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.

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Companies: york university

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Comments on “Canadian University Has Court Order Google To Reveal Anonymous Critics”

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Anonymous Coward says:


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.

Raybone (profile) says:


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.

GJ (profile) says:

Re: 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!


Bob V (profile) says:

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.

mertz says:

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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