Important Notice: Fiddler's Creek Foundation Seeks to Unmask Certain Anonymous Bloggers to this Site
I have previously advised you that Fiddler's Creek Foundation served Google with a subpoena requesting the identity of certain anonymous posters to this site. In its efforts to unmask several of you who have blogged anonymously, the Foundation requested Google to provide, "Any documents and records that provide any personal identifying information of the "Anonymous" authors or posters of the comments attached hereto as Exhibits "1","2", "3" and "4" that were posted on or submitted to, the Blog Site serviced by Google.com or Blogger.com on the dates and times listed, including the following information without limitation, the "Anonymous" authors' or posters' first and last name, address, phone number, and email address, Internet Protocol Address ("IP Address"), and IP logs."
Although I attempted to protect the identity of anonymous bloggers in accordance with First Amendment law, the magistrate considering this issue has ruled that I do not have standing to assert to First Amendment rights on behalf of anonymous bloggers as to the Google subpoena. In addition, the Foundation is currently seeking to discover the identity of anonymous bloggers from the electronically stored information (ESI) which may be found on the computers and servers I have used to receive your emails over the years.
Again, if you are interested in taking any legal action to protect your anonymity, you or your counsel should immediately contact attorney Jim Bonaquist at 239-774-2229, email@example.com. As part of your legal consultation with Mr. Bonaquist, he will be able to share with you the specific articles and comments of which the Foundation is seeking the identity of the anonymous authors.
Important info here - extract below
Important info here - extract below
It is well-settled that the First Amendment shelters the right to speak anonymously. See Buckley v. Am. Constitutional Law Foundation, 525 U.S. 182, 200 (1999) (invalidating, on First Amendment grounds, state statute requiring initiative petitioners to wear identification badges); Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60, 65 (1960) (holding anonymity protected under the First Amendment because forced “identification and fear of reprisal might deter perfectly peaceful discussions of public matters of importance”). These cases celebrate the important role played by anonymous or pseudonymous writings through history, from the literary efforts of Shakespeare and Mark Twain through the explicitly political advocacy of the Federalist Papers.
As the Supreme Court has held, “Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority,” that “exemplifies the purpose” of the First Amendment: “to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation...at the hand of an intolerant society.” McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U.S. 334, 357 (1995) (holding that an “author’s decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment”).
Therefore, courts must “be vigilant... [and] guard against undue hindrances to political conversations and the exchange of ideas.” Buckley, 525 U.S. at 192. This vigilant review “must be undertaken and analyzed on a case-by-case basis,” where the court’s “guiding principle is a result based on a meaningful analysis and a proper balancing of the equities and rights at issue.” Dendrite Int’l, Inc. v. Doe No. 3, 775 A.2d 756, 760-761 (N.J. App. Div. 2001). Moreover, that review must take place whether the speech in question takes the form of political pamphlets or Internet postings. Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 870 (1997) (there is “no basis for qualifying the level of First Amendment protection that should be applied to” the Internet). READ MORE