More Mixed Rulings On The Right To Be Anonymous Online
from the depends-on-the-court dept
Paul Alan Levy alerts us to the news of two recent rulings about internet anonymity, where courts refused to identify some anonymous commenters (in the second case, some were identified and others weren’t). There are a fair number of twists and turns in those rulings, and you can read all the details at that link. But what struck me about this is that it comes just a few days after we saw a different story about a different court that agreed to unmask anonymous commenters using a much lower standard than other cases have used.
If you read through both stories you see that judges basically seem to be making it up as they go along as to what standards to use in deciding whether or not online anonymity is protectable. The famous case in this realm is the Dendrite case, but all of the judges seem to pick and choose what they like or don’t like about the Dendrite standard, and we’re left with a very unclear landscape in terms of understanding what is and what is not protectable anonymity. Basically, you have to hope you end up in a court that buys into the concept, and that seems dangerous for those who believe that anonymity is an important part of First Amendment protections.