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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Abstract

The Arizona Court of Appeals recently developed a new test to determine whether an anonymous Internet poster’s identity should be revealed through a subpoena. While the First Amendment protects anonymous speech, this protection does not extend to defamation and other illegal behavior. Courts have balanced these two competing interests—protection of anonymous speech and revelation of a person’s identity via subpoena—by applying varying tests regarding the disclosure of an anonymous poster’s identity. The Arizona Court of Appeals, in Mobilisa, Inc. v. Doe, recently adopted a three-part test that incorporates elements from two, previously distinct lines of cases. This Article explores the varying standards that apply to the disclosure of the identity of an anonymous online poster, and compares them to the test articulated in Mobilisa, Inc. v. Doe. This Article concludes that Mobilisa’s balancing component is an important and novel prong in light of competing policy and constitutional considerations.

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