Anonymity has been the hot topic of the day since Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has been collecting user meta data created by the digital footprint we all leave behind. A new court ruling out of the Virginia Court of Appeals has dealt a blow to privacy advocates hoping to hide behind free speech protections.

Using a pre-existing statute as pretext, Judge William G. Petty wrote a 25 page opinion where he attempted to explain the differences between anonymous and verified reviews. In it, Judge Petty attempts to explain why unmasking anonymous reviewers has some validity. He argues that anonymous reviews have the potential to be slanderous, and seems to have applied the same laws to fake reviews as have been applied to false advertising.

The question now is what constitutes a verified review. Courts have already ruled that a unique IP address does not constitute an individual person. Without any proof to back up their claims, it seems this bit of case law will only get more complex as more of our lives turn digital.

Get the full article, including commentary from our CEO Pierre Zarokian, at Search Engine Journal.

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