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Blogger Fights for Free Speech in New Jersey

PRESS RELEASE
November 28, 2007
EFF Defends Critic from Local Government's Heavy-Handed Tactics

Manalapan, NJ - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a Superior Court judge in New Jersey today to preserve the free speech rights of an anonymous blogger facing legal threats from local government officials.

The blogger, writing as "daTruthSquad" on a site hosted on Google's Blogspot service, has criticized a controversial lawsuit filed by the township of Manalapan, as well as the officials who decided to pursue the case. The township subpoenaed Google for "daTruthSquad's" identity -- as well as for any emails, blog drafts, and other information Google has about the blogger -- claiming that the defendant in the case is actually writing the posts. The defendant, however, has already sworn under penalty of perjury that he is not "daTruthSquad."

"Bloggers, as well as everyone else, have a First Amendment right to speak anonymously," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "Litigants don't get a blank check to pry into the private lives of critics when they say things the litigants don't like. The fact that it is the government trying to abuse the discovery process makes this attempted invasion of privacy all the more repugnant."

In a motion to quash the subpoena filed today, EFF asked the court to block the township's attempt to uncover the identity of "daTruthSquad" and allow the blogger to continue to write about this or any other issue without being forced to identity him or herself.

"Attempts to intimidate critics into silence need to be confronted whenever and wherever they occur," said Zimmerman. "Governmental entities simply cannot be permitted to investigate critics because they dare to voice disapproval of public officials. It remains our sincere hope that the Township will abandon this intolerable legal strategy."

For the full motion to quash:
http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/manalapan/motiontoquashmpa-signed.pdf

For more on this case:
http://www.eff.org/cases/manalapan-v-moskovitz

Contacts:

Matt Zimmerman
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
mattz@eff.org

Rebecca Jeschke
Media Coordinator
Electronic Frontier Foundation
press@eff.org

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