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"Skank case" precedent worries privacy groups

Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, said of the Cohen case:

"The notion that you can use the court as your personal private investigator to out anonymous critics is a dangerous precedent to set. This doesn't change the rules ... but I think the practical impact is that litigious people will see this as a green light to try to out critics. It's one of those bad facts make bad law cases. The court looked at the type of statements being made and the person wasn't engaging in very defensive behavior and unfortunately that affected the court's outcome. ... What the court was reacting to was what was more sympathetic, which was the plaintiff."

Thursday, August 20, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle

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