January 09, 2006

H.R.3402: Shutting down anonymous posts on internet ?


Decian McCullagh  mentions that H.R.3402 has provisions which make it criminal offence to post a message without disclosing your true identity. The prohibition is part of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act


The prohibition aparently only restricts annoying anoymous messages. But who decides whats anonymous and whats not ? Whats not annoying to you could be extreemly repugnant to me.

A lot of web discussion forums including services like Slashdot, which allow anonymous comments, would soon be full of criminals. And if this is really acted upon and force users to create accounts on each of these webservices just to post a comment, how many of these services will you be posting your comment on ? Personally I have a slashdot account, and I rarely leave anonymous messages, but if someone comes with a new services tommorow which forces me to create an account with a new loginname and password, I'm pretty sure I'll be thinking twice about it.

If you are one of those who don't mind creating accounts, but use same or similar passwords everywhere, this would be good opertunity for password harvesters to take your passwords.

Remember the PGP export embargo ? Did that stop the world from using it ? Is it really possible to actually enforce this on the internet if the law is just applicable to US ?

If you have read the bill or have some more information on this law I'm interested to find out more.