Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
The on-line, public comment site used by the Lowell Sun, Topix, has been ordered by a Texas judge to ‘[identify] details about 178 anonymous commenters on the site.” A Dallas couple filed a law suit asking the site to give them details about anonymous commentators so that they can be identified. The site itself was not sued.
According to Computerworld, “Topix CEO Chris Tolles said that his company had received the subpoena and was currently figuring out what exactly it needed to do. Tolles said in an e-mail. ‘We prefer to make sure requests are clear and specific and not overly broad.’
“Tolles said that Topix takes privacy issues very seriously and that his firm would not ‘simply hand over all of our records’ without a review of the demand by its lawyers and a discussion of the issue with the court.”
Although in the past courts have protected the right to post comments anonymously, they have allowed lawsuits forcing web site to help identify the commentators.
This lawsuit will be watched closely not only in the blogsphere but also by first amendment advocates.
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