Skip to main content

Law now prohibits annonymous blog comment or email

Annonymous comments in blogs may soon become a thing of the past. A new law in US states that when you annoy someone on the Internet, you must disclose your identity. Else, you can be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

You are welcome to "flame" someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. But annoying someone via the Internet while remaining anonymous is now a federal crime.

The provision, contained in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), amends the existing law to create criminal penalties for anonymous e-mails and VoIP calls sent with the intent to "annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person."

VAWA was originally passed in 1994 to protect women from domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The new version of the bill adds a cyber stalking provision to the legislation that includes anonymous e-mail and Internet-based voice services such as Vonage.

Attorney Susan Howley of the National Center for the Victims of Crime, who helped shape the amendment added to the existing VAWA, said, "It's another tool to stop someone's harassing behavior. It only extends the current telephone harassment laws to the Internet. It extends the same protections to new forms of communications."

Source: Create an e-annoyance, go to jail