In a ruling that will upset those who think women need more protection online but will please those who defend free speech, Georgia’s Supreme Court has held that what Linda Ellis described as cyberstalking was protected speech.
Jon Shirek reports:
“He went on the internet and he posted photos of my home,” Ellis said Friday night, “he posted my financial information, he posted my family members’ names and the locations where they worked. He said he would drive by my house with high-powered lenses, I was hoping those were cameras, said he would become a one-man paparazzi, and encouraged others to do the same…. [In a drawing] they put me in front of a firing line and said, ‘ready, aim, fire’…. I challenge anyone to be put in the position I was and not act to seek safety for their family…. I didn’t seek to have his First Amendment rights infringed upon, I sought protection.”
A lower court agreed with Ellis that Chan was threatening her online; the judge issued a protective order against Chan, and ordered Chan to stop, remove the posts from his website, and leave her alone.
But the state’s supreme court overturned that ruling on Friday. The court said Chan had never contacted Ellis, and had never directed any comments directly to her, but only spoke about Ellis to others on the internet. The court said Chan was “mean spirited” and “crude” at times, but never directly threatened Ellis.
Read more on 11Alive.
Related: Ruling in Chan v. Ellis (pdf).
So doxxing is okay in Georgia? Good to know.