Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Canada Privacy The Internet Your Rights Online

Canadian Court Sides With Online Anonymity 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the probably-protecting-his-anti-bruins-rants dept.
bs0d3 writes "Michael Geist said of a recent Canadian court ruling, 'Anonymous speech can be empowering — whistleblowers depend upon it to safeguard their identity and political participants in some countries face severe repercussions if they speak out publicly — but it also carries the danger of posts that cross the line into defamation without appropriate accountability.' Although I disagree that defamation is an acceptable reason for a court to find someone's identity, the outcome of this trial seems favorable. The court was not asked to determine whether the posts at issue were in fact defamatory. Rather, it simply faced the question of whether it should order the disclosure of personal information about the posters themselves so that someone could proceed with a defamation lawsuit. The court relied on 'Warman v. Fournier,' a previous Canadian defamation case and asked, '(1) Whether there was a reasonable expectation of anonymity; (2) Whether the plaintiff established a prima facie case of wrongdoing by the poster; (3) Whether the plaintiff tried to identify the poster and was unable to do so; and (4) Whether the public interest favoring disclosure outweigh the legitimate interests of freedom of expression and right to privacy of the persons sought to be identified if the disclosure is ordered." In this case the order to identify the poster was denied. Since the plaintiff did not identify the specific defamatory words, she failed to establish a prima facie case of defamation. Moreover, the court also ruled that the posters had a reasonable expectation of anonymity and that there were insufficient efforts to try to identify them."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Canadian Court Sides With Online Anonymity

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    at least in Canada eh?

  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Friday September 02, 2011 @01:49PM (#37288882)
    Safe Blog hosting.
  • by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Friday September 02, 2011 @01:51PM (#37288910)
    How have the corporations overlooked the Canadian government for so long? How could a ruling that makes this much sense come out of a court of law in this day and age at these prices?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      There are legal limits for political contributions [elections.ca] in Canada. There is a fixed dollar amount per calender year (1,100), plus only individuals can make contributions. These limits are in place to prevent the corrupt legislation purchasing seen in other countries.

      It's not that businesses don't have rights in Canada (they do), but Canada holds individuals in a much higher regard.

      • You know, that explanation would make sense if it was not for the fact that as stricter rules have been imposed on campaign contributions, the influence of corporations has increased.
        • by anyGould (1295481)

          You know, that explanation would make sense if it was not for the fact that as stricter rules have been imposed on campaign contributions, the influence of corporations has increased.

          I would say that their influence hasn't increased, but that it's more visible (since they can't hide it in campaign contributions anymore).

          Anyone who thinks that the Big Four parties have never been in corporate pockets over the last couple generations wasn't paying attention.

        • Except it didn't. Oh wait, you seem to consider that paying for political ads aren't a contribution. I get it, you're twisting words.
          • Are you saying that the rules for campaign contributions (however you wish to define them) are not stricter today than they were 40 years ago? Or are you saying that corporate influence is no greater today than it was 40 years ago?
            • by dimeglio (456244)

              As a normal citizen, not particularly militant, I believe there will always be influence.

              Let me reword a famous adage: Corporations and lobbies see anti-lobby regulations as damage and reroute around them.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Also likely has to do with the fact that Canadian judges are not elected into office. Therefor they have less need to appease corporations for election campaigns donations.

        • The SCOTUS is not elected either, but those guys are doing their damnedest to hand all of our rights over to corporate america at every turn.
  • Although I disagree that defamation is an acceptable reason for a court to find someone's identity...

    Fucking moron.

  • This is how the process ought to work, however in the US the presumption is that any data belongs to the site, not to the posters and they can do what they want with it. Slashdot for example says that the comments belong to the posters, meaning you retain copyright in what you post, but nothing is said about who owns log data such as the IP address where your post came from, or the mapping between your handle and your "real" name (I don't remember showing anyone a birth certificate). That's why US citizen

  • I am amazed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Friday September 02, 2011 @02:02PM (#37289042) Journal

    With the current Harper government in power, I am totally amazed at this ruling. I applaud the judge for standing up for online anonymity.

    Also:
    RIP Jack Layton

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      So I guess you're not involved in Canadian politics at all. Rather you take all your talking points from what the CBC tells you. And know not that the liberals and the NDP have been behind the greatest excesses in removing freedoms in Canada.

      One of the greatest of course was the charter. Thanks trudeau.

      • You're referring to piece about Hate Speech? Yeah, anyone accused of it, loses.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_Canada [wikipedia.org]

        • Perhaps you should be more clear. The losing is not in the result of the case, the losing is in having to go to court because somebody disagrees with you.

          But the real problem is the Human Rights Tribunal. Accuser is given a lawyer, and the accused is told they don't need one. Go figure.
      • by anyGould (1295481)

        So I guess you're not involved in Canadian politics at all. Rather you take all your talking points from what the CBC tells you. And know not that the liberals and the NDP have been behind the greatest excesses in removing freedoms in Canada.

        One of the greatest of course was the charter. Thanks trudeau.

        You're saying that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms removed freedoms from Canada? Really?

        Also, while you can point fingers at Libs and Cons fairly (I find the difference between the two to be merely preference over the position you wish to be screwed in), the NDP have never formed a majority government at the federal level, so I would wonder how you're attributing any atrocities to them.

        • Actually yes, because it denies Canadians a right to free speech. Otherwise it largely just codified the status quo.

          Believing something is right and free just because it says "Rights and Freedoms" in the title is the kind of thinking that gets so many republicans elected in the states.
        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Yes the charter of rights and freedoms removed freedoms. It legally allows the government without the courts to dictate by law which freedoms you can have. The CHRC is probably the best example of this, along with "hate crime" laws.

    • by iolarah (1033958)
      Agreed on all counts, especially the Jack Layton part. I hope whoever takes over for him stands up for anonymity online.
  • Girl With One Track Mind [zoemargolis.co.uk] can tell you all about the importance of being able to stay anonymous.

    Actually in her case she was doing a pretty good job at staying anonymous while posting her blog entries about her sex life, but then she published a book and some asshole 'journalists' tracked her down and gave out all her personal details.

    She lost her job.
    She stopped writing her blogs, and let's be honest, the readers lost an interesting character to read about on the interwebs.

    Staying anonymous is extremely imp

  • by Lieutenant_Dan (583843) on Friday September 02, 2011 @02:38PM (#37289490) Homepage Journal

    Looks like the blog is down.

    Anyways, Michael Geist's column is here:
    http://www.thestar.com/article/1032104--geist-court-grapples-with-legalities-of-anonymous-online-postings [thestar.com]

  • I don't care how free you are, you Canuck bastards, do you have any idea how many b-rated movies have had to settle for Tom Sizemore and other lesser-known actors since the war? Do you even feel GUILTY? Billy had kids, man!

  • Yes, we all have a right to anonymity.

    But it wasn't decided that that right prevents discovery of our identity if we overstep our rights by committing legal offenses against others.

    It was only decided that the offended party didn't say what the offense was, and didn't try to identify the offender themselves. If they had, and this case had come down simply to the right of anonymity, the courst would probably have ordered the identification, as anonymity is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

How much net work could a network work, if a network could net work?

Working...