Last month, we noted that Dutch ISPs were fighting in court against the entertainment industry who wanted them to hand over names of people associated with IP addresses that were seen on file sharing networks. The ISPs argued that handing over the information was a violation of their customers' privacy. In a separate case, (but which was also funded by the entertainment industry) a stamp collector tried to get Lycos to turn over the names of people using their forums who had spoken negatively about them. Lycos, again, pointed out that this would be a privacy violation. That case is now in the Supreme Court and a "neutral" advisor to the court has urged the Justices to require Lycos and other ISPs to cough up the names based on a fairly low threshold as the test. It remains to be seen if the Supreme Court follows this recommendation, but it could be yet another way that anonymity online gets chipped away.
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