ON FRIDAY, a New Jersey Superior Court judge quashed a subpoena seeking the identity of an anonymous blogger.
Known only by the pseudonym "daTruthSquad" on Google's Blogspot service, the blogger was strongly critical of local government in Manalapan township.
After the blog critic became especially outspoken about the township filing a malpractice lawsuit against its former city attorney, the township subpoenaed Google demanding that it divulge the blogger's identity, contact information, emails, blog drafts and "any and all information related to the blog."
Manalapan's anonymous nemesis turned to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for legal representation. The EFF asked the township to withdraw the subpoena, terming it "frivolous" and unenforceable, an improper attempt to " unmask an anonymous speaker who was engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment." The township's lawyers told the EFF to complain to a judge.
In late November, the EFF did just that, filing a motion to quash the subpoena.
In a hearing Friday, Judge Terence Flynn granted the EFF's motion, ruling that the blogger has the right to anonymous speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
"We're grateful that Judge Flynn upheld the First Amendment rights of our client and recognized that anonymous speakers should not be intimidated into silence through the discovery process," EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman said in a statement. "Now 'daTruthSquad' can continue to discuss township business without fear of government reprisal." µ
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