Two Assembly bills are moving through the New Jersey legislature that would require Internet service providers to record users' identities and reveal them in any claim of defamation, reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation website.
In a nutshell, assembly bills A1327 and A2623 would require Internet service providers to record users' identities and reveal them in any claim of defamation. According to the EFF, the bills instead run chip away at First Amendment rights—which protects the right to speak anonymously. The bills would require identification of an online poster before the facts were resolved, leading to a flood of unsubstantiated claims designed simply to unmask online speakers.
"Protecting anonymity is vital to maintaining the diversity of viewpoints on the Internet," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Keeping online debates robust enables democracy, even if it allows name-calling and strongly worded opinions about political figures."
In response to this legislation, a coalition of companies, industry leaders and organizations have written an open letter to three New Jersey assemblymen, urging them not to waste taxpayers dollars on bills that will surely be struck down in court.