Spanish Conservatives Propose Ending Anonymity Online

Wide angle view of the Congreso de los Diputados building in Madrid, the Spanish Parliament.
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Spain’s conservative People’s Party (PP) have presented a bill to the Spanish parliament that aims to end anonymity on social media and require companies to identify those who register on their platforms.

People’s Party Senator Rafael Hernando introduced the bill in the senate as a modification of Law 34/2002 on services of the information society and electronic commerce by adding a duty for companies to identify users.

“The providers of intermediation services consisting of hosting data provided by the recipient of the service will be obliged to identify each of the profiles and their user accounts through the National Identity Document, passport or any other official document accrediting identity,” the bill states, according to a report from the newspaper El Mundo.

The bill will also require companies to work with judicial authorities to identify anyone using their platform for criminal purposes.

The proposal is aimed at combatting “cyberviolence” as well as other online crimes from identity theft to extortion, cyberterrorism and child abuse. The PP argues that the current situation is complicated for investigators to identify suspects on social media or even email.

Internet anonymity has become a topic of discussion in the UK in recent days, following the death of MP David Amess, with Home Secretary Priti Patel suggesting the UK government may scrap anonymity online to stop “cruel comments and attacks” on the country’s politicians.

“There is work taking place already. We have an Online Harms Bill that will come to Parliament, there is working taking place on it right now,” Patel said.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy, meanwhile, criticised the idea, arguing that anonymity is vital for whistleblowers and activists in authoritarian regimes.

In France, Prime Minister Jean Castex stated last year that he was not a fan of anonymity online, claiming it distorted online political debate.

“You can call someone all kinds of names, accuse them of all kinds of vices, by hiding behind pseudonyms. In these conditions, social networks are the Vichy regime: nobody knows who it is!” he said.

Previously, President Emmanuel Macron had proposed that people convicted of hate speech crimes should be banned from using social media entirely.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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