No anonymity in UK Forums

…if there’s potential libel at least.

Related to the earlier discussion about hosting of forums – libel, not data protection this time:

A UK judge has ordered a football fans’ website to hand over details of posters who made potentially defamatory remarks about directors of Sheffield Wednesday. The move, in what’s being viewed as a test case, has implications for the owners of, and posters on, other football chat websites.

And not just football sites, I’d think. Some of the comments suggest hosting forums in India, or somewhere else that’s difficult for the lawyers to get to, which brings us back to the DPA.

Update – 24 October
This case triggered a pretty extensive debate on the Guardian’s Comment is Free here. As you could probably predict, the author and professional writer Dapha Baram argued for individual accountability, while the mostly pseudonymous commenters agreed that anonymity is a good thing.

There doesn’t seem to have been much discussion about when the cloak of anonymity should be stripped away, which I would say is the main point of the story.

Anyway, as GavP said in the debate:

This topic comes up about once every couple of months. Different blogger each time, but the resulting arguments are virtual carbon copies of each other.

About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
This entry was posted in Daily Links, e-participation, news, Privacy, UK. Bookmark the permalink.

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