Blogs, anonyymity, and "free speech"

From: Modemac <>
Newsgroups: alt.slack
Date: Mon, Nov 3, 2003 7:54 AM

I use the term "free speech" in quotes because a lot of people assume
that free speech is an inalienable right on the Internet.
Unfortunately, recent events have done a lot to prove that it's
anything but guaranteed.

From: (Fredric L. Rice)
Subject: Google and free speech again
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003 01:07:26 GMT
Message-ID: <>

Pseudonymous blogging under subpoena threat

By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco

Many webloggers like to post pseudonymously, but a legal threat on one
of the most popular raises the question - for how much longer?

The impish Atrios, a pseudonymous and widely read Democratic weblogger
has been threatened with a subpoena by right-wing columnist Donald

Luskin is obsessed by the Princeton economist and New York Times
columnist Paul Krugman. On the "media infiltrations" page of his
website, Luskin lists over 50 articles about Krugman in the past six
months and a solicitation, "Krugman Truth Squad T-Shirts - Get One
Now." One column headline boasts "We Stalked. He Balked - the Truth
Squad is getting to Mr Krugman".

But when Atrios captioned a (characteristically terse) post about
Luskin with the phrase "Diary of a Stalker", the columnist reached for
his lawyer. Luskin objected to the caption and what he characterised
as libelous comments made by posters to Atrios' Demosthenes weblog.

Chillingly, the email threatens: "Determining your identity for the
purpose of making service of process can be easily accomplished
through a subpoena to"

If Luskin serves his subpoena, as promised, within 72 hours, can
Blogspot be trusted to keep Atrios' true identity private? is the weblog hosting service acquired by advertising
franchise Google Inc. when it bought Google saw an
opportunity to kick start its budget classified ad service Adwords,
using thousands of weblogs as billboards. It was a brilliant business
move, right out of the vertical integration textbook, for Google's
algorithms place weblogs very highly. Google has struggled to maintain
the integrity of its search results ever since, with recent kludges
blocking millions of results.

Although Blogspot doesn't ask for a user's identity, it would be
instrumental in helping Luskin track down Atrios' real name. Once
again, this is a test for how much we trust Google Inc. It certainly
offers the burgeoning ad behemoth a chance to restore its tarnished
reputation with webloggers.

And it proves, as if we didn't already know, that intimidation is a
key weapon in the political discourse here today.

Yes, George W. Bush is an unelected baby killing fascist dictator.
Also: Scientology's International President (Audio files of this
nutter available at )

First Online Church of "Bob"

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