Assemblyman Conte: Turning the Spotlight on Cyber-Bullying [Updated]

Thu, May 10, 2012

Huntington, Nassau, Opinions, Suffolk

Updated on May 31, 2012 2 6:07 pm

Originally published on May 10, 2012 @ 17:59

What appeared to be a simple opinion piece by NYS Assemblyman Jim Conte, has grown into an international news story.  Historically, LIPolitics.com viewers read a post on our blog, jump to two or more stories, then move on leaving nothing more than a Google Analytics trail to show their presence.

When we posted this piece, we expected the same.  However, to date, this is one of our most viewed posts, outside of an election cycle, which was linked to several national and international internet news blogs, including Huff Post NEW YORK.

Below you’ll read Assemblyman Conte’s original opinion piece, followed by a string of ‘approved’ comments.  Many more comments were not approved due to the use of abusive language and vulgarity — or what we deemed as “satirical cyber-bullying.”

Assemblyman Conte: Turning the Spotlight on Cyber-Bullying

Earlier this month, I joined several of my legislative colleagues to promote the Internet Protection Act (A.8688/S.6779). The legislation, which I am sponsoring, seeks to combat cyber-bullying by allowing the victim of an anonymous Website posting to request that the post be removed if the anonymous source is unwilling to attach his or her name to it.

Too often, online bullies hide behind their anonymity as they inflict pain. My legislation turns the spotlight on cyber-bullies by forcing them to reveal their identity or have their post removed. Once a bully is identified, steps can be taken to end the harassment. Bullying is no laughing matter. The more we can do to combat this abuse, the better off we will all be as a society.

In addition to cracking down on cyber-bullying, the bill also prevents people from posting anonymous criticism of local businesses. Too often, rival businesses will post negative and false posts to hurt their competition. With more and more people turning to online reviews, it is important to ensure that the posted information, good or bad, is from actual customers and not rival competitors.

Finally, the legislation will help cut down on the types of mean-spirited and baseless political attacks that add nothing to the real debate and merely seek to falsely tarnish the opponent’s reputation by using the anonymity of the Web. By removing these posts, this bill will help to ensure that there is more accurate information available to voters on their prospective candidates, giving them a better assessment of the candidates they have to choose from.

With more and more people relying on social media and the Internet to communicate and gather information, it is imperative that the legislature put into place some type of safeguard to prevent people from using the Internet’s cloak of anonymity to bully our children and make false accusations against local businesses and elected officials.

Jim Conte
Member of the Assembly
10th District


Long Island Politicians Under Fire For Supporting Anti-Cyberbullying Bill

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