Responding to prosecutors seeking to identify anonymous bloggers — Google and other ISP’s could learn from the mainstream media

by Paul Alan Levy

There have been several stories recently covering the resolution of a lawsuit by Tom Rich, a formerly anonymous blogger, against the City of Jacksonville and a pair of prosecutors who went along with Robert Hinson, a rogue deputy sheriff, by using the criminal subpoena power to identify the blogger, who criticized a powerful local religious figure who ran Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church. The deputy turned the blogger’s name over to the church, which promptly expelled the blogger; meanwhile the deputy dropped his investigation. Regrettably, no attention has been paid to the spineless behavior of the ISP’s who went along with the criminal subpoenas without asking any questions or giving the blogger a chance to defend his anonymity.