Illinois Anonymity Bill: Senator Ira Silverstein Introduces, Then Pulls Controversial Proposal

closeup of a  business woman...
closeup of a business woman...

An Illinois state lawmaker this month introduced a new bill aimed at thwarting the efforts of anonymous Internet trolls -- but apparently has since thought better of it.

The bill, SB 1614, was filed on Feb. 13 by state Sen. Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat. The bill would create the Internet Posting Removal Act in Illinois, which would entail the following:

Provides that a web site administrator shall, upon request, remove any posted comments posted 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.

Right? Right. The Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn contacted Silverstein assuming there had to have been some sort of Internet troll-related backstory to the bill -- but alas:

"I do a lot of reading, a lot of research, over break," Silverstein explained to Zorn. "And I came across this idea that had been suggested in New York (state) as a way to combat cyberbullying."

Silverstein added that he's pulling the bill from consideration.

Last May, a bill was introduced in New York that would require online commenters to identify themselves as a means of "turn[ing] the spotlight on cyber-bullies by forcing them to reveal their identity or have their post removed." The bill has not progressed since then and, relatedly, would likely not pass constitutional muster.

As The Daily Caller notes, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the “right to anonymous speech is also protected well beyond the printed page" -- including on social networks and message forums.