Apparently, some comments on the Las VegasReview-Journal’s blog site have ruffled some feathers at the US Attorney’s Office. None of the comments were criminal, libelous, nor did they seem to incite a clear and present danger to anyone. The comments were normal for any online blog or website. However, according to the Review-Journal, a Federal subpoena mandated the presentation of the:
full name, date of birth, physical address, gender, ZIP code, password prompts, security questions, telephone numbers and other identifiers … the IP address,” of all commenters on a certain post.
The Review Journal has decided to fight the subpoena “tooth and nail”. For starters, the majority of the commenting public use pseudonyms, fake e-mail addresses, and the RJ does not require registration to comment; i.e., physical addresses, names, phone numbers (etc.). It is impossible to find this information. Further, these subpoenas will have a chilling effect on public discourse, and are in direct violation of the Supreme Court and the US Constitution’s views on the Freedom of Speech and the internet.
Unlike child pornography and terorrist websites, the government does not have a compelling governmental interest in what I comment on the Las Vegas Review Journal or what websites I have visited. This is in direct violation of everything the First Amendment stands for; public discourse. I hope the Review Journal stands up for my liberties and rights as an American Citizen. I enjoy participating in local politics and I have commented many times on such websites. If these subpoenas are allowed, a horrible precedent would be set for future Federal Magistrates regarding subpoenas and warrants. People will stop commenting and participating. I agree that many of the posts are ignorant and have little to say, but the First Amendment is very clear…
Congress shall make NO law respecting . . . or abridging the freedom of speech.
No sign of the ACLU just yet.