In what is either the finest piece of satire since Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal in 1729 or a bizarre display of unconstitutional thought, an unidentified police officer in Utah has written a 1,030-word treatise arguing that Internet users he doesn’t like should be arrested and sent to jail.
The cop also calls for a massive totalitarian program requiring anyone who posts anything on the web to use an “official email address registered by the government.”
The hilariously subtle or horrifyingly Orwellian piece by “Officer Anonymous” is entitled “Ask a cop: Trolling should be illegal.” It appears on the website of KSL, Salt Lake City’s NBC affiliate.
After spending the first 400 or so words of the piece defining the word “trolling,” “Officer Anonymous” proposes that Internet trolls should “go to jail” because they are “causing or inciting a riot plain and simple.”
He (or she) speculates — perhaps from personal experience — that “the victims of these trolls are upset the rest of the day. They are driving aggressively on the roads, yelling at their co-workers and being consumed with a way to find out who that person on the Internet was.” Such circumstances are obviously “not good for public safety.”
“Officer Anonymous” then lays it on the line: “Anyone who wants to comment or post anything needs to do this with their official email address registered by the government. This will be verified in person at your local driver’s license division. No more anonymity on the Internet. Every time you post anything, your picture and name will pop up.”
The cop notes that his proposal could also reduce “fraud and phishing scams.”
“Officer Anonymous” ends the piece by noting his awareness that has withheld his name. He admits that readers might be “flabbergasted” by his own hypocrisy.
“Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org,” says the last sentence.