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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 Subpoenaed over Anonymous Comments

The U.S. Justice Department has issued a grand jury subpoena to in an attempt to identify anonymous commenters at the website who allegedly threatened the judge who sentenced Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht. According to Wired:
The subpoena calls for to hand over data about the six users, including their IP addresses, account information, phone numbers, email addresses, billing information, and devices associated with them. And it cites a section of the United States criminal code that forbids “mailing threatening communications.” When those communications threaten a federal judge, they constitute a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison. (The average internet user has no such protection.)
The DOJ letter that went along with the subpoena said:
The Government hereby requests that you voluntarily refrain from disclosing the existence of the subpoena to any third party.
Is that a request or a gag order?

Wired notes that the "subpoena letter [was] obtained and published by blogger Ken White." has no comment.

The comments at issue, which have apparently been removed, suggested that the judge, Katherine Forrest, be shot for sentencing Ulbricht, 31, to life in prison without parole for operating a black-market website at which illegal drugs allegedly were bought and sold.

Will the government get away with this?

See Ilya Somin's comment here.

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