Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Anonymity on the internet

A new Arizona case involving anonymous Internet speech raises interesting questions about what minimum showing a party must make in order to be able to discover the real identity of an anonymous party on the Internet. In the matter in question, the plaintiffs were apparently not required to show any legal wrongdoing before being granted an order requiring the disclosure of an anonymous emailer's real identity.

It seems unwise to allow anyone to sue, even on a pretextual reason, and then use the mere existence of a lawsuit as grounds to breach privacy. Such a regime makes one's identity only as good as the emptiness of the pocketbooks of those you wish it hidden from. Then again, that's pretty much the way it is anyway.