Abstract - The Information Society 15(2)

Legal Issues in Anonymity and Pseudonymity

A. Michael Froomkin

The regulation of anonymous and pseudonymous communications promises to be one of the most important and contentious Internet-related issues of the next decade. Resolution of this controversy will have direct effects on the freedom of speech, the nature of electronic commerce, and the capabilities of law enforcement. The legal resolution of the anonymity issue also is closely bound up with other difficult and important legal issues: campaign finance laws, economic regulation, freedom of speech on the Internet generally, the protection of intellectual property, and general approaches to privacy and data protection law. The legal constraints on anonymous communication, and the constitutional constraints on those who would regulate it further, thus should be considered in tandem with the policies animating regulation and also their side-effects.

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