There has historically been a strong affinity between English law and US law, with Common Law precedents being considered valid throughout many stratums of the US legal system. After all, having been responsible for the creation of the Magna Carta (one of the most celebrated legal documents of all human history), it’s hard not to take seriously certain developments in the British legal field.
Which brings us to the topic of a recent development in the British courts, where a judge has come down with a landmark ruling denying anonymity to a blogger who has been trying to fight being named by The Times of London (which, using simple investigative journalism, came across his identity through a process of deduction).
The popular British blog by the name of NightJack, wherein an active police officer habitually posted very controversial pieces mocking department superiors and giving confidential information regarding ongoing investigations, will no longer have an anonymous writer…and that has a lot of bloggers with their panties all in a knot!
The ruling (which stated that the blogger had no “reasonable expectation” of anonymity) is surely going to generate a lot of commotion among the millions of internet users that blog with supposed anonymity; even leaving comments online is likely to cease being an anonymous affair, as in a separate court case in Las Vegas a newspaper has been subpoenaed by prosecutors for the names (and addresses, credit card numbers, and more personal info) of anonymous commenters that left aggressive or threatening remarks on the paper’s site.
So, the lessons of the day: don’t talk trash about your bosses, don’t make threatening comments online, and definitely do not pretend to have any “reasonable expectation” of privacy or anonymity on the Web!