Anonymous Blogger? Think Again!
The media can be a bloggers’ friend or foe. In the case of detective constable Richard Horton of Lancashire, England – it’s the latter.
The High Court has ruled that a national newspaper was entitled to reveal the real name of the one-time anonymous blogger.
Justice Eady ruled that “blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity,” meaning that there should be no expectation that anonymity is protected under any law.
The award-winning blog in question, Night Jack, is no longer available. Though there are rumblings that a book is in the works.
Horton fought to keep his identity a secret over fears that there would be serious ramifications at work. As well-founded fear. After all, he was unafraid to deliver the good, bad and ugly of police work and the politics surrounding it.
So for all of you anonymous bloggers out there – consider yourself on notice! Tread lightly.
Andrew G.R. is the owner of Jobacle, a career advice and employment news blog and podcast designed to make work better. Follow him on Twitter.
Sounds like a violation of the right to privacy to me. The work is published to the internet publicly, but the name is withheld, meaning the person wants to remain anonymous. That’s the whole concept of posting anonymously. A person shouldn’t be forced to reveal themselves any more than they should be forced to reveal their reading lists.
On the other hand, I don’t understand how he was forced into the open if he was posting anonymously. If a person truly is posting something that requires anonymity, they should do it from a public computer that requires no sign-up at random times. Or do it with a laptop that was paid for with cash from random public wi-fi spots. And… without using an e-mail address that has any other use.
Maybe I’m missing something but it seems like he should’ve been able to hide out to me.
Bradley–The test in right to privacy is generally NOT whether the person in question WANTS to keep something private. Rather it is whether the person had a reasonable expectation of privacy. I suspect (without reading the opinion) that the judge felt that because the police officer was publishing content in a very public forum that he did not have any reasonable expectation of privacy.