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Why Does this Man Want to Kill the Internet?

mug-jimfisher.jpgA state lawmaker in Idaho, whose head is full of shiny, clinky rocks, has come up with worst idea ever:

State Rep. Steve Hartgen, a former newspaper publisher, says he might introduce a bill to force people to use their real names when posting comments on the Internet.
“A modest proposal that simply required the posting of a true name with respect to comments and blogs would go a long way,” Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, told the Times-News, adding that the absence of such a provision “discourages people from participating in civil life. To me, it reflects a coarsening and cheapening of public debate, which I think is not healthy for Idaho.”
Hartgen, who was appointed to the Legislature in July and won election in November, is a former publisher and managing editor of the Times-News but hasn’t been affiliated with the newspaper since 2005.
His suggestion has prompted an outcry from Web users, who argue that it would chill the spontaneous exchange of ideas on the Internet.

You know why most users post anonymously? So their bosses won’t know they’re posting comments during work time. If they had to use their real names, every boss in America could check time-stamped comments and know when their employees were doing things more productive than their crappy day jobs. No one would post anymore. And then the Internet would die. Does Representative Hartgen want that on his conscience.

Also, not for nothing, but such a law would be absolutely, completely unenforceable and just about the stupidest piece of legislation ever passed by any state in the history of law passing.

| Comments (12)



This guy sux sooooooo bad!!! ZOMG LOLZZZ!

and his point is without merit.

Hey Hartgen.... Fuck you!

Why not just go a step further, and pass legislation that says we can't say mean or stupid things anymore. Would that be healthy for Idaho?

There's a very good way to avoid reading crap on the internet... don't read it!

They're already doing this in South Korea, supposedly to curb internet bullying, which is a pretty big problem there. So far it's been ineffective.

Oh My GOD! Does the "esq" mean you passed?


Yup! All sworn in, with a bar number, and everything. =)

Woo hoooooo! Treasure that feeling of accomplishment and smugness!

This is fantastic!!! If our government representatives have time for this...that must mean that both wars are over, the economy is fixed, the trade deficit is over, social security and medicare is completely solvent for the next 20 years!!! I've got to wonder, just how close are we to the world of "Deathrace 2000"?

Looks like someone's gotten their ass handed to them in one too many flame wars online.

Rep. Hartgen, you know what they say, "If you can't stand the heat..."

You know who else used fake names to publicize their opinions? Ben Franklin, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton...to name just a few. We have a pretty good tradition of protecting free speech in this country, whether the speaker wants to be identified or not. It's not just about saving your ass from being fired for posting on company time. It's also about protecting the minority opinion from actions taken by a repressive government.

Anybody with half a brain and the ability to subpoena ISP records can figure out who is who in any case. Hartgen -- whose former position as a newspaper publisher ought to mean he knows a little sumpin' about First Amendment rights -- sounds like a grandstanding asshole of the highest order.

I don't know about the stupidest. There was that proposition eight thing in California.


Perhaps Sen. Hartgen might like to add a preamble to his proposed bill stating that all persons of any nationality from anywhere on the face of the earth should be deemed to be citizens of Idaho for the purpose of this legislation.
Where is Idaho anyway?