If we are ending the age of Internet anonymity a lot of things will probably change. But some things will remain the same. From what I gather in the links below, the purpose of ending Internet anonymity is more about creating laws to protect people on the web just like there are laws to protect people in all aspects of society. Think about it. I know we complain about motor vehicles, but would you really want to live in a society where no one had to have a driver’s license, insurance, and registration? Though most of us would continue to be safe responsible drivers, there’s still that devious segment of the population that would take advantage and put the rest of us in danger.
I don’t think most people abuse Internet anonymity. But for that small devious segment of anons who do abuse Internet anonymity lawmakers are now fighting for protection. I don’t know how this will work with authors who have pen names. But I would assume that authors who have pen names and are not abusing them on the Internet, nothing much will change for them. The reason these laws are going to pop up eventually is to protect people from Internet crime, most of which seems to stem from Internet anonymity.
I could list blogs in the publishing community where devious Internet anonymity runs rampant. Some of these anonymous people have multiple anonymous identities and they spend a good part of their lives terrorizing innocent people who have no other recourse than to just sit back and take it. And it’s not just in publishing. I’ve heard politicians claim they’ve been abused by Internet anonymity and I’m sure that’s why the new laws are being pushed. I’ve also posted about many businesses that have suffered bad reviews left by their competitors thanks to the lawless Internet and anonymity. And these things affect businesses and livelihoods.
Sometimes it’s so bad that some of us get paranoid about Internet anonymity. I recently blocked someone for this reason just based on simple facts. I saw multiple identities, I saw classic Internet bully tactics, and I saw all past information about this person disappear from the Internet for unexplained reasons. For me it’s an automatic red flag. I lose patience and I don’t want that filtering into my life.
In any event, I do think we’re entering into a new age of the Internet. I’m not sure I like every aspect of it, but I don’t see how else things can change unless laws are put into place to protect innocent people from Internet criminals. So far the honor system we’ve been seeing on the Internet isn’t working.
A new bill in Albany has its sights set on anonymous Internet trolls. The Internet Protection Act would require sites to have online commenters identify themselves.
The Act, sponsored by Assemblyman Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue) and Senator Thomas O’Mara (R-Big Flats), would require New York-based websites to “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”
It’s happening in the UK, too.
Cowardly Internet ‘trolls’ who post vile abuse on Facebook and Twitter will be identified to their victims under laws unveiled today.
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke wants to strip away the cloak of anonymity which shields website users who peddle lies and vicious smears.
Internet companies will be expected to agree to rules over how to deal with libellous comments posted on their sites.
It is often said that the Internet is a ‘law-free zone’ where users can say or do as they please. This may be about to change. New legislation is being put forward by the government that may bring the era of online anonymity to an end.
The changes are contained in clause five of the defamation bill, which was published several weeks ago and is currently on its way through the House of Commons.
The issue has gained prominence in the wake of several cases of online harassment, most notably a case where a Brighton woman, Nicola Brookes, obtained a judgment against Facebook, forcing it to reveal the identities of ‘vicious Internet trolls’ who posted abuse about her online.
So it’s clear things are changing and I’ll be watching to see if these laws are implemented. If you notice, I don’t post any photos anymore unless I know it’s legal to do it. Although I’ve always encouraged anonymous comments on this blog because I know people tend to be discreet with regard to erotic romance, I’ve also had to police more than a few comments I considered too vicious to post in public. If these laws don’t happen soon, I’m sure they will happen eventually. Like I said earlier, I’m not sure I’m thrilled about them yet. But I have experienced several defamatory cases personally because of Internet anonymity and I haven’t been thrilled about it. At this point, there’s nothing I can do about it. If there are laws, I will pursue the real identities of the people who tried to defame me in public, openly and with my own name and identity.
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