For Immediate Release: May 2, 2012
Murray Unveils Anti Cyberbullying Bill
Holds press conference with Senator Tom O’Mara, Assembly colleagues
(Long Island, NY) Assemblyman Dean Murray (R,C-East Patchogue) held a joint press conference today with state Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) and several of his colleagues in the Assembly to unveil the Internet Protection Act (A.8688/S.6779). The legislation would combat cyberbullying by allowing the victim of an anonymous website posting to request that the post be removed if the anonymous source is unwilling to attach his or her name to it.
“While the Internet is a wonderful resource for social networking, sadly it can also used to anonymously bring harm to others,” said Murray. “My legislation addresses the dangers of cyberbullying and protects the victims of this offense. By demanding these online abusers come out from anonymity and identify themselves, they will hopefully think twice before posting harmful comments about others.”
“Cyberbullying has become one of the great tragedies of the Internet age,” said Senator O’Mara, who’s sponsoring the legislation in the Senate. “Numerous national studies tell us that upwards of 40 percent of students have experienced some form of cyberbullying at least once, and they feel helpless in the face of it. Victims of anonymous cyberbullies need protection. We’re hopeful that this legislation can be helpful to the overall effort to deter and prevent anonymous criminals from hiding behind modern technology and using the Internet to bully, defame and harass their victims.”
“Cyberbullying has become an epidemic in this country. With the advancement of social media, bullies are able to attack their victims wherever and whenever they choose. Most of the time, this is done anonymously and the victim is unable to fight back at all,” said Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun (R,C,I-Blooming Grove). “The Internet Protection Act will allow victims of anonymous bullying to have these posts removed unless the anonymous poster is willing to attach his or her name to them. This will help to expose attackers, who will no longer be able to hide behind anonymous profiles.”
“Cyberbullying is a new reality of which parents and children need to be aware,” said Assemblyman Brian Curran (Lynbrook-14th AD). “This form of bullying is especially harmful due to the perpetrators’ feeling of anonymity, allowing them to be excessively vicious because they do not see the immediate effect on their victim or fear any consequences for their actions. This legislation gives children and their parents the ability to deter the cowardly perpetrators of cyberbullying.”
“The anonymity offered by the Internet amplifies the power of cyberbullying. When one does not know the name of one’s tormentor, the bullying can appear to have no chance of resolution,” said Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey (R,I,C-Peru). “The Internet Protection Act will allow victims of anonymous bullying to have these posts removed unless the anonymous poster is willing to attach his or her name to them. It will force bullies to come out in the open so victims can confront them, or have their verbal attacks removed from view.”
“Cyberbullying has far-reaching effects on our children, damaging their self-esteem and driving kids to extreme decisions,” said Assemblyman Al Graf (R,C-Holbrook). “If we are going to get serious about protecting our children in the Internet age, state law must properly recognize cyberbullying for the devastating threat it is.”
“The Internet has proven to be a powerful tool and resource for our society,” said Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie). “Despite its sophistication, there are too many who hide behind it. This measure would offer new protections by holding abusers accountable.”
“Throughout my career in public service, I’ve fought to protect what truly counts – our children,” said Assemblyman David McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick). “Regrettably, in today’s instantaneous environment of Facebook, Twitter and other Internet venues, our children are now subjected to hurtful comments from anonymous voices online. We do everything we can to protect our children from bullies in school throughout the community; now we need to expand this to the rapid pace of the Internet. This legislation provides victims of anonymous postings on a website the ability to request that such a post be removed unless the poster is willing to attach his or her name to their words.”
“There have been an unacceptable number of cases of cyberbullying perpetrated by adults against children,” said Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R,C,I-New Hartford). “The reality of today’s Internet-driven world requires that parents be able to protect their children and demand that those who spread rumor, conjecture or outright lies online be willing to come forward and defend the comments they post. We, as a society, have never expected anything less when potentially harmful words are put into print.”
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