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China bans anonymous online speech

August 27, 2017

article: https://qz.com/1063073/in-china-you-now-have-to-provide-your-real-identity-if-you-want-to-comment-online/

[via NC].

I occasionally chat with a buddy who moved to Shanghai to cash in on the dot com boom there. Not as often as I used to sadly. Since he’s in the online education business, he feels he has to be careful about what he says, even when using private means of communication…  Just like the good ol days under communism, eh?

This is why in the US we really should protect the 1st amendment.

The US government has already started down this road in the past 15 years. If security officials feels threatened – regardless of whether they’re mistaken or even paranoid in their fears (as we’ve seen on numerous occasions), and especially if the “threat” is simply a political rival — i.e. just an electoral threat – rather than an actual threat to the nation. We shouldn’t let this happen. One by one the safeguards against such a scenario are being watered down.

IMO Anonymous speech is an important and integral part of free speech. Its specific purpose is to make possible to state unpopular ideas – sometimes it’s the only way debates on such topics are even possible. Not all unpopular ideas are good, some are awful. However, not all good ideas are popular either. Sometimes a large number of people buy into truly evil and hateful beliefs, with the encouragement of various “institutions”, be they government or media or business. It can go both ways.

IMO free speech and anonymous speech are a deep source of strength and resilience in the US system. I truly hope the temptation to undermine it is resisted.

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One Comment
  1. And in the US, the Supreme Court has case law that supports the idea that freedom of expression requires the right to anonymity.

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