EFF Wins One For The Bloggers
The Electronic Frontier Foundation — the web's version of the American Civil Liberties Union — hit the ball out of the park last week in New Jersey, winning a home run victory in the fight to recognize bloggers as legitimate journalists with — gasp — constitutional rights.
The victory came in the case of Manalapan v. Moskovitz, but didn't — we think — involve either of the parties to the case. We say "think" because the central issue was a subpoena issued by Manalapan Township demanding that Google turn over information about the identity of a blogger known only as "datruthsquad." The city's leaders, who filed a malpractice suit against their former lawyer Stuart Moskovitz in June, don't like the unflattering things "datruthsquad" has to say about them, so they decided to engage in a bit of Manalapan McCarthyism, demanding that Blogspot-owner Google turn over the goods on the anonymous blogger. The city's tactics didn't sit well with the EFF — they tend to get a bit testy about government trampling on the Bill of Rights, dontchaknow.
The scene played out Friday in Judge Terence Flynn's courtroom, with his decision to "quash" (that's lawyer-speak for invalidate) the subpoena on First Amendment grounds, meaning that Google doesn't have to hand anything over, and "datruthsquad" survives to blog anonymously another day.
Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.