Tuesday, 31 March 2009

About the Doogan affair.

From Slashdot:
Snoskred writes with the story of a blogger who chose to remain pseudonymous, who has been outed by an Alaskan politician in his legislative newsletter. Alaska Rep. Mike Doogan had been writing bizarre emails to people who emailed him, and the Alaskan blogger "Mudflats" was one of those who called him on it. (Mudflats first began getting noticed after blogging about Sarah Palin from a local point of view.) Doogan seems to have developed a particular itch to learn who Mudflats is, and he finally found out, though he got her last name wrong, and named her in his official newsletter. The Huffington Post is one of the many outlets writing about the affair. The blogger happens to be Democrat — as is Doogan — but that is immaterial to the question of the right to anonymity in political speech. Does an American have the right to post political opinion online anonymously? May a government official breach that anonymity absent a compelling state interest?
I've long since learnt nothing on the internet is anonymous, no matter how many precautionary steps you take, but I have to say I don't feel too good about this whole affair. I know my own anyonimization is flimsier than a wet cardboard box, and I'm not nearly important to have my privacy violated by an elected official, but I can't help but feel that I'd be really angry if someone'd done the same to me.

I guess this just reminds us all that we need to watch what sort of wake we leave on the internet.

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