Dozier Internet Law has to often remind la wyers that there is no absolute right to online anonymity. The courts have long recognized the need to unmask those who hide behind false identities on the Internet. Those who defame, those who spam, those who hack, and in some circumstances those who use commercial speech…their anonymity is rarely protected. Legal subpoenas to a website will net the IP address of the offender, and a follow up subpoena to the ISP will identify the user of the IP address at the time of the “anonymous speech”. This usually works well when Dozier Internet Law takes this approach.
But ISPs usually only hold onto their records for short periods of time. And log files may get destroyed. Log files contain the IP addresses of those posting. The virtual "disappearance" of the records used to identify thieves, crooks and scofflaws is openly encouraged on the free speech organization websites of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen through Paul Allen Levy, a First Amendment lawyer:
Levy says: Another approach to preserve anonymity of posters is to adopt a “no-logging” policy, whereby storage of identifying information about visitors to the web site (and about posted(sic) to online discussions) is kept to a minimum. Technical advice effecting such limitations can be found on EFF’s web site at …
An amendment to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act would seem to be in order. Let's ask Congress to require log file record retention in order for an interactive service provider to avail itself of the immunity. That seems particularly reasonable given the advice to destroy the records. By the way, the EFF guidance is even grosser than Levy's comments.