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05/12/2021

Liberty Pulse

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Judge Shields Identity of Online Critic Facing Baseless Lawsuit

1 min read

Judge Shields Identity of Online Critic Facing Baseless Lawsuit

San Francisco – A federal judge in San Francisco has quashed a baseless subpoena aimed at outing an anonymous online critic of Pennsylvania corporation USA Technologies after the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) successfully argued that the First Amendment shields the identity of anonymous speakers who engage in lawful speech.

“All too frequently, companies turn to the courts in misguided attempts to chill speech and ‘out’ their critics, believing that those critics lack the resources or will to defend themselves,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. “The First Amendment ensures that vigorous debates about matters of public concern can continue unabated, a fact that the court correctly recognized.”

EFF represents Yahoo! user “Stokklerk,” who criticized USA Technologies and its CEO, George Jensen, Jr., on a Yahoo! message board, drawing attention to plummeting stock prices, high compensation rates for executives, and a consistent lack of profitability. Other anonymous posters had similar complaints.

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