Geek Feminism Wiki

Re "Legal Protections", how much do we want to put here, rather than referring to outside analyses? We certainly wouldn't want to list the status of anonymity in every jurisdiction in the world, I think? Thayvian 06:59, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Legal protections

I've removed this content from the page. It's interesting, but it also seems to be outside our scope to encyclopaedically document legal information at this level of detail. Thayvian 08:44, October 6, 2009 (UTC)

The right to speak anonymously is protected, in the United States, by the First Amendment. Legal free speech may be published anonymously, and the government has no call to demand the identity of the author(s) without due cause (i.e. illegal speech). However, that anonymity is not itself protected. It is also generally legal to expose the identity of anonymous speakers, as long as the means to do so are legal.
The First Amendment restricts the ability of the government and civil litigants to obtain the identity of anonymous speakers. In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (1995), [1] the Supreme Court of Ohio overturned a state law banning the distribution of anonymous election pamphlets, concluding that the decision to remain anonymous is protected by the First Amendment. The Court further commented that "anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority." In history, the Federalist Papers were written anonymously under the name "Publius," a pseudonym for Madison, Hamilton, and. Anti-federalists responded with pseudonymous articles attributed to “Cato” and “Brutus."
Other decisions have upheld this for the online world. [2] [3] Tennessee Judge Richard Baumgartner commented in an April 2009 ruling that Internet anonymity facilitates the rich, diverse, and far ranging exchange of ideas. The “ability to speak one’s mind” on the Internet “without the burden of the other party knowing all the facts about one’s identity can foster open communication and robust debate.” [4]
Other jurisdictions and cultures are not as protective of anonymous speech. The Brazilian Constitution[5] states "é livre a manifestação do pensamento, sendo vedado o anonimato" -- "the expression of thought is free, anonymity being forbidden". In June 2009, a British high court denied a motion by police blogger NightJack to prevent newspaper The Times from exposing his identity, which would put his job in peril.