When South Korea decided that they were going to demand that it be required to collect the Resident Registration Numbers (the Korean equivalent of Social Security numbers) of anyone who posts comments on any website getting more than 100,000 visitors a month, they were told that it was a bad idea. They were told that it would make everybody’s info less secure. They were told that their citizens would find ways around it. But they endured, and this heartwarming story of endurance means governments really can tell their people to do stupid things for no…
Wait, they’re giving up that stupid law? Because it was inconvenient, didn’t solve any problems, and even the government doesn’t obey it? Oh, you don’t say?!
There was never a danger of this happening in the US, despite what some Chicken Littles would have you believe, because it runs directly contrary to the First Amendment. Unfortunately, most of the planet doesn’t live in a country with such stringent speech protections, so they could actually do this. It’s all France’s president wants to talk about lately, and some German legislator just said the Norway shootings were caused by Internet anonymity.
So, it’s good for countries to see somebody try this and fail miserably. That way, they have an actual case to point to. Or rather, we do, when they propose these laws anyway, as a basis for mocking them.