Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DOJ subpoenas Reason for blog commenters' IDs

Feds Subpoena Libertarian Media Site Over Comments Threatening Silk Road Judge - Forbes - Kate Vinton:

June 9, 2015 - "The Department of Justice issued a grand jury subpoena to Reason.com last week, asking the libertarian media site for the identities of six readers who had posted comments threatening Silk Road Judge Katherine Forrest.

"Blogger Ken White obtained the subpoena and published it in a post on popehat.com on Monday. The subpoena asked Reason.com to provide the government with account information, email addresses, telephone numbers, IP addresses, billing information and associated devices for six Reason.com readers. These readers had issued threatening statements against Forrest, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York who presided over the trial of Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht. The threats appeared in response to a post describing how Forrest had sentenced Ulbricht to life in prison for running the online drug marketplace on May 29, 2015.

"In the subpoena, the government cited a violation to U.S. Code Title 18 Section 875, which prohibits 'transmitting any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another.' This law has been applied to cyberbullying, stalking and threats transmitted over the Internet. In his post, White argues that the comments are not 'true threats' outside of First Amendment protection because they don’t present an actual plan to commit violence. As such, a subpoena is not warranted and would be of the grand jury’s 'nearly unchecked' power.

The six comments listed in the subpoena build on each other, with escalating threats of violence against Forrest. A reader with the username 'Agammamon' wrote, 'Its judges like these that should be taken out back and shot.' A couple hours later, reader 'Alan' responded, 'It’s judges like these that will be taken out back and shot.' The six comments no longer appear on on the Reason.com post, although other comments by the same readers remain."

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2015/06/09/feds-subpoena-libertarian-media-site-over-comments-threatening-silk-road-judge/

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