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Grand Jury Subpoenas Newspaper Site Commenters Info

Yet nother challenge to community anonymity

1:40 pm on Jun 15, 2009 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 2, 2000
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A federal grand jury has subpoenaed the names, phone numbers, IP addresses and other identifying information about every person who commented on the original article [about tax evasion], which appeared in the May 26 edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal...

It's not clear yet whether the matter will end up in court, but some legal experts say that the newspaper could mount a strong argument that the subpoena violates the people's free speech rights because it's too broad.

The article cites an earlier attempt to subpoena customer records from Amazon. In that case, a judge denied the federal government's request for the personal information of customers who had purchased a book by an author being investigated for tax fraud.

While this current fishing expedition seems unlikely to go anywhere, I still think it is unwise to brag about illegal activity in a public forum.

Story [mediapost.com]