by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 25th 2009 5:42am
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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