DA Sues to Learn Blogger's Identity

Pareene · 07/15/08 08:47AM

So this is fun. Back in January, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson sent a subpoena to Room Eight, a local politics blog. The subpoena demanded "identifying details of a Room Eight blogger who wrote under the name 'Republican Dissident,' as well as the authors of a dozen comments on his posts." Are you alarmed yet? Here's the kicker: the subpoena was sealed, with an all-caps warning threatening prosecution if the contents of it were revealed. Now, six months later, the DA's finally given up. And we can all read about how a random functionary on the Bronx Board of Elections got the DA's office—without the DA's knowledge, according to Johnson!—to threaten to expose and prosecute an anonymous blogger and a dozen anonymous commenters, just for criticizing her. So yes the forces of good and anonymous online criticism won out this time. But here's why it's still scary: