Kathy English discusses this past weekend in The Star some of the issues of online commenting which have been raised here recently,
Would you be willing to express your opinions under your real names?
Can news organizations find a way to compel online commenters to speak out under their true identities? Should the media ever unmask anonymous commenters? Can the courts force them to do so? Should they?
Most importantly, is the end of online anonymity near?
These are important questions now under consideration in news organizations and courts throughout North America. This week, a Nova Scotia judge ordered both Google and a weekly newspaper called the Coast to provide information about the identities of people who posted anonymous critical comments about the Halifax fire chief and his deputy.
It’s one thing for sites like Slaw to deliberate online commenting policies (and liabilities), but it’s an entirely different endeavour for media magnates like The Star, the largest print publication in Canada.
But will the courts treat them differently, and if so, how?