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Judge could order US newspaper to hand over identities of anonymous comment posters

June 30th, 2008Posted by in Legal, Newspapers

A US judge is set to rule on whether to make New York state newspaper Journal News hand over the identity of users who left comments that may have libelled an ex-congressman.

According to lawyers working on the case, Westchester County Judge Rory Bellantoni will issue an order to LoHud.com for release of information to identify “SAVE10543,” “hadenough,” and “aoxomoxoa” for comments they made about former Rep. Richard Ottinger and his wife, June Ottinger.

The couple claimed they have been defamed by comments on the site that falsely accuse them of filing a fraudulent documents and bribing officials over the construction of their home.

They subpoenaed the newspaper to release the information, arguing they can’t bring a defamation suit against the three without their identities.

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  • baz

    Surely these comment posters aren’t “anonymous” in the strict sense of the word, as they have registered on the site and have “handles” (“SAVE10543,” “hadenough,” and “aoxomoxoa”). That usually means the site would have a record of their details and even IP addresses from which they posted. Is this really news, that a site must had over user details to further a police investigation? I think your use of the word “anonymous” is more of a click-magnet.

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