Thursday, June 18, 2009

To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

A blow for Blogger's privacy.

ANONYMOUS bloggers — from public service whistleblowers to incendiary political commentators — will no longer be able to operate from the anonymity of cyberspace under a landmark ruling handed down by the British High Court. The case, brought before the court by The Times newspaper, sets a precedent in the wake of an attempt by a British police officer, who wrote a highly successful "insider" blog called NightJack, to try to keep his identity secret when a newspaper reporter guessed who he was.

The detective constable, Richard Horton, works with the Lancashire force and had used inside information on controversial cases, including genuine prosecutions, to comment on policing tactics and the application of the law. His writings urged readers not only to mistrust politicians and the legal system but also police officers.He was awarded the prestigious Orwell Prize for political writing as his blog, which was attracting an estimated 500,000 readers a week, sparked public debate about cases, although he changed names and details to protect victims and officers.
But according to the High Court, blogging is essentially "a public activity" and the police officer could not have a "reasonable expectation" to anonymity as it is not a private activity. The judge, Mr Justice Eady, added that even if the officer could have claimed he had a right to anonymity, he would still have ruled against him on grounds of public interest.

Continue reading here.

This is bad news for those who wish to anonymously publish the truth about corruption within the Government or Corporate sector. I totally disagree with the lawmakers decision, the public has a right to freedom of expression as well as expose the lies of those in authority. Although, the following case I totally support the right for the Government to determine the bloggers true identity.

A Missouri mom was indicted for her alleged role in the death of a teen who killed herself over a failed Internet romance that turned out to be a hoax. federal indictment accuses Lori Drew, 49, of O'Fallon, Missouri, of using the social networking Web site to pose as a 16-year-old boy and feign romantic interest in the girl. The girl, Megan Meier, committed suicide after her online love interest spurned her, according to prosecutors, telling her the world would be a better place without her. Drew faces up to 20 years in prison on charges of conspiracy and accessing protected computers to obtain information to inflict emotional distress.
The indictment, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accuses Drew and others of registering on MySpace as "Josh Evans" and using the account to lure Meier into an an online romance.

Continue reading here

What is the difference between these two cases? I'm not a lawyer, but the intent of the two cases is completely different. (Intent is important for determining the difference between manslaughter which is an accident, to murder which was intended). In the first case, the blogger is trying to fight corruption and educate the general public. His intent is educational, while the second case is clearly for viscous purposes.

Bloggers have a right to anonymity until their blogs or writings are for harmful intent. The problem of course is where to draw the line on "harmful intent" and drawing a line between comments on a blog (including hate speech) and the right to offend people, and a crusade to cause grievous emotional harm to an individual, also known as cyber bullying and cyberstalking.

I totally support the rights of free speech to include hate speech and the right to offend others. However, I draw a line at cyber bullying and cyber stalking. Thank fully, I am no longer being cyber stalked. For anyone who is suffering from cyber stalking, here are a few useful links.

Have you been cyber stalked? Or know of someone who has? Drop us an email or leave a comment.


American New Right said...

Since "hate" is subjective, "hate speech laws" and "free speech" are mutually exclusive. "There is no such thing as part freedom", to quote Manedla (who I disagree with on a number of issues, but that's beside the point).

Just thought I'd let you know how much we at ANR appreciate your willingess to continue to work with New Right despite being under constant attack from the misinformed. The problem with many conventional anarchists is that they support free association only as long as they like the thought process you're using to choose your associates. When anarchists tell others who they may or may not include in their "association", it ceases to be "free". Hopefully, with the help of anarchists like yourself, conventional anarchism will understand this and embrace decentralism and localism.


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