Tech Question

Should There Be an Expectation of Permanent Anonymity Online?

Earlier this month, there was a big brouhaha over the outing by Ed Whelan, at Bench Memos, of the online persona ‘Publius.’

Publius turned out to be South Texas College of Law professor John Blevins, who blogs at Obsidian Wings.

Discussion and outrage across the Web focused on Internet netiquette and specifically whether it’s OK to out someone who has chosen to debate anonymously.

Anonymous speech unquestionably has achieved landmark status in the United States. Just ask the ACLU in Nevada, which is fighting a government effort to ID names of individuals who posted anonymous comments on a Las Vegas newspaper’s online article.

So we wondered, as lawyers, do you think should there be limits to such speech on the Net? And should anyone complain or be surprised if they are found out?

Read last month’s answers to this question: What’s One Smartphone App You Can’t Do Without?

Featured Answer:

Posted by Jonathan Jackel: “Toodledo is a great task list. Evernote is great for synchronizing notes with the desktop. Byline is a very good RSS feed reader that lets you read full articles even when you have no internet connection (e.g., on the subway or an airplane). Kindle lets you read e-books from Amazon. VIP Access lets me log in to places where I would otherwise need a Verisign keychain dongle. My current gaming obsession is FlightControl, where you are an air traffic controller.”

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