Existing Citations

  • anonymous : The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one's privacy as possible. . . . ¶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 -- and their ideas from suppression -- at the hand of an intolerant society." — [Citing McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, 514 U.S. 334 (1995)]. (†593)
  • anonymous : A majority of Internet users feel that the medium's most valuable asset is anonymity - the ability to conceal one's identity while communicating. Users are able to post to message boards, converse in chatrooms, and visit informational sites while keeping their names and addresses private. This anonymity allows the persecuted, the underserved, and the simply embarrassed to seek information -- and disseminate it -- while maintaining their privacy and reputations in both cyberspace and the material world. ¶ Similarly, there are strong incentives for whistle-blowers to remain anonymous. For example, individuals seeking to publicize atrocities in war-torn Kosovo recently had their identities protected by an online "concealer." ¶In the past year, as the popularity of online message boards has continued to increase, the veil of anonymity increasingly has come under attack. Corporations, seeking to identify those who have voiced critical opinions about the firms' business practices, have initiated a wave of "John Doe" lawsuits seeking the identities of anonymous Internet posters. (†594)
  • anonymous : Section 2703(c) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) permits ISPs to disclose information on their subscribers to all non-governmental entities. While the section requires governmental entities to present subpoenas or court orders for such information, it allows ISPs to disclose subscriber information to private individuals or entities without legal authorization. This absence of protection came to the forefront in late 1997 when a Naval investigator phoned America Online, failed to identify himself as an agent of a governmental entity, and obtained the identity of an AOL user who described himself as "gay" in his one of his several AOL profiles. While AOL violated its own privacy policy by disclosing the subscriber's identity (and later settling with the subscriber), it was not clear whether there was any violation of the law. In its decision in McVeigh v. Cohen, the federal court in Washington suggested that ECPA may have been violated and ordered the Navy to discontinue its discharge proceeding against the sailor. The episode suggests that an amendment to ECPA requiring legal process for disclosure of user information to anyone is long overdue. (†595)