A recently introduced bill in the Illinois state Senate would require anonymous website comment posters to reveal their identities if they want to keep their comments online.
The bill, called the Internet Posting Removal Act, is sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein. It states that a “web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate.”
The Democratic lawmaker’s bill, which does not ask for or clarify requirements from entities requesting the comment removal, would take effect 90 days after becoming law.
Pseudonymous and anonymous comments have long been a critical part of U.S. public discourse, though, and the bill may be on shaky legal ground.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) noted on its website that the “right to anonymous speech is also protected well beyond the printed page.”