Real Masks and Real Name Policies: Applying Anti-Mask Case Law to Anonymous Online Speech
Margot E. Kaminski
Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project; Yale University - Law School
April 12, 2013
Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 23, No. 815
The First Amendment protects anonymous speech, but the scope of that protection has been the subject of much debate. This Article adds to the discussion of anonymous speech by examining anti-mask statutes and cases as an analogue for the regulation of anonymous speech online. Anti-mask case law answers a number of questions left open by the Supreme Court. It shows that courts have used the First Amendment to protect anonymity beyond core political speech, when mask-wearing is expressive conduct or shows a nexus with free expression. This Article explores what the anti-mask cases teach us about anonymity online, including proposed real-name policies. It closes by returning to the real world of real masks, addressing the significance of physical anonymity in an age of remote biometric identification and drone use.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 82
Keywords: Anonymity, Law, Privacy, Freedom of ExpressionAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 18, 2013
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