I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Anonymous Bloggers In Trouble---ACLU to the Rescue?

An Anonymous blogger (possibly an insider or employee) critical of the Memphis Police department is on the verge of havng his identity revealed against his will. The city of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department have filed a lawsuit to unmask the blogger (s).

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

The lawsuit asks AOL to produce all information related to the identity of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0, a blog popular with police officers that has been extremely critical of police leadership

I find this story to be Interesting on several different levels, most importantly because of the strong stance the ACLU of Tennessee is taking in support of the Anonymous Bloggers. I agree with the ACLU on very few issues. Very few. They may be onto something in this case though..

from the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

"Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee said they will be watching the case closely and that anonymous speech is essential to the free flow of ideas in a democracy.
"We are quite interested in preserving the anonymity of the bloggers," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee. "Anonymous speech has long been protected speech under the First Amendment."

Read the full article here:

The follow up story is here:

I wonder what the local branch of the ACLU would think about this story?


Anonymous said...

Two issues. first of all, the local ACLU branch is fairly weak and ineffective. When was the last time they have done anything? Issue two, what does the Sherrif's office in Memphis TN have to do with Education in Escambia County?

Jeff Bergosh said...

I disagree with most of the ACLU positions on most of the issues they insert themselves into. One thing I agree with them on is the protection of free speech. This article entry was interesting to me, for many reasons, and definitely not about education in Escambia county. But, sometimes I'm going to insert articles that interest me and that I think are pertinent, into the blog. One thing is certain, our local Daily paper and the alt weekly won't talk about this story.

But I'm going to follow this as it plays out, because I think anonymity on Blogs is a thorny issue that needs to be sorted out, and many web-based news papers are trying to figure out how to deal with it.

Our local area News sites are all dominated by anonymous postersm, with fewer than 10% of people posting with their real names. It's funny to me how many anonymous posters bash other anonymous posters for posting anonymously, though. Its funny to watch the pots calling the kettles black!

Anonymous said...

I agree that free speech needs to be protected as long as there is no libel contained in the blogs. Jeff i noticed that PNJs blogs are much slower to load than the commercial appeals. Do you know why? I think the PNJ really doesn't like them as people read them and not their news. I think the bloggers should be sponsered by advertisers, which would make the issue easeier. What say you my friend?

Jeff Bergosh said...

I, too, have noticed that the PNJ online loads extremely slow. It is frustrating when I'm trying to read what has been posted. I think it has to do with their new site, and needing all the fancy advertising to load before the news items. It is super s-l-o-w. As you have probably realized, many times the comments are much better/more entertaining than the original articles. Maybe PNJ does not want spotlight away from their original articles and on the posters? Who knows why. The Memphis Commercial Appeal, in contrast, has it set up the right way--comments load immediately. Pensacola has only this one paper though. monopoly. It would serve the community well if there was some competition, perhaps mobile could do a "pensacola edition?" or maybe the NWF daily news?

that might work. In the meantime, though, most people just get the news from the internet, cutting out the middle man (PNJ). and for blogging, I hear gulf coast gab is a pretty good site--check them out. Their posts load quicker than lightning, compared to PNJ.