National Public Radio reports on a case concerning the anonymity of online postings:
The judge presiding over a high-profile serial killer case in Cleveland is now herself under scrutiny after her e-mail address was linked to dozens of comments on the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Web site.
Some comments were about ongoing cases she’s hearing, including that of Anthony Sowell, who’s suspected of killing 11 women. Now, Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold is suing the newspaper for $50 million, saying it violated her privacy. […]
But it’s the release of her online identity that’s the basis of Judge Saffold’s $50 million suit against the Plain Dealer. Spitz argues that the paper violated privacy policies when it revealed Saffold’s identity.
“Either the Plain Dealer breached its promise to keep that information confidential, or it never intended to keep it confidential,” Spitz says. “So it’s either a breach of contract or fraud.”
The Web site’s policy states: “we reserve the right to use the information we collect about your computer, which may at times be able to identify you, for any lawful business purpose.”
Now that the suit has been filed, Plain Dealer editor Susan Goldberg won’t discuss it, but speaking on NPR’s On the Media recently, she defended the paper’s publication of Saffold’s identity, saying it was in the public interest.