Tag Archives: First Amendment

Do We Have a Right to Online Anonymity? Depends On Which Judge You Ask

The Edward Snowden leaks have forced Americans to question whether the government monitors their online activities.  But intelligence-gathering is not the only government threat to Internet privacy: plaintiffs in defamation cases are using court subpoenas to attempt to unmask Internet users’ identities. In some seedy corners of the Internet, commenters use the veil of anonymity … Continue Reading

Journalists Nationwide Face Surge of Subpoenas in Federal and State Courts

Reporters nationwide have faced a flurry of subpoenas in recent months, calling into question whether journalists can guarantee confidentiality to sources.  The repeated attempts to force journalists to reveal their confidential sources and other information about their newsgathering demonstrate the need for strong reporter “shield laws” on both the federal and state level. Among some … Continue Reading

Michigan Court Rejects First Amendment Balancing Test for Online Anonymous Speech

A Michigan appellate court ruled last week that state discovery rules provide adequate safeguards for anonymous online speech.  The opinion is a significant deviation from the rulings of other state courts, which have applied a First Amendment balancing test to determine whether to grant discovery requests for the identities of anonymous online speakers. Thomas M. … Continue Reading

9th Circuit Will Rehear Challenge to Law Barring Public Broadcasters from Airing Paid Political Ads

A federal appeals court will rehear a case in which a split three-judge panel ruled it was unconstitutional to prohibit non-commercial broadcast stations from selling political advertisements. A federal statute, 47 U.S.C. § 399b, generally prohibits public broadcasters from airing “advertisements,” which the statute defines to include paid messages that (1) promote a for-profit entity’s … Continue Reading
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