Anonymous forum posts are a way of life for most of the Internet, but one New Jersey politician wants to put an end to that. Assemblyman Peter Biondi has introduced a state bill that would require forum administrators and Internet service providers to register the names of anyone who posts to a public forum.
Internet forums are sometimes filled with personal attacks by anonymous posters. The bill hopes to cut down those attacks by allowing victims to obtain the legal name and addresses of the posters. Forums and ISPs that cannot provide these names will be liable for compensatory and punitive damages.
It’s unclear how the act would be enforced if it becomes law, but it is clear that Biondi will face a long fight with free speech proponents. In addition the provisions in the bill directly contradict parts of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which specifically indemnifies ISPs against third-party content posts.