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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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