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Judge To Newspaper - Reveal Name of Commenter

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the naming-names dept.

Privacy 307

First time accepted submitter Andy Prough writes "A Kansas judge has ordered a Topeka newspaper to release the name of a commenter on one of its stories about the trial of Anceo D. Stovall for the murder of Natalie Gibson. Using the name 'BePrepared,' the commenter posted the following in response to a story about the ongoing trial on July 21 at 1:45pm: 'Trust me that's all they got in their little world, as you know, I have been there. Remember the pukes names they will do it for ever.' The problem? The court is convinced that 'BePrepared' was a juror, and was not supposed to be accessing news about the trial before it ended on July 24th. The court wants BePrepared's name, address and IP address. The jury was ultimately unable to find Stovall guilty of 10 of the 11 charges against him — including murder. Both defense and prosecution lawyers appear to want a new trial, and if it turns out that BePrepared was a juror, they are more likely to get their wish."

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307 comments

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News? (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41840623)

News why?

- Juror suspected of perjury.
- Court issues order to place that published posts which have a reasonable chance of providing evidence of said perjury, to provide the bare minimum of information to identify the poster.
- If it's not him, end of case.
- If it is him, file for mistrial, pursue conviction against him.

Why is this news? This is bog-standard legal procedure for any medium whatsoever (e.g. newspaper letters page would be the same, or CCTV of him in a pub meeting the defendant, or whatever).

Because "The Internet" means you should be anonymous, untraceable and able to commit criminal acts? Is that the logic?

Re:News? (5, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#41840649)

Except it's not perjury. :) The juror is accused of violating sequester rules, not of lying under oath.

Re:News? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840697)

The last time I was a juror I had to swear under oath that I would not/did not access outside sources of information about the trial at hand.

Re:News? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840817)

The last time I was a juror I had to swear under oath that I would not/did not access outside sources of information about the trial at hand.

Yeah but anyone too dumb to get out of jury duty is not credible.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41840937)

Yeah, because if I were on trial, I'd want a bunch of morons on the jury. Only idiots brag about getting out of jury duty. The idea is that you approach it as a civic duty and you hope to hell your jury members do too if you're ever on trial.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841011)

Last time I had jury duty I could easily have gotten out of it, but chose instead to be a productive citizen and not do so.

Anyone who approaches jury duty with the "I want out of this" attitude should certainly not be sitting on one. They are far less likely to take the responsibility seriously, thus leading to dumb fucking decisions like the Samsung/Apple $1bn judgement.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841103)

Agree, but we don't live in a perfect world, and the reality is that if you are ever on trial you are likely to be judged by a jury of morons.

Re:News? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841475)

Call me crazy, but jury duty is one of the few things a US citizen can do to have a positive influence. I don't mind jury duty. Yes, call me dumb enough to not shirk it, but it is only fair -- if I ever have to have a jury, I hope it is people who actually give a flying fsck about the judicial process.

"dumb" juries are why we have million dollar RIAA verdicts because some college student slurped a couple MP3s from Kazaa. "dumb" juries are why we see "rounded rectangle" patents upheld by dog and pony shows.

Do you want the dumbest of the dumb affecting your life in major ways?

Plus, there is something sort of kinky about a courtroom when one is there for reasons other than being a defendant, victim, or plaintiff.

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41841491)

The reason, I think, that people "want out of it" is simply because it is too disruptive for them. It's not necessarily that they are unwilling to try to make a contribution to society, but it can amount to a rather significant commitment that can easily leave one unable to simply pick up their lives where they left off afterward, unless they have acquired enough savings to tide them over while their regular income gets disrupted. Even then, dipping into those funds for such a purpose can amount to a tremendous personal sacrifice... and to be frank, why should a person be *expected* to pay possibly quite significant amounts of money out of their own hard-earned wages in order to do something for somebody else? It's not so much about being selfish, but a lot of people are just trying to do everything they can simply to get by and hopefully try to make their lives better in the future. Jury duty can, for many people, take all such hope away.

Re:News? (3, Informative)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about 2 years ago | (#41841661)

I'm not sure how it is where you work, but on top of getting an admittedly pitiful sum (Usually $40/day for a Federal Trial) for actually serving as a juror I'm fairly certain most places of work will pay you at least a reduced amount, as well.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#41841703)

People get the government they deserve. If you can’t take time out of your life to ensure that we have a civil and just society, don’t expect society to be civil and just.

Oh, and vote next Tuesday.

Re:News? (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41841861)

I might argue that if it was truly a civil and just society, then it would not generally ever be case that citizens would be unable to take time out their lives to help preserve that society on account of the financial distress it would cause.

At the very least, I believe that jury duty should compensate a person fairly (with an amount that is at least comparable to their current income levels). If that were the case, I expect you'd find substantially fewer people would be trying to avoid it.

Re:News? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41841917)

I'd really like to serve. But only when its not a major hardship for my business. I have only been requested to sit in a jury pool four times in my life. On every occasion, it coincided with my involvement in submitting a bid or proposal for a contract. Putting my paranoia hat on, I suspect that a competitor may have a buddy working at the court clerk's office. And they submitted my name for their pool.

On the other hand, when I've had some free time, I called the court and asked if I could volunteer for a jury pool. They don't take volunteers.

Re:News? (2)

garcia (6573) | about 2 years ago | (#41841499)

In the county in which I reside, if you "get out of jury duty" you still have to sit in the jury pool for three days of active on-site time and seven more days of "on-call" status.

Your best bet is to stop your fucking whining, do the damn trial for a day or two, and go home. My companies pay for jury duty so aside from it being a pain in the fucking ass being that we only have one car and the courthouse is 30 miles out in the middle of nowhere, it was better than being at work.

Re:News? (1)

paulzeye (736282) | about 2 years ago | (#41841559)

Last time I had jury duty it was for a bar fight. There was no physical evidence a fight had even occurred. It felt like a massive waste of time and made me feel foolish for taking it seriously. Not sure how often worthless cases make it to trial but it kind of changed my opinion of the whole thing.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841569)

It surprises me how many people dread jury duty, but how popular crime and court TV shows are. I've never been called and I'm quite interested in taking part, just to see what it's all about.

Re:Getting out of jury duty (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#41841609)

Anyone who approaches jury duty with the "I want out of this" attitude should certainly not be sitting on one.

I've only been a juror on one trial, but my impression was that the judge was accepting rather lame excuses from people who wanted to get out. Perhaps he felt the same way you do.

Re:News? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41841933)

In my opinion, most people who hate jury trials have never sat on a jury. I have. And I was proud to do so, because it was one of the two very specific duties I have as a citizen (the other being voting). And I was confident in our verdict (guilty of felonious assault, defendant had attacked the victim with a knife).

Re:News? (5, Informative)

Spent2HrOnAName (1925474) | about 2 years ago | (#41841181)

If the government wanted me to treat it as a civic duty and not something to get out of, they would pay me enough to live on. $40/day (in my state at least) for two weeks or more is something to go out of one's way to avoid if you're living paycheck to paycheck.

Re:News? (2)

polebridge (517983) | about 2 years ago | (#41841305)

Yes, this is a good point. Should jurors be paid at minimum wage? At average per capita? At their current rate? What about child care? What about job guarantees so you don't get fired while you're on jury duty?

"government...they" - you probably meant "government....we"

Re:News? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41841565)

What sort of job would fire you?
I thought that was illegal. It surely should be.

Re:News? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841725)

Employers can't fire you, but if you're paid an hourly wage, they don't have to pay you while you're on a jury (according to the juror handbook, they're "encouraged to").

Re:News? (5, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#41841845)

It is. Title 28, section 1875 : "No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee’s jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States"

Bolded is the loophole you can sail the Enterprise through. If you're a contractor or doing a temporary job, your ass is hanging in the breeze.

Re:News? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41841595)

What about job guarantees so you don't get fired while you're on jury duty?

I was under the impression that there was.

But yeah... the fact that a juror gets paid so little can amount to a huge amount of disruption to their lives, and it's quite understandable that people would want to go out of their way to avoid it.... much as they will go out of their way to avoid doing things that they perceive are likely to cause them other types of pain or suffering (it's not that jury duty itself is necessarily painful but it can easily end up putting a person in a significant amount of financial distress).

Re:News? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841699)

Minimum wage would be an excellent place to start. It doesn't send a great message when they set minimum wage laws and then can't be bothered to pay even that for one's oh-so sacred civic duty. I'll leave aside for the moment the fact that in many areas, minimum wage isn't enough to live on.
 
  And yeah, I'm sticking with "they." Let's not kid ourselves; you and I are not in charge, and discussions about the nature of self-government are academic when you're missing your rent payments.

Re:News? (4, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 years ago | (#41841751)

Yes, this is a good point. Should jurors be paid at minimum wage? At average per capita? At their current rate? What about child care? What about job guarantees so you don't get fired while you're on jury duty?

"government...they" - you probably meant "government....we"

Not getting fired is covered. Here's the relevant text from the Kansas courts: "(c) State law should prohibit employers from discharging, laying off, denying advancement opportunities to, or otherwise penalizing employees who miss work because of jury service." Looks like other states have similar policies.

The self-employed are kind of screwed, too, in addition to the people you mentioned, since the law wouldn't protect them from losing business because they had to close up shop.

Hardship isn't considered a reason to be excused form jury duty, but being affected by the hardship can be if the worry you're experiencing would make you unable to fulfill your duty to pay attention and be "fair and impartial".

Actual example from my one day of jury duty:

Brain surgeon asks to be excused. He has patients to operate on.

Judge: Having something else to do is not a reason to be excused.

Doc (in standard-issue neurosurgeon bow tie): I have patients scheduled tomorrow!

Judge: No, that's not a reason to be excused, as long as you can be fair and impartial. Your patients' welfare is not the question here. Can you be fair and impartial?

Doc: I would try my best to be. But my patients are scheduled for surgery.

Judge: Could your worry about your patients impair your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?

Doc: I'd try my best.

Judge: But would the anxiety from being in court and not caring for your patients impair your judgement as a juror?

Doc (finally catching on): Yes . . . I would be worried about my patients the entire time, and it could affect my ability to devote myself to jury duty.

So it doesn't take a brain surgeon to get out of serving, but the judge might need to help a little.

Re:News? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41841447)

Why?
Do you think they should pay you to vote too?

Re:News? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41841629)

Ignoring the fact that yeah, I think that might not be a bad idea.... voting is something that only takes a couple of hours out of one day every few years to do. You don't even have to take a full day off of work to do it.

Jury duty, on the other hand, can be significantly more disruptive, because it can extend for multiple weeks, throughout which a person will forfeit their normal income, and could result in potentially very high levels of financial stress.

Re:News? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41841689)

I am lucky that I continue to draw pay if I get selected for jury duty. Legislating that seems like the simplest fix. Then allow the company to use it as a deduction come tax time. This means the state does not need to pay anyone, and no new government structures are needed.

As far as pay for voting, I think we just need a federal holiday. One that fines any business that stays open, outside of obviously critical things.

Re:News? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41841783)

A mandatory holiday for voting seems excessive, because voting does not take up so much time as to use up an entire day.

Re:News? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#41841967)

I've never actually missed work to vote, and I have voted in every election I could since I turned 18. The rules vary by jurisdiction, but here in Canada, employers need to give you 3 contiguous hours during the time the polls are open in order to vote. The polls open at 8am, and close at 8pm. Just go in to work late (what I usually do, the polls are less busy in the morning), or go in early and leave early.

There's also advance polls, and special ballot (mail-in) that you can vote by, if your work schedule really won't let you vote on voting day.

Re:News? (0)

Kookus (653170) | about 2 years ago | (#41841885)

And that's why you use the excuse that you're the sole provider for a family and can not afford to be on the jury.
The judge then excuses you, and you go back to work.

Re:News? (1)

polebridge (517983) | about 2 years ago | (#41841225)

Yes, it is a civic duty, and one we should be perform diligently by competent people. I've been called up three times in thirty years. My fellow jurors were a mix of too few competent people and others who thought they would be on television and other who just wanted to vote and go home. I was distressed to see how easily some could be led. In one case i swayed the jurors from the initial verdict of Guilty to Not Guilty, and then finally back to Guilty. One person made the decision, the other eleven just nodded and went along with it. Its was frightening. I wonder if we need to train jurors and keep the good ones, but then who gets to decide who's "good"?

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841315)

Only idiots brag about getting out of jury duty.

I've gotten out of jury duty in NY State all three times I've been called, starting in 1984. I run a tiny business that depends on my continuous presence--this falls under the general category of "financial hardship" which is an allowable exemption. I don't brag about it (thus posting AC).

Re:News? (5, Funny)

polebridge (517983) | about 2 years ago | (#41841057)

I guess if you're ever on trial you'll be judged by a jury of your peers.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841125)

I guess if you're ever on trial you'll be judged by a jury of your peers.

See, the system DOES work!

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841807)

I got paid my normal salary by my employer and got 3 days off work to have an interesting view of an interesting trial and be sucked up to by a couple of rich lawyers.

Why the hell would I want to get out of jury duty??? Why would anyone?

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841333)

The last time I was a juror I had to swear under oath that I would not/did not access outside sources of information about the trial at hand.

Yes, but it only becomes perjury if you then did those acts and then swore under oath after the fact that you did not.

Now, one could argue that if you had every intention of breaking that oath when you made it that that would be perjury. I'm not sure how you would even begin to prove that unless they had told someone previously.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840655)

I thought it was "innocent until proven guilty", and in this case they don't have enough evidence to prove guilt.

Re:News? (5, Informative)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41840681)

It is. Nobody's charged him yet.

But are you suggesting that it's illegal to gather evidence by asking a court for a court order to reveal the data of visits recorded to a website?

Evidence-gathering isn't restricted to just what you are freely given. If it was, almost everyone would get away with crimes.

What you're implying is that if I raid a bank, and the court orders the shop across the street to reveal its CCTV records of that day, that's somehow prejudicial to justice?

Re:News? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840677)

The internet means you should be able to commit anonymous speech acts. That's what some of us feel, anyway.

Re:News? (4, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41840709)

It's not about his speech act. It has absolutely nothing to do with what he said or where he said it. However, the act of posting may be evidence that he broke other rules/laws unrelated to speech - anonymous or otherwise.

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#41840761)

And had the site not retained information pertaining to his identity, what would they have done? Nothing.

Re:News? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41841335)

Yeah, and if ponies farted rainbows. The internet is a public space, deal with it.

Re:News? (4, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#41840819)

You can. Set up your own server, hire a few proxies, it's not a huge problem.

Oh...sorry...you meant we should be able to say what we want on somebody else's website and they should never reveal our details...well that's a little different. Tell you what, let's try an experiment, you set up your server and post the details here, then we'll all come along and post what we want, see where that gets you.

Re:News? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41840995)

Not when they are criminal evidence of a crime.

Re:News? (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41840703)

Its news as its a bad precident that could easily be abused if allowed to proceed as it is.

I agree criminals should be dealt with, but not at the cost of another's rights.

Re:News? (4, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | about 2 years ago | (#41840757)

Its news as its a bad precident that could easily be abused if allowed to proceed as it is.

I agree criminals should be dealt with, but not at the cost of another's rights.

The Constitution says you have a right to free speech. Nowhere does it say you have a right to anonymous speech.

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

cvtan (752695) | about 2 years ago | (#41840791)

"Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads: Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society." https://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity [eff.org]

Re:News? (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41840949)

Yes, but that all goes out the window if you are not really anonymous. Wishing you were anonymous and actual being anonymous are two different things. If the paper has the requested information, then he isn't anonymous.

There is no law that says anyone must respect anyone else's wish to be anonymous.

Re:News? (1)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | about 2 years ago | (#41841731)

Yes, but that all goes out the window if you are not really anonymous. Wishing you were anonymous and actual being anonymous are two different things. If the paper has the requested information, then he isn't anonymous.There is no law that says anyone must respect anyone else's wish to be anonymous.

That makes absolutely no sense. If the US Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment protects the right to anonymous speech and this individual was trying to remain anonymous and had reasonable belief that he was, then the government violation of this anonymity would be in conflict with his constitutional rights. Until the government forces the newspaper to provide identifying information, he is in fact anonymous.

Re:News? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 years ago | (#41841831)

What we want to protect is not the speech itself, but your right to choose the contents of your speech, and to make sure that the contents of your speech has no unjustified consequences for you. Anonymous speech helps with that.

In this case, the content of the speech is totally irrelevant. It is suspected that the poster was a juror, who had no legal right at that point in time to read a newspaper, and the fact that he posted _anything_ is evidence. No matter what he posted.

In this case, it would be reasonable to demand that the court is given the name, and if it is not one of the jurors, the information about the name should be destroyed.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841853)

Ahhh but it has become apparent that in recent years our so called " freedom of speech " is quickly degrading into anything but. You may be free to say it, just be prepared for the fallout designed to make your life so miserable, you refrain from exercising said speech in the future.

Case in point:

If you lived in the Bible Belt, you COULD exercise your free speech right and let everyone know you're an athiest. Assuming your home doesn't get burned to the ground, your pets killed and your family harassed until you are forced to move away that is.

In such a case, posting your thoughts anonymously ensures ideas don't get suppressed under majority opinion.

Here's a thought. What if the newspaper caves in to their demands and it turns out the poster ISN'T who they think it is ? Still ok for the courts to demand private info under the guise of " justice " ?

Re:News? (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41841255)

Bad precedent? The rights of judges to issues subpoena is in the constitution. The importance of looking for judicial misconduct is in the bible. I'd say whatever precedents exist have been in place quite a while.

Re:News? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840871)

If it's an existing invention, but "on the Internet", Slashdotters will get indignant and insist there's no difference. If it's a legal proceeding, but "on the Internet", they'll throw down the gauntlet and shout "injustice".

And it's not just because they realize that the legal system is itself injust, with violent retribution having gone out with the Old Testament, and can only see it clearly through the lens of technology.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841213)

I don't see the problem here either. I'm not sure why that comment made them think it was a juror, but I don't know what the comment was in reply to, either. It seems perfectly reasonable to investigate this and I don't see how it could imperil the right to anonymous speech online.

Re:News? (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | about 2 years ago | (#41841393)

I don't get why anyone would divulge their full address just to comment on a website. I checked out the site, and they do ask for a handle, password, email address, real name, address, and phone number. I'd never fill that stuff out to post a comment on a news story - the danger of data breaches makes me minimize such disclosures.

Re:News? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 years ago | (#41841455)

I think there's a step zero:

-Commenter suspected of being juror.

- Juror suspected of perjury. - Court issues order to place that published posts which have a reasonable chance of providing evidence of said perjury, to provide the bare minimum of information to identify the poster. - If it's not him, end of case. - If it is him, file for mistrial, pursue conviction against him.

Why is this news?

I think it's news because it might not be him. If so, they still got the ID of someone who made an anonymous comment. Couldn't you often find something like "he could have been a juror" or similar to unmask anonymous commenters whose actions wouldn't have otherwise been illegal, just inconvenient to the authorities, for example?

so I see no comments in sight (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840629)

POST FIRST COMMENT!

Re:so I see no comments in sight (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840683)

POST SECOND COMMENT!

mod me up so I have a score of 0.

Seems reasonable (4, Insightful)

Maow (620678) | about 2 years ago | (#41840631)

I don't really have a problem if they're investigating whether a juror made the posting.

Assuming that, if the poster was not a juror, they will retain their anonymity.

The "release the name" isn't "print it in the newspaper", it's released to the court, which won't release it further... will it?

Re:Seems reasonable (4, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#41840793)

The request is reasonable, but the only reasonable response is: "We're sorry your honour, but we do not require contributors to register under their real name, and we do not record IP addresses of visitors". For sites that respect the privacy of visitors, the best way to ensure that you never have to reveal the identity of your members is to make sure that you don't have that information on file in the first place.

Of course in Europe, all this info is logged by the ISP's anyway, by law.

Re:Seems reasonable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840823)

If you don't record IP addresses of visitors, how do you ban people who make abusive comments?

[I know, I know, this is the comments section on a news site, so in all likelihood they just let abusive comments fester there on the page, but let's hypothetically assume they're competent.]

Re:Seems reasonable (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840921)

If you don't record IP addresses of visitors, how do you ban people who make abusive comments?

You record a cryptographic hash of the IP address. You don't ban by IP, but by this hash.

Re:Seems reasonable (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#41841053)

Assuming a normal hash function with IPv4 it would be trivial to run every IPv4 address through the hash function until you found the one(s) that matched.

With IPv6 if you hashed the whole address it would become impractical to do that. However banning by the complete IPv6 address is likely to result in a pretty ineffective ban. If you only include the part that is likely specific to a customer (as apposed to amachine within a customers lan) then it's probablly feasible to brute force it (especially if you have a list of what IPv6 blocks are actually allocated to ISPs)

If you used a deliberately slow hash function then maybe it would work better but how many sites really do that?

Re:Seems reasonable (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41841277)

You probably ban by the first /64 of the IPv6 address which is effective and incidentally is also too big (current technology) to use the brute force run through the hash algorithm. A nice lucky midpoint we are in right now.

Re:Seems reasonable (1)

zill (1690130) | about 2 years ago | (#41841489)

Getting back to the great-GP: " "We're sorry your honour, but we do not require contributors to register under their real name, and we do not record IP addresses of all visitors. We only record a cryptographic hash of the IP address of people who have been banned.".

It doesn't solve the problem, but at least it minimizes it. Only people who have been banned will lose their anonymity. Assume, for example, that only 1% of visitors are banned, then the problem is now two orders of magnitude smaller.

Re:Seems reasonable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841713)

Assuming a normal hash function with IPv4 it would be trivial to run every IPv4 address through the hash function until you found the one(s) that matched.

To clarify this point, there are only 2^32 (~4 billion) possible IPv4 addresses. And if you wanted to try to speed things up, the majority of them can be safely ruled out of your search. But even if you wanted to calculate the SHA-512 hash for every possible address, it would only take 5 seconds on a 5 year old CPU. The current generation could probably do it in under a second.

There's no way to compensate in this situation. You're basically trying to protect a password that is already in a dictionary.

You can add more rounds (repeatedly hashing the hash), but that just adds a linear multiplier and would put a ridiculously heavy load on the server. Adding a large number of rounds only makes sense when the event is rare enough to be computationally negligible, a short delay is acceptable, and the possible range of inputs is very large, such as a login password on a personal computer.

You could also salt the hash by appending a timestamp or a password to the IP address before hashing. That would force you to recalculate all those hashes everytime you wanted an IP address. But if the salt wasn't known, the court could simply demand that information as well. In this case, that's more of a deterrent against widespread datamining than protection from targeted, legally enforced cracking.

The only winning move is to not log the IP in the first place.

Re:Seems reasonable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840923)

The request is reasonable, but the only reasonable response is: "We're sorry your honour, but we do not require contributors to register under their real name, and we do not record IP addresses of visitors". For sites that respect the privacy of visitors, the best way to ensure that you never have to reveal the identity of your members is to make sure that you don't have that information on file in the first place.

Of course in Europe, all this info is logged by the ISP's anyway, by law.

Of course in Europe that law can easily be circumvented with proxies or VPN.

Of course the court will release his name (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841037)

It's really George Zimmerman, who committed the unconscionable politically incorrect crime of daring-to-defend-himself-while-white-and-getting-his-head-slammed-on-concrete.

Re:Of course the court will release his name (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841295)

who committed the unconscionable politically incorrect crime of daring-to-defend-himself-from-someone-who-he-was-stalking-and-who-fought-back-instead-of-running.

FTFY.

BTW, that's Zimmerman's defense. That he stalked someone, and that the person he was stalking had the nerve to fight back.

But I can see why you'd defend him, his victim was black after all, and who cares about their rights?

Re:Of course the court will release his name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841675)

A suspicion that you are being followed does not legally justify violently assaulting your alleged pursuer.

Sincerely,
A Lawyer

Re:Seems reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841481)

It would seem more reasonable to have the court provide the newspaper with the names of the jurors and then ask the newspaper to pick one of the following 3 choices:

1. Yes, the commenter was a juror. (The newspaper doesn't even have to identify which juror. If they provide this statement under oath, it should be enough to get a new trial.)
2. No, the commenter is not a match with any of the jurors.
3. We don't have enough information to reliably answer with either #1 or #2 above.

Grasping at straws... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840635)

Clearly they done be trying to up make stuff, blaming the juror fo something whitey surely done did.

Re:Grasping at straws... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840777)

He done did it he did!

Dangrous precident (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41840651)

What should happen at the most is that the name is given to the newspaper, and they verify if its them or not. I dont think they should just give out the name of some random person exersizing their rights.

Re:Dangrous precident (2)

Zocalo (252965) | about 2 years ago | (#41840729)

What precedent? The newspaper is under no obligation to hand over whatever information that it has without a court order, including a simple "Yes/No" answer to an unofficial query from the judge about whether the poster was a member of the jury as a first step in a formal request for the information. A court order makes it official, legally binding, and covers the newspaper from any issues about revealling sources and such like. As long as the information goes straight into the judge's shredder should it turn out that the poster wasn't a member of the jury, then no harm and most definitely no foul.

Re:Dangrous precident (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#41840743)

...so the alternative to giving a public speaker's name to the government is that a juror's name is released to a newspaper?

Now that's a dangerous precedent...

Re:Dangrous precident (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41840747)

If you remove the Internet from the equation, how does it look?

A credit card was used at Location X and the card is suspected to belong to John Doe, who is not lawfully allowed at Location X. The police request enough information to determine whether the card belonged to John Doe or not. If the card does not belong to John Doe, the matter will be dropped. If it does belong to John Doe, then the matter will be pursued as a violation of John Doe being at Location X unlawfully, but the credit charge itself is perfectly legal and will not be held against John Doe other than as evidence of being at Location X.

Re:Dangrous precident (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41841293)

What should happen at the most is that the name is given to the newspaper, and they verify if its them or not.

Newspapers aren't empowered to conduct official investigations. They are empowered to conduct unofficial ones in the public interest.

Slippery slope (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41840679)

I'll assume and hope that the paper does not have the person's real name. This can only lead to fishing expeditions on other issues where the authorities will demand that people identify themselves. These kinds of demands must be resisted, or there will be to pay down the line.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41840685)

Shit!

...there will be hell to pay down the line.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

Spottywot (1910658) | about 2 years ago | (#41841167)

I'll assume and hope that the paper does not have the person's real name. This can only lead to fishing expeditions on other issues where the authorities will demand that people identify themselves. These kinds of demands must be resisted, or there will be to pay down the line.

I know where you're coming from but I think you're overreacting. Yes we all have a certain amount of 'expectation of anonymity' online, but in the circumstance where you are either breaking the law online, or demonstrating that you have broken the law, why would you expect the establishment to respect your desired anonymity?

If you genuinely desire anonymity online:

1. Use Tor or something similar to obfuscate your IP address.

2. Don't use an account that is attached to any personally identifiable information whatsoever.

3. Er, that's it......

What? (2)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | about 2 years ago | (#41840763)

How does anybody read that gibberish and come to the conclusion that the commentor is a juror? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense?

Re:What? (1)

halfkoreanamerican (2566687) | about 2 years ago | (#41840795)

Maybe Chewbacca is accusing the major record company of stealing his beat?

Re:What? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41841039)

There's some context that was not printed.

Re:What? (1)

Spottywot (1910658) | about 2 years ago | (#41841275)

There's some context that was not printed.

Yes, I couldn't make any sense out of his post either and I assumed there must be some additional context not in the article. Maybe the juror in question always talks in idiotic gibberish?

Not 4 Aces (2)

halfkoreanamerican (2566687) | about 2 years ago | (#41840765)

They don't need the name of the person, they need to know that it is NOT ______________. You shouldn't reveal all the cards, but rather reveal that it is not 4 aces.

Both sides want a new trial? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#41840815)

Both defense and prosecution lawyers appear to want a new trial,

Can someone clued into the legal situation here fill me in on why they can't just get a new trial if both sides wants one?

Re:Both sides want a new trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840889)

He was found innocent of 10 of the 11 charges.

For the defense, that's 1 too many. For the prosecution, that's 10 too few. I'm sure there's more to it, but...

Re:Both sides want a new trial? (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41841145)

Nowhere does it say that. It says they were not able to find him guilty. It has to be unanimous to either find innocent or guilty, and it wasn't.

Re:Both sides want a new trial? (1)

maroberts (15852) | about 2 years ago | (#41840943)

Prosecution and defense probably want a new trial on different issues. The defense probably want a new trial for the one issue where he was found guilty, the prosecution for all the charges where a verdict was not reached

Re:Both sides want a new trial? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 2 years ago | (#41840985)

Can someone clued into the legal situation here fill me in on why they can't just get a new trial if both sides wants one?

They both want a new trial, but they don't want the same new trial. The defense wants to retry only the one guilty verdict. The state, of course, wants the XOR of that. Or at least a do-over.

I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840837)

What about that particular post made the court "convinced" it was a juror?

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840855)

During a trial the judge can declare a mistrial or take action against the juror for violating the rules, but if the defendant was found innocent of those 10 charges, then it's too late to change, as that would be double jeopardy.

Re:Nope (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41840971)

It doesn't say they found him innocent, it says they were unable to find him guilty. In other words, a hung jury.

Fred Phelps' son Jonathan is the atty (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841227)

Did anyone notice Jonathan B. Phelps is the attorney in the case? Phelps Chartered had a web site (http://www.phelpschartered.com/) but it is offline at the moment.

Grasping at straws (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 2 years ago | (#41841517)

So this guy supposedly accessed a story WHILE the jury was in deliberations? One would think, that were this person on the Jury, one of the other jurors would have witnessed this?

Nothing about the comment even hints that a juror or someone with knwoledge of the specific case said it. This seems like grasping at straws to me.

Easier solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841577)

Give the judge the first name and last octet of the user's IP address. If any of those match, then turn over the other octets (one at a time) and if they all match, give them the name and address of that one person.

Juries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841723)

So do we think the jury is a good idea or not? Do we believe in the wisdom of our peers or not? Why must the jurors be sequestered?

Or should we sequester congressmen as well? Maybe we should sequester the president so he doesn't base his decisions on uncontrolled influence.

Personally, I would dispense with the juries and use professional, nominated judges instead. I would never trust my case on a jury.

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