Canadian University Has Court Order Google To Reveal Anonymous Critics

from the anonymity? dept

While we sometimes get annoyed at US courts for revealing anonymous commenters, the truth is that courts in the US seem to be much better than just about anywhere else in the world at respecting a right for anonymous comments. Case in point: a bunch of folks have been sending in versions of a story happening up in Canada, where the publicly funded York University got a court to force Google to reveal the names of faculty members who were criticizing the university anonymously via email. Amazingly, the court agreed and ordered the info revealed. Even more ridiculous is what the "complaint" was about. The University had announced the hiring of a new dean and exaggerated that dean's accomplishments. As many of the articles on this story are noting, what better way to create a chilling effect than to try to out anonymous critics. The university claims that this went "beyond free speech" and even though the complaints were supported by the very guy who was hired, the university still insists it was "damaging." I would think that outing your own professors is a lot more damaging than some squabble about over-inflating a new dean's resume.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    TOR

    Agreed the rest of the world lacks behind the U.S. in protecting anonymity which is one of the basic foundations for a healthy democracy.

    Anyways that is why people created:

    - TOR.
    - GNUNet(have an anonymous IM)
    - OSIRIS Serverless Portal System (makes P2P websites that are virtually indestructible and untraceable)
    - I2P (that is a layer)
    - Retroshare.
    - StealthNet
    - Herbivore.

    And so many others, this blog is not completely anonymous for example one could still obtain the IP information and track someone, but if you use TOR all those lawsuits become meaningless.

    The point being that, abuse is always present so there has to be a natural way to counter that.

    ps: particularly I do use TOR to navigate it is so easy nowdays I didn't even had to configure anything the last time a install it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 6:40am

    Canadian University needs to go back to school!

    Go to hell, Oh sorry, your already there. Enjoy the cold.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    james, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Why not

    What happens if somebody just submitted comments using say somebody else email address? Easy enough to do... More importantly how long before the students figure that out and start posting hateful comments about the dean from his email address?

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Bob V (profile), Sep 25th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    I would be interested in know what the final outcome of many of these lawsuits to reveal anonymous posters is. I'm assuming at least in theory the intent is get the names then force them to make reparations for their crimes against whoever was offended. Do a large portion of these cases actually go to trial, and if so how often are the posters shown to be in the wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    I don't know how Google handles all the legal cases before it. It seems they are being ordered by one court or another in one country or another to do this or that all the time. Not county the actual suits against it. How can any company survive long term in the business climate we have today? And it appears to only be getting worse.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 7:34am

    Re:

    Yes, what exactly happens to all the people who are outed? Do they get their bottoms spanked? Jail time? Timeout?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Raybone (profile), Sep 25th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Re: TOR

    except as soon as your signal bounces out of the country via TOR, it become legal fair game for NSA and Echelon via Patriot Act, Military Comm Act, etc. If you think the NSA cannot crack any system in the world, you better think twice. Of course they spy anyway whether its "officially" legal or not.

    Look at how they got their new patsies in these new terrorist cases. FBI provides incentive, material support, and "fake" bombs for these dumb asses. Well except for 1993 WTC bombing where FBI provided REAL bomb....and let it explode.

    and then there is the 911 inside job of course.....

    so dont go assuming your safe...if its online...its available to those with the resources and intent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 7:58am

    Re:

    The purpose is probably to retaliate. Ie: make their jobs more difficult, fire the under false pretext, prevent them from advancing, and make it harder for them to get a new job.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: TOR

    Um, I think that you got more than a little off track by the end there...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re:

    Not to mention, ensure they don't get inside information so they don't tell anyone (I even seen an episode of the Simpsons about this where Homer gave everyone inside info over the net and was anonymous and when people found out it was Homer people were quiet around him).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Thomas (profile), Sep 25th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: TOR

    An e-mail does not have to go out of the country to make it fair game for the spooks. "Legal" is not a word in the world of the spooks like NSA or the FBI; they just do whatever they feel like.

    Most likely the professors will simply get fired.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    They did call him a fraud. Not that I'm in favour of the outcome...but in the academic world that is a pretty serious acusation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    GJ (profile), Sep 25th, 2009 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    Anonymous Coward wrote: Canadian University needs to go back to school! Go to hell, Oh sorry, your already there. Enjoy the cold.

    Hey, psst!! Before you use the imperative "go back to school", you may want to clean up the punctuation, the capitalization and the grammar in your post. Never mind your strange allusion to the fact that hell has frozen over. Other than that: that was like a great comment, man!

    --GJ--

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 1:45pm

    york doesn't really need to do this, and they know it. they are doing it though probably because they know that their reputation hasn't been doing so well and that they don't need any other unecessary press (although i have to admit that a lot of people i know do go on ratemyteacher to say both good and bad things about their teachers and sometimes with their actual names instead on being an anonymouse), yet this still does them no good. this just seems so unecessary. nice to see google bent over again. i wonder what york did to get this before a judge and have the judge side with them.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Vincent Clement, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 4:36pm

    York's reputation took a major hit with a recent prolonged and bitter strike. This will not help attract top academics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 7:11pm

    York= fraud

    All students who were thinking of attending York, pass this info: York is a fraud, and not only because of its new "overinflated" dean.

    A Professor

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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