
>And it is only when somebody has a real interest to get to
>know your identity - because you damaged him - the he should
>have the right to know it. With a court order.

I haven't got a problem with that. Provided it takes a court order to give up my identity.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 9th, 2006
"...because you damaged him - the he should have the right to know it. With a court order."

And that I won't dispute, but demanding you identify yourself beforehand, and defining "being annoying" as grounds for stirring up trouble is a whole different thing. (I've not read that "out of context" bit yet, so it may all be a moo point. :)
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
Oh, and provided a crime did actually take place. Otherwise you should keep your anonymity.

As Mat said, "being annoying" isn't even close to justified.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 9th, 2006
Judges are not stupid, they look at the spirit and context of the law. If i simply go to court and say someone anonymous named QuitcherBitchin on ?off is anoying me, they will not issue a warrant for you. People are just blowing cheesy wording in a law out of proportion. Start bitching when it's actually enforced wrongly.
Permalink Phil 
January 9th, 2006
I'd rather make a fuss *before* it gets applied wrongly, rather than wait until it's too late. On ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
Um, yeah. Doesn't it make more sense to make a fuss about a bad law *BEFORE* it's passed?
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 9th, 2006
Exactly, where was this discussion a week or two ago. Its law now, so its either going to be enforced correctly or not. If someone actually is being harassed by an anonymous person on the web, why shouldnt they be allowed to pressed charges?
Permalink Phil 
January 9th, 2006
Hopefully for the last time: Harassed != annoyed.
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
> Exactly, where was this discussion a week or two ago.

Apparently it was slipped into the bill at the last moment. At least that's what I read on teh interweb.
Permalink ronk! 
January 9th, 2006
"why shouldnt they be allowed to pressed charges?"

surely that depends on the level of harassment and the damage done?

I have persistently and annoyingly called mat hall a moron, stupid, of low intelligence and a drooling idiot.

It *could* conceivably be argued that by doing so I have affected his chances of future employment, by denigrating his abilities in a public place.

Im willing to bet that I have annoyed him at least on occasion.

Its even mildly possible that I have hurt his feelings.

So, according to that law he now has the ability to bring a case against me, force me to reveal my true identity and possibly even get damages or get me jail time. (I dunno what that law provides as penalties?)

the question facing us all here is: should he be able to do so?

according to that law he should, and he can.
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 9th, 2006
"I have persistently and annoyingly ..<snip>"

...and unreasonably, of course...
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 9th, 2006
What do you think yourself a judge would say after looking at some of the threads in here?

My guess: "don't waste my time"
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 9th, 2006
maybe. or maybe "the fact that this kind of abuse of the internet is endemic is no reason not to fight it. Jesus H Christ must be found and prosecuted to the full extent that the law allows as an example to others who might be abusing the privilege of access to the internet."
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 9th, 2006
Hey, that sounds like communist to me!!!
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 9th, 2006
The reason they want to make anonymous commenting illegal is so that the bushistas can do more like this:

This week last year I was preparing for a trip to Ohio to conduct interviews and research for a new book I was writing. My airline tickets had been purchased on line and the morning of departure I went to the Internet to print out my boarding pass. I got a message that said, "Not Allowed." Several subsequent tries failed. Surely, I thought, it's just a glitch within the airline's servers or software.

I made it a point to arrive very early at the airport. My reservation was confirmed before I left home. I went to the electronic kiosk and punched in my confirmation number to print out my boarding pass and luggage tags. Another error message appeared, "Please see agent."

I did. She took my Texas driver's license and punched in the relevant information to her computer system.

"I'm sorry, sir," she said. "There seems to be a problem. You've been placed on the No Fly Watch List."

"Excuse me?"

"I'm afraid there isn't much more that I can tell you," she explained. "It's just the list that's maintained by TSA to check for people who might have terrorist connections."

"You're serious?"

"I'm afraid so, sir. Here's an 800 number in Washington. You need to call them before I can clear you for the flight."

Exasperated, I dialed the number from my cell, determined to clear up what I was sure was a clerical error. The woman who answered offered me no more information than the ticket agent.

"Mam, I'd like to know how I got on the No Fly Watch List."

"I'm not really authorized to tell you that, sir," she explained after taking down my social security and Texas driver's license numbers.

"What can you tell me?"

"All I can tell you is that there is something in your background that in some way is similar to someone they are looking for."

"Well, let me get this straight then," I said. "Our government is looking for a guy who may have a mundane Anglo name, who pays tens of thousands of dollars every year in taxes, has never been arrested or even late on a credit card payment, is more uninteresting than a Tupperware party, and cries after the first two notes of the national anthem? We need to find this guy. He sounds dangerous to me."

"I'm sorry, sir, I've already told you everything I can."

"Oh, wait," I said. "One last thing: this guy they are looking for? Did he write books critical of the Bush administration, too?"

I have been on the No Fly Watch List for a year. I will never be told the official reason. No one ever is. You cannot sue to get the information. Nothing I have done has moved me any closer to getting off the list. There were 35,000 Americans in that database last year. According to a European government that screens hundreds of thousands of American travelers every year, the list they have been given to work from has since grown to 80,000.

My friends tell me it is just more government incompetence. A tech buddy said there's no one in government smart enough to write a search algorithm that will find actual terrorists, so they end up with authors of books criticizing the Bush White House. I have no idea what's going on.

Of course, there's always the chance that the No Fly Watch List is one of many enemies lists maintained by the Bush White House. If that's the case, I am happy to be on that list. I am in good company with people who expect more out of their president and their government.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-moore/branded_b_13272.html

That's the author of Bush's Brain who has been on the no-fly list for over a year.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471471402/

Other people like Senator Kennedy also end up on the no-fly list as well as 4 month old babies.
Permalink Peter 
January 9th, 2006
Guess I won't be going back to the USA any time soon.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 9th, 2006
For all I know, I'm on a no fly list. I haven't tried to get on an airplane in 15 years.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
>Tom Burke recently tried to print out a boarding pass from home before one of the frequent flights he takes.

He couldn't. When the San Francisco lawyer got to the airport, he was told the reason: His name, or one similar to it, is now on one of the Transportation Security Administration's terrorist watch lists.

"There was a certain irony to it," says Mr. Burke, a First Amendment expert who is suing the federal government on behalf of others who have found themselves on either the TSA's "no fly" or "selectee" list.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0324/p02s02-usgn.htm

I predict that the law referred to by Matt is fully intended to shut down whistleblowing sites as well as your_company_here_sucks.com type of sites.

Of course, should I get elected, I promise that the names of every republican politician will end up on the no-fly list. Should any complain, I further promise to declare them "enemy combantants" and have them tortured in Gitmo at tax payer expense. Which will cost far less than the pork they vote for themselves and their cronies.
Permalink Peter 
January 9th, 2006
> In principle I agree with the "no right to anonimity" when you hurt someone else.

Especially when your speech is hurtful to politicians and corporations.

Or what about those awful women who complain about their abusive husbands on line? That is very embarassing to the husband. At last the husband will be able to properly punish the wife for this with a nice prison sentence.
Permalink Art Wilkins 
January 9th, 2006
"I don't think in general people have anomity from reporting crime. "

Exactly, that is why there is not and never will be any anonymous tip lines for reporting crime.
Permalink Art Wilkins 
January 9th, 2006
"Especially when your speech is hurtful to politicians and corporations"

Here it works the other way around.

A public figure must tolerate more than a private person.
Because he himself produces publicity, and therefore other people are allowed to react to that publicity.

Especially political satire is allowed a long way. But also more serious attacks.

Here in the Netherlands the police was not allowed to remove a large banner saying a certain minister was a murderer.

Such a banner would not be allowed if the target was a private person.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 10th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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