EFF Asks Illinois Appellate Court to Block Unmasking of Anonymous Online Critic

Electronic Frontier FoundationThe Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Media Freedom and Information Access Practicum (MFIA) at Yale Law School filed a friend-of-the-court brief today urging the Illinois Court of Appeals to block the unmasking of an anonymous online critic of a local political candidate.

The critic, commenting on a story on the website of a suburban Chicago newspaper called the Daily Herald, engaged in a heated debate with other commenters. One turned out to be the son of the village trustee candidate in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, who was discussed in the article. The candidate, Lisa Stone, who eventually won her race, asked a state court to order the newspaper to release the critic’s name and address without appropriately showing that the statements directed towards her son were defamatory or otherwise illegal. Stone indicated that she may choose to subsequently file a lawsuit once she determines the critic’s identity through the pre-complaint procedure.

“Because of the enormous potential for abuse, the First Amendment requires litigants to demonstrate that they have a legitimate case before they can use the courts to unmask anonymous online critics,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. “Insults are not enough, especially when the conversation takes place in the context of a political campaign.”

In November, a lower court granted Stone’s pre-lawsuit request for her critic’s identity, incorrectly arguing that a narrow disclosure to Stone would adequately protect the speaker’s First Amendment rights. The court stayed the disclosure requirement in light of the speaker’s appeal. In its amicus brief filed today, EFF and MFIA argue that this low standard for unmasking an anonymous speaker has a chilling effect on all manner of anonymous speech, political or otherwise. Continue reading.

Related Posts

Installing NGINX and NGINX Plus With Ansible This article was originally published by Kevin Jones on the official Nginx website. Ansible is an open source tool for IT configuration management,...
Google releases Dart SDK 1.0 for scalable, structured web apps Google has released Dart SDK 1.0. Dart is a "a cross-browser, open source toolkit for structured web applications." It was first announced back in ...
Dummy-Proof BitTorrent Download Client To make BitTorrent appeal to an even wider audience, uTorrent parent company BitTorrent Inc. has released a brand new BitTorrent client today. Codenam...
More Freedom Necessary as Top Developers Abandon iPhone Apple's ridiculous iPhone app approval process has hit a new low, with rejections for “ridiculing public figures" and using Apple's own APIs to access...
Intel announces “Thunderbolt™ ready” upgrade program for PC motherboards Intel has announced a “Thunderbolt™ ready” upgrade program for PC motherboards, desktops and workstation computers. Thunderbolt "is a dual protocol...
Safeplug offers plug-and-play anonymous Web browsing using Tor Safeplug is a new network device from Cloud Engines, Inc., the company behind Pogoplug. Using Tor, Safeplug allows you to browse the Internet anon...

We Recommend These Vendors and Free Offers

Launch an SSD VPS in Europe, USA, Asia & Australia on Vultr's KVM-based Cloud platform starting at $5:00/month (15 GB SSD, 768 MB of RAM).

Deploy an SSD Cloud server in 55 seconds on DigitalOcean. Built for developers and starting at $5:00/month (20 GB SSD, 512 MB of RAM).

Want to become an expert ethical hacker and penetration tester? Request your free video training course of Online Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking

Whether you're new to Linux or are a Linux guru, you can learn a lot more about the Linux kernel by requesting your free ebook of Linux Kernel In A Nutshell.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*