There is a long and valuable history of anonymous writing in the United States, especially with the anonymous pamphleteering by writers such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. I choose to write anonymously because I prefer to keep my views private until I disclose them myself to someone.
This past March, Kentucky Representative Tim Couch(R) introduced House Bill 775, which would require all sites allowing comments to require the person identify themselves. There would be no anonymous posting of comments allowed on the Internet for Kentucky residents.
“In summary, House Bill 775 would require Kentucky residents who want to leave a comment on a Web site to register their real name, address, and e-mail address with the Web site. They would be expected to use their real name whenever they commented. Web site operators who would not abide by the law would be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for any additional violation.”
Is the man daft? Does he even know how impossible it would be to implement this scheme?
Mr.Couch says his name has been slashed all over the blogosphere for this bill. I tried to persuade him the interview would give him the opportunity to explain to the blogosphere his original intentions, but he still declined saying:
“I only wanted to make a statement, and I did.”
Mr. Couch told me over the phone that he is being attacked on the Internet. He has received countless e-mails and phone calls not only at his office, but also at his home. His daughter received a call that contained severe “foul language.”
He said, “I am not a Communist,” like he thinks the blogosphere is making him out to be.
Well, you’re a public servant, and when you do something this idiotic, people are going to voice their opinions. It appears that your constituents don’t suffer fools gladly.
Mr. Couch also told WebProNews that he does not think the bill will go anywhere especially after the strong response he’s received. He said he would like the negativity to stop, and he’s very busy at the moment working on the state budget.
So why waste everyone’s time with this sort of foolishness? Poor baby. The bill seems to be dead as of now. But I expect some power hungry control freak to try this again.
Quite a few bloggers use anonymity when blogging. There are a few disadvantages to anonymous blogging. Anonymous bloggers are more likely not to be taken seriously and usually have to compensate for this with more and higher quality posts. There is also a lack of some personal and uniquely identifying information in the posting, qualities that would allow readers to emotionally connect with the blogger. I find that I have to sometimes make small changes in identifying information in my posts. I also have to choose not to post some personal stories. This restricts my content somewhat.
But I feel that anonymous activism can be a very powerful force. Anonymous has turned the act of anonymous protesting to an art form. It allows someone a freedom to express themselves with a possibly reduced risks of threats and harm. Though in the Keiffe & Sons Ford ad, I would have probably written as myself anyway, at least to the Ford Corporation. But publicly writing about this in the very conservative Antelope Valley almost requires me to write anonymously if I want to keep my family and property safe from some “Loving Christians.”
Later, I will write about a few incidents that have prompted me to keep this blog anonymous. I enjoy my secret identity. It’s turning out to be a lot of fun.