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Posting AC - a Thing of the Past?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-my-name-is-anonymous dept.

Media 390

c0lo writes to point out an article from the Indystar. From the article: "A Marion County judge has ruled, for the first time in Indiana, that news media outlets can be ordered by the court to reveal identifying information about posters to their online forums."

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I am ironically.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380028)

Posting this anonymously

Re:I am ironically.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380072)

And I'm replying anonymously!

Re:I am ironically.... (4, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380170)

And if they don't have the identifying data, are the journalists then sued for aiding and abetting unaccountable subservive activities?

Re:I am ironically.... (2)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380386)


Re:I am ironically.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380620)

Those Git fanboys are becoming intolerable. Now get off my lawn!

Re:I am ironically.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380824)

It's a judge and lawyers that dont know squat.....

I DARE ANYONE to try and track me down.... I'm posting this from an external ip of ...

Good luck figuring out who the hell I am.

Re:I am ironically.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380090)

I demand that /. reveal the identity of the parent poster!

Re:I am ironically.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380258)

Good luck, i'm behind seven proxies!

Re:I am ironically.... (2)

skrimp (790524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380288)

Yes, I know.

Re:I am ironically.... (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380340)

Good luck, i'm behind seven proxies!

Yes, I know.

If only you had sprung for the eighth!

Re:I am ironically.... (2)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380436)

Unfortunately, proxy bonuses to AC don't stack, so you'd only get the benefit of the highest one.

Re:I am ironically.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380346)

I'm right behind you

Re:I am ironically.... (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380696)

Get a court order and Slashdot quite gladly will.

That is why I post under my real name. In this day and age anyone with sufficient resources can trace any post to you anyway.

The Internet has stopped being anonymous something like 10 years or so ago.

Re:I am ironically.... (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380726)

The right to be Publish Anonymously is protected by the Ninth Amendment. This judge is just a government tyrant trying to suppress the liberty of the People. Send him to the same place Saddam Hussein and Mubarak went.

Re:I am ironically.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380682)

Anonymous middle-click reply is broken with this new layout. This is especially obvious when not using scripts.

Coincidental? I think not.

For what reason? (4, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380052)

The only reason a court would be gathering such information is to stifle free speech.

Re:For what reason? (0)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380200)

Or to narrow a search on a forum-posted bomb threat.

I have no problem with peoples' identities being sought out in direct relations to a crime or genuine/serious threat.

Re:For what reason? (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380234)

Then you have no problem with peoples' identities being sought out. The "qualifier" is bullshit.

Re:For what reason? (5, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380440)

You may think that qualifier is "bullshit" but it's a well-established and widely accepted one. We have drawn the line where free speech ends at the commission of a crime or threat of harm for a very long time, and doing so is considered appropriate even by the vast majority of card-carrying members of the ACLU.

You're welcome to disagree, but pretending that this is an irrational or unprecedented distinction is just silly.

Re:For what reason? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380574)

Precedence means crap to me. Bullfighting is well established and widely accepted also. Does that make it okay? And I said nothing about it being irrational or unprecedented. I said it's bullshit. It's suppression. An assertion of arbitrary authority. The commission of a crime has nothing to do with speech. Only those who actually commit the crime can be held accountable. What led them to it is totally irrelevant to me.

Re:For what reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380786)

Widely accepted by who? Certainly not by me or anybody that I know.

Re:For what reason? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380254)

...for different definitions of "crime" or "serious threat"...

You know that a crime is what the law defines, yes? Now extrapolate and think about it.

Re:For what reason? (2, Interesting)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380428)

Extrapolate your own opinion.... do we search for people leaving threatening anonymous letters in somebody's mailbox, or is that protected free and anonymous speech?

Obviously internet comments are not the place to take any threat seriously though. They're like rap lyrics but less reliable.

Re:For what reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380614)

Choosing to ignore any serious threat when posted publicly is down right stupidity. Sweeping statements such as yours and other /.ers on the "Don't Touch My Free Speech" bandwagon are, more often than not, ignorant to the realities of what legal American Free Speech is and its intended purpose.

This is neither a blow to free speech nor a encroachment on civil rights. There is no story here.

Grow up and move along.


Re:For what reason? (1)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380834)

no. something like this would be the responsibility of the press outlet responsible for the forum. i cannot imagine any news station NOT turning such info into the authorities without hesitation. there should be NO laws forcing the press to reveal sources regardless of the median that the information is obtained.

this is plain BS and needs to quashed now.

Re:For what reason? (5, Interesting)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380244)

If I were to go around the internet telling everyone that you are a child molester, wouldn't you want to find out my identity? Oh, I posted as an AP when I did it, tough luck. Now if a future employer google's your name it's all over the internet and you have to waste your time explaining it and I got off without even a slap on the wrist.
I think both sides have good arguments, I would hate for there to be a 'one size fits all' solution to this dilema. If someone is slandering my name on the internet anonymously, I want to go after that person. First I should have to prove the allegations are false, though.

Re:For what reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380588)

First I should have to prove the allegations are false, though.

I mean: WHAT?!?
You think it's reasonable to be "guilty till proven innocent"???
Are you serious?

What you were doing with all the little children is one thing, but this is going to far.

Re:For what reason? (2)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380592)

Slander should not apply to anonymous posters. The standard for what counts as slander ought to be the person is backing their statement with their own name. Anybody who believes the anonymous writings (not anonymous as in AC, but as in smelch, you have no idea who I am) of somebody online without going to some kind of official reference is a moron. We've all learned not to trust wikipedia, but you think anonymous postings can count as slandering somebody? No, if what is written online about you that way damages you that just falls under "people are stupid", and you don't want to work for stupid people anyway.

Re:For what reason? (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380698)

The problem with that is that people have had their lives pretty much ruined by people posting slanderous allegations against them online. The most recent one I heard of was a guy who had to move because word got around that he was a child molester. Some woman took it into her head that he was one. She created multiple accounts on online forums and then started "exchanging" information about his record as a child molester. Each one of her accounts "didn't know" about some of the stuff that another one did. She even had one account that started out "skeptical".

Re:For what reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380622)

That's a good argument, but I think with all your focus on potential inconvenience to you, you've begged the real question. Don't you feel some guilt, or have any recognition that you should pay some price for your serial pederasty?

Re:For what reason? (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380676)

It's simple really. If a serious threat of violence is made in an online forum, the police in the jurisdiction the threat is directed at go to a judge, fill out the paper work, and get a warrant. If someone is libeling you, you take the evidence, go to the judge, get a court order. It isn't as if this case is saying that anyone can make a request to get IP addresses of anonymous posters, it would still require a court order or warrant to get that information.

Re:For what reason? (2)

swilver (617741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380904)

Of course, such people would not stoop to simply post such messages using someone else's computer / account / wifi, etc..

Re:For what reason? (1)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380752)

I'd think that if an employer would read radical accusations from an AC against my name, and immediately assume that a) they're true and b) they are actually about me, and not someone who shares my name, I'd have to think twice about working for them.

Re:For what reason? (5, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380818)

There's also the grand proposition of reprogramming society not to respond positively to hearsay. That's your "one size fits all". It's all about conditioned response and behavior modification, with specific keywords to set off the alarm, no matter the context. Real, honest to god psy-ops at work. Piece of cake. There's a small stink about the military trying it out on some congressmen in Afghanistan. I have to laugh when I consider how well it's working on genpop when they all recite almost word for word what they hear on the TV.

I find these charges hard to believe

Then don't believe them

Re:For what reason? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380902)

Yes it is tough luck. It can even be done publicly to a public official without any recourse. []

if you want a perfect example...

Now shut up or I'll associate your name with another bodily fluid mixture!

Re:For what reason? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380332)

The right to free speech says absolutely nothing about the right to anonymous free speech. At also says nothing about there not being consequences to your free speech, only that the government won't stop you from saying it.

Re:For what reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380624)

Thank you for that - exactly correct. It also seems that the Greater Internet Fuckwad theory is absolutely correct [] - sorry for that link but someone has removed the reference from the Wikipedia article. When people have to use a real name and possible real consequences they actually tend to be much more polite and reasonable.

Re:For what reason? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380804)

Sure it does.

The whole point of "free speech" is that there can't be any consequences for you.

You need to hone up on both your history and law.

Some states even protect anonymous speech explicitly and their own Supreme Courts will back it up. ...I think I will go read some of the Federalist Papers now.

Re:For what reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380388)

Free speech != anonymous speech

Re:For what reason? (1, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380704)

The supreme court disagrees [] .

Re:For what reason? (4, Insightful)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380412)

Oh, let's dispense with the silly sensationalism.

Free speech was never meant to defend acts of libel.

If reasonable acts of libel took place, and the site knows the IP address of the posters, then it is ridiculous to use the shield law. That's like saying that I can set up a newspaper where I don't disclose the identity of any of my journalists, and where they can freely malign any individual through it while appealing to the shield law. That is ridiculous.

What wasn't clear from a cursory reading is whether the news outlets will be required to store the information. That's a bit overstepping, if it's the case. It's like saying that if I have a bulletin board in my supermarket, then I should be required to get the identity of anyone who posts there.

While not germane to the point of the story, I've not seen one instance of a news site allowing comments improving the quality of the site, or the discourse.

Not once.

Open comments to news stories almost always have brought out the worst in people in every news site I've seen. There's almost never anything informative in them, and even if there is a comment that makes a valid point, it is lost in the crowd of other comments.

Re:For what reason? (2)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380794)

>>>I have no problem with peoples' identities being sought

Also makes it easier to throw the formerly-Anonymous persons in jail for things like ----- sharing how to crack a PS3 to install linux or media-watching software ----- producing art or comic books filled with nude teenagers doing what teenagers do (sex) ----- uploading a copy of Streamboat Willie --- et cetera.

Liberty cannot live in a world where people can not hide.

Re:For what reason? (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380476)

TOR. Don't know how many times I have to say it.

Re:For what reason? (1)

PhilipTheHermit (1901680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380766)

TOR, yes. Definitely.

But ALSO, if you're worried that a corporation is likely to try to identify you because you've criticized a product (for example), in addition to using TOR you will want to make sure you're not posting your opinions from your home.

Buy a cheap, hundred dollar laptop from someone on Craigslist. Wipe the disk and install Linux. Create an account called "privacy". Encrypt the home directory.

THEN, drive to one of your city's many publicly available WiFi hot spots, in a coffee shop or library perhaps, and submit your post from there, with Firefox in a private browsing session.

To be REALLY safe, periodically sell the laptop and get a new one off Craigslist.

You can never be too paranoid, thin, or rich.

Re:For what reason? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380940)

"Buy a cheap, hundred dollar laptop from someone on Craigslist. Wipe the disk and install Linux. Create an account called "privacy". Encrypt the home directory."


Live CD + usb stick. does the exact same thing.

Re:For what reason? (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380544)

Right! Courts shouldn't be able to gather any evidence against anyone for anything!

Are you really this fucking stupid? Yes, there could be abuse. There is the possibility of abuse with ANY law. The court can issue a warrant for your phone records or to toss your place, but dammit, websites should never have to turn over IP addresses! They only want to stifle free speech! After all , if some kid posts that he's going to shoot up his school on some forum, the cops have no right to get a warrant for any info on him! He's just exercising free speech!

Re:For what reason? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380582)

Further, the judge exposes himself to the laughing hyenas of higher courts, who will decimate his ruling for the folly it is. The judge forgets the US Constitutional Fifth Amendment, Indiana's Constitution, Indiana Code, and the long tradition of pseudonyms-- which are entirely legal by common law lo long as the pseudonym isn't used for fraud.

He's made an ass of himself, and will have his ass handed to him.

Re:For what reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380924)

(define judge (func) (func 1)) ;or something, probably should have randomness

    ((ass judge)) ;make an ass of judge
    (judge ass)) ;hand ass to judge

Looks like...
*dons sunglasses*
a tail-recursive algorithm!

Re:For what reason? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380950)

The judge forgets the US Constitutional Fifth Amendment

Exactly which part of the Fifth Amendment applies here? If you meant the Fourth Amendment, I don't think it protects you from a warrant issued by a court. In fact, I vaguely recall there being something explicit in there about warrants.

Re:For what reason? (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380642)

The only reason a court would be gathering such information is to stifle free speech.

Free speech is not the freedom to libel and slander the innocent. Free speech is not the freedom to make threats with impunity.

The anonymous speaker can be legitimately exposed.

Re:For what reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380796)

Wrong, the only reason the court would be gathering that information is because someone has asked for it in the furtherance of a court case (or at the request of law enforcement for a warrant to search someone's records).

Since there are plenty of both criminal and civil offences one can commit by posting anonymously online (Libel, making a bomb threat, inciting others to commit a crime, conspiracy to commit a crime, etc.) It is not unreasonable for the courts to demand that the media outlets turn over any identifying information they have about someone who is accused of or being investigated for such a crime.

What is the world coming to? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380920)

The problem is that the harm done by people positing anonymously is practically nonexistent. People bring up slander, but an anonymous post in an internet forum isn't really slander, it's just at troll. People bring up bomb threats, but there are plenty of ways to make an anonymous bomb threat and tracking this information will not really help with that (honestly, if you're going to make a bomb threat, doing it anonymously in a forum is not a good way to go about it).

On the other hand, requiring websites to hand over identifying information on anonymous posters can be used by law enforcement for all kinds of activities that will stifle free speech. This is my complaint. I'm not saying that the constitution guarantees anonymity (I don't really care what it has to say, since the government doesn't abide in it). I don't even believe in posting anonymously (obviously, that's my email address right there, anyone can tell who I am and how to contact me from any of my posts). What I'm saying is that such a ruling has no purpose except to stifle the free expression of posters on websites.

Hell no (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380058)

Over my dead, bloated body.

Perhaps the key is (5, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380060)

To ensure this information is never stored in the first place.

Re:Perhaps the key is (2)

GuruBuckaroo (833982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380096)

yeah, that's right - let's count on companies steeped in respect for metrics and numbers to just stop logging who visits their site. That'll happen.

Re:Perhaps the key is (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380174)

especially on ad driven sites.

The customers aren't the people who read the topic but the Ad companies. And the Customers get what they want or they go elsewhere.

Re:Perhaps the key is (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380158)

Just have a policy of deleting all logs after 24 hours. That gives enough time to block spammers by IP without also giving much of a window for courts to breach anonymity.

Re:Perhaps the key is (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380328)

Oh please. You know they can order you to keep them, and to create logs if you haven't already. The whole "shield law" thing is bullshit. It gave consent to harass anybody who isn't officially a "journalist". And this story.. over defamation! Christ! that's the last thing you give up peoples' shit for. Just another display of the power of money

Fuck them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380074)

Fuck the fucking Marion country judges.

Re:Fuck them (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380350)

Fuck the fucking Marion country judges.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean, could you explain in more detail please?

Re:Fuck them (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380782)

I think he might be proposing a three-way.

Bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380078)

That is all.

Recap (5, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380086)

1. People under tyranny
2. Write pamphlets anonymously []
3. Make a new country
4. GOTO 1
5. "Goto considered harmful"

Re:Recap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380680)

I think that GOTO wouldn't be so harmful if everyone adopted the non-aggression principle.

With this ruling, hopefully a thing of the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380102)

Let's all post AC in protest.

Does Slashdot retain any AC identifying info? (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380110)

If the website doesn't retain info on anonymous posters, then there's nothing for them to provide. Does Slashdot retain anything?

Forums R SrS BSNS haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380262)

I'm sure all websites are retaining IP addresses for some time even on anonymous clients, I can't see how they wouldnt. That's what the whole article is actually about in general anyways, divulging the identities of anonymous posters.

"The rulings came in a defamation lawsuit Miller filed last year. He is seeking to broaden the list of defendants in his case to include people who criticized him anonymously last year on websites run by The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Business Journal and WRTV (Channel 6)."

I guess the lesson, although extreme and childish, is don't say anything untrue about someone even online or you might get sued. haha We knew once the rest of the world was 'let in' to the internet, we'd be fighting ridiculous battles and it would be a lot less fun/free.

So now people venting and not making what they believe are actual statements to the world have to be aware of the situation and get a diary I guess, but not a blog, or you might get sued if you don't have proof that "John Doe is a , maybe. haha

Re:Does Slashdot retain any AC identifying info? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380446)

If the website doesn't retain info on anonymous posters, then there's nothing for them to provide. Does Slashdot retain anything?

Retaining the data is worth money to sell to advertisers, marketing and who knows what other parties. Lots of places retain a ton of data. What they say on the policy may have no relationship at all. Especially when it's all done by multiple companies contracting each other and everyone just way too busy dealing with everyday problems, costs+margins, employees, shareholders etc. Your personal data is just a meaningless detail of the businesses. It's hopeless actually, data will circulate everywhere, legal or not, approved or not, moral or not, the only thing that can be done is gather and distribute data on powerful people too, join the Public Informaton Agency.

Defamation is illegal (2, Informative)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380114)

Who knew?

Re:Defamation is illegal (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380618)

Its also very hard to prove.

So, (3, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380160)

Random judge, in Indiana, usa, fucking marion county, decides what are the web standards and realities of life on internet ?

In Honor of his Honor... (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380348)

I suggest that Slashdot have a day of awareness by using "Anonymous Hoosier" for all AC comments.

Re:So, (2)

RavenChild (854835) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380496)

Marion County is one of the most corrupt places I have ever visited. I went to Indianapolis with some friends, went out to bars, and then everyone got arrested (too long a story to say how it went down). Anyways, the Judge gave everyone the highest bail (one person even received higher than the bail schedule's max amount), we paid it, got charged double (20% cash instead of 10%), and had to go back to court twice. They are thieves. All of the charges were dropped the second we went to court. In the end, we have arrests on our records, everyone is out $2000 for bail and at least $5000 in legal fees, and Marion County Circus is still stealing innocent people's money. Hope someone with money can fight them some day.

Re:So, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380896)

No, he rules that news outlets within the USA are subject to US law and can be forced to comply with it via court order. Nothing new here, move along.

At least it requires a court order (1)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380164)

I get tired of people who hide behind AC thinking they can get away with harassment and forum owners who won't take control of the situation. At least this requires a court order, which means the person or group demanding the information be made available must provide a reasonable justification to the court as to why it must be done. It's not a perfect system, but it's better than saying, "You can't allow anonymous posting."

Re:At least it requires a court order (1)

inkscapee (1994086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380250)

I get tired of people who hide behind AC thinking they can get away with harassment and forum owners who won't take control of the situation. At least this requires a court order, which means the person or group demanding the information be made available must provide a reasonable justification to the court as to why it must be done. It's not a perfect system, but it's better than saying, "You can't allow anonymous posting."

It is a wonder how so many trolls, permanently grumpy people, and jerks see their useless rantings as brilliant freedom fighter communiques. Monkeys throwing feces. Still, given how things are going in our Great Land of Liberty I think I'd rather hang out with the monkeys.

All I can think about in reference to this... (0)

telekon (185072) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380202)

Re:All I can think about in reference to this... (3, Informative)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380464)

Already happened. Moot got subpoenaed and showed up to present IP logs and such on the Palin email skiddie. The court also had him define "newfag" and "rickroll".

Fine with me! (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380218)

I'll even post the information I used to sign up for this Slashdot ID publicly; I have nothing to fear:

Mr. Ivan A Humpabunch
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington D.C., DC 20500

The rest of you anonymous cowards should be ashamed of yourself.

Re:Fine with me! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380292)

Waaait a second, I know that address.

Sure, it was given to me by a Mr. I.P.Freely when registering with my board. Does he live with you?

Re:Fine with me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380462)

My pseudo email address is

Chilling Effects? (2)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380222)

Cyberbullying? Not likely, it's stifling of speech. Find out who they are then drag them into court to put the fear of the Law into them. Once they're scared into submission, the plantiff can continue on safe in the knowledge that no matter how foul he behaves, no one will comment. I doubt it'll go far.

Re:Chilling Effects? (2)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380610)

Agreed. Most cyberbullies don't care if their target knows who is verbally abusing them because they're more popular then their victim already so have no fear of reprisal. This is about making sure nobody ever gets their free speech right online ever again, as lawsuits become the sword that kills the first amendment.

Nice troll artic (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380240)

I'd be really surprised if the the court couldn't all ready do this. There isn't much difference between this and subpoenaing phone records.

Due process is being observed; the defendant is in court and evidence is being gathered. This isn't police warrantlessly fishing through these records. Just because the internet is involved doesn't mean "everything's changed!" That's the battlecry of those who would use it to diminish current due process rights.

Re:Nice troll artic (0)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380570)

I was kinda thinking the same.

At least the judge bothered to make sure that due process is in effect. Yes, I've gotten pretty easy to please, but this isn't really something that warrants a huge outcry. Anonymity on the internet is a myth. You always leave an IP address, you can always be tracked. And there are good cases why you wouldn't want someone being able to abuse this anonymity to slander and deface.

Would you like to have a neighbor that posts pictures of you, probably photoshopped pictures, that depict you as a child molester? After decades of indoctrination, people do actually believe what they see on TV. And what's the internet for most people but a TV with some big thing on the floor attached to it? And while I agree that it would be better if people were more wary of believing what they see in some opinionated piece of mud being flung, that's how people are. They don't listen to both sides and they don't bother waiting for a response before casting the verdict. Imagine coming to work and being confronted with it by your boss, being laid off ("of course not because of that, just ... because of the economy, ya know..."), being shunned by your peers, all because some hate-filled neighbor with too much spare time considered it fun to mess with your life because, say, you parked your car in a place that he considered "his" parking space on the sidewalk.

Impossible? You never lived in my neighborhood if you think that's impossible!

Real dumb... people will move to vpns (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380248)

Real dumb move there by the decision-makers. What will happen is that Joe Clueless who makes a comment about someone sucking might get stung, while there will be a heightened interest in using a proxy for traffic; likely an offshore proxy that will either reply with unmitigated laughter, or a high resolution picture of a middle finger (or perhaps a sole of a shoe depending on geographic location) when someone demands IP logs.

VPNs are becoming really easy to use these days. The iPhone can activate one with a couple button presses. Browser extensions can activate Tor access with a button press.

If push came to shove and people started being arrested and sued left and right, it wouldn't be difficult for even Joe Sixpack to move to a VPN service, which would make current police work against real criminals a lot harder because every connection, the forensic officer would have to bed the VPN server for IP to IP correlation logs, or be able to monitor all connections to the VPN server and prove that connection "A" went into the network, and was routed to site "B", and do it well enough in a presentation to convince a jury.

If this judge were smart, he would have let the small fry go. This way, the nasty criminals would still be easily catchable without having to make any and all police investigations international affairs.

Re:Real dumb... people will move to vpns (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380486)

Huh? Did something change? Since when are we after the big criminals?

You got that wrong. Steal a hundred bucks and you get arrested. Steal a hundred billion bucks and you get a bailout. It's all a matter who got who at the balls.

Re:Real dumb... people will move to vpns (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380722)


If people saying "Elbonia sucks" on a forum get nailed by the Elbonian embassy for slander, then people will get scared and start using VPNs. Once this becomes a common practice, the people that LEOs really want to catch for suspected terrorism or other serious offences will require international cooperation with an offshore VPN service instead of just asking the telco for IP to names.

Re:Real dumb... people will move to vpns (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380880)

I think if it ever gets to that point the "internet police" will just give up, as they would have to charge most of the people on the internet.

Re:Real dumb... people will move to vpns (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380810)

If this judge were smart, he would have let the small fry go. This way, the nasty criminals would still be easily catchable without having to make any and all police investigations international affairs.

Its an entirely different market. Criminals tend to be poor and depend on public defenders. The other side of the case is the prosecutor, who is a public employee.

Civil cases involve relatively wealthy litigants and/or defendants. So this judge is simply protecting the ability of his cronies in the legal profession to engage in a profitable business.

Chilling Effect on Anonymous Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380342)

I doubt it.

IANAL (Obviously) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380360)

But I suspect that the judge has made this ruling specifically in reference to civil cases (such as the one Mr Miller has brought). I cannot believe that in a case of illegal activity this would not already be happening - and, no, I don't view defamation (free speech) as an illegal act.

Re:IANAL (Obviously) (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380832)

It depends on the degree of the action:

Someone saying $PERSON sucks is one thing.

Someone posting on many forums, falsely alleging heinous crimes that $PERSON did in efforts to deliberately destroy a reputation is another.

The libel/slander laws are aimed at the second instance. However, because SLAPP laws are not enforced these days, said libel/slander laws get used for the first.

And? (1)

chucklebutte (921447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380518)

Sweet they can detect an IP, what browser I am running, and an estimate to my location, all in all pretty useless.

We known that IP =/= You, so who cares?

Wasn't /. against anon speech when it was MS? (-1, Troll)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380606)

I recall a story last year about MS posting anonymously in forums, and everyone here seemed to be against it. Seems Slashdotters are all for anonymous speech, unless it is someone they disagree with like Microsoft. And don't give me the "corporations" aren't people line. They are owned and run by people.

Re:Wasn't /. against anon speech when it was MS? (1)

theskipper (461997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380772)

Corporate astroturfing is different than free speech (non-defamatory expression of one's views).

Hopefully most people would have the savvy to react differently to each.

Re:Wasn't /. against anon speech when it was MS? (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380926)

Companies aren't people. That means they shouldn't be able to contribute to election campaigns and things like that. That wouldn't limit the rights of the owners or employees of a company to make contributions: they could still do that with their own private money.

It would however prevent the company from making contributions based on the decisions of the CEO or majority owner - going contrary to the wishes of e.g. minority owners. That would be a good thing. It would restrict nobody's legitimate political rights, and it would help to reduce corruption.

frist sopt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380638)

Last post fags

There are names, and there are True Names. (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380848)

So you can no longer comment anonymously. Start up a secret identity. I've been using one since 1994.

Oh, did you think 'Remus Shepherd' was my real name? It's a pseudonym, and hopefully one that no one can connect to my real name, even if a judge orders them to do so. I'm sure it's not bulletproof, but every layer is another court precedent that has to happen before your anonymity can be taken away.

Newt Gingrich: Fascist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380910)

This is a letter of love and peace; I will not lash out against anyone, and I will not use specific names of individuals or organizations that implant within the government a set of fifth columnists who are devoted to Newt Gingrich's dream of hammering a few more nails into the coffin of freedom. That said, let me merely point out that he always sounds like he's reading a prepared speech. First and foremost, he is interpersonally exploitative. That is, he takes advantage of others to achieve his own satanic ends. Why does he do that? While that question may not be as profound as "What's the meaning of life?" or "Is there a God?", if Gingrich truly wanted to be helpful, he wouldn't recover the dead past by annihilating the living present.

A few days ago, Gingrich actually admitted that he wants to advocate querulous ultimata. Can you believe that? Perhaps Gingrich forgot to take his antipsychotics that day. An additional clue is that if you read his writings while mentally out of focus, you may get the sense that he has a duty to conceal the facts and lie to the rest of us, under oath if necessary, perjuring himself to help disseminate the True Faith of hooliganism. But if you read Gingrich's writings while mentally in focus and weigh each point carefully, it's clear that he recently stated that his hypnopompic insights are good for the environment, human rights, and baby seals. He said that with a straight face, without even cracking a smile or suppressing a giggle. He said it as if he meant it. That's scary because he's known for sapping people's moral stamina. This is not only a grotesque betrayal of the principles that Gingrich himself claims to uphold but a clear demonstration of how I have a dream, a mission, a set path that I would like to travel down. Specifically, my goal is to set the record straight. Of course, he may be reasonably cunning with words. However, he is absolutely pouty with everything else.

Mark my words: I know some blasphemous, uppity ingrates who actually believe that the purpose of life is self-gratification. Incredible? Those same people have told me that a book of his writings would be a good addition to the Bible. With such people roaming about, it should come as no surprise to you that no man who values himself, who has any regard for sound morality, or who feels any desire to see intellectual progress made certain, can rightfully join Gingrich's jaundiced attempt to convert houses of worship into houses of emotionalism.

Last I checked, Gingrich hates you—yes, you, because you, like me, want to straighten out Gingrich's thinking. He is squarely in favor of communism and its propensity to move increasingly towards the establishment of a totalitarian Earth. This is so typical of Gingrich: he condemns bigotry and injustice except when it benefits him personally. He would have us believe that laws are meant to be broken. That, of course, is nonsense, total nonsense. But Gingrich is surrounded by dodgy slimeballs who parrot the same nonsense, which is why if it were true, as he claims, that a richly evocative description of a problem automatically implies the correct solution to that problem, then I wouldn't be saying that the justification Gingrich gave for priming the pump of Bonapartism was one of the most contemptuous justifications I've ever heard. It was so contemptuous, in fact, that I will not repeat it here. Even without hearing the details you can still see my point quite clearly: Gingrich is currently limited to shrieking and spitting when he's confronted with inconvenient facts. In the blink of an eye, however, Gingrich is likely to switch to some sort of "substitute breast-beating and schwarmerei for action and honest debate" approach to draw our attention away from such facts.

Don't let yourself be buffaloed by Gingrich. Don't let yourself be persuaded to believe that the Queen of England heads up the international drug cartel just because a lot of effrontive troglodytes happen to believe that. Analyze the arguments for yourself and see if you agree with my claim that Gingrich is a shoo-in for this year's awarding of "most unbridled use of nativism". But that's not all: Every time he gets caught trying to dispense bread and circuses to bumptious mobocrats to entice them to leave helpless citizens afraid in the streets, in their jobs, and even in their homes, he promises he'll never do so again. Subsequently, his cultists always jump in and explain that he really shouldn't be blamed even if he does because, as they insist, undiscoverable, unmeasurable, magical forces from another plane of existence have given him superhuman wisdom.

Gingrich keeps saying that everyone who doesn't share his beliefs is a nasty mafia don deserving of death and damnation. For some reason, Gingrich's disciples actually believe this nonsense. He is decidedly failing in his legal and moral responsibility not to lead me down a path of pain and suffering. You might feel I'm telling you this because I like to beat up on him. Really, that isn't my principal reason. I don't especially need to beat up on Gingrich because he is already despised by decent and knowledgeable people almost everywhere.

We don't need to demonize Gingrich; he is already a demon, and furthermore, his complaints may have been conceived in idealism, but they quickly degenerated into disloyal statism. He frequently insists that we ought to worship homicidal, pugnacious leeches as folk heroes. This lie of his cannot stand the light of day, and a few minutes' reflection will suffice to show how utterly snooty a lie it is. Nonetheless, if you don't think that by balancing the theoretical untruth and nonsense of his projects with the reality of this phenomenon we can see that I recognize the need to think and act strategically as well as tactically, then you've missed the whole point of this letter. Gingrich and his apple-polishers, who are legion, are on a recruiting campaign, trying to convince everyone they meet to participate in making human life negligible and cheap. Don't join that gestapo; instead, remember the scriptures: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil."

It has been a long-standing observation of mine that to enter into philosophic disputations with such bleeding-heart (or at least, stiff-necked) schemers is both irascible and duplicitous. This issue is coming to the fore because people used to think I was exaggerating whenever I said that the net effect of Gingrich's roorbacks will be a generation of kids who are unable to read, write, or distinguish good from evil. After seeing Gingrich violate all the rules of decorum these same people now realize that I wasn't exaggerating at all. In fact, they even realize that it would be great if we could straighten out our thinking and change the path we're on. Still, if we take a step, just a step, towards addressing the issue of nihilism, then maybe we can open people's eyes (including our own) to a vision of how to extend the compass of democracy to gormless popinjays. I undeniably profess that people are hungry for true information and for a way to work together for justice in every community. Nevertheless, I can state with absolute certainty that Gingrich thinks it would be a great idea to poke someone's eyes out. Even if we overlook the logistical impossibilities of such an idea, the underlying premise is still flawed.

At this point in the letter, I'd like to categorize for you some of Gingrich's convictions. Unfortunately, they're far too lousy and destructive to fit neatly into any single, overarching framework, so the best I can do is to convey the message that I myself do not propose a supernatural solution to the problems we're having with Gingrich. Instead, I propose a practical, realistic, down-to-earth approach that requires only that I raise a stink about Gingrich and his brutal criticisms. He has recently been going around claiming that the sun rises just for him. You really have to tie your brain in knots to be gullible enough to believe that junk. Gingrich sells the supposed merits of colonialism on the basis of rhetoric, not evidence. The evidence, however belated, is now in, and the evidence says that I must, on principle, make a genuine contribution to human society. This is not what I think; this is what I know. I additionally know that while Gingrich insists that he can succeed without trying, reality dictates otherwise. Actually, if you want a real dose of reality, look at how when I was a child my clergyman told me, "I cannot conceive of any circumstance under which Gingrich's apothegms could be considered appropriate." If you think about it you'll see his point.

Gingrich is basically a bad person. You don't need to be the smartest guy on the planet to figure that out. Heck, even the lowliest Joe Six-Pack knows that some of the things Gingrich says and some of the things he stands for are so peevish, it hurts to think about them. I could write pages on the subject, but the following should suffice. If Gingrich can one day deny both our individual and collective responsibility to live in harmony with each other and the world then the long descent into night is sure to follow. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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