TL;DR: A spokesperson for Reddit explained, “On Reddit, there are highly personal topics that get discussed in a real and straightforward way because of the protection that anonymity allows, including frank opinion-sharing about social and religious organizations,” referring to litigation initiated by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, an educational division of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, against anonymous critic Darkspilver.
Redditor Critic of Jehovah’s Witnesses Wins Speech Motion
Reddit is arguably the most important home for cryptocurrency enthusiasts to hash out their concerns, shill projects, and gain immediate feedback. And though subreddits can be notoriously petty and censorious, they’re valuable territory in the on-going struggle to figure out just what cryptocurrency is. Being anonymous on the platform adds another layer of frankness, and allows a commenter to post what s/he might not otherwise.
Recently, in a copyright lawsuit, a critic of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, himself a member, was allowed to remain anonymous during the hearings’ entirety. Civil libertarians and privacy advocates are calling it a victory for freedom of speech. Darkspilver posted internal and public documents from the church’s education arm. They were a combination of fundraising ads and a chart showing personal data collection not meant for public consumption — both of which the group claims are protected under copyright. For his part, Darkspilver claimed it was done to “provide information to people in the Jehovah’s Witness community about the type of information the organization actually stores and what it does with that information.”
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society subpoenaed Reddit to assist in their efforts to identify Darkspilver for the case. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) then filed a motion on behalf of Reddit and the anonymous commenter, noting “disclosure of their identity would cause them to be disfellowshipped by their community.” It’s also an interesting case because Darkspilver doesn’t live in the United States, and yet First Amendment protections are being afforded him — a fact that might bode well for speech questions all over the world.
The court seemed to largely side with Darkspilver, and insisted if the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society continues with its lawsuit it would do so addressing the commenter by his alias. However, their attorneys are allowed to know his real identity under strict gag orders by the court. “We support Electronic Frontier Foundation in their defense of our user’s right to anonymous speech,” Reddit stressed. It remains one of the most popular websites on the planet, ranking routinely in the top five.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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