The Register: Anonymity no protection for online libellers
s.schear at comcast.net
Thu Mar 24 12:08:13 PST 2005
The tenuous nature of online anonymity was underlined yesterday, thanks to
the final ruling in the Motley Fool libel case.
Terry Smith, chief executive of city firm Collins Stewart Tullett, won
undisclosed damages from Jeremy Benjamin, a fund manager. Benjamin had
posted what he now accepts as false allegations on the Motley Fool forum,
www.fool.co.uk under the pseudonym "analyser71".
Mark Weston, technology law specialist at MAB Law, says the ruling was
another link in the chain of judicial authority saying that you cannot be
anonymous. He likened this element of the ruling to cases where ISPs have
been forced to reveal the identity of filesharers to the British
Phonographic Industry (BPI).
"It should make posters more careful. The supposed anonymity online is only
temporary," he told us. "Just as in the offline world, as long as someone
knows who you are, they can be forced to reveal your identity."
[Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead]
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