Blog fans in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, saw PittGirl as their masked superhero — a comedian and local commentator who jibed the mayor without reserve and ranted freely about her hatred of pigeons.
But despite her effort to keep her real name secret, people started to figure out who PittGirl was.
Courts have set general guidelines that a plaintiff must meet before forcing a person out of online anonymity. But the rules are still in the making and are up for interpretation, said Daniel Solove, a law professor at the George Washington University Law School and author of “The Future of Reputation.”
On one end of the spectrum, a court could out a blogger simply because a legal action is filed against the person. That’s troublesome because any good attorney could leverage the courts simply to expose a person’s identity, he said.
At the other extreme, a judge could say a plaintiff must prove the blogger defamed someone before forcing a company like Google to reveal the person’s identity.
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