Lori Drew Case & Online Anonymity

by on November 28, 2008 · 8 comments

Important article in the New York Times yesterday in which Brian Stelter wondered if, in the wake of the Lori Drew verdict this week, “Is lying about one’s identity on the Internet now a crime?” It’s still unclear if the case will have such profound ramifications, but it has many quite worried. Stelter quotes occasional TLF contributor Andrew Grossman, who is Senior Legal Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Andrew penned an outstanding paper on the case for Heritage in mid-September: “The MySpace Suicide: A Case Study in Overcriminalization.” He summarized the paper and the important issues at stake in the case in this post for the TLF: “Go to Jail for Online Anonymity: The End of Internet Freedom?”  Make sure you read them. I wholeheartedly agree with the concerns Andrew outlines in those essays.

You’ll also want to check out Orin Kerr’s analysis of the case over at the Volohk Consipiracy as well as his tounge-and-cheek piece today about changing the blog’s Terms of Service in light of the decision. I’ve been more focused recently on the threat posed to online anonymity by mandatory online age verification, but this case could have equally important ramifications.

  • MikeRT

    I find it hard to believe that the state prosecutor could not find a way to get Lori Drew charged with manslaughter at the very least because she knew that given the girl's mental condition and bipolar disorder, her actions very well could lead to the girl committing suicide. In fact, some of the communications between the conspirators and Meier could be reasonably construed as trying to get the girl to commit suicide. I think most juries would agree that if you goad someone with that sort of psychological state in the ways that Drew was goading her, at the very least she was trying to get the girl to do serious harm to herself.

  • MikeRT

    I find it hard to believe that the state prosecutor could not find a way to get Lori Drew charged with manslaughter at the very least because she knew that given the girl's mental condition and bipolar disorder, her actions very well could lead to the girl committing suicide. In fact, some of the communications between the conspirators and Meier could be reasonably construed as trying to get the girl to commit suicide. I think most juries would agree that if you goad someone with that sort of psychological state in the ways that Drew was goading her, at the very least she was trying to get the girl to do serious harm to herself.

  • MikeRT

    I find it hard to believe that the state prosecutor could not find a way to get Lori Drew charged with manslaughter at the very least because she knew that given the girl's mental condition and bipolar disorder, her actions very well could lead to the girl committing suicide. In fact, some of the communications between the conspirators and Meier could be reasonably construed as trying to get the girl to commit suicide. I think most juries would agree that if you goad someone with that sort of psychological state in the ways that Drew was goading her, at the very least she was trying to get the girl to do serious harm to herself.

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