Anonymous Website Commenters Forced to Testify in Court


Seven individuals who commented on the website of a regional newspaper, the Daily Inter Lake, in Northwest Montana were forced to testify in court about comments they thought were anonymous. None of the witnesses was on trial for what they wrote, but their testimony was used as evidence that the comments tainted the defendant’s potential jury pool. The paper made no effort to fight the subpoena. Anonymously ripping into things online is no longer a civil right in this country? What next, will we be forced to introduce ourselves to that girl whose cab we stole? Do we have to hold hands with strangers after giving them the finger? If we can’t express our opinions under cover of secrecy in the comments section, then what’s the point of having opinions?

Online Comments as Evidence [Flathead Beacon via Romenesko]