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John Doe Anonymity
Meet John Doe: Internet lawsuits causing ISP's to hand over identies
Partial excerpt follows:
The ability of Internet service providers (ISPs) to unmask anonymous subscribers and users has proven to be a weakness in the protection of freedom of expression on the Internet. Companies angry about comments criticizing them on public message boards, for example, have found that they can simply file a civil lawsuit with vague, unsupported claims, then issue a subpoena to the discussion's host ISP demanding the identity of the speaker. These subpoenas have effectively shut off discussion in many public forums. ISPs have recently begun to notify their subscribers when they receive these subpoenas, giving them at least a limited opportunity to object. Yet still, many subscribers do not respond in time and their identities are turned over with no analysis of whether their speech actually caused any harm.
Do you post to a public message boards or discussion areas on websites such as Yahoo, AOL or Raging Bull? Do you use a pseudonym, fake name or a "handle"? Has someone asked the host of the discussio...
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