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Irish Senator suggests net users register passport and IP address

Committee hearing on abuse of social media also offers pay-to-post as troll-stopper

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A Parliamentary committee hearing in the Republic of Ireland on “the abuse of social media and cyber-bullying” has heard a proposal to control trolls and other unsavoury online creatures by registering internet users with their passport numbers or IP addresses.

The Committee also heard an idea to charge internet users to comment on forums, a measure it is hoped will prevent trolling.

The “pay-to-comment” idea came from Senator Eamon Coghlan, a member of the Fine Gael party and member of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

That committee is sadly yet to publish transcripts of this week's hearings, but the Irish Examiner reports hearings focussed on making the likes of Facebook and Twitter more responsive to requests for intervention and also considered the issue of sexting.

Coghlan's contribution suggested a pay-to-comment regime as a deterrent to anonymous posters who set out to harass, as he feels trolls would not pay for their fun.

Newstalk.ie attributes the following statements to the Senator:

"If somebody is to sign up to seek an IP address should they give their passport number, should they give their credit card number?"

"If somebody wants to post something on the internet, should they actually pay to post something on the internet - whereby trying to avoid people not posting something because it's now going to cost them something".

Without the transcript we're not sure how Senator Coghlan proposes to handle the obvious privacy and enforcement issues his proposals raise.

Nor does he mention exactly how pay-to-comment would work. Perhaps the following scale of fees for certain types of comments could be a useful though-starter:

  • €0.00 for sycophantic appreciation;
  • €1.00 for comments suggesting Apple products cost too much;
  • €5.00 for comments advancing Linux as the answer to anything.

We're sure you can can come up with your own pricing schemes in the entirely-free-to-use Reg comments section below. ®

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