Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Growing Police State: Internet Trolls Edition

No one likes Trolls.  No, I'm not talking about the little dolls with the neon hair.  I'm talking about internet trolls.  Those people who get into your comment thread just to drop a load and move on.  Or they like to say mean, nasty, sometimes hurtful things about people.  Over at the Ace of Spades HQ, we have a rather novel way of taking care of them: we make fun of them, and ridicule them mercilessly.  It seems to work- we don't have very many trolls.

But the NY State Assembly doesn't seem to think that people are able to take care of their own troll problem, so they've decided to write a bill making anonymous internet comments illegal.  This does seem to include using pseudonyms as well.  So if you don't post with your real name and some real contact information, your comment must be taken down by the site administrator once they are made aware of it.

As Wired magazine pointed out (link in the original article), this would have banned the Federalist Papers from online distribution.  What makes this worse, is that it's being pushed by Republicans.  I thought we were supposed to be pro-free speech.  What happened?

As if that were not bad enough, we get this great quote from Thomas O'Mara, the NY Senate's sole sponsor of the legislation, when he was questioned about the 1st Amendment violations this legislation would cause, "Today is the first day that these issues have been raised," and further, "I haven't gotten any comments from my colleagues in the Senate who said that this wasn't a good idea."

Really, Mr. O'Mara?  Could you possibly have beclowned yourself any more?  Protip: If your legislation would regulate speech or writing, it's probably going to have First Amendment implications, and you should circular-file it forthwith.  If you really hadn't thought of the 1st Amendment implications, then you're an idiot and not qualified for office.  If you did think of those, and just sort of hoped no one would notice, you're a lying tyrant and not fit for office.  Either way, I'm not thinking you should be in office.

And to all of those "colleagues" who didn't say the legislation wasn't a good idea: the same goes for you.  You should have thought of the First Amendment.  If you didn't, you're an idiot who isn't fit for office.  If you did, you're a tyrant who isn't fit for office.  So which is it?

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