Real Masks and Real Name Policies: Applying Anti-Mask Case Law to Anonymous Online Speech

82 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2013  

Margot E. Kaminski

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project; Yale University - Law School

Date Written: April 12, 2013

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Anonymity, Law, Privacy, Freedom of Expression

Suggested Citation

Kaminski, Margot E., Real Masks and Real Name Policies: Applying Anti-Mask Case Law to Anonymous Online Speech (April 12, 2013). Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 23, No. 815. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2250054

Margot E. Kaminski (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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