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Boundaries of Anonymous Speech?

Story out of my hood, where New Jersey state prosecutors are subpoeaning records from JuicyCampus, a college gossip site that’s been growing as it has rolled out across campuses across the U.S. What’s caught the prosecutors attention are sexual, racial, anti-semitic and malicious comments that’s students have been posting anonymously about each other.

The issue isn’t the anonymity, it’s the boundaries on the anonymity. Allegedly, the allegedly claims to provide a way to counter or report false claims but apparently doesn’t. That’s prompted concern not just by the prosecutors but also by students on some campuses.

The state is looking into whether the JuicyCampus violates the Computer Fraud Act for deceptive practices, I suppose, but also the “unconscionable commercial practices.”

So does this mean that Web sites can’t clean up their own act, will government officials try to do it for them? Are they just able to pursue this case because the company allegedly promised something and did something else? And if you make a best effort to monitor for hate speech or libel, are you basically immune?

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