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July 30th, 2010
08:27 AM ET

Internet anonymity- how much is too much?

The internet- especially blogs and social media- has given many people the platform to voice their opinions freely and anonymously.

But the question still remains- who are these people?

It used to be that when a person exercised his freedom of speech, his identity would be known and he would be held accountable for his statements. Today, the internet allows for total anonymity. A person may blog, tweet or post whatever he wants- true or false- without having to take responsibility for it.

We want to know what you think. Should there be stricter regulation on the internet?


Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    The internet is fine just the way it is leave well enough alone .

    July 30, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  2. Harrison

    No way! The internet is the last truly free entity remaining. Once we regulate that, the voice of the anonymous will fall silent forever.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  3. Grayam

    I believe there should be stricter regulations. I believe if someone says something that can be damaging to your professional career and/or personal life we should have the right to know who it is. Even a murderer has the right to face their accusers.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  4. Jonathan Sauer

    Kyra it's not possible to log IP addresses because there are anonymous proxy servers that people can use.

    These servers strip the originating ip address from the packets. This information is lost and not recorded. Even a court order could not reveal this information because it has ceased to exist.

    Even if we outlawed these servers in the US they could operate from anywhere else in the world.

    It's simply futile to attempt what you suggest.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  5. Jim

    Agreed.

    At the same time, those who use it need to be responsible for their actions. Abusing the * privilege* of its lack of regulation will force hands somewhere at some time.

    China is a perfect example of what *can* happen.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  6. Tammy Jo

    What about the thousands of people around the globe that use the internet to anonymously report on tragedies, i.e, Iran. How would this policing affect their safety?

    July 30, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  7. sabrina

    Kyra – please that civil rights attorney is out of his mind.. extreme free speech at the expense of people's lives? I don't think so... Cyber Bullying wasn't even mentioned. People have actually died because they were stalked and bullied online. We need to have digital markers to track down where the source of information comes from. We can keep free speech absolutely – but let's reveal who's speaking.

    Sabrina
    Public School Teacher
    Rocehster, New York

    July 30, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  8. Thomas Jones

    Well i think the internet should stay the way it is and also that comment on the show about being able to track, it is impossible with the way hackers can change their computers location and not only that make it impossible to be able to get a connection. Freedom of speech is more important over all and their should be no regulations against it on the internet.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  9. Lori Wade

    There should be a way to police the internet. There is not just a problem with blogging and social media but there is a problem with cyber bullying. Someone should be policing this to prevent major issues.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  10. mike

    Sure, I agree that defamation should never happen, and that two wrongs don't make a right; but the media is just as guilty of sound bite and edited media to spin a story into a direction that will increase viewership, therefore helping sell advertising dollars.

    If the internet is going to be held accountable, then the media should be made to spend as much airtime correcting a story that they did defaming one.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  11. Maureen Steffek

    Freedom of speech does not include freedom to libel or defame or invade privacy. These are crimes and should be prosecuted.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  12. Matthew

    The internet is a place for people to share ideas and information. You may not agree with some people's Ideas, but that does not give you the right to restrict their freedom of speech because you do not like their ids. Malicious activity does need to be controlled but nothing the government can do will change the fact that people will get infected with viruses and scammed. The best way to prevent this is for people to educate themselves on the threat. As far as Wikipedia goes, if you continue to post information that is incorrect or biased your IP address will be perma-banned from editing. You seemed to have forgot to mention this on your broadcast.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  13. A Davis

    We have too many laws. What we lack is effective enforcement.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  14. Jim Koscianski

    I think we are all over-regulated already. We loose our freedoms daily. We must keep our Amendments protected!

    July 30, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  15. Andrew Crook

    Liberty has a price. Being free that means we must guard against maliciousness behavior! The greater crime would be to ID and track the free flow of information. The Internet is bringing the world closer together. It is empowering people through knowledge. There is a reason China's government censors the internet. Do you really think our government should follow China's example? I will stand against any such illegal infringements on my rights to free speach, feel free to mark that down.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  16. Jim

    As much as I believe in the 1st Amendment I also strongly believe in PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Somewhere along the way people have got so far away from that and it has really changed our country for the worse. None of us are "entitled" as so many people act like they are these days. If you are going to say or write something then be person enough to take full responsibility for those acts.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  17. Makaveli Don Killuminati

    The internet is fine the way it is. I get the news that matters from websites like infowars.com eveybody check it out. Avery Freeman is right freedom of speech wins, 1st amendment all the way! && if they take the internet from us back to the printing press we go.. it's funny how people want to give up their freedom.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  18. Joe Riney

    If a person has something that needs to be made public, then they shouldn't have any problem with posting their true name and location. There should be no expectation of privacy when you post something to the public about someone else.

    Sites should make people use their name and email address, just as above, when posting something about someone else.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  19. Gail Davis

    Unfortunately the people who defame others annonumusly have very little if any integrity or conscience. It is not possible to legislate morality, so I see no way to stop these people.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  20. Mike

    I believe that the internet should be policed with stricter stipulations. It would stop alot of the bullying and gang/terrorist activity

    July 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  21. Dave Hala

    We don't need more government regulation. People need to get a clue. Anything on the 'net is public. If you're dumb enough to post comments that would impact your employment, get you sued or arrested then you deserve what you get. Since when has ignorance been an excuse for a lack of;common sense? Do you really want our politicians to legislate common sense? Are you kidding me? Have you seen the stuff that goes on in congress?

    July 30, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  22. Charlotte TN

    YES, YES, YES! Why not? We live in the 21st century, not on the prairie anymore. Our children, elders and women are being victimized everyday; abducted, murdered and raped. On the streets and in cyberspace. If these victims were majority males, I believe there would have been Big Brother all over it, long before now...

    July 30, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  23. Kayin

    Everyone wants to put the the Internet into the same category as the Media. No one wants to accept that the Internet is a completely different monster and will never play to the Media's rules, nor can or will it be tamed by any government or media corporation.

    Anyone who argues against this does not understand the Internet; such a lack of understanding was unfortunately shown by your guests.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  24. Charlotte TN

    What is everyone doing on line that they are so afraid of being seen doing it????

    July 30, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  25. Christopher Plate

    The real issue is rooted in the reasons that humans have always imposed laws on themselves in the first place. Given a choice between doing right or wrong (And who determines that? Possibly we can use the "Seven Deadly Sins" as a sample norm.), how many people will choose to do the wrong thing? Using the internet is just another new type of human behavior. Human nature is as old as the species. If we find that some of this activity can be harmful to others, then I guess we should continue what we've done in the past and apply the rule of law.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  26. Greg Carlton

    Take a look at the TV and Writen News Agency's offering feedback from every crazy person on the planet. Very seldom do I see A health discussion. In fact I see hate and lie's being the number one outcome. I guess this does create news drama which create ratings.
    Give me the professional news not unqualified comments.
    Greg Carlton
    Arizona

    July 30, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  27. Joey

    No anonymity is too much. The internet is the only place in the world where anyone can sound off about a certain subject without getting those strange looks you get in real life, Internet users can complain about government oppression without getting persecuted, and they can join large communities that they would have much difficulty finding in real life. While IPs can make the difference between "Anonymous" and "I know where you live", the internet can still be a safe haven for many people. Especially people pretending they are Justin Bieber in chat rooms.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  28. Ron Woolley

    Freedom of speech wins over privacy. But defamation lawsuits should be directed at the first known source that picks up the anonymous mis-information and propagates it unchecked. Otherwise reputable news sources, such as CNN, should be held accountable for profiting from defamation.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  29. Joe

    No, there should not be stricter regulation on the Internet. Free speech means just that – free. As traditional main stream media becomes more irrelevant thanks to the Internet (the real issue here) you can be sure that they will use incedents such as the Sherrod case to advance the agenda of Internet control. I'm not buying it.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  30. YoYo

    we do not need stricter internet laws. its downright a violation of our freedom of speech if and when such laws get passed. furthermore, anonymity is one of the shining stones of the internet. it further helps us to express our views without any chastisements. we all know what everybody's doing nowadays with Google, Facebook and Twitter anyways so anonymity may be our last line of defense for our privacy.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  31. Makaveli Don Killuminati

    Hey everybody let's act like we live in China and tell everybody how to live.... NOT!!!! This is the -U.S.A.- Land of the FREE

    July 30, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  32. Scott

    Do NOT mess with our freedoms any more. We have had enough taken away from us for the sake of 'National Security' in the way of the No-Fly List, unwarranted wire tapping and now AZ's immigration reform.

    Enough is enough. The internet is as it should be.

    For you to use such an irresponsible statement, "It used to be that when a person exercised his freedom of speech, his identity would be known and he would be held accountable for his statements," is reflective of your ignorance. When did protesters have to display their identification to voice opinion? When was this?! Apparently, I missed that segment of time where ID was required to voice opinion.

    What source are you citing? When was the last time the 'news' media held themselves accountable for their statements? When was the last time you heard a specific source cited, other than "[the person] asked to have [this] name withheld as [he] was not authorized to comment?"

    July 30, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  33. jim canary

    Kyra- certainly freedom of speech must carry the responsability of
    owning your speech and its consequences. Another basic principle is the right of the accused to face his accuser.
    While there may be times when anonymity if needed for example
    whistle blowers – there is always someone who knows the identity
    and can hold the person responsible.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  34. Rondell Cadette

    It is inevitable that in the future we see stricter regulation of the internet. It's applications are so far reaching we will have no choice.It would be short sighted think otherwise.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  35. Chris Scott

    If we treat the Internet as media, then we already have the laws in place to protect people. Make blogs and other websites that publish content responsible for the content they publish. If you own a newspaper and people write letters to your editors, you are responsible for the letters you publish. Treat bloggers and webmasters the same way.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  36. judy Best

    hi Kyra
    interesting talk about internet safety, but guess what?...i've had my personal info stolen twice so far, and from the most unlikely places....once from the head office of my bank, and once from the university that i attended 25 years ago!!!....so even if i decide not to use the internet, these places do!!!!...our governments do need to step it up a bit when it comes to laws governing safety on the net, or everyone's in trouble
    judy, peterborough, canada

    July 30, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  37. Dennis

    Yes, I do believe there should be accountability for all postings on the Internet. If you want to state what think is fact, you should have to be able to back it up. And if you are just wanting to slander and lie, you should be ready to pay the consiquinces of it. Since the Internet reaches so many more people than printed or broadcasted information giving sources, I think there should be heavier penalties for purposely giving out 'miss-information'. Then maybe it would cause people to think twice before putting lies and slander out there.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  38. Jason

    I think we should protect the internet as a site of free speech. It is unfortunate that people lose their jobs over slanderous remarks. What I don't understand is why even professional people will take everything on the internet at face value. When I was a college student, I wasn't allowed to use Wikipedia as a reference source because it could not be verified as accurate. We pay professionals like the people at CNN to verify facts and let us know which news items are true. Problems like Sherrod's could be avoided in the future if people understood that internet media can be manipulated and needs to be verified before any conclusions can be made.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  39. Anon

    The stories and information posted here are artistic works of fiction and falsehood. Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  40. Elizabeth from San Diego

    I think that if there is additional Internet monitoring, we will all be under even more scrutiny of "Big Brother" government's interference in our personal lives. After all, we do have freedom of speech in the US, and no one is forced to use the Internet. Until that changes, the Internet should stay as it is.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  41. Dennis Berman

    Even in an open society and with the ability to reach millions of people comes the social and moral responsibility to disclose ones identity in expressing ones opinion. Otherwise it seems there are no bounds or structure that comes with freedom of speech. Put another way own up to and face the potential consequences and reactions to what you say. Otherwise it is just a cheap and punk-like shot taken by someone lacking backbone and maturity.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  42. Pete Harralson

    The internet should be protected by our 1st Amendment rights. If a person makes an anonymous comment about another person, most readers would know to take that comment with a grain of salt. If a person feels strongly about a comment he or she makes, then he or she will put their name to it. We have enough government intrusion in our lives. If we allow markers on internet posts, it would create a chilling effect on free speech on the internet. Then where does it stop? Do we throw out the secret ballot system in our elections? Do we force people to sign their ballots, leaving them to possible retribution by a candidate who they did not support? Leave well enough alone on the internet.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  43. Greg Francis

    Good morning;

    I listened to the discussion about weighing freedom of speech versus privacy and was suprised that none of the participants brought up the fact that up until recently...freedom of speech has not been anonymous. Freedom of speech can be absolute without infringement as long as the definition of "speech" is not changed. Any person should be free to say whatever they want...as long as the source of that "speech" is clear and verifiable. But the internet should not be a wall for hatemongers to hide behind.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  44. Mort Walco

    Here is an example of the devastating affect of defamation run rampant. I have been chasing cyberdefamation for three years. My name, good reputation, business have all been destroy by a former business associate and a publicist who conspired to extort funds from me by publishing defamatory and personal privacy matters about me, my family and my business. i am eager to scream please do something to help me find legal representation to pursue the perpertrators who have caused major losses in business, prevented the sale of a million dollar business and have done so blatantly. What can i do to recover? I have spoken to dozens of legal sources and have not been able to get help. Is there anyway you might be able to refer me to a legitimate source for help. I love the sincerity and integrity of your show, both of which are a reflection of your leadership and dedication to being a journalist.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  45. Rudy Perales

    Why not government regulation? Why don't we take one of our last true freedoms and put govt. handcuffs on it because you and the actual small portion of ruined lives, that you speak of, scream for it? Why don't we start using China's methods, how about that Kyra?

    July 30, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  46. christine nusser

    A stalker has been posting false information about me for five years now. They do so in a manner that gives the impression that they are reporting local investigative news through their "newspaper". Because I was a CEO they claim protection labeling me as a public figure. This has and damanged my reputation beyond repair. I live with the threat threat that if I try to respond to the false information they will post more. People believe what they read on the internet. My life and career and forever changed.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  47. Jim Lehman

    Of course we must protect free speech, but speech implies a known source–the person who is talking is not anonymous. Most print media require the name of a person who writes a letter to the editor. So, why should the internet be excluded from identifying those who want their opinions or information "published"? Having a marker or some way of tracking the source of internet materials sounds like a reasoinable solution.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  48. Ran

    Thinking there is a way to trace all Internet traffic back to a source is naive and demonstrates the medias lack of knowledge. There are hundreds of countries that are currently used for malicious conduct to propagate misinformation, computer viruses, malware,etc. with no means of identifying the source of the poor conduct. You could trace it back to an Internet server that resides in a country, China & Russia as an example since they are currently the most popular countries for this use, that does not or will not comply with US law. This occurs today and these countries are not going to change because they reap financial benefits from such conduct and frankly could care less.

    I would suggest that Internet laws remain unchanged because any attempt to regulate is a waste of tax payers money and would only generate another one of our "feel good" laws that will never have any real impact. Instead, I would suggest the news media act responsibly and not broadcast any information (i.e. Sharon Sherrod) until they have properly verified such information. I find it confusing why CNN and other news organizations are so twisted about this subject when they so unprofessionally contributed too the misuse of information. Do your job properly and discontinue efforts to redirect the blame to other sources. No hostility, just fact.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  49. dario

    Freedom of speech does not protect anonymity. Freedom of speech protects a person's right to hold a dissenting viewpoint without fear of retribution. If we all have a responsibility to be a part of a democracy, we need to recognize the responsibility to maintain an identity. Anonymity is not freedom, but anarchy. We fear retribution so we seek anonymity. What use for a first amendment if we fear to use it? Anger, fear, distrust, envy, and ignorance are everyday occurrences as we maintain independent identities in a world of drones and clones. And no, you can't have my home address or my phone number!

    July 30, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  50. TruEngineHearing

    The most prolific writer of all time; the one who – more than anyone else – keeps human civilization a safe harbor for free souls, is annonymous. Never abandon these people, or you will have surrendered your individual humanity.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  51. AllanL

    Kyra:

    The question about monitoring the internet is focused in the wrong the direction.

    Individual rights to speak seem to be absolute in America. It is very reasonable to recognize that inedivisuals rights have to be within the context of the society. No individual can claim rights that are functionally superior to the rights of the community and the society.

    Americans' rights to speak, nonesense most of the time, seems more necessary and important than the rights to a good education or the right to have good food on the table.

    Today, the average American is monitored, in more ways, as much as or more than any other citizen in the world. Do you think that the right to speak supersedes the rights to live in a community where your children can play without fear of being taken, abused or killed?

    July 30, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  52. Bob Carlson

    Digital markers should be required. They are not an invasion of privacy, they are a mark of being responsible and accountable for ones actions. We are held accountable for what we "say" orally in public venues, therefore we should also be held accountable for what we post electronically in a public forum(Internet).

    July 30, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  53. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Kyra, I can't help but think that there is a possibility that this is directed directly at me. I say this because I posted earlier in the day in AmFix Live Blog in a manner that provokes the very questions: "Who am I?" or "Who is this person?" or "What is this person's agenda?" I've wondered this many times myself as I read other people's blogs. This brings us to the question: "Who am I?" Well, I can tell you that I'm an ordinary American Citizen that could be rich, could be poor, could be ANYONE! I believe in finding the truth through discovery of absolute facts. Thus everything said must be verified prior to reporting on the TV screen. As I listen to you live right now, I see there is much 'enthusiasm' concerning within your panel. Take the 'Sherrod' case, you know and many of us know what the 'tactic' was and how it 'snookered' the format of the news from the important news of the week. I want to see those responsible 'hang themselves'. If you want to know more about me, contact me directly in a mannor that does not disclose my identity. We'll talk about it then. Sorry for the nebulosity. Might I add, that I want to see CNN ratings at the top. And that's a compliment towards CNNs proffesionalism! You have my Email. Contact me there for a private conversation, if that is your wish.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  54. Southgate Jo

    The internet is a world unto itself. It is fantasy and fact mixed together. Those who use the internet need to realize that it's the wild west lives. Precaution is necessary but the rewards are many. Grandmoms can talk to grandkids, thousands of miles away and exchange photos or talk live via skype. We can research just about anything at the stroke of a key. The benefits are too many to ignore. Do we need regulation? Our government leaders translate regulation into ...a tax opportunity and a way to make money. The Internet needs to remain unregulated and free. Any intrusion into this wild west will be met with a an uprising. Like the flag that said "Don't tread on me" the internet remains the wild west and that is the way just about everyone likes it!

    July 30, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  55. Joe

    Now we're considering curtailing freedom of speech in the name of security, or in this case a video clip taken out of context?

    This is the road to facism.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  56. David Knight

    The first amendment protects persons from censorship by the government - nothing more. It is not censorship in any sense to require the identity of authors be known. Nor is the first amendment an absolute right - shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, when there is none, is not protected speech, for example, nor is defamation, nor releasing secret information, etc.

    The internet is NOT fine as it is. It is not asking too much for each person that posts something to also have to identify themselves.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  57. Dena (Richmond, Va)

    Sure I think there should be some type of internet safety, I feel if "you say it ... you should be able to claim it" and if you don't it still should be a way to be tracked back to you. there is so much cyberness out now that people are able to freely view all there inner most "true" revelations whether good or bad and that neither good or bad but you need to be responsible for what you say and held accountable for it at the same time. The truth always hurts but with a safety net......it can help too! Put it on a ballot I'd vote for it!!

    July 30, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  58. Wanda Ford

    I believe there is a way to stop these cowards who use "anonymous" to vilify other people, even causing much damage to their lives. If they were required to say who they are, they would have to defend their vicious lies. That is not denying their right to say those things, just letting them know that they might have to defend their accusations, and possibly face their accused. If they can't hide, they may not be so quick to use the internet for revenge.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  59. LC

    There should be some kind of consequences to pay for putting fradulent info. online. I have a neice who dated a bum and they broke up. Well the bum was upset so he posted online that my neice's 2 year old daughter would do sexual favors for anybody that wanted it, to hurt my neice. He also put their address online. We contacted FBI and they are not sure a crime was commited. You tell me would our family be wrong if we retaliated against him physically.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  60. Luis A

    To prove my point, there are already folks here letting you know their profession, location, among other things. They may feel like they have a right to that, but I would outweigh this "perk" against the risks of doing so.

    Luis
    C.P.A
    Texas (it's too big, so i'm not worried lol)

    July 30, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  61. omar

    internet is fine but how and where do u tan... u are really good lookin.. plus u guys should really talk more about the innocent palestinians that are dieing.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  62. Garry Henderson

    The internet is accessible to the public and available for use by anyone. It is similar to using other public services – our public roads, our public schools, our public hospitals, and other means of communication. Any time anyone uses any of those, a certain level of identification is required for access. Can you drive a car on our public roads anonymously? Can you check into a public hospital anonymously? Can you attend public school anonymously? Can you send a fax anonymously? Can you get a telephone line anonymously? No, and no, and no.

    And should anyone be allowed to use the public internet anonymously? NO! You use it, you should take personal responsibility for how you use it.

    And yeah, there oughta be a LAW! LET'S TAG IT! The only people who really don't want this are those folks who are usually up to internet mischief to begin with.

    And as for the free speech argument, an American citizen is free to speak his/her mind freely in public. However, you cannot do that anonymously either. That act has its own TAG-your face and your mouth.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  63. The Famous Limp Pimp

    God bless anonymity.

    Anyone who opposes deserves what they have coming to them (hell).

    This is evolution; the collective anonymous's > the sovereign free identity.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  64. Thomas Jones

    ok bottom line is that regulation will not work not including cyber bulling is easy to stop...Just stop using the site you are being bullied on or just block the person...lots of online social communities have a block button. I would know i had the problem and all i did was block the person and change my profiles name.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  65. milt

    Reporters in the traditional media can hide behind "protection of sources". Should bloggers also have this protection, or should neither?

    July 30, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  66. Milsaint Valcin

    Kyra,
    I understand that people have freedom of speech, but it should be limited. Anybody who used the internet to harm somebody else should be responsible; that is why there should be stricter regulation when it comes to the internet. And also i have a question for some of you, why would you post pictures you don't want other people to see online? Even if there are regulations, you know some people don't care. You guys have to understand that the internet is public place and it will remain a public place forever. Keep your private stuff in your closet because it's private.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  67. Daniel

    The hate mongers have capitalized on the anonymity of the internet to perpetrate fraud after fraud on targeted persons, races and causes. It's no coincidence that extremism, in all its forms, is flourishing via the unregulated internet. Note please, the decline of the morning newspaper is not only due to more television news, but also to all that space that is open to irresponsible interests that can hide behind the anonymity of blogs. Yes, for the good ole days when a reporter's name and a paper's business entity were listed.

    I'm for stopping the hatred and extremism, and today the internet is as much a breeding safe haven as is the impenetrable remoteness between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  68. FailFACE

    NO anonymity is freedom

    July 30, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  69. Bill Gibson

    The internet should not be regulated at all! Any type of computer tracking by government has the potential to lead to political ideological control.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  70. D. Draper

    Don't be stupid. The older culture just needs to 1. realize that they should not be taking the internet seriously (recently edited NAACP video, anyone? yeah, let's not vet anything and take something at face value, put it on Television for Christ sakes, and then see what happens. woopie!) and 2. realize that this, strangely enough, also means that they need to teach their children to treat it with respect by a. having some self esteem that doesnt come from facebook fights and showing your tits onw hatever flavor-of-the-month website and b. not assuming everything online is what it claims to be (very similar, in fact, to not taking things seriously; Margerie who is a 31 yr old Law Student who is offering to give you study advice is probably Alfredo, 51 year old Law Recipient who wants to sing R Kelly to you until you fall asleep).

    Like so many issues in this country, this comes down to culture and spreading information, and not legislation. Of course, you'll put this on television and 'have a conversation' without really having a conversation, talking heads shouting at each other about pigeonholed ideas leaving people scared enough to hope some legislation comes through. But silly me, since when does television seek to actually inform other than PBS?

    Let's scare people into scaring their reps to pass laws about things neither group has any clear idea about. Backtraced? Character–on the internet? A series of Tubes? My god, how about we just get uneducated people to actually care instead of nannystating everything, then complaining about growing government? Why not actually inform parents about online issues respecfully instead of that bi-annually 40 second shockingly frightening 'pedophiles are talking to your kids, here are seven steps to stop them, step 1. unplug modem...'

    Then you have shows like To Catch a Predator on, which, at htis point, actually TEACH more people how to become retarded 'predators' than it actually deters. Man, now I'm winded.

    I'm going to my Angry Dome.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  71. Linda Fenderbosch

    I know that many of the viewers will not understand the point I'm trying to make, but... what happened to people's "character" in this country. I know I'm old school and was taught to "do unto others", etc., but it's a shame that all of those early teachings have been washed away over the last 40-50 years. It's a sad commentary when there seems to be enough time to be really mean and nasty and not enough time to be kind or constructive! What a difference the internet could make on that score!

    July 30, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  72. Kevin

    Allowing, and even encouraging, the use of virtual face masks and rubber gloves while touting opinion in a public forum is akin to promoting the tactics made famous by the Ku Klux Klan, Al Qaeda and other organizations of cowards. To suggest that the internet today is not providing the means for lawless individuals to lurk in the shadows with loaded weapons drawn, dressed in black with face masks and gloves, is naïve. There is no question that a virtual fingerprint or DNA must always be left on information posted, whether graffiti or political expression. What must be decided by law is who will be permitted to access and use that information signature and for what purposes. I do not wish to see my children continue to grow up in a world where there is no responsibility attached to one’s words or actions. People need to stand up and be recognized for what they say and believe.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  73. Jonathan Sauer

    When selecting responses to read on the air you should get multiple perspectives.

    Instead it seems like Kyra only selected responses that support her position that the internet needs some kind of additional protections.

    What about the responses supporting the freedom of speech?

    What about the responses laying out the infeasibility of Kyra's suggestion.

    Report. Don't advocate.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  74. anons

    The stories and information posted here are artistic works of fiction and falsehood. Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  75. lesa_with_an_e

    I agree with Judy Best. People can get personal information a million different places and it doesnt even have to be online.

    I do however think that policing the internet wont work. If you start jailing or giving fines to people who say mean things online about other people, you will have to start giving fines to people on the street saying the same thing. Its just not practical and people need to get a thicker "internet" skin. We live in an age of mass media. People need to start realizing we live in an open society and work with it.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  76. Thomas Jones

    NO REGULATIONS Because regulations won't work and it also cost money. Plus freedom of speech over rules, without it America is lost.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  77. Joe

    Fascinating... Most of these comments oppose the idea of strict Internet regulations, yet the two comments read on air were those in support of Internet regulation. I smell an agenda.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  78. Scott Smith

    Why does the internet scare you so much Kyra? Is it because the amateur bloggers are better journalists than you or anyone at your network? Is it because you need to stop the atrocities of you corporate masters from being exposed at all costs?

    Seriously, why the assault on free speech lately?

    July 30, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  79. Barry Miller

    Why Are we even giving credence to anonymous posters. If someone can't even attach their name to what their saying ppl should be questioning the validity of what they're reading before forming opinions before we give up even more of our civil liberties.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  80. Michael Karuso

    Trackng down comments on the internet? This is a crazy idea. If you don't like what people are saying about you on the internet then just ignore them. It's not that hard.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  81. Michael Hense

    we don't have to add additional restrictions on free speech rights nor put any other impediments on free speech over the internet (like tags on internet postings)...

    simply make it impossible for statements made anonymously to be used in legal proceedings or actions against an individual, and also make it illegal for such anonymous postings to be the basis for denial of jobs, housing, etc...

    just a thought...

    –Mike

    July 30, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  82. Sergio howard

    I recall that when the internet became vogue for commerce and public use maybe 15, 20 or 30 years ago there was some debate over how much regulation. At the time the primary thrust was commerce and taxation but privacy and regulation were underlying themes. I don't know the particulars but it seems less regulation was lobbied very hard by big business since there were some worries over child sexual abuse, identity theft issues, security and general privacy. This was probably before widespread use of audio visual sites, napster, and broadband.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  83. Scott

    Kyra, This is like so many other thing we face today. We are questioning how to regulate something with OUR LAWS but this topic extends past our borders and we think very highly of ourselves that WE can tell the rest of the world what to do.

    If all people everywhere would respect others privacy, we'd have no problem. But that would be a pipedream to think that WE could control that one.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  84. Steph

    Sigh... why anyone would ever believe something posted on a non creditable site is beyond me. If I want a source I can trust I simply go to Britannica online or look up an article on NYTimes.com or CNN... NOT Wikipedia.

    The stories and information posted here are artistic works of fiction and falsehood. Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact." is only a cover up by moot to try to get the dirt off his hands.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  85. Kyce

    It is a big mistake to assume you are anonymous on the Internet. This perception tends to bring out the worst in some people, thus making the problem even worse. There are existing laws that cover almost every possible crime committed electronically. The real problem is people's perception on being unable to be tracked and brought to justice. Our law enforcement and judicial branch also often lacks the knowledge to deal with or interpret the crime committed there. There is always a price to pay for free speech but this large of a price is not necessary at all.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  86. Charlie

    Today's Internet has the potential of TV in the late 1940s: a great communications tool to inform and unite the nation. However, TV realized there was more profit in entertainment than in education.

    Yet the Internet can still provide a platform for citizens to broadcast their perspectives, concerns and possible solutions to our national challenges. Unfortunately, blogger contributions often degenerate into politically-induced name-calling and thoughtful insights are lost to the rants.

    Laws cannot instill civility; nor should laws inhibit well-reasoned criticisms. Let a discerning public decide the merits of the arguments, based partly on their presentation. Keep the Internet as free as possible from government intrusion.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  87. Tims Quinn

    I mean for the spelling to be d-i-s-c-r-e-t-e. I am far more concerned about my privacy rights being violated by government entities at all three levels than I am about those rights being exploited by a number of discrete, private individuals, or non-government corporations.

    The amount of abuse a citizen can be subjected to by another citizen is miniscule compared to the capability and bent intrinsic to meddling, it's-for-your-own-good, for-the-good-of-the-many abuse our elected officials heap on its citizens.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  88. Steph

    Besides... facebook has taken away true anonymity for most of us. You want privacy, don't put sensitive information about yourself on the internet. No amount of law will stop it.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  89. Matt

    Is this what was in your memo today? did you know this is a scapegoat to control the internet? Corporations want so desperately to kill the internet that they are sponsoring the construction of a new one. you are just reporting what you are told to report. you're not a journalist you don't report dynamically. you are a fraud.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  90. Michiel

    I think you people basically fail to understand what the internet is.
    – Lets start with e-mails. changing the return e-mail adress (be it IP adress or name) is actaully very easy .... so IP tracking of e-mails is not possible.
    – What about chat programs? You can't start with regulating all programs that contain a chat function. (Simply because any scriptkiddy can write such a program)
    – What about internationality? the internet isn't U.S. property. Heck, U.S. laws don't even apply to non-U.S. servers, so how will you track anything that goes around there?
    – What about loss-attacks? (a server has limited storage for IPs. sending one illigal mail, and then sending enough ping requests, removes your illigal action from the list)
    – who decides what's allowed? the gouvernment? ... because that's exaclty what they do in china.

    I say, let public places be public and private places be private. You don't like anonyous chat rooms? then stay away from anonyous chat rooms.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  91. Dr. Hansen

    The internet should remain anonymous for all our sakes.
    The only people who have problems with intenet anonimitty are the people who choose to make themselves known, no one forces you to have a facebook, to make youtube vids or anything else. People choose to do this and should realise the consequences. The internet is something used by everyone and thus, if you post something on it, it can be seen and commented on by everyone. The problem is that people do not realise this, the problem is not that people comment on it anonymously. Posting something online should be seen the same as going out on the street and shouting it out loud: You're bound to get reactions

    tl;dr: Posting data, videos, information,... is something people do at their own risk and people should realise this

    July 30, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  92. Aanon E. Musse

    The internet absolutely should not be regulated. Unlike "news media", where users are told how to think, and all information is selectively chosen based on reasons other than the best interest of the viewers, the internet is the only true voice of the people. Whether the opinions of people are unflattering is of absolutely no consequence.

    The only reason the government is considering regulation of the internet is because they do not have control over it, and that scares them. A population free to spread ideas and opinions as they see fit, where any number of others can see them? Well, that's certainly not conducive to an easily-manipulated populous, now, is it?

    It's time we grew up and faced the facts: the world isn't the sack of rainbows and happiness we were promised, and people are generally cruel. I respect the internet for giving an honest representation of that, as opposed to other corporate-run forms of media where everybody whose thinking does not coincide with some lofty ideal is treated like a social pariah. Just because the internet challenges the status quo that the wealthy and influential have found comfortable and forced upon the rest of us, doesn't mean that we should squelch the exercising of true freedom.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  93. Viola

    If we put more regulations on the internet where does it end? I don't believe everything I hear on the TV News (alot of it is thier spin on news) so why do You believe everything you read on the internet??Common sense goes a long way folks.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  94. Mark

    This whole report is encredibly hypocritical.

    Every media company in the world invades people's privacy anonymously, whether it be for gossip collums or business reports.

    Media are constantly protecting sources who's claims have far more affect on everyday life of the general population than some kid's comment on a youtube video.

    You say people should take responsibilty for their actions and words yet the media take no responsibilty for it's actions, save for hollow apologies if they fear law suits.

    It is a well known fact that news in the form of newspapers and television is losing out to the freedom of speach on the internet and so you run a story in a hope to make more money for yourself by preventing free sources beating you to the post.

    Removing anonymity on the internet would be like forcing everyone to walk the streets with large signs displaying their name and address.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  95. Angela

    I don’t see where a digital footprint that would be used in cases having legal implication, such as slander and liable, is a violation of freedom of speech. You can still say anything you wish, you just have to be accountable for the truthfulness and intent of your speech. This is the very foundation of laws we already have in place against slander. The digital footprint is nothing more than a law enforcement tool.
    Slander is a serious issue that can have a devastating impact on people who are on the receiving end. Perhaps the most damaging is when it impacts someone’s right to fair employment. In my opinion, in addition to the proposed internet regulation of a digital footprint, our nation needs to consider employment hiring practices reform. Many people are denied jobs based on hearsay that is too often based in inaccurate and unfair slander by people with less than ethical intentions. Consider what would have been the fate of Shirley Sherrod going on her next series of job interviews if it had not been for the sake CNN who cleared her name. Slander happens all of the time and most Americans don’t have the force of CNN to uncover the truth.
    There should be legislation that requires potential employers to tell candidates that they have interviewed why they were not selected for a job and to reveal what sources and information they considered in making their decision not to hire you. This will make it less likely for employer to hide behind information gained through hearsay used to not hire a person. Imagine how refreshing it would be for job seekers who have invested their time, energy and resources in the interview process to have actual feedback on why they were not selected. Employers should be able to identify and articulate to the candidates that they have interviewed the specific set of skills that the successful candidate brought to the table that made them more qualified than you. Understand that this is suggested for candidates that were actually interviewed via phone or in-person and not intended for everyone who applied for a job.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  96. Thomas Jefferson

    I had no idea what internet was.... When we wrote the 1st Amendment we didn't know that someone could hide behind this interent thing and possibly slander others or cause disruptions without anyone knowing who they are. Such cowards! I think I wrote somewhere that the government much always adapt or change to the times.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  97. Raihbeart

    Our founding fathers published articles anonymously before and after the War for Independence. The Federalist Papers, the first and most authoritative secondary sources cited by the Supreme Court for interpreting the founding father's intent in drafting the Constitution, were published anonymously.

    Anonymity gave and gives political actors the freedom to share new ideas that compete for attention against all others. Without those who are Anonymous, there would be no social change.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  98. Thomas Jefferson

    @rainbeart...What if someone posted something negative about your practice on google or yahoo that wasn't true? Wouldn't you want recourse? Shouldn't you have the right to face this person somehow someway and seek justice? I agree witih your post too, but times have changed.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  99. Bill,

    Anonymity over the internet is hardly a problem worthy of government intervention. Online anonymity has proven to be a valuable asset in exposing crimes and human rights violations. This form of anonymous communication needs no regulation.
    I prefer not to have regulations imposed on me due to the emotional weakness of others.There will always be people who will abuse their freedom. Any freedom, whether speech, firearms, religion etc. Teach your children to respect the rights and opinions of others and you've won half the battle.

    Liberty is not some sort of peaceful tranquility.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  100. RKM

    Where did this law professor get his degree? Freedom of speech does is not freedom to speak anonymously and get away with it. If you commit a crime or a tort you can and should be traceable via court order.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  101. Anonymous

    Freedom of speech means your opinion is taken into account no matter what you say, it doesn't matter who you or I am, we don't want to be chastised because of our views, and with anonymity we can say what we want without reprisal.

    August 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  102. Gene Lucas

    I am afraid that if controls are not exercised on the Internet it will become another citizen's band radio, which no normal person would use. Yhe Internet is already being used for crimes against institutions and people, and hate is coming to it big time. Your right to swing your Internet arm freely should stop at the tip of my nose.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  103. Jane Doe

    Absolutely NOT. Restriction would remove the freedom of speech of individuals. As our population has grown our government has grown, the influence that corporations have over our leaders (elected officials, the press, ...) has gotten to the point that they have all of the power rather than individuals, the world we live in is a very complicated place now. Blogging is the only way for an individual to play any role in changing those things that are not working in our system, and to expose those who wish to take advantage of others with unethical and/or illegal actions.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  104. mike posey

    That Lybian terrorist is a CLASSIC example of the Brits at work....look at the oil spill? Leave it to the Scots to let a mass killer loose to die, and find out he's going to live longer then I probably will....I love it....It's just another example of incompetence to go with so many others over in the U.K. I'm not mad at the Brits and the Scots......I'm difinitely NOT surprised they screwed this one up.....they have this long history of bad decisions, and "chinese firedrill" tactics.....Why be "livid"? It's par for the course. Mike Posey Lakeside California

    August 6, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  105. DCTwo

    No way should anyone be able to know what I post. Free speech is free speech. How much hate do we put up with to protect our First Amendment rights? You are reporters, you know. And it is worth every breath. Amendments from First to Last are under assault in our particular time. Many of us enlisted, fought and died so any fool can say whatever thought that takes a high dive from their brain to their tongue. Leave it alone. It works.

    August 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm |