Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More on blogs

The article I mentioned earlier today at National Law Journal includes a quote likening bloggers today to pamphleteers or leafletters of the Revolution era. Thus, the story of the anonymous blogger criticizing his township in New Jersey caught my attention. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF, at www.eff.org) reports that they are defending the blogger whose identity has been subpoenaed from his ISP. The township is using the subpoena to intimidate the blogger, and is trampling on the blogger's first amendment free speech rights, according to the EFF's motion to quash.

What if the British governors had been able to subpoena the identity of the pamphleteers who published inflammatory tracts rallying colonials to the Revolution? Hmm. We have certainly seen examples of blogs coming back to bite the bloggers. Is this anonymity essential to free speech on the Internet? How does this intersect with the international nature of the Web? Gonna be an interesting decade!


Jacqueline Cantwell said...
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Jacqueline Cantwell said...

I have mixed feelings on anonymous blogging. The First Amendment is a popular defense, but not all cases deserve it. Blogging is a form of publication, but many bloggers excuse slanderous comments as personal communications. Unfortunately, the slandered individuals suffer in the real world. People have lost jobs because of anonymous postings. Their reputations have been ruined and they have no way to correct the damage; nothing disappears on the internet and cranks gain unearned authority. This blog has written about blog mobbing. This is not an easy issue.