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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Anonymous Bloggers Beware!

UPDATE: AUGUST 23 - GLOBE AND MAIL STORY says days of anonymous bloggers are limited and cites a successful case against Google forcing them to reveal the identity of a blogger.

(H/T) Debra Ward for the lead.

Here is an interesting UK court case that says Bloggers can't hide behind a cloak of anonymity. The Times newspaper "deduced" the identity of an anonymous blogger who was "very political and critical." Political and critical - in the blogospher? How does that happen ;-)

An anonymous blogger was a detective constable writing under a pseudonym who tried to protect his true identity. The court said "...the public should have the right to receive information about the author so that they could assess the weight and authority to be attached to them."

Yes!!! Lots of reasons to be anonymous but not many of them are good ones, especially for bloggers and commentors.

Blogging is growing up and becoming much more of a mainstream media as well as a social media. Here is an indication of the implications of this shift, as this court said, "...blogging was(is) essentially a public, rather than private, activity. Bloggers often took steps to disguise their authorship, but is was a step too far to say that those people could legitimately expect others to be prohibited at law from deducing their identity."

Makes one wonder if Tiny Perfect Blog will ever be back.

6 comments:

  1. I don't see what the big deal is for being anonymous bloggers. Whether some one like me publishes their name or not makes no difference simply because I am not known irregardless. Does it matter if I publish my real name and you don't know me or the alias and you don't know me? Just curious as this has been the headlines of blog posts since TPB signed out.

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  2. It is really about intent and purpose of why you want to be anonymity. Not illegal to be anonymous. It is a long standing and well recognized literary tradition. Just ask Mark Twain. Remember rumours of his death were greatly exaggerated so he may still be a round ;-).

    But if someone wants to find out who you and they do...you can't protect yourself from them exposing who you are.

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  3. Many victims of libel on the Internet are frustrated by their respective judge's inability to see how debilitating and anguishing the pain can be. I believe that the many rabid proponents of absolute free speech take the position because they have never personally, or through someone they love, experienced the burden of these nasty attacks.

    Michael Roberts, Internet libel victim's advocate.
    www.rexxfield.com

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  4. Anonymous7:30 pm

    There may be a few reasons to remain anonymous as a blogger (yes, there are a few), but as a cover for personal attacks a person would not have the guts to say to the subject's face is not one of those. It merely cheapens what could be a useful medium.

    One only needs to read some of the comments following various blogger postings - or worse, various newspaper online articles - to see how bad it can get.

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  5. Anonymous7:48 am

    Anonymous blogging needs to have a place in Alberta given the high level of control over information that matters to me and you. Having said this, I get the issues with personal attacks via anonymous blog. If the inside part of the bathroom wall is a blog, and someone writes "for a good time call (my number)" and I end up seeing it, I might be embarrassed, and tempted to erase it, but how many people actually call the number ?

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  6. Anonymous11:10 am

    The case of Google being forced to disclose the identity of an anonymous blogger to the victim of the blogger's personal attacks is interesting also. Apparently the blog site, tastefully named "Skanks of NYC", was posting numerous attacks on a formal supermodel. After a court case, Google disclosed the IP address and identity of the blogger, who happened to be someone in the same social circle as the victim. This blogger is now - justly - the target of a defamation lawsuit.

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