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A California judge reversed decision allowing anonymous persons on net to remain anonymous

A California judge in the Sixth Appellate District in Santa Clara County last week ruled that anonymous trolls on the Internet are allowed to stay anonymous.  Along with remaining anonymous, Internet trolls are able to say what they like, by exercising their First Amendment rights, no matter how belittling is it.

 According to Reuters, the appeals court reversed a decision from 2006 that would have subpoenaed ten anonymous posters on Yahoo’s message board by the COO of a drug service company, Lisa Krinsky.

The 2006 court case held that ten anonymous message board posters left quite a few harsh comments on the Internet regarding Krinsky, her company, and two officers at her company. One comment referred to Krinsky saying, "I will reciprocate felatoin [sic] with Lisa even though she has fat thighs, a fake medical degree, 'queefs' and has poor feminine hygiene."

Doe 6, a tag given to the anonymous posters, days later moved in superior court to quash the subpoena.  The defendant claims that Krinsky had “failed to state a claim sufficient to overcome his First Amendment rights for either defamation or interference with a contractual or business relationship” and that her “request for injunctive relief was an invalid prior restraint”.

In 2006, the superior court proposed that the statements made by Doe 6 had the intent of driving down the price of Krinsky’s company to manipulate the stock price.  The court, even with the claim and information, decided that Doe 6 was protected under their First Amendment rights.  Due to the context of the statements, they are not actionable under Florida’s defamation laws.

The controversy over Internet anonymity will continue to be fueled by contexts of libel and First Amendment rights but will, at least, allow the contexts of these actions to be narrowed down.

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By Hoser McMoose on 2/12/2008 4:12:28 PM , Rating: 5
Anonymous is pleased by this decision.

RE: Anonymity
By Xerio on 2/12/2008 4:49:04 PM , Rating: 5
Anonymous approves this message.
We are legion.
We are anonymous.

RE: Anonymity
By walk2k on 2/12/2008 6:15:44 PM , Rating: 5
That's what the internet is for. Slandering others anonymously.

RE: Anonymity
By retrospooty on 2/12/2008 6:27:53 PM , Rating: 5
that and porn, of course... =)

RE: Anonymity
By Samus on 2/13/2008 3:56:19 AM , Rating: 2
Porn exposes people, anonymously ;)

RE: Anonymity
By Polynikes on 2/12/2008 8:31:21 PM , Rating: 5
"I will reciprocate felatoin [sic] with Lisa even though she has fat thighs, a fake medical degree, 'queefs' and has poor feminine hygiene."

Am I the only one who found that funny? :)

Yeah, I figured.

RE: Anonymity
By walk2k on 2/12/2008 9:37:39 PM , Rating: 3
I'd be interested to know how he plans to "reciprocate" fellatio with a woman.

Actually, no I wouldn't.

RE: Anonymity
By peterb123 on 2/13/2008 1:16:40 AM , Rating: 2
Especially when, if she is a woman, she would have no object to fellate.

RE: Anonymity
By anonymo on 2/13/2008 7:07:35 AM , Rating: 4
[Admiral Akbar] It's a trap! [/Akbar]

RE: Anonymity
By KamiXkaze on 2/12/2008 9:27:42 PM , Rating: 2
ditto here


Bad picture...
By SaltBoy on 2/12/2008 5:08:29 PM , Rating: 5
Shrek's an OGRE, not a troll! :)

RE: Bad picture...
By Master Kenobi on 2/12/2008 5:38:29 PM , Rating: 5
Yea, replace it with a picture of Jack Thompson will ya!

RE: Bad picture...
By Spyvie on 2/12/2008 6:27:26 PM , Rating: 5
Or a pic of Moe when he ran under the bridge

By Oregonian2 on 2/12/2008 5:26:26 PM , Rating: 5
I think this (and comments) are making a mountain out of a molehill. I also surprisingly agree with the ruling although I recognize some fuzzy edges that are troubling.

An anonymous comment is worth the credibility of the person posting it. It's worth the authority and reputation of the person doing the posting.

In other words, an anonymous poster's posting is worth pretty much nothing other than the strength of argument within the posting itself. Assertions without backing of argument or personal authority are worth nothing. However there seem to be those that take anonymous banter for more than it's worth, and I think that a problem with those postings (the fuzzy edge).

Even this posting of mine is only worth as much as the opinion people have of me from my other postings (or my arguments within), I'm essentially anonymous like most all postings here (even if we're only semi-anonymous since some know who "we" are, most have no idea who I am -- I may even live in Arkansas for all one knows).

That said, what I'm writing here really isn't my free speech. It's DailyTECH's free speech. This is their publication, not mine -- which also is why they could delete my posting if they see fit. And may have been the right thing to do in the anonymous postings done in the court case.

RE: Molehills
By uhgotnegum on 2/12/2008 5:49:47 PM , Rating: 2
I would still argue that your post is your free speech, not DailyTech's. The Comments section is there specifically to differentiate between what DailyTech claims as theirs and what we the readers claim as ours. I doubt any reasonable person would consider a comment to be DailyTech's, unless it's a post by one of those guys with nifty DailyTech logos next to their names.

I agree that DailyTech moderates the comments section and provides that space for us to post, but I have a feeling (i.e., I'm assuming) that they would find it hypocritical to censor anyone without having an overwhelmingly good reason. Plus, DailyTech specifically disclaims responsibility for the comments of its readers, which leaves you with your speech still....So, congratulations!

RE: Molehills
By just4U on 2/12/2008 7:51:49 PM , Rating: 4
DailyTech is one thing, but there are other forums out there as well that are heavily moderated for content. I've seen Trolls say it's their "right" to say as they choose but it's not. If you've become a member of a forum (international or otherwise) You usually agree to post by their rules. If you don't then they can ban you, edit your posts, delete them or what have you....

... and there is not a damned thing you can do about it. It's their site. Abide by their rules or face moderation.

As to remaining Anonymous while posting. I don't see a problem with that. As a rule of thumb, most forums don't give out your identity. Occasionally they might delete multiple accounts if it's part of their guidelines but I've yet to see any say your so and so openly.

RE: Molehills
By TomZ on 2/12/2008 8:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're missing the point about freedom of expression. It's not a question about whether DT or other forums allow you to post as you please or if they censor. The point is that the government has no right to restrict you from posting what you please, and that they have no recourse against you for posting your opinions (within the limits of the law, of course).

RE: Molehills
By Oregonian2 on 2/13/2008 1:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
What I write here really is DailyTech's free speech simply because they CAN delete what I write and do it perfectly legally. IOW my "free speech" is NOT being violated if DailyTech decides to censor me. If DailyTech decides not to censor anybody, that's their right too, and that would effectively give me free speech here, but it really isn't because they have the power and right to censor me anyway. The government does not have the right to censor what I say here (if not something illegal such as a state secret or the like) but if they did, it would be DailyTech that's being censored because they are the publisher who has the choice and power to decide what gets published and what doesn't. It's their forum, not mine -- I'm only a user of it (and thank them for it).

Better idea.
By SavagePotato on 2/12/2008 5:13:00 PM , Rating: 3
They really just need to have new criteria for posting on the web.

To get a web posting "license" one would have to have an 85 pound spring loaded iron boxing glove on their desk, aimed at their face which they relinquish control of to the site moderator.

RE: Better idea.
By v1001 on 2/12/2008 6:43:22 PM , Rating: 5
Along with genital scanners to verify the ones who claim to be female.

RE: Better idea.
By SavagePotato on 2/13/08, Rating: 0
felatoin and queefs
By Spyvie on 2/12/2008 6:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think this is the first time I've ever truly laughed out load while reading a DT post.

RE: felatoin and queefs
By Spyvie on 2/12/2008 6:18:50 PM , Rating: 2

RE: felatoin and queefs
By v1001 on 2/12/2008 6:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
"Load" LOL!

In some way that just seems to really fit with the subject and content

RE: felatoin and queefs
By Arrundale on 2/13/2008 6:57:15 AM , Rating: 1
LOL, I'm going ... "what's a queef?" Is this some new term -- should I wiki that?
Some of the best comedy is from "loosers" who cannot spell.

By iFX on 2/13/2008 4:25:57 AM , Rating: 3
I'm glad Nirav Sanghani's opinions of certain posters does not decide if they have rights and liberties.

I can't hardly read DailyTech anymore. The trash published here that is passed for journalism has gotten progressively worse in the last year. The entire site is one huge editorial with no attempt to accurately and neutrally report the news.

This site might as well be Fudzilla.

RE: Well
By James Holden on 2/13/2008 1:49:46 PM , Rating: 3
Yet you went to the site, read the article, and even posted. A few months ago the site quietly broke into the 20 million page view / month club. Good luck with your boycott Sparticus!

The net is American then?
By probedb on 2/13/2008 6:02:24 AM , Rating: 2
So how does this apply to countries where the first amendment doesn't apply.

The net isn't an extension of the USA.

RE: The net is American then?
By straycat74 on 2/13/2008 9:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I think the net is an extension of the U.S. of A. Let freedom ring!

RE: The net is American then?
By TomZ on 2/13/2008 10:06:51 AM , Rating: 2
DT originates in the USA and obviously has a large readership in the USA. Therefore, you should expect to see some additional emphasis on USA topics here. It's basic common sense; it's not any kind of attempt to exclude anyone.

By MonkeyPaw on 2/12/2008 6:26:53 PM , Rating: 5
Sure, you are free to say just about anything you want in a public place, but once you step onto personal property, you answer to the owner. Walk into a store and start spouting like a madman and you will promptly be escorted off the property (or arrested). Websites are owned by someone, and that someone gets to moderate the content--some sites just choose to tolerate more than others. In other words, you no longer get the freedom to say whatever you want, anonymous or not. Your comments can be deleted, or in most cases, the site just makes you *gasp* register to comment!

By poohbear on 2/13/2008 1:03:54 AM , Rating: 2
man i hate queefs.

WTF is the Internet?
By i3arracuda on 2/13/2008 1:03:17 PM , Rating: 2
"I will reciprocate felatoin [sic] with Lisa even though she has fat thighs, a fake medical degree, 'queefs' and has poor feminine hygiene."

No, it is you who are, in fact, the ball-lickers!

The Internets: 1
The State of California: 0

Oh good.
By nekobawt on 2/13/2008 3:02:37 PM , Rating: 1
I feel a lot better knowing that I have a constitutional right to be an asshole on the internet.

By Shuxclams on 2/12/08, Rating: -1
RE: Good!
By Oobu on 2/13/2008 3:45:27 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Good!
By Omega215D on 2/13/2008 12:49:55 PM , Rating: 1
yet you berate someone on the internet... good job.

By mellondust on 2/12/08, Rating: -1
RE: California.
By sprockkets on 2/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By mdogs444 on 2/12/08, Rating: -1
RE: California.
By smitty3268 on 2/12/2008 6:59:27 PM , Rating: 3
Executing someone costs about 10 times more than leaving them in prison for the next 50+ years. You can argue that it shouldn't be that way, but it's reality.

RE: California.
By shabby on 2/12/2008 8:23:01 PM , Rating: 1
One bullet cant be that pricey... can it?

RE: California.
By Polynikes on 2/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By C'DaleRider on 2/12/2008 8:54:28 PM , Rating: 2 he doesn't. It is horribly more expensive to execute someone than it is to let them live out their lives in confinement. This is, of course, due to the fact that the death penalty carries with it an automatic appeal when the death penalty is handed down, and then the several other appeals that go onward after the mandatory first one.

And since, typically, it is a court-appointed attorney that carries on all these appeals, we, the tax-paying public, ends up footing the bill for the repetitive appeals, just like we pay for long-term incarceration. But, the appellate process has paid off for a few, esp. in cases where DNA evidence has ultimately overturned a guilty conviction.

So, we pay in either case, but it is indeed much more expensive to put someone to death than it is to house and feed them for life.

RE: California.
By Polynikes on 2/13/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By jtemplin on 2/13/2008 9:21:53 AM , Rating: 3
These public servants are on salary and get paid regardless. Your argument falls flat.

RE: California.
By Polynikes on 2/13/2008 10:15:24 AM , Rating: 2
Well, gee, then why don't we just stop putting people in jail, since it costs taxpayer so much money?

RE: California.
By mcturkey on 2/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By poohbear on 2/13/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By werepossum on 2/22/2008 7:34:57 PM , Rating: 2
You know, if we outsourced the process to China, we'd just be paying for the bullet. Shipping TO China is dirt cheap, since most of the container ships go back empty anyway.

Interestingly, I just spoke with a manufacturer's rep about that same thing. Turns out it costs exactly the same to ship a container to China as it does to ship one from China. ($500 per container if you're interested.)

The only thing I can figure is that those containers must be filled with cash on the way back. Well, cash and government bonds, since the cash has lost half its worth by the time it gets there...

RE: California.
By peterb123 on 2/13/2008 1:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
It wouldn't cost much if they let a mob execute them.

RE: California.
By Ringold on 2/12/2008 6:01:23 PM , Rating: 1
love to execute people?

That's bad?

Hear about those Chinese industrial spies we caught just recently? I for one vote for public hangings. At the very least, firing squad. The one guy might be 72, but age is no factor in the face of justice.

RE: California.
By feraltoad on 2/12/2008 6:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think we should give them a free flight to China. We just won't land when we "let them off". :)

RE: California.
By smitty3268 on 2/12/2008 7:01:34 PM , Rating: 5
Jesus would be proud.

RE: California.
By jconan on 2/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By wackie999 on 2/13/2008 12:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
And what exactly would be the desire in such an act?

RE: California.
By feraltoad on 2/12/2008 6:14:15 PM , Rating: 3
I think you forgot that California loves to execute people WITH sex toys.

RE: California.
By SavagePotato on 2/12/2008 6:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
That's Seattle, Good old Mr Hands.

But wait that was execution by equine.

Same premise though.

RE: California.
By Nanobaud on 2/13/2008 11:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but Seattle is pretty much a California territory anymore.


RE: California.
By saiga6360 on 2/12/2008 4:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
The appellate court concluded that while Doe 6's messages were "unquestionably offensive and demeaning," they could not be counted as defamation since they could not be considered assertions of fact.

Well to their credit, I think they were merely interpreting the law as reasonably as possible. The First Amendment is what allows us to bash each other anonymously but there are limits that not only trolls but anyone in a forum must be careful of asserting.

RE: California.
By TomZ on 2/12/2008 5:10:47 PM , Rating: 4
How is this ruling "idiotic"? Seems to me that it helps reinforce our expectation of privacy and our ability to freely express ourselves without fear of intimidation through abuse of the legal process. What's bad about that?

RE: California.
By Lord Evermore on 2/13/2008 7:41:57 AM , Rating: 4
Seems to me that claiming someone's medical degree is fake is actually libelous. The rest of it is just unsubstantiated idiocy.

RE: California.
By kkwst2 on 2/13/2008 8:17:39 AM , Rating: 1
Oh come on. It was an anonymous rant. Would you actually believe some ass who says someone's degree is fake right after they use the word Queef?

To me, the fact that it even went to court is outrageous, unless there is more to this story than what is posted here. Is it now a crime to be an asshole? We've become a society of complete pansies!

RE: California.
By clovell on 2/13/2008 12:28:54 PM , Rating: 1
Though there would be less assholes if it wasn't a crime to land a hard right hook on them. There's a sort of imbalance that has allowed assholes to proliferate - because we are pansies.

RE: California.
By Mojo the Monkey on 2/12/2008 5:15:38 PM , Rating: 1
So its your position that First Amendment protection for insults is a bad thing? and that this a wacky ruling? Care to explain your reasoning?

I think you were just looking for an excuse to be heard and give your irrelevant opinion about your (limited) knowledge of judicial rulings in California.

RE: California.
By uhgotnegum on 2/12/2008 5:16:07 PM , Rating: 4
Please elaborate...

It seems obvious to me that you don't approve of the decision. Was it the court's position that being able to publish anonymously is an aspect of the freedoms found in the First Amendment? Perhaps you were disappointed over the court's adoption of a balancing test that favors providing a means of redress but not compromising when it comes to allowing the freedom to communicate over the internet with others. Would you have ruled that a different balancing test is more appropriate in this matter--the Dendrite case, for example, which the court felt required even greater scrutiny of a plaintiff's cause of action before requiring identification of the speaker? I doubt you really had a "beef" with the prima facie requirements of libel--it's fairly well established, though does evolve as the internet expands (and for that matter applied Florida law, not California). Could it be that your opinion falls more on the side that discussion forums can result in stock manipulation, and the court should have brought this issue to the forefront?

Maybe I should go on, but I think by now it's perfectly clear that your blanket statement that most "idiotic rulings" come from California was mostly based on an inability to adequately censor yourself before posting an opinion that only adds to this discussion by providing me an opportunity call you and your post...


Then again, if want to take the time to read (reread?) the opinion and discuss with more specificity, I'll check back with you later.

RE: California.
By TomZ on 2/12/2008 5:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
^-- yeah, what he said. :o)

RE: California.
By uhgotnegum on 2/12/2008 5:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for providing the perfect complement to my exaggerated attempt to make a point; it brings the mood back to normal quite nicely. ;)

RE: California.
By walk2k on 2/12/2008 9:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
Nice, but it's pearls before swine I'm afraid.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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