Anonymity

Does This Look Infected to You? Government Virus as Counter-Proposal to FBI's URL Demands

So here is a nice and scary development. It appears that the FBI wants Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to keep a log of the url's visited by consumers. Wait it gets better.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

USA Technologies v. Yahoo!

Date: 

09/24/2009

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Yahoo! Inc.

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Case Number: 

09-3899 (Pennsylvania); 3:09-mc-80275-SI (California)

Legal Counsel: 

Matthew Zimmerman - EFF; David M. Given, Nicholas A. Carlin - Phillips & Erlewine & Given LLP; (for John Doe "Stokklerk")

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Subpoena Quashed

Description: 

In August 2009, USA Technologies, Inc. sued two "John Doe" defendants in Pennsylvania federal court over critical comments posted on the Yahoo! Finance message board dedicated to the company. According to EFF, the pseudonymous commenters

criticized what they claim is the consistently poor performance of USA Technologies' management. The criticism highlighted plummeting stock prices of the company as well as the high compensation rates for management of the company that has been consistently unprofitable.

Seeking the identity of the posters, USA Technologies obtained court permission to serve a subpoena on Yahoo! in California.  With the assistance of EFF, one of the commenters, John Doe "Stokklerk," filed a motion to quash the subpoena. 

In December 2009, after a hearing, the federal court in California granted the motion to quash the subpoena. Under Cal. Civ. Proc. § 1987.2, USA Technologies may be required to pay John Doe's attorneys' fees incurred in bringing the motion to quash, but there is no court order on attorneys' fees yet. 

CMLP Notes: 

HF Reviewing 11/2

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

USA Technologies v. Doe

Date: 

08/27/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe a.k.a. "Stokklerk"; John Doe "Michael_Moore_Is_Fat

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Case Number: 

09-3899 (Pennsylvania); 3:09-mc-80275-SI (California)

Legal Counsel: 

Matthew Zimmerman - EFF; David M. Given, Nicholas A. Carlin - Phillips & Erlewine & Given LLP; (for John Doe "Stokklerk")

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Subpoena Quashed

Description: 

In August 2009, USA Technologies, Inc. sued two "John Doe" defendants in Pennsylvania federal court over critical comments posted on the Yahoo! Finance message board dedicated to the company. According to EFF, the pseudonymous commenters

criticized what they claim is the consistently poor performance of USA Technologies' management. The criticism highlighted plummeting stock prices of the company as well as the high compensation rates for management of the company that has been consistently unprofitable.

Seeking the identity of the posters, USA Technologies obtained court permission to serve a subpoena on Yahoo! in California.  With the assistance of EFF, one of the commenters, John Doe "Stokklerk," filed a motion to quash the subpoena. 

In December 2009, after a hearing, the federal court in California granted the motion to quash the subpoena. Under Cal. Civ. Proc. § 1987.2, USA Technologies may be required to pay John Doe's attorneys' fees incurred in bringing the motion to quash, but there is no court order on attorneys' fees yet. 

CMLP Notes: 

HF Reviewing 11/2

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

DeRosa v. Rattanni

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

11/20/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Richard S. Rattanni

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Intermediary

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County

Case Number: 

GD-09-021507

Legal Counsel: 

Sara Rose, American Civil Liberties Union Greater Pittsburgh Chapter

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On November 20, 2009, Thomas DeRosa, Chairman of the Forward Township Board of Supervisors, issued a subpoena seeking discovery from Richard S. Rattanni, the operator of the website elizabethboro.com, in order to identify the posters of allegedly defamatory comments on that website. The subpoena was issued as part of a lawsuit filed by DeRosa on  November 19, 2009 in the Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County against two Doe defendants,  asserting claims for defamation.

According to news reports from the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, the at issue in the litigation are a series of anonymous posts made on the Elizabeth Area Discussion Board, hosted by the website elizabethboro.com. Also according to the Tribune-Review, the posts at issue alleged that DeRosa hired family members to perform work on a recently completed bridge repair project in the Township, and call DeRosa a liar.

The court granted DeRosa leave to seek discovery from Rattanni on November 24, 2009.  On January 6, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a motion for protective order seeking to squash the subpoena on behalf of Rattanni.

Update:

03/03/10 - The court held a hearing on Rattanni's motion to quash.  According to one press account, the court determined that Rattanni had standing to assert the First Amendment rights of his readers.

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

DeRosa v. Does

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

11/19/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Howard and Robin Doe

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County

Case Number: 

GD-09-021507

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On November 19, 2009, Thomas DeRosa, Chairman of the Forward Township Board of Supervisors, filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County against two Doe defendants, asserting claims for defamation. 

According to news reports from the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, the allegations are based on a series of anonymous posts made on the Elizabeth Area Discussion Board, hosted by the website elizabethboro.com. Also according to the Tribune-Review, the posts at issue alleged that DeRosa hired family members to perform work on a recently completed bridge repair project in the Township, and call DeRosa a liar.

On November 24, 2009, the court granted DeRosa's motion to seek discovery from Richard S. Rattanni, the operator of the elizabethboro.com website, in order to identify the posters of the allegedly defamatory comments.  On January 6, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a motion for protective order seeking to squash the subpoena on behalf of Rattanni.

Update:

03/03/10 - The court held a hearing on Rattanni's motion to quash.  According to one press account, the court determined that Rattanni had standing to assert the First Amendment rights of his readers.

 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Hvide v. Doe

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

09/30/1999

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Does 1 - 8; Gavin Blunt; Wentworth Capital Inc.

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida

Case Number: 

99-22831 CA01

Legal Counsel: 

Christopher Leigh (English, McCaughan & O'Bryan); William A. Friedlander

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced
Withdrawn

Description: 

Eric Hvide sued eight anonymous Yahoo and America Online posters for defamation in Florida state court after the posters criticized Hvide's running of Hvide Marine, Inc.  The record is sketchy, but it appears the court ordered disclosure of the commenters' identities despite motions to quash filed by several of them.  Hvide later added Gavin Blunt and Wentworth Capital Inc. as defendants, but voluntarily dismissed the case in early 2003.

CMLP Notes: 

AAB editing

AVM 6/4/09 (Dont know if AAB is working on this still)

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Stone v. Hipcheck16

Date: 

04/01/2009

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Paddock Publications, Inc., d/b/a The Daily Herald; Hipcheck16

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois

Case Number: 

2009L005636

Legal Counsel: 

Michael Furlong (for Hipcheck16)

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced

Description: 

In November 2009, an Illinois Circuit Court judge ruled that Buffalo Grove Village Trustee Lisa Stone was entitled to pre-suit discovery of the identity of "Hipcheck16," an anonymous commenter who allegedly defamed her son in the comments section of a Daily Herald article.  The comments in question arose in the course of a heated political debate between Hipcheck16 and Ms. Stone's son:

The comments at the heart of the case came at the end of a series of posts between Hipcheck16 and Stone's son, who was concerned about online remarks the teen regarded as critical of his mother.

At one point, the teen asked to know the poster's identity and challenged him to debate the issues in person.

Declining an invitation to pay a visit, Hipcheck16 posted a response that said, according to court documents, "Seems like you're very willing to invite a man you only know from the Internet over to your house -- have you done it before, or do they usually invite you to their house?"

The post then continues with references to the boy's "mommy," saying that statements made by her son may cause her political problems after her election, according to court records. (Chicago Breaking News)

According to Chicago Breaking News, the newspaper turned over Hipcheck16's IP address, and Stone sought his identity from Comcast.  Although the record is not entirely clear, it looks like counsel for Hipcheck16 then intervened and sought a protective order, which the court denied in November 2009, though the court ruled that only Stone and a process server—should she file eventually file a lawsuit—could learn of Hipcheck16's identity.  

Later in November, the court granted a stay of the order for a month, to give Michael Furlong, Hipcheck16's lawyer, time to appeal.  Furlong told Chicago Breaking News that he intended to appeal.

Update:

03/15/2010 - EFF and The Media Freedom and Information Access Practicum filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Hipcheck16's appeal.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Clem v. Richmond Register

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

08/25/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Richmond Register

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Madison Circuit Court

Case Number: 

08-CI-01296

Legal Counsel: 

Kenyon Meyer

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

A Kentucky college student who was kicked out of a mall for wearing a short dress issued a subpoena to the Richmond Register seeking the identity of an anonymous poster on the newspaper's website.  The subpoena was issued in connection with a case filed in Kentucky state court against the anonymous commenter for allegedly posting a defamatory comment about her on the Richmond Register's site on Aug. 13, 2008, under a story about the mall incident. According to the complaint, the commenter, identified only as 12bme, claimed Clem was kicked out because she exposed herself to another woman and her children. 

The newspaper subsequently deleted the comment and banned 12bme from the site for violating the site's terms of service. According to the Student Press Law Center, the newspaper opposed Clem's subpoena, claiming that the identity of the commenter  should fall under the Kentucky's reporter shield law because a Register reporter wrote an article about the lawsuit, which mentioned the comment.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

6/28/09 AVM - court website has no images, nothing in W, similar to the LVR case 

6/24/09 CMF

Jurisdiction: 

Clem v. Doe

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

08/25/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe a/k/a 12bme

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Madison Circuit Court

Case Number: 

08-CI-01296

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On August 25, 2008, a Kentucky college student who was kicked out of a mall for wearing a short dress filed suit in Kentucky state court against an anonymous commenter for allegedly posting a defamatory comment about her on a newspaper's website.  According to news reports, the comment appeared on the Richmond Register's site on Aug. 13, 2008, under a story about the mall incident. According to the complaint, the commenter, identified only as 12bme, claimed Clem was kicked out because she exposed herself to another woman and her children. 

The newspaper subsequently deleted the comment and banned 12bme from the site for violating the site's terms of service. Clem filed suit against 12bme and subpoenaed the Register for the identity of the poster. According to the Student Press Law Center, the newspaper opposed Clem's subpoena, claiming that the identity of the commenter  should fall under the Kentucky's reporter shield law because a Register reporter wrote an article about the lawsuit, which mentioned the comment.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

6/28/09 AVM - court website has no images, nothing in W, similar to the LVR case 

6/24/09 CMF

Jurisdiction: 

Rakofsky v. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Date: 

12/17/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Sun-Sentinel Company; Tribune Interactive, Inc.; Tribune Company of Chicago

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Large Organization
Media Company

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida

Case Number: 

0967800

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Pembroke Pines Police Officer Daniel Rakofsky filed a "Complaint for Pure Bill of Discovery" against the publishers of the South Florid Sun-Sentinel newspaper, seeking the identities of several pseudonymous commenters to a Sun-Sentinel article about him. 

On November 5, 2009, the Sun-Sentinel published an article about Officer Rakofsky under the headline "Officer accused of sending nude photos of ex-lover."  (The article is no longer available on the Sun-Sentinel site, but is available on its mobile news platform and WPTV.com.)  According to Rakofsky's complaint, the comments section associated with the article contained unspecified, allegedly defamatory statements about him posted by pseudonymous users of the website.  

The "pure bill of discovery" used by Rakofsky is a procedural mechanism recognized in Florida, through which the plaintiff can obtain factual information from a defendant (here, the newspaper) in anticipation of filing another lawsuit against an ultimate wrongdoer (here, the commenters).  It is similar to the petition for "pre-action discovery" involved in the Liskula Cohen case in New York.

It is not clear whether the Sun-Sentinel has formally responded as of the date of writing.

Update:

2/24/2010 - The Sun-Sentinel moves to dismiss.

4/16/2010 - Rakofsky opposes the paper's motion.

4/26/2010 - The court denies the Sun-Sentinel's motion to dismiss.

5/18/2010 - The Sun-Sentinel files an answer to the complaint.

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Sedersten v. The Springfield News-Leader

Date: 

09/02/2009

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Gannett Missouri Publishing, Inc. d/b/a The Springfield News-Leader

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Large Organization
Media Company

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri

Case Number: 

09-3031-CV-S-GAF

Legal Counsel: 

Jason C. Smith, Bryan O. Wade - Husch Blackwell Sanders, LLP-Spfd

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Subpoena Quashed

Description: 

John Sedersten subpoenaed The Springfield News-Leader to obtain information about "bornandraisedhere," a pseudonymous commenter who posted a comment to an article on the News-Leader's website.  The subpoena issued in conjunction with Sedersten's civil lawsuit against the City of Springfield, Missouri, Springfield's police chief, and a former Springfield police officer.  The News-Leader article discussed county prosecutors' decision to drop charges against the police officer, a decision that "bornandraisedhere" sharply criticized in his/her comment.

Gannett Missouri Publishing, the publisher of the News-Leader, objected to the subpoena, and Sedersten moved to compel the newspaper to turn over information.  In December 2009, the court denied Sedersten's motion to compel, ruling that bornandraisedhere's identity was not central to establishing Sedersten's negligence case against the City and its police chief.  The court also recognized that the commenter was entitled to First Amendment protection and had not waived that protection by agreeing to the News-Leader's privacy policy, which reserves to the newspaper "the right to use, and to disclose to third parties, all of the information collected from and about [users] while [using] the Site in any way and for any purpose."

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Man Bites Dog: Prosecutor Pays a Price for Chasing Commenters

When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news. — attributed to  New York Sun city editor John B.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce v. "Elmer Fudd"

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

09/04/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe a.k.a "Elmer Fudd"

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Horry County Court of Common Pleas, South Carolina

Legal Counsel: 

Pro Se

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced

Description: 

On September 4, 2009, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce sued  "Elmer Fudd," an anonymous commenter on TheSunNews.com.  From Popehat (quoting the original Sun News article that is no longer available):

The posts, which appeared on the comment sections of several stories last month, claimed the Horry County Sheriff's Department had conducted raids at the chamber and other businesses. The posts also claimed that computers were seized from those businesses, although a sheriff’s department spokesman said no raids occurred and no computers were seized.

"The claims were absolutely false," said Cherie Blackburn, a lawyer representing the chamber of commerce. Blackburn termed the posts "a vicious cyber defamation campaign" in court documents filed Friday in Conway.

The publisher of TheSunNews.com notified "Elmer Fudd" that, pursuant to a subpoeana, she would reveal his identity to the Chamber unless he objected to the subpoena. The newspaper is not a party to the suit. "Elmer Fudd" filed a motion protesting the release of his information, arguing that the subpoena violated his First Amendment right to speak anonymously and that he did not have sufficient time to find an attorney.  Fudd did not appear through an attorney at a December hearing on the Chamber's motion to compel disclosure of his identifying information.

According to TheSunNews.com, the court signed an order on December 4 compelling it to turn over identifying information to the Chamber.  The SunNews.com did not have records identifying the poster's name, but turned over an email address "noadtax@gmail.com."  (There appears to be a related facebook page, No Ad Tax.)

TheSunNews.com reported on December 5 that Grand Strand Chamber of Commerce founder Ward Shepherd named former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride as "Elmer Fudd," after being subpoenaed by an attorney for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

-MW reviewing 10/. cannot find court documents. 

Jurisdiction: 

Office Space Star Ron Livingston Sues Wikipedia Prankster, Community Norms At Issue

Maybe I'm a big dork, but I think Office Space is a totally hilarious movie.  And based on his starring role in the film, I would assume that actor Ron Livingston has a pretty good sense of humor.  But apparently not so, at least when it comes to web 2.0 technologies and his personal life.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Lemkins v. Lexington Herald-Leader

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

11/09/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Lexington Herald-Leader

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Fayette Circuit Court

Publication Medium: 

Website

Description: 

On November 9, 2009, Kentucky attorney Astrida Lemkins issued a subpoena to the Lexington Herald-Leader, which operates the website Kentucky.com, seeking the identity of an anonymous commenter.  The subpoena was issued in connection with a defamation lawsuit filed by Lemkins against the commenter in state court.

At issue in the lawsuit are comments made by a commenter called "supercalifragilistic"to a September 18 article about Lemkins' client, accused killer Steve Nunn.  According to local television station WKYT, the comments contained claims that Lemkins "was mentally ill," had threatened to kill herself and had urged her client to "really really really get a new lawyer."

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Lemkins v. Doe

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

11/09/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Doe

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Fayette Circuit Court

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On November 9, 2009, Kentucky attorney Astrida Lemkins filed a defamation lawsuit in state court against an anonymous individual that posted comments about her on the website Kentucky.com.

At issue in the lawsuit are comments made by a commenter called "supercalifragilistic" to a September 18 article about Lemkins' client, accused killer Steve Nunn.  According to local television station WKYT, the comments contained claims that Lemkins "was mentally ill," had threatened to kill herself and had urged her client to "really really really get a new lawyer."

After filing her lawsuit, Lemkins issued a subpoena to the Lexington Herald-Leader, which operates Kentucky.com, seeking the commenter's identity.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Zuleger v. Klocko

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

04/01/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Paul Klocko

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Dean Zuleger, the Village Administrator in Weston, Wisconsin, sent a letter to Paul Klocko, a local businessman, demanding that he cease making anonymous derogatory statements about him on the website for the Wausau Daily Herald.  Klocko had posted his comments on the Daily Herald's website after Zuleger was named Person of the Year by the paper.  According to the Associated Press:

Readers anonymously flooded the Wausau Daily Herald's Web site with comments bashing Zuleger's salary, his management style, his weight. One person suggested his third chin should have been nominated.

''I have just two words for Dean Zuleger, and they are ... A) anger management. B) salad bar. C) Rod Blagojevich. D) all of the above. The correct answer is D.,'' one posting read.

Zuleger asked the Daily Herald for the identity of the user behind the comments, and the newspaper complied with his request by releasing the e-mail address associated with Klocko's username.  Zuleger contacted the Daily Herald and demanded to know the identify of the commenter and the paper handed over one critic's e-mail address.

Zuleger then sent a letter on his official stationery, telling Klocko to stop the personal attacks and ''come out from behind the cloak'' and meet him.

The Daily Herald later apologized to Klocko for revealing his identity and the paper's corporate parent, Gannett Co., has clarified its policies on anonymous speech, stating that it will release information only if ordered by a court or if a comment contains a threat of imminent harm.

No lawsuit has been filed.

Content Type: 

CMLP Notes: 

EK - editing [11/28/09]

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

United States v Indymedia.us

Date: 

01/23/2009

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Kristina Clair

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Indiana

Case Number: 

09-01-DLP-15-10

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$0.00

Legal Counsel: 

Kevin Bankston - Electronic Frontier Foundation

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

In January 2009, Kristina Clair received a grand jury subpoena issued upon application of the United States Attorney for the District of Indiana, Timothy M. Morrison. Ms. Clair is a Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for Indymedia.us, an independent news aggregation site with a left-of-center activist orientation. 

The subpoena demanded "all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us" on June 25, 2008.  It instructed Ms. Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including email addresses, telephone numbers, records of session times and durations, physical addresses, registered accounts, and financial information.  The subpoena also prohibited Ms. Clair from disclosing "the existence of this request unless authorized by the Assistant U.S. Attorney." 

Ms. Clair contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which agreed to represent her.  Kevin Bankston of EFF sent a letter to Doris L. Pryor, the Assistant United States Attorney on the case, explaining that Ms. Clair did not possess the information requested, objecting that the subpoena was not personally served on Ms. Clair, and arguing that disclosure of the requested information would require a court order under federal electronic privacy law.  Further, the letter pointed out that grand jury secrecy requirements do not reach witnesses or prospective witnesses, and therefore the government had no basis to restrain Ms. Clair's speech about the existence of the subpoena.

U.S. Attorney Morrison replied 12 days letter with a one sentence letter informing Bankston that the subpoena had been withdrawn.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

United States v. Weaver

Date: 

06/11/2009

Threat Type: 

Criminal Charge

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Jeffrey Lynn Weaver

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia

Case Number: 

7:09-cr-00032

Legal Counsel: 

Fay Francis Spence (Federal Public Defender's Office WDVA); LLoyd Bradford Bradford (L. Brad Bradford P.C.)

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Convicted

Description: 

On June 11, 2009, Jeffrey Weaver was criminally indicted for statements he posted to InfoWars.com that threatened a California transit police officer and threatened the officer's family.  InfoWars.com is a website run by talk radio host Alex Jones.

According to the affidavit by the FBI officer who investigated the case, on January 7, 2009, an anonymous poster using the name "FuckThePIGS" posted a comment on InfoWars.com that identified Officer Johannes Mehserle by name and address, and made threatening statements about killing officer Mehserle and his wife and baby.  Officer Mehserle is a former Bay Area Transit Authority (BART) officer who has been criminally charged for a controversial shooting in January, 2009, that was caught on video.

Using IP records provided by an InfoWars administrator, the FBI was able to identify the poster as Jeffery Weaver, of Roanoke, Virginia.  Weaver was indicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

On August 14, 2009, Weaver pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure a person, as well as one count of willful copyright infringement.  His sentencing hearing is set for December 14, 2009.

CMLP Notes: 

RB 11/12/09- No info available in docket about the copyright infrigement charge.  Likely arose out of something found on his computer which was confiscated in the search.  

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Florida v. RateMyCop.com

Date: 

05/01/2008

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

RateMyCop.com

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

State

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced

Description: 

The Tallahassee Police Department subpoenaed records from RateMyCop.com after an anonymous user posted the name, address, and telephone number of a Tallahassee police officer on the site, according to Wired. When the authorities obtained identifying information for the poster, they arrested and charged Robert Brayshaw with a violation of Fla. Stat. § 843.17. Section 843.17 prohibits publication of a law enforcement officer's residential address or telephone number with the intent to intimidate, hinder, or interrupt any law enforcement officer in the legal performance of his or her duties.

A state court judge ultimately dismissed the charges against Brayshaw with prejudice for failure to comply with Florida's speedy trial requirements. Brayshaw then filed a complaint in federal court in Florida, seeking a declaration that Section 843.17 violates the First Amendment. 

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

EK - editing [10/23/2009] (also related entry State of Florida v. Brayshaw: http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/state-florida-v-brayshaw)

Subject Area: 

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