- Guy who wants to fund the border wall has privately raised $7 million Thursday 8:41 PM
- Mortal Kombat 11 trailer delights fans with gory fatalities, new characters Thursday 5:46 PM
- What you need to know about the data breach involving 773 email addresses Thursday 5:13 PM
- Senators fear government shutdown may affect FTC investigation of Facebook Thursday 3:43 PM
- Buy beer for a furloughed government worker with this new website Thursday 3:19 PM
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is teaching Congress how to tweet Thursday 2:42 PM
- Congressmen held genetics meeting with Chuck Johnson, despite his past racist claims about genetics Thursday 2:26 PM
- Female bodyguard thriller ‘Close’ is disappointingly un-thrilling Thursday 2:01 PM
- Twitter faces backlash for insensitive ‘triggers’ joke Thursday 1:13 PM
- 10 user-recommended sites for live tarot readings that are almost too good to be true Thursday 12:08 PM
- AsapSCIENCE comes for Jake Paul over Mystery Brand scam Thursday 11:34 AM
- Why ‘I never thought of it like that’ can actually be deeply offensive Thursday 11:26 AM
- Save 40% on the Fire TV Stick 4K when you rent textbooks through Amazon Thursday 11:05 AM
- Netflix reportedly used real disaster footage in ‘Bird Box’ Thursday 10:53 AM
- Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson spotted with 2 congressmen in Capitol Thursday 10:30 AM
“Write your posts, but if they end up in the media, then someone has to bear responsibility,” one lawmaker said.
Armenia is growing wary of the Internet’s whole “saying things online without using your real name” thing. So it’s considering banning the practice outright.
Its National Assembly is scheduled to debate a bill Monday that would, in theory, crack down on online defamation. In practice, it would instruct websites owners to remove “defamatory” content from anonymous or pseudonymous sources, or face legal penalties. In other words, comments sections, bloggers who use pen names, and anybody with an opinion who doesn’t want to use their real name on Twitter, are all in trouble.
Online rights activists regard the ability to post online—whether it’s simply to speak one’s mind without fear of harassment or to call out a corrupt government—as a cornerstone of basic Internet freedom.
And it’s not hard to see how laws against it can be abused. Soon after the United Arab Emirates passed its anti-online defamation bill in 2012, the country imprisoned a handful of young men for making a parody YouTube video of Dubai’s youth culture. The one American in that group, Shezanne Cassim, was finally freed after nine months in prison. The fate of his companions is still unknown.
Peter Micek, policy counsel at the global Internet freedom advocacy group Access, said his group was among those condemning the bill. “Access vehemently opposes any laws restricting anonymity online,” he said.
Armenian lawmakers aren’t pulling punches about how strict they’d like the law to be. “Write your posts, but if they end up in the media, then someone has to bear responsibility,” Edmon Marukyan, one of the Parliamentarians who helped draft the law, explained to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. “What we are proposing is either to reveal the identity of these anonymous users, or just removing the content so that the website won’t have to be liable.”
At least the bill’s still in a draft stage. Johann Bihr, who heads Reporters Without Borders’ Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk, told the Daily Dot that it had become a “scandal” in Armenia. The lawmakers who introduced the bill had “promised to work on the wording on the text, but they refused to simply withdraw it,” Bihr said.
Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.