Your New Jersey assemblyman in action . . . Biondi attacks free political speech.

Your New Jersey assemblyman in action . . .

Biondi attacks free political speech.

Asbury Park Press editorial – “What about free speech?”

Assemblyman Peter Biondi, R-Somerset, has introduced a bill that would require Internet forum operators to register their users’ real names and addresses or face liability for defamatory posts. He should drag his mouse and hit the “delete” key on this one.
While his expressed goal of returning “a little civility to the Internet” is understandable, it’s far outweighed by the bill’s potential damage to free speech.

Biondi’s bill, now before the Assembly’s Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, would require that any public Internet forum operator disclose the name and address of anyone who posted a message deemed false or defamatory to the person allegedly defamed.

Biondi, who admits being the subject of some unflattering Internet posts in the past, said the anonymity “allows them to take liberties that they wouldn’t do if their name was there.” But that anonymity also lets people post information and express opinions without fear of retaliation. That’s also the purpose behind anonymous tip lines to report wrongdoing. They can be misused, but eliminating them is more harmful than having to follow up on false reports.

Pete Biondi has this all wrong. Rather than hassle the internet service providers, into basically, shutting down web forums, what needs to be done is have greater law enforcement follow-up on criminal activity going on through internet forums.

For example, in this ongoing harassment by Hoagland Longo developer attorney Larry Powers, a pretty clear death threat was leveled against me. Powers is one of these self-appointed policers of internet content, who doesn’t like the fact that I post on the internet, and almost always has some “response” to post on NJ.com for whatever he reads on this blog. I think I’ve been personally attacked every-which-way-to- Sunday — it’s hard to keep track of the nasty things he’s posted.

Then, when that was satisfying enough for the sicko, I get these threats, posted under a screen name that is only slightly different than my real name, about:

his getting a gun ready to use in the Spring,

and then later “looking for quail farms”.

The very weekend that Vice President Cheney shot a fellow hunter in the face.

Surprised he just doesn’t say something like: “may you be like John F. Kennedy in Dallas — you know, with all those adoring crowds lining the motorcade.”

Jokes are jokes.

But coming from a guy who, I was told, got into a pretty uncomfortable “discussion” several years back at a G.O.P. poltical event, (the source gave me the name of Bill Rose and remarked that it looked like a freeholder had to come in and break that one up before it got physical), I have to take these sort of “joke” threats seriously.

There are some people who you just have to keep pointing them right back at their dog shit. With Powers, “debates” are generally a race to the bottom. As he loses point-by-point on the political issues, the next thing you get are the personal attacks. Again, done in a cowardly way. Offered as “funny” kidding-around, but seldom is.

Assemblyman Biondi would really do well to propose stepped-up law enforcement when people like Powers have been identified. Basically, enforce the criminal laws already on the books, where the crimes are done using new technologies.