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.

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Comments on “Israeli Supreme Court Says There Is No Legal Way To Reveal Anonymous Commenters Online”

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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.

yogi says:


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…

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