Anonymity

News & Analysis as of

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Anonymity of Internet Poster

In the closing days of its January term, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument in Hadley v. Subscriber Doe. Hadley poses the question of whether the defendant is entitled to quash the plaintiff’s subpoena seeking to...more

Courts Continue To Find That Unique Device Identifiers Are Not Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Under The Video Privacy...

Two recent federal district court rulings regarding the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) follow the emerging trend of decisions indicating that courts are reluctant to find violations of the VPPA for sharing anonymous...more

Woodbridge Structured Funding LLC v. Pissed Consumer

Decision and Order of NY Appellate Division Affirming Order Dismissing Petition for Discovery of Anonymous Commenter

Decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, affirming the dismissal by the trial court in New York County which denied a petition to compel PissedConsumer.com to disclose the identity of the person or persons who...more

"Courts Parse First Amendment Protections for Anonymous Critics Online"

The Supreme Court has long recognized that the freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment extends to anonymous speech, noting that “persecuted groups and sects … throughout history have been able to criticize...more

Employee Gripe Apps: Should Companies Be Concerned?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Lindsay Gellman on a new app by Collectively that allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers. The app is cheekily called...more

Status Updates - December 2014 #5

An undercover app. Internet innovators have for some time been trying to cash in on the public’s mounting desire for anonymous messaging platforms, with varied success. As we recently noted, at least 11 students at colleges...more

Status Updates - December 2014

Yik Yak arrests. For several months now we at Socially Aware have been writing about how college students have been using the purportedly anonymous messaging app Yik Yak to communicate deeply offensive remarks and threats of...more

Waldman: Stop Immunizing Websites That Allow Harassment [Video]

Nov. 18, 2014 (Mimesis Law) -- Ari Waldman, Professor at New York Law School, talks with Lee Pacchia about the recent theft and online dissemination of intimate photos belonging to a number of celebrities such as Jennifer...more

Status Updates - November 2014 #6

That’s a lot of latte. It turns out that Starbucks—not a company in the mobile payments business—was the first company to make in-person payments by mobile phone mainstream. According to recent statements by the coffee...more

Internet Free-Speech and the Push Towards Unmasking Online Anonymity

Internet heavyweights including Google, Facebook, and Twitter are backing the popular business review site Yelp in a Virginia Supreme Court case that has gained country-wide attention as having the potential to significantly...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Unravel Procedural Tangle in Internet Posting Case

Our previews of the newest additions to the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil docket continue with Hadley v. Subscriber Doe. Hadley is a defamation case arising from an anonymous internet posting, but that issue comes wrapped in...more

Unmasking the anonymous online critic – first, there is the matter of jurisdiction

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a 5-4 decision holding a plaintiff needs to establish jurisdiction over an anonymous blogger before a court will allow pre-suit discovery that would likely unmask the blogger’s...more

Status Updates - July 2014 #7

..Since launching its Google+ social network three years ago, Google has insisted that Google+ users use only their real names on the network — no pseudonyms. Perhaps in an effort to attract more users to Google+, the...more

Reviews Posted Under a Pseudonym Could be Defamatory

As written on this blog before, plaintiffs often have difficulty when alleging claims of defamation against anonymous defendants. Unsurprisingly, websites that provide a forum for anonymous commentary are loathe to reveal the...more

“Do You Want to Know a Secret?” The Risks Posed by Anonymous Social Apps

First we had social media platforms, but recently a variety of “anti-social” media platforms have emerged—well, anti-social in a sense. For years, social media platforms have encouraged (or even, in some cases, required) us...more

D.C. Court of Appeals Permits Early Anti-SLAPP Appeals for Anonymous Speakers

In a victory for anonymous speech, journalists and free speech advocates, the D.C. Court of Appeals, in John Doe No. 1 v. Burke (No. 13-CV-83), issued its first decision under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP statute....more

What are anonymous data?

Problems relating to what data/images/information can be consider anonymous is one of the major data protection issues of privacy law having an impact in any sector including the Internet of Things, eHealth and on any...more

UNMASKING BLOGGERS: Hedge Fund’s Bid To Unveil Blogger’s Identity Highlights First Amendment, Trade Secrets Clash

America’s reverence for anonymous speech is as old as the republic itself, tracing its roots to Thomas Payne’s pamphlet “Common Sense” and the Federalist Papers. But the right to speak namelessly has limits, and hedge fund...more

Back From The Land Of Trial Mode: January Quicklinks

There has not been much activity on the blog because we have been engaged in a long copyright and misappropriation of trade secrets trial. So, we share with you some of the articles we have been reading, but just haven’t had...more

Mum’s the Word: New York’s Highest Court Maintains Anonymity in Auction Sales

In late 2012, we reported on a New York Appellate Division order that sent shockwaves and fear of instability through the auction house world. Late last month, the New York Court Appeals issued its opinion in the case of...more

Ferreting Out the Frauds: a Virginia Court Orders Yelp To Identify Anonymous Users

Social media is widely used in the hospitality industry for everything from promoting sales to recruiting new talent. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, and a number of other sites provide hoteliers and restaurateurs...more

Yelp Denied Attempt to Keep Its Online Reviewers’ Identities Anonymous

In 2012, a local rug cleaning company in Virginia, Hadeed Oriental Rug Cleaning (“Hadeed”), filed a defamation action against the authors of seven critical reviews it received on Yelp, indicating that the reviews falsely...more

Has Eliminating Anonymous Complaints Taken the Air Out of Whistleblowers?

In September 2011, Texas enacted a law prohibiting anonymous complaints to the Texas Medical Board (TMB). Whether the new law has dissuaded people from filing complaints about medical professionals requires further...more

Littler's 2013 Executive Employer Survey

Our partner Littler Mendelson, the largest employment law firm in the world, just released their 2nd Executive Employer Survey. Some interesting industry information (gathered from in-house counsel, c-suite, and HR...more

Norwich Orders: You Can't Be Anonymous on the Internet After All

It’s hard to start a lawsuit when you don’t know who you’re suing. What can potential claimants do when they have been wronged but lack the essential information necessary to start a lawsuit? ...more

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