KY Rep. Seeks To Ban Anonymous Blogging

    March 5, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

First rule of politics for incumbents: During an election year, try not to highlight your general uselessness, especially if you share a name with a famous football player, because people will notice.

Second rule of politics for incumbents: If you go to the trouble to introduce a bill, be prepared to defend it until the bitter end, even if you know in your heart it will never pass, not in a million years, unless futility somehow becomes a desired legislative virtue.

Oh wait. Scratch that futility part. Futility gives the administrative branches of government something to do*.

Ahem. On with the article, right?

Kentucky state representative Tim Couch** (R-Hyden), introduced a bill to the General Assembly that would bar Kentuckians from anonymously commenting on Websites, or via their own blogs. The bill would require anyone leaving a comment to provide their real name, address, and email address to the website on which they wish to comment. Website operators would be required to enforce this policy or face fines.

Yes, their home address, too, which I think is illegal in Michigan.

Does Couch think this legislative measure will pass or even do any good to combat the cowardly drive-by anonymous jibes left on countless websites everyday? Well, no, not really. This bill was just to get your attention, not for real legislative purposes.

John Cheves reports Couch doesn’t think it will go anywhere or that the legislature can do anything about it in reality. Also in reality, Couch is using his legislative powers to bring attention to online bullying, especially when bullying is exacerbated by parents who join in on the anonymous gauntlet, which we can agree is pretty cowardly and rotten.

This quote was the kicker, though: "I think right now (online posting) is pretty much just on its own. It’s a machine that’s going to go its own way," Couch said. "The state can try to pass some rules, but I don’t really think it would do anything."

But he introduced it anyway, House Bill 775, dubbed "Prohibit anonymous blogging," just to show us Kentuckians our money is well-spent. Tip: If you’re going to be introducing symbolic protest bills, better reconsider that whole casino gambling thing so we have a better way to pay for them.

Then again, without the logic to support bills-to-nowhere, we wouldn’t have the logic to support why state lotteries, horse racing, and bingo are okay while casinos, back-room and online poker games, and betting on sports are not. Ahem. But I digress.

I don’t think I need to talk about freedom of speech, the First Amendment, civil liberties, or the necessity for anonymous speech even if it is abused by a few dastardly, yella-bellies—I get a few of those comin’ by sometimes myself. Perhaps an anonymous commentator called "rossh" can present that defense for me:

"The erosion of personal liberties continues ever so quietly … The government is here to protect us."

Well said, whoever you are.

And something like that is not something to be taken so lightly that you risk civil liberties just to get attention. God forbid you get enough votes to actually pass it.

The good news: It’s an election year and Couch has 3 Republican opponents signed up to run against in Leslie County, or thereabouts.

*The Third Rule, of course, is: Do not play with the electorate’s inalienable rights endowed by their Creator, yada yada, what Thomas Jefferson said.

*While not the famous rocket-armed quarterback, Rep. Couch shares his name and his home county with Tim Couch. And he kinda looks like him, too. Guessing there’s a relation, then, but just guessing. In a county of 12,400, I suppose it’s possible there are two unrelated Tim Couches who kinda look alike.