Post Anonymously

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Positive Real Estate Professionals

Today I came across a wonderful, albeit unsettling post written by the ladies who run the 2 Witches Blog. Apparently volcanoes are not the only things that can shake the frozen ground of Alaska with consequences for Americans everywhere. The question is one's right to remain anonymous when writing a blog or commenting on a post.

You might be wondering why on earth one would want to remain anonymous when writing a post or commenting on a blog, especially if they have nothing to hide. This is the classic argument used to imply that those wanting to remain anonymous must want to do so because they are doing something nefarious. Though this could be the case for some people, I believe that the majority of writers who want to remain anonymous do so for no devious reason at all. Possible innocuous reasons one might want to remain anonymous could be that they are reporting on the misdeeds or illegal actions of their employer and fear punitive action, they don't want to expose loved ones to retribution or harm, and many people use blogs as a cathartic tool to help them recover from domestic abuse, drug addiction, and any number of other personal issues that might prompt them to want to write a blog while remaining anonymous.

The issue of being able to remain anonymous is important because it is federally protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Furthermore, because U.S. Representative Mike Doogan (D) - Alaska, divulged the identity of the author of The Mudflats using government resources, he has committed a "state action" which could be grounds for a section 1983 Civil Rights claim. Below is the verbatim 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Civil Rights Act of 1871):

A person states a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if he alleges that the defendant deprived him of a constitutional right while acting "under color" of state law. Specifically, § 1983 provides that:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

In order to state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege a violation of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and that such violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. (source:E.L. Infonet)

Coming to the defense of the author of The Mudflats are some pretty liberal blogs, including Palingates and SHANNYN MOORE: JUST A GIRL FROM HOMER. I think the support The Mudflats is getting for her demonstrates that this issue transcends conservative and liberal politics. HERE is a direct link from Palingates that allows you to fight back against Congressman Doogan's violation of the U.S. Constitution. And here is an eloguent post by the Electronic Frontier Foundation entitled Why Join The Fight? which explains the need to protect anonymous blogging.

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Topic:
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Groups:
Wrong Right Turn
Silent Majority
Proud to be a Liberal
Politics And Real Estate
Blatant Politics
Tags:
rich dansereau
thornton team
politics
mike doogan
alaska
congress
first amendment

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Rainer
15,791
Gina Duncan
Maui Real Estate Advisors LLC - Kihei, HI
R Broker, ABR, AHWD, BPOR

Scary but reminds me of the Bush years when if you disagreed you were labeled "Un-American".

 

 

Mar 30, 2009 06:52 PM #1
Rainer
64,397
Scott Smith
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Gloucester, MA
Gloucester & Rockport, Massachusetts

Gina: When Bush was criticized, one was called "un-American" and "Un-patriotic." Now, the reich wing is trashing Obama at every turn and they are calling themselves "patriotic Americans" for standing up to him.

They really need to grow up and be part of the solution.  

 

Mar 31, 2009 09:06 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,397,470
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Interesting. It is hard to remember when we want our name out as a real estat blogger and  24 hour contact info, and three or four head shots on a post that bloggers would want to be anonymous but of course on a different kind of blog that is important.  

 

Mar 31, 2009 12:03 PM #3
Rainmaker
511,089
Delaware Junk Removal Residential And Commercial Hauling Clean Outs
Delaware Junk Removal 302-530-9186 - Wilmington, DE
Whole House Clean Outs, Basements, Garages, Attics

Gina- Or the obama years where if you speak out you must be a racist?

Mar 31, 2009 02:22 PM #4
Rainer
129,777
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Gina & Scott - I think that both of your comments demonstrate the importance of the First Amendment.

Maureen - Very true that the type and purpose of a blog will often dictate its presentation.

Larry - Hyperbole is easily recognized in your unfortunate and provocative comment.

Mar 31, 2009 02:44 PM #5
Rainmaker
217,670
Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire

This seems to be one of those situations where there are arguments to be made on both sides. But Freedom of Speech is so precious, IMO its protection should remain the priority.

Mar 31, 2009 05:39 PM #6
Rainer
64,397
Scott Smith
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Gloucester, MA
Gloucester & Rockport, Massachusetts

Larry: Are you channeling Angie Harmon? She said the exact same thing yesterday.

Apr 01, 2009 06:47 AM #7
Rainer
129,777
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Joan - I agree that Freedom of Speech must remain the priority.

Larry - I definitely believe that is important as an American to criticize our country's leadership. IMHO, criticism definitely does not make one un-American, as has sometimes been claimed in the past, instead criticizing demonstrates a desire to improve our country. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to express their opinion, either anonymously or not.

Apr 01, 2009 07:03 PM #8
Rainmaker
414,781
Betina Foreman
512-771-6318 Austin Home Girls Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E. Selling Homes in Lake Travis & Central Austin!

In this country we as Americans have a right to have an opinion, that said I feel that it is in bad taste to bombard someone with your "opinion". I think adults should be adults and agree to disagree sometimes. I am OK with some comments being anonymous. I don't feel threatened when somebody expresses an opinion. While it is fair to know who is commenting it should not be required or mandated, in my opinion.

I love living in America and I don't plan on leaving. I am very happy here, except for the current economy issues we are experiencing. As for the people criticizing Obama, I say give him a break. It took many years to get us in this situation, and it will take more than three months to get us out. Give the man a chance!

Apr 02, 2009 09:19 PM #9
Rainer
129,777
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Betina - Sorry for the delay in responding, I have been very busy...Rich's Pics on The Wordless Blog...Knoxville Local Expert on Neighborhood Expert Online...Positive Real Estate Professionals...Athletic Alley...and Rich Talks Real Estate! All of this plus website/blogsite design through R & D Art has got me very busy.

I agree, it is a very important First Amendment issue that commentors have the option to remain anonymous. I too believe it is much too early to tell with anything other than punditry (is that even a word? LOL). Glad to know you don't plan on going anywhere!

Apr 08, 2009 01:56 PM #10
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Rainer
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Rich Dansereau

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