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

With 15 days left, Kano has raised more than $1 million on Kickstarter You know your project will be a hit when you ask an investor for USD $100,000, but instead, you get a check for USD $1 million. That's what's happe...
Galician government launches a promotion campaign on open source The government of Galicia, one of Spain's autonomous regions, wants to boost the use of free and open source software by its public administrations an...
Ubuntu Core to bring Snappy and transactional updates to the Cloud Mark Shuttleworth has announced a beta release of Ubuntu Core, a version of Ubuntu server for the Cloud that does not use debs or apt-get for system a...
Ubuntu Edge sets crowdfund record, but could still fail Ubuntu Edge, the next-generation smartphone that Canonical wants to build by tapping funds directly from end-users, has set the record for the mos...
IFC6410: Snapdragon S4 Pro-based single board computer IFC6410 is a single-board, SoC computer powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, the same processor that powers Google's Nexus tablet comput...
Can your computer run Ubuntu Core? Ubuntu Core beta, a version of Ubuntu for Cloud deployment that comes with snappy a system and application management utility with support for transac...

We Recommend These Vendors and Free Offers

ContainerizeThis 2016 is a free, 2-day conference for all things containers and big data. Featured, will be presentations and free, hands-on workshops. Learn more at ContainerizeThis.com

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 *

*