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Idaho Blogger Has No Absolute Right to Anonymity

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You can read Judge Luster’s opinion at the Kootenai County, Idaho, District Court Opinions website:

Tina Jacobson v. Doe, CV-12-3098 (7/10/12) (if direct link does not work, use the website link above)

Selected news stories:

1) “Anonymous no longer: Judge: Newspaper must provide information leading to identity of blog commenter,” by David Cole, CDAPress dot com, July 11, 2012, Updated: Jul 16, 2012.

Excerpt: “COEUR d’ALENE – A judge on Tuesday ruled that the Spokesman-Review must give a local Republican leader information that could lead to the identity of an anonymous commenter who posted to one of the newspaper’s blogs.

The former chair of the Kootenai County Republican Party Central Committee, Tina Jacobson, wants the name because she believes the person defamed her by suggesting she stole $10,000 from the local party….

The newspaper has 14 days to comply with Luster’s ruling….” [Link to CDAPress article.]

2) “Idaho Case Shows Limits Of Anonymous Comments Online,” by Jessica Robinson, NPR, July 11, 2012

Excerpt: “Online free speech experts say people who like to post fiery comments on the internet should take heed of a north Idaho case. A judge said this week that the right to remain anonymous does not extend to a commenter who insinuated someone committed a crime.

District Court Judge John Luster says the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper has to reveal the identity of a commenter known as “almostinnocentbystander.” He or she made comments on a north Idaho blog run by the newspaper that suggested the chairwoman of the local Republican Party had embezzled $10,000.

Kevin Bankston is an attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology, which advocates for free speech protections, even for those who remain anonymous. But he says in this case, the judge’s ruling is in-line with the accepted standard....” [Link to NPR story.]