News Burst: Brief filed to reveal identity of Netizen

'Jane Doe' case prompts defence of individuals' right to remain anonymous

Lawsuits over users' rights to maintain online anonymity appear to be proliferating. On 13 October, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public filed a brief on behalf of an individual, known as "Jane Doe", who posted comments to a Yahoo! message board that an AK Steel Corporation (formerly Armco Steel) executive said were disparaging, threatening, and defamatory.

AK Steel general counsel and executive vice president John Hritz subsequently filed a petition for discovery in the state of Ohio against Jane Doe. He used the petition to issue subpoenas to Yahoo! and America Online, requesting that they be required to reveal Doe's identity.

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