Israeli Supreme Court Says There Is No Legal Way To Reveal Anonymous Commenters Online

from the is-that-good-or-bad? dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about a ruling in Israel that protected the anonymity of an online commenter on free speech grounds, with the judge noting:
"The good of online anonymity outweighs the bad, and it must be seen as a byproduct of freedom of speech and the right to privacy."
Michael Scott now points us to another ruling in Israel, this time in the country's Supreme Court that appears to go further (unless I'm misunderstanding Israeli law -- which is entirely possible) in saying that there isn't even a legal procedure to unveil anonymous commenters:
Hon. Justice Eliezer Rivlin dismissed Mor's petition and analysed the procedure to reveal anonymous posters. According to his ruling "it is an attempt to harness, prior to a legal proceeding, the justice system and a third party in order to conduct an inquiry which will lead to the revealing of a person committing a tort so that a civil suit could be filed against him. It is, de facto, an investigative-like procedure that the court is drafted to in a preliminary procedure in this way or another. This procedure is not trivial, it involves policy consideration and requires legislative regulation". His decision rules, actually, that until a procedure will be legislated, petitions to reveal anonymous users may not be granted (and according to estimations, there is at least one daily request per ISP).
As the analysis at the link above suggests, this likely means that politicians will quickly draft legislation to create a procedure for unveiling anonymous commenters, but the court did warn that any such procedure should tread carefully:
Shattering the 'illusion of anonymity', in a reality where a user's privacy feeling is a myth, may raise associations of a "big brother". Such violation of privacy should be minimized. In adequate boundaries the anonymity shelters should be preserved as a part of the Internet Culture. You may say that anonymity makes the internet what it is, and without it the virtual freedom may be reduced.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    Why is Israel so ahead of the U.S. in so many respects, like having fewer and less strict IP laws, yet it is they that are trying to force draconian laws on the U.S. (ie: Disney trying to extent U.S. copyright laws).

     

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

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 8:13pm

    Freedom ain't so great and we should probably have less of it. Don't tell me to wait and what do you mean I'm a hypocrite!?!

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 9:13pm

    Re:

    Disney wasn't an Israeli, and the company is owned by Americans. There is a difference between being Jewish (claiming descent from the nation of Israel) and being Israeli (that is, being a citizen of Israel yourself).

     

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

  4.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 10:23pm

    this isnt all

    go ask israeli kids about other laws that totally counter this such as ISP deep packet inspections and other intrusions of privacy.
    YEA there so far ahead of the usa that being anonymous for what exactly and how?

    IVE talked with kids form that land and trust me its anyhting but anonymous surfing, isps dont allow it.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 10:36pm

    Re: this isnt all

    (the first poster).

    Actually I do agree with this. You are correct, Israel certainly is worse than the U.S. in many of these respects. I guess I shouldn't formulate my opinion on a single court ruling and ignore context.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Big Media, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 10:46pm

    What do you mean "no legal way"? We'll fix that soon enough!

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 10:52pm

    Re:

    Why is Israel so ahead of the U.S. in so many respects, like having fewer and less strict IP laws, yet it is they that are trying to force draconian laws on the U.S.

    Ask a Palestinian about "draconian laws" in Israel.

     

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

  8.  
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    yogi, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 12:46am

    Re:

    Conspiracy theory!!

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    yogi, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 12:55am

    Actually

    I doubt Israel is much worse than any other Western democracy, especially considering the country's circumstances.

    In other words, if you mess with the ruling elite they'll get you no matter what the law says, and if needed they'll change the law or simply ignore it - just like Bush and Obama do.

    It just so happens that in Israel the ruling elite is very post-modern-liberal (and hates the current political government) so such rulings are understandable.

    Also, Israelis are crazy about technology and I suspect that even our own fossilized judges have a much better idea of how the internet works than some of the judges that we hear about in the States, who still seem to have trouble adjusting to the idea of the printing press...

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 8:38am

    Illusion

    Shattering the 'illusion of anonymity', in a reality where a user's privacy feeling is a myth...

    That just gives me the willies.

     

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

  11.  
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    DanVan (profile), Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 5:27pm

    I would personally like to see more identification to certain sites I am not saying everyone should have their name by them but I do think that the Internet has produced some absolutely terrible comments that we ALL KNOW would not be said if someones name was attached to it. Many younger kids would probably be a LOT more respectful

     

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


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