Monday, January 09, 2006

The Death Of The Second Self?
Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Now In Its Second Week Of Illegality! 

Via BoingBoing:
Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity...
Of course, the statute doesn't define annoyance. And, as Declan McCullagh reminds us in the above-quoted article, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to lean on anonymity, from blogging about a boss' sexual harassment to sending an anonymous "Letters to the Editor" via email...not to mention the developmental benefits of identityplay.

But "Preventing Cyberstalking," an innocuously titled easter egg squirreled away in the otherwise unrelated Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act, is no joke: Criminal penalties include stiff fines and up to 2 years in prison.

See you in jail, folks.

Counterpoint: More Anonymity Is Good, Wired Editor-At-Large Kevin Kelly's suddenly much-more-dangerous idea. Also via BoingBoing.

Oddly Disappointing Update, 3:45 pm:
According to the resulting BoingBoing thread, the new act does not do what we think it does, and the word "annoy" dates back to my thesis subject: the Communications Act of 1934.

Fat Lady Hasn't Sung Yet Second-Tier Update, 5:37 pm: After hearing these critiques, McCullagh continues to maintain that the law has indeed changed as he described it. Question mark added to entry title in response.

posted by boyhowdy | 2:30 PM |

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