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Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

This Blog will not fall to outside hacks from anyone, especially insecure public officials afraid of their constituents criticism.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On Internet Privacy rights...

Legal Beagle said;


On Internet Privacy rights...

It seems there is someone posting to this blog that intends to intimidate the rest through the spurious allegations via news stories of a case filing, and foreign decisions, that all of your identities will be discovered. Although internet privacy law is not my prime practice area, I do have some experience here.

There have been many cases before various state Supreme Courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court, regarding the privacy rights of bloggers.

What follows are some of the U.S. LEGAL DECISIONS regarding this issue. Courts do not consider foreign law, or filed complaint, just adjudicated decisions.

Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius," and "the Federal Farmer" spoke up in rebuttal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized rights to speak anonymously derived from the First Amendment.

In N.J. in 2007 Case entitled Manalapan v. Moskovitz, the New Jersey Township of Manalapan filed a malpractice suit against its former attorney Stuart Moskovitz, alleging misconduct regarding the Township's purchase of polluted land in 2005. The decision to file suit was met by a lively debate in the regional press and among local bloggers. One blogger who was particularly critical of the Township, of this and other decisions, was Blogspot blogger "datruthsquad" ( Inexplicably, attorneys for the Township issued a subpoena to Google (owner of Blogspot) demanding that the identity of this anonymous critic be turned over, along with datruthsquad's contact information, blog drafts, e-mails, and "any and all information related to the blog." Despite repeated requests from EFF (now representing datruthsquad) to explain how this could be anything other than an attempt to out a vocal critic, attorneys for the Township refused to withdraw the subpoena and informed EFF that it could go to court to object to the subpoena if it so chose. On November 28, 2007, EFF filed a motion to quash the subpoena and for a protective order to prevent the Township from issuing similar subpoenas in the future.

Outcome: On December 21, 2007, Superior Court Judge Terence Flynn granted EFF's motion to quash the Township's September 26th subpoena seeking the identity of datruthsquad and denied a motion by the township to authorize future subpoenas, finding that the subpoena amounted to "an unjust infringement on the blogger's First Amendment rights" and that the blogger "has a right not to be drawn into the litigation." Judge Flynn denied the motion for a protective order, finding that it was unnecessary at this time.

More from Judge Flynn's ruling from the bench:

"And I [...] recognize that there are First Amendment issues with regard to disputes with the past administration. And that anyone [...] has a right to make their feelings clear. And they have a right not to be intimidated by the issuance of discovery requests in order to shut them down. For that reason, in many ways, the authority cited by the intervenor is correct and accurate. And first of all the [...] blogger, if in fact it’s an individual person, and I’m assuming absent any evidence that it is another individual person, has a right not to be drawn into the litigation and forced to reveal identity or to impede on his or her First Amendment rights simply on a suspicion, however founded or unfounded, and I don’t believe that this suspicion is sufficiently founded at this point to determine that it is Mr. Moskovitz. That person should not be drawn into the litigation and forced to abide by the rules with regard to exchange of information that the parties have, as opposed to a third party. So the Court is satisfied that there is no authority under law for this particular subpoena to obtain this private information. To allow the subpoena would be undue and unjust infringement on the blogger’s First Amendment rights. There’s no factual basis at this point, other than a mere suspicion for the justification. And ultimately that even if the information were obtained, it would be so remote to the actual elements of this litigation that it would not be admissible under any circumstances."

There are dozens more cases with similar outcomes that I could cite here. a quick Lexis-Nexis search will reveal over a dozens cases where the First Ammendment right to Anonymity is upheld.

Although I have no idea who the wannabe attorney is who posted those warnings, it reminds me greatly of Mr. Polito's public legal advice to townspeople, regarding his ability to Google search the law, without the contextual knowledge to apply the Law. In any event, these postings are merely, in my opinion, an attempt to muzzle dissent and debate, and are indicative of politics in Atkinson.

I have watched with rapt attention for many years the political fray in Atkinson, and I have observed that whenever a thorny issue presents itself, and is discussed on this blog, the reaction of the town officials is never to respond to the issue itself, but rather to attack the critics, this would appear to me to be an extension of that.

- LegalBeagle


Anonymous said...

Oh goody!!!

Thank you Mr. Beagle.

tim dziechowski said...

on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Anonymous said...

I think you miss the point that was trying to be made.

If the Moderator or Blog Administrator can match an IP address with a posting, he can keep a record of which IP address is saying what.

No, it is not possible to determine a persons identity from their IP address in this case, and the persons true identity remains anonymous.

However, even if the moderator does not know my true identity, I'm not comfortable with the possible matching IP addresses to postings.

For all the bloggers to remain fully and truly anonymous, having everyone coming in through the same IP address provided by an anonymous proxy makes any tracking worthless.

Anonymous said...

You missed the point.

Even if they get your ip address and match it to posts, they can't get your user info from Google even through the court system. You will remain just a number to them.

If you use the anon service, they will have your real ip address but it won't show up to the blog admin. It only adds another level of info hiding, but you are always traceable.

The real protection comes from the law.

Anonymous said...

It's not the law I'm worried about. As I said, I don't care to have the blog owners know which posts come which addresses.

Tying IP addresses to posts helps them get an idea who interested in what subject, what kind of enteries they make.

For instance, the blog owners have come under a lot of criticism lately for how they run the blog. If every entry comes in under a different address, they know how many people are making the criticism. That is useful information to them.

MAcciard said...

It's not the Blog owners spending thousands of taxpayer funded dollars of attorney and court reporter time trying to find out who posts here. It is your Town Officials!

Anonymous said...

Why are the defendants in this case trying to devert attention from themselves for the charges against them. Since they won't address what they did, makes it look like they are guilty as charged. Why not suck it up and take their punishment like men, and let us move forward?

This deny, deny, deny stuff wears thin.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

June 17, 2009 9:05 PM

You're truly paranoid. Get Help.

June 17, 2009 9:20 PM

What the f*** are talking about?

Anonymous said...

6/17 @9:20 has been posting while drinking again. You may want to turn your eyes. It's not a pretty sight.

Anonymous said...

your funny. your worried about the blog tracing your posts, why would the blog care? its the chief who screams about this thing at meetings! I am more worried about him finding out who I am! I dont want to be followed around town by the clown car!

Anonymous said...

"why would the blog care?'

Well, considering I don't know who runs the bog, or what their true motives are, they may indeed care and I prefer not to give them any information that would help them.

And BTW, the first word in the first two sentences of your diatribe should have been "You're", not "your". And don't be lazy. The first word of a sentence is always capitalized.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is ee cummings. I am a poet and I died in 1962.

I return from my grave to address a little snot who lives in Atkinson NH on the matter of punctuation and capitalization.

This little one criticizes punctuation and capitalization and it is brought to my attention that it is done as a way to intimidate and vilify others.

I created poetical and linguistic fame and fortune by ignoring what is considered conventional in society. And I determined only the low and small minded make a hobby out of criticizing my punctuation or the punctuation of others... and that punctuation is nonessential to understanding.

I ask the little Atkinson sniffler to please accept the following poem as a gift. You are free to keep this poem in your pocket and anytime you feel the overwhelming urge to improve your personality or intellect.. you may review it. It is my sincere hope, it assists you in becoming an intelligent and honorable person.

anyone lived in a pretty how town -- ee cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town by E. E. Cummings
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

Anonymous said...

your funny.

Anonymous said...

i did not come from my grave to be gravely funny

i sang his did and danced on his didn't --ee cummings

Anonymous said...

your funnyer

Anonymous said...

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same

Anonymous said...

watch it or i shall dance on your did --ee cummings

Anonymous said...

Finally someone literate!

Anonymous said...

"knowledge is a polite word for dead but not buried imagination" --ee cummings

Anonymous said...

Anyone can cut and paste. Doesn't mean they are literate.

Anonymous said...

Anyone can pretend by wearing a police chief uniform. Doesn't make them competent.

Anonymous said...

or qualified, or professional

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, I wondered how long it would take for the topic to swing to the chief. Another reason to rename this blog,"Bash the Chief"

You did not disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Phil is not qualified to be Chief of Police, so it's not bashing to make people aware of that fact.

The real surprise is you support unqualified people to serve.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather pay for a fulltime qualified police chief, that continue to have Phil running around yelling "The sky is falling" or "Get your facts straight"! He would deny a fact if it hit him in the head.

Anonymous said...

"The real surprise is you support unqualified people to serve."

Not my point at all numnuts. The topic of this post is "On Internet rights...". Go to the top, there it is.

You have shown what critics of the blog have repeatedly pointed out. No matter what the topic, someone eventually changes the subject to the chief.

News Flash - The world does not revolve around you or the chief. If people cannot stay on topic, then there is no use of posting new topics. They all end up the same.

You want to bash the chief? I got no problem with that. What I dislike is that people like you are turning the blog into a one topic forum.

What the moderator should do is create a new topic called "Bash the Chief." You have an issue with him, you post it there. Leave the other topics alone and on track.

Oh, and I'll point out one other thing, and this has absolutely nothing to do with my feelings towards the chief (note - that is a neutral statement. If history repeats itself it will be turned into a pro-chief comment). Despite years of complaints, griping, complaining, bitching, name calling, mud thrashing, character assassination, moaning, yelling, well, you get the point, the blog has had absolutely no effect on the chiefs job. None, nada, zip. Not a reflection on how I feel, it's the truth. The blog has been truly ineffectual in this matter.

So, keep on what you've been doing. There is always another windmill to fight.

Anonymous said...

So you're saying that Phil is qualified to do his job, and you support him? Yes, or no?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter because that is not the point.

If you are going to start a Mr. TQ campaign again, you'll be disappointed because I'm not going to answer any questions on what or whom I support or do not support. They are not relevant to the discussion. And, if it is like before, because I won't answer the questions and give you that satifaction, the answers will be assumed, negatively, and then people will be asked to take those assumptions as fact.

Think of it as a debate team. Members of each team are asked to defend a position. It matters squat if they believe in the position or not, the point is to defend it.

So, maybe I do, and then again, maybe I don't. It is irrelevant to point I was trying to make.

Anonymous said...

If the moderator ever did start a bash the chief topic, as you suggested, Phil would file suit in a New York Minute, seeking to find out who owned the blog, and who posted that.

He HAs used lawsuits, and the threat of lawsuits as intimidation tactics in the past you know.

Anonymous said...

From all I've seen and read, Phil can't qualify to be a fulltime police chief. That makes him unqualified. No debate necessary unless you can prove otherwise.

The fact you have to name call, shows you are incapable of a good debate.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't trying to debate the qualifications of the chief. Read again.

Again, the point was that virtually every topic posted in this blog, no matter what it is, eventually ends in a discussion of the chief and continues on from there. The original topic is lost. Has anyone brought up Internet Privacy rights since June 18, 2009 3:45 PM started it.

The other point is, this blog has achieved absolutely nothing in trying to change things. Beyond this blog nothing has changed. Hence, the blog has been ineffective in instituting change.

Now, the fact I called someone a name does nothing to change the validity of these arguments. Heavens knows, there is a lot of name calling here. Thought mine was rather mild.

You also say no debate is necessary, yet the participates in the blog cannot stay away from the subject. Its like a moth to the candle. But, no matter what you call it, debate, discussion, and all the other words I used to describe it, the blog has accomplished nothing in instituting change in this town. Not a record I'd be bragging about.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. This blog has done a lot to raise awareness of the important political and personal topics of Atkinson. (I.e. water, Vietnam memorial, zoning, tax, lawsuits issues etc.) It's gained interest of taxpayers, and is getting more average people involved. I've witnessed more people talking about blog issues when I go walking, shopping, and at work. I’ve heard people say they come here every night after supper to catch up. (Normally, they would watch TV) When people get involved in their Town, better decisions are made.

The reason Phil's name keeps coming up is because no other single person has caused so many lawsuits for the taxpayers to pay for. Lawsuits that were unnecessary, if certain people had clamped down on him. Instead, he has been allowed to run wild., unchecked. He's become a lightning rod of conflict / criticism and a lot of people have been hurt because of it. Unlike you, I can say honestly I do not support this type of police chief.

If we had a fulltime, qualified police chief, the "bashing" (as you put it) would go away. Being critical of an unqualified police chief is not bashing.

Because of this blog, (in part) more and more people have become dissatisfied with him. His support has dropped tremendously and eventually, he will be replaced. The sooner it happens, the sooner we can move forward to make Atkinson a better, more peaceful place to live.

As much as you post here, the candle is working. I'm surprised you haven't been burnt yet.

This candle may flicker, but it never will be distinguished.

Just my opinion. No name calling , no debate.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, should have read: This candle may flicker, but it never will be extinguished

Anonymous said...

I dont think this blog was supposed to "institute change in this town". I thought it was just a place where we could say what we think about goings on in town without fear of Phil following us, or yelling about us at meetings, or any of the other crap.

Anonymous said...

The blog in itself does nothing. People can come here to read or speak. Only the people can decide to make changes in town. The blog gets no credit for making changes. That's up to us.

I think there's more open discussion on issues in town and some credit goes to the blog. It also exposesg people to issues more. The dialogue here isn't perfect but serves to provide a place to vent opinions. I'm amused at some frequent posts attempting discredit an inanimate blog in cyberspace when a blog in and of itself has no credibility to begin with. Its like saying somebody's pen has no credibility for writing a letter. The only value in the blog forum is if information is conveyed that can be validated or confirmed separately.

Another interesting place is the Atkinson Taxpayer Committee web site that has downloadable documents great for reading entertainment.

Anonymous said...

You are correct about the Atkinson Taxpayer Association web site. I just finished reading the Town's response and counter suit against Mr. Artus.

Talk about a lot of "double speak" in an effort to justify their suit against him. A five-year-old could see what they are trying to do. I can't see a judge doing anything with that, except to throw it out of court.

What a waste of taxpayers money.

Anonymous said...

The Atkinson Taxpayer Committee is not The Atkinson Taxpayer Association (website). One is a group of taxpayers, the other a web site.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed the pattern here? There is a post suggesting a visit to the Atkinson Taxpayers Association website, followed (almost immediately) with a subsequent post about visiting the site and reading the lawsuits (which seems to be the only information ATA seems concerned with.) Sorry, but it seems like shameless self-promotion to me.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing shameless about Truth. There's to little of it in this Town.

Anonymous said...

The ATA website is a repository for public documents. You can send in ANY public document about Atkinson; minutes, lawsuits, complaints, abatement info., history, budget items, PB items, ANY public document. If you feel something is missing SEND IT IN! The owners do not go looking for updates, everything you see on this site was sent in by somebody.

There is no commentary, no spin, it is the truth, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...


Our Atkinson moderator was WRONG?

Someone please tell me it ain't so. I rely on him for knowing all there is about RSAs and running deliberative session. He and his attorneys now admit after getting nearly everyone in deliberative to vote along with his interpretation of 91-A he was mistaken. How did it happen?

I read the RTK Lawsuit Response 2009 found on the Atkinson Taxpayer website. I found reference to the 2009 deliberatvie session incident with Brownfield and Polito when our moderator did not want his picture taken.

Page 9, item 37 states

"Thus, while Mr. Polito’s understanding of 91-A was incorrect, his position was taken in complete good faith."

Page 16, item 6 states

"As to plaintiff Bownfield’s RSA 91-A claim, neither he, nor any of the other plaintiffs, is entitled to relief. Mr. Polito honestly, but mistakenly, was unaware that 91-A expressly allowed citizens to use still photography cameras (as opposed to video, movie and sound recording), and he based that understanding on his recollection of information from a memorandum from the Attorney’s General office. He has since learned that the statute expressly allows persons to use still photography cameras."

The defense admits our moderators understanding of 91-A was incorrect. Its one thing to make a mistake and its another thing to lead an entire legislative body to vote along with your incorrect understanding. I found the excuse funny. They blamed it on a memo from the Attorney General. Of course. Hey at least they didn't blame the police chief.

Did he have to blow it on 91-A? It couldn't have been on some other remote little RSA it had to be 91-A. Mr. Moderator please don't ever quote me an RSA again unless you have a hard copy to show so I can read it for myself so the town doesn't get sued based on your interpretation or mistaken recollection.

Go see the document for yourself. Maybe the next time our moderator starts interpreting RSAs for the rest us we should ask to see a copy of the RSA before we all follow along blindly to his interpretation of the law. Ya think?

The Atkinson Taxpayer web site serves a purpose. Let people read the documents & think for themselves without anyone's spin.

Anonymous said...

Its OK to be wrong as long as you act in good faith? Weathermen operate by that standard don't they?

He called for a vote and dragged the entire legislative body into his mistaken understanding at deliberative session. But it was in good faith so its OK even if it cost the town further litigation.

What else has he been wrong about? Never again will I vote without reading the RSA myself beforehand.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Polito always brought his little RSA book to deliberative session in past years. Anytime someone questioned him; he would stop the meeting and look up the correct answer. I believe he had it with him in 2009, so why didn't he stop the meeting when Mr. Brownfield and others questioned him about it?

Another taxpayer asked him to step down as moderator, if he didn't want his picture taken during a public meeting. He refused.

I think I know the answer after watching the video and reading the lawsuit details. Mr. Polito was "gunning for a fight" and he got it. He intentionally misquoted the law in order to intimidate Mr. Brownfield. Mr. Brownfield didn't buy his answer and complained.

Since Mr. Polito violated the law and Mr. Brownfield's civil rights, Mr. Brownfield had no choice but to sue the Town. This suit arose because of Mr. Polito not Mr. Brownfield. In my opinion It was a conspiracy of the political machine within in this town.

What would you do if someone wanted to take your right away? Especially, if that person was a politician who wanted his own rights and yours too?

Anonymous said...

Atkinson reporter is a big f-in joke. It's all spin....spin....spin. It's all one sided poo poo. "Just send in your docs and we'll lose them I I I mean post them". Pah lease spear us the Atkinson Reporter is just the truth/plain old real docs/no spin/poo poo.
Ha Ha Ha, comedy connection crud.

Anonymous said...

Irankinson continues...

"Taking pictures is an increasingly dangerous act in Iran. The police in Tehran confronted citizens who were trying to film near a memorial to Ms. Agha-Soltan on Monday.

Threatening people who have cameras is only the latest in a series of steps by the authorities."

Anonymous said...

No, the Atkinson Reporter is a blog! articles and commentary.

It is the ATKINSON TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION website, that is just documents. If you are going to try to discredit, you should at least understand what you are saying.