What Are The Limits To Online Anonymity?
from the not-so-clear dept
Online anonymity is always a controversial topic, and Public Citizen and the EFF have filed a brief in a case in Arizona that raises some interesting issues about the limits of internet anonymity. The case concerns someone who anonymously used a service to take an email from a married company CEO to his mistress, and forward it to other execs at the company. Rather than the CEO accusing the anonymous emailer with privacy violations, he had the company accuse the user of hacking into their email system, noting that there was no other way the email could have been revealed. The company then went after the anonymous emailing service the person used to try to determine his identity. There is no evidence that the content really was illegally obtained, but a judge has ruled that the service needs to give up the info on the emailer. There's an appeal going on, and Public Citizen and the EFF are asking that the court to recognize that there should really be evidence of wrongdoing before anonymity is removed. Obviously, there needs to be some sort of balance between potential wrongdoing and anonymity, but anonymity is an important thing to support as well -- and so it should only be removed under very clear circumstances when a clear crime has been committed.