1993-03-01 - Re: more ideas on anonymity

Header Data

From: pmetzger@shearson.com (Perry E. Metzger)
To: tytso@athena.mit.edu
Message Hash: 9eeb3b418ac33f374c918aa4602d36c9781119c54cc16a9eecb0a9c1ee6e2878
Message ID: <9303011827.AA15335@maggie.shearson.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-01 19:44:50 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 1 Mar 93 11:44:50 PST

Raw message

From: pmetzger@shearson.com (Perry E. Metzger)
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 93 11:44:50 PST
To: tytso@athena.mit.edu
Subject: Re: more ideas on anonymity
Message-ID: <9303011827.AA15335@maggie.shearson.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> From: Theodore Ts'o <tytso@athena.mit.edu>

> I see.  So you don't believe in libel or slander laws.
> And NBC was perfectly justified in faking an explosion in a GM truck to
> show it was unsafe, and broadcast it on prime-time TV.  And it didn't do
> anybody any harm at all.  Uh huh.
> Try again.....

I believe that Theodore is confusing the notion of tort and the notion of

Slander and Libel are torts, that is, they are civil matters. Prior restraint
of speech is brought up in the context of CRIMINAL acts. As an example,
obviously, if I promise you that what I am about to tell you is the
true formula for a drug who's design I am selling you and I lie, I
am liable under our contract. Also similarly, it is possible under various
legal arguments to consider slander to be a tort. However, it is something
different if the government claims that my saying "all green people should
be killed" is a crime. Now, on the issue of slander, the notion of anonymity
is largely unimportant. If I had walked into the middle of the street and
ranted for an hour saying that GM trucks are unsafe, that would be largely
ignored, as most anonymous denunciations likely are. The issue is if a
non-anonymous individual or entity with credibility, like NBC, says something
that is false.