Idaho judge: newspaper must disclose info on anonymous commenter

by Walter Olson on July 12, 2012

“The [Spokane, Wash.] Spokesman-Review must provide information that could identify an anonymous reader who typed a disparaging online comment about the chairwoman of the Kootenai County Republican Party in February, an Idaho judge ruled Tuesday.” [Spokesman-Review] More: Citizen Media Law.

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theCL Report: Slipping the Noose
07.14.12 at 8:38 am


1 David Schwartz 07.12.12 at 1:01 am

It’s worth pointing out that it wasn’t the blouse comment (an obvious crude joke) wasn’t what the judge relied on in ordering the anonymity pierced. The post arguably did contain genuinely defamatory comments. I would advise people to read the ruling before forming an opinion.

2 Anon Blawger 07.12.12 at 10:33 am

Anyone who leaves comments on a website without doing so through a secure proxy server is a fool. The legal climate in the US is bad, but it is worse elsewhere. Walter just logged my IP address as coming from The Netherlands but in reality I am thousands of miles from there. My message, in fact was routed through a network of hundreds of servers in “packets” and reassembled in the last server.
So, I just may leave some nasty comments on various websites about the Koontenai COunty Republican Chairwoman and let her expend legal resources for court proceedings to find the unfindable.

3 Hugo S. Cunningham 07.12.12 at 11:33 am

@David Schwartz–
Thanks for the clarification. The report gave the impression that the blouse joke was at issue, but the original opinion says the post at issue included specific, believable accusations. The report should have made that clear.

In general I oppose anonymity breaches except in States with sturdy anti-SLAPP laws.

4 gitarcarver 07.14.12 at 12:07 pm

Would it be outside the realm of believability to say the Standard-Register deliberately made the contents of the comments to be less than clear in the report as they are trying to gather public support for their position?

A media group wouldn’t do that, would they?

(How do I turn sarcasm off?)

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