Anonymity and Pseudonymity: Free Speech's Problem Children

Media & Arts Law Review, Forthcoming

25 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2018  

Peter Coe

Aston University

Date Written: January 5, 2018

Abstract

Through comparative analysis of United States, English, German and European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence, this article considers the viability of relying exclusively on either speaker or audience interests to underpin a free speech right within the context of anonymous and pseudonymous social media and online speech. It argues that this approach, which has hitherto been applied in these jurisdictions, can lead to a ‘double-edged sword’: on the one side, pursuant to audience interests, people may be dissuaded from participating in the exchange of information and ideas, because their anonymity or pseudonymity is not protected; on the other side, a constitutionally protected right to free speech based entirely on speaker interests could inadvertently protect unwanted and damaging speech.

Keywords: Social Media, Internet, Free Speech, Anonymous and Pseudonymous Speech, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, European Court of Human Rights

Suggested Citation

Coe, Peter, Anonymity and Pseudonymity: Free Speech's Problem Children (January 5, 2018). Media & Arts Law Review, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3105268

Peter Coe (Contact Author)

Aston University ( email )

Aston Triangle
Birmingham, B4 7ET
United Kingdom

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