News, Developments, and Insights

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Unmasking a Judge’s Anonymity: Saffold v. Plain Dealer Publishing Co.


In a very interesting case, Saffold v. Plain Dealer Publishing Co., a state court judge (Shirley Strickland Saffold) is suing the Cleveland Plan Dealer for stating that comments posted on the newspaper’s website under the screen name “lawmiss” originated from a computer used by the judge and/or her daughter.  Some of these comments related to cases before Judge Saffold.

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CCR Symposium: Anonymity and Traceability


In an interesting and thoughtful critique of Danielle Citron’s Cyber Civil Rights, Michael Froomkin argues that Danielle’s proposal to require ISPs to maintain records of IP addresses will spell “the complete elimination of anonymity on the US portion of the Internet in order to root out hateful speech.” Anonymous speech should be strongly protected, as it is key to allowing people to express themselves candidly and openly, without fear of reprisal. It is especially important to promote dissenting views that are outside the mainstream of conventional thought. But the key issue with anonymity online is: How much do we want to protect it? Anonymous speech can lead to harmful defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as criminal conduct, such as the spread of child porn. Is there a way to protect anonymity yet not let it get too out of hand?

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Should People’s Political Donations Be Public?

Privacy of Political Donations

Pursuant to the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), people’s campaign contributions must be accessible to the public. I’ve long found this to be problematic when applied to the campaign contributions of individuals. Certainly, information must be reported to the government to ensure that campaign contribution limits aren’t exceeded. But I don’t know why it is the public’s business to know what candidates I’ve given money to and how much. Go to Moneyline CQ or Fundrace2008 or and you can search for the campaign contributions of anyone. You can learn a person’s address, occupation, and the amounts he/she contributed and to whom.

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Juicy Campus: The Latest Breed of Gossip Website

Juicy Campus

There’s a new breed of gossip website, coming to a campus near you. The site is called Juicy Campus, and it involves students posting gossip about each other at particular college campuses.

As Jessica Bennett writes at Newsweek:

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A Federal Journalist Shield Law

Journalist Shield Law

A bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Free Flow of Information Act, endeavors to create a federal privilege for journalists — a shield from being forced to identify anonymous sources. According to a Washington Post editorial in support of the bill:
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