Anonymity Of Internet Chat Rooms Argued Before PA Supreme Court

from the more-online-legal-issues dept

In Pennsylvania Supreme Court today lawyers are arguing over whether or not messages posted to an online chat room are akin to a public anonymous pamphlet, such as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. A Pennsylvania judge is trying to sue an anonymous online chatter for suggesting in a chat room that she did something illegal. AOL refuses to give up the name of the user, who the suing judge claims is guilty of defamation. AOL and other internet companies (supported by the ACLU) are claiming that the individual has a right to post whatever they want anonymously. What I’m surprised about, is that a Superior Court judge is apparently hanging out in AOL chat rooms – and then getting offended at what she sees posted there.

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Comments on “Anonymity Of Internet Chat Rooms Argued Before PA Supreme Court”

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dorpus says:

Most efficient way to cancel an AOL account

If you try to do it the legitimate way, then the sales rep will give their bullshit pitch about why you shouldn’t cancel, and then keep your account open in spite of claiming to close it.

No, the fastest way to close your AOL account is to go into a chat room and issue a random death threat. Chat up some mother and threaten to decapitate her 9-year-old daughter. Your account will be closed within 3 minutes, guaranteed.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Most efficient way to cancel an AOL account

Me? I would never issue a death threat. I’ve received plenty of death threats over the years though. They invariably claimed to know where I live, etc. I once seemed to have gotten a phone call from a Norwegian Buddhist who was offended by my views on religion and said he would kill me, by chance someone else picked up the phone, I heard he sounded quite friendly. That was 7 years ago.

As for chat rooms, there are subtler, more interesting ways to infuriate people, without breaking any laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

"Smart" people in dumb places

Why does it surprise you that a judge would end
up in a an AOL chat room? I find that most
professionals outside of the IT profession are
completely clueless when it comes to the evils of
AOL and other large corporate ISPs… and seldom
know the virtues of the Internet (proper), in

I suspect that you feel that because the person
is a Supreme Court Judiciary, they are somehow
“smart”. Anyone observing the court’s judgements
of the last 10 years know this isn’t the case.

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