Judge tells site to reveal anonymous commenters’ names

A British court has ordered a site to reveal the names of anonymous commenters who criticized a football club.

The judge ordered that three fans whose postings might “reasonably be understood to allege greed, selfishness, untrustworthiness and dishonest behaviour”, should be unmasked. Their right to maintain their anonymity and express themselves freely was outweighed by the directors’ entitlement to take action to protect their reputation, he said.

Court orders obliging websites to disclose the identity of users posting anonymous defamatory remarks began in 2001.

Dominic Bray, of K&L Gates, Sheffield Wednesday’s solicitors, said: “There seem to be quite a lot of websites that are using their anonymity to make comments about people and think that there shouldn’t be any liability for it. But the internet is no different to any other place of publication, and if somebody is making defamatory comments about people then they should be held responsible for it. What these cases do is just confirm that’s the law – the law applies to the internet as much as it does to anything else.”

  • Jane Abao

    Right so! Many hide their identity just so they can make loose and irresponsible remarks without a dint of shame and guilt for whatever damage they can cause others.

  • Tracy

    But how do you force someone to give their real name? Short of requiring some sort of background check you’ll still end up with a lot of names like Dick Buttkiss or Santa Clause.

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    These days you can never be too careful about the people you associate with. A sign of the times I suppose.

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