Ever since its creation over forty years ago, the Internet has remained a mostly unrestricted place. It is a place where anyone can present themselves in any form they choose. Are those who choose to hide their real names for their own privacy and safety in danger of losing anonymity online?
Such is the power of anonymity on the web, that it has made it possible for people, some of who might normally be restricted from communicating with the outside world to speak out without fearing the repercussions of their actions. Actions that could put them in danger if carried out using their real names. Concealing one’s true identity online has made it possible for free speech to break through the physical barriers enforced by governments across the world.
Being anonymous on the web also makes it possible for people to discuss sensitive subjects, such as medical conditions, physical abuse, sexual orientation and political believes without these actions affecting their everyday lives in a negative or potentially harmful way.
There are many positive ways to use anonymity on the web, but there can sometimes be very destructive side effects too, such as bullying, racism, impersonation of an individual or individuals, and harassment. Think back to schillerparkblog.com, jamestompson.wordpress.com (without the j in the middle), and to a point ROYFMC.com. The first two are the perfect examples of “Bullying”, “impersonation”, and “harassment. Coincidentally the blog impersonating me, and defending the very person who filled suit against me went private around the same time of the suit. I do not believe the petitioner of the lawsuit is a part of that now private blog, but it is one very large coincidence.
Is my blog a positive way to use anonymity? I will leave that question to my readers, but I like to think it has had a positive effect on this town. I don’t discuss fun topics or the latest recipe, I do however talk about the things going on in Schiller Park during what some have called one of the more politically turbulent times in recent years. I share information found in direct connection to current, and former campaign, and elected officials, and I share it. I use the F.O.I.A. system to prove or disprove information. I share opinions, and give my own personal input based off of found facts.
jamesjtompson.wordpress.com has always been about sharing my own personal opinions based on actual facts found through research. I hate to describe it this way, but it is basically a political blog, but for the purpose of returning some semblance of normalcy and truth to this beautiful town.
Lets discuss lawsuits for a minute, ones that are particularly directed at uncovering my identity. I don’t normally address these things, but I feel today is as good a day as any to break an unwritten rule of mine. To start let me share an article that brings me to the subject of this post. portions of my post bellow have come from the following article describing the petition filed with Cook County. http://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/510635555-woman-active-in-schiller-park-politics-community-organizations-wants-facebook-to-reveal-id-of-blogger
The following is the first post mentioned in her petition for discovery.
This is the second post described in her petition.
This is the third post mentioned in her petition, and although my original post is partially satirical in nature the public petition was not originally created by me. It was created by the now private blog impersonating me and meant to destroy my name. The vary blog that has so many times in the past used their anonymity to target people with actual defamation of others.
The original article shares the details of her petition of discovery. In that petition she stated that my posts are false, and malicious, and done with the intent of harming her reputation. Her statement is in fact false. I would like to remind everyone that In my posts I have also mentioned the amazing work she has done for this and many communities in the area. I have talked about her fine reputation for public service, and to this very day I still feel she has done many good things, and should be an example of good public service to everyone. She also claims I am interfering with her volunteer and political efforts, and she states that my posts could hurt her established relationships with others in her community. She is currently the president of a very prominent polish organization in the Chicago area, and has been a key political figure in many communities for years. whether you agree with her or not these are the facts, and the facts that she is a prominent political personality can not be disputed. I would only hope that the working, and personal relationships she has made through all those acts of public service are not so easily swayed by the political opinions of one blogger.
According to the article linked above, her petition also stated that “she has suffered damages to include out of pocket costs to investigate my posts, and in repairing her relationships with others”. Maybe I don’t fully understand this, but can you suffer from out of pocket expenses to repair relationships? How does the action of repairing a relationship cost money? She has also stated that because of my posts her hopes may be dashed for future community involvement. This also troubles me as the things I have posted even if they are my opinion based off of facts pale in comparison to the actual malicious lies shared by other anonymous blogs in this community against people who also currently volunteer heavily in this and other towns, and continue to do so despite the negative posts against them. Many of these targets have gone on doing their work for many years. If my searches have been accurate not one of the other targeted political officials and volunteers have filled similar lawsuits.
She also took issue with a post I made questioning her abilities when I said the following “Not a political movement happens in this town without this fabulous young lady weighing in with her vastly one sided and heavily inflated opinion. In fact I am not completely convinced that she actually has her own opinion at all and she simply just parrots the thoughts of others. (Moskal is the) type that will talk about how terrible something is without actually knowing any facts about the subject she is talking about,”the statements impute that she does not know what she is doing and lacks an ability to perform or think for herself when that is not true.” This complaint would be similar to a movie director filing the petition against a movie writing for saying he doesn’t know how to direct despite the fact that he/she may very well know how to direct a feature film. Am I not allowed to share my opinion of a political personality or organization?
This is also completely my opinion, but i find this petition a blatant attempt to use our judicial system to disrupt the first amendment rights of a citizen simply because someone doesn’t like what someone else has said. Me posting things that may or may not be uncomfortable for some doesn’t make them any less true or opinionated for that matter.
In my efforts to to share all the details I am including the links to any other posts mentioning her on my blog. I ask that everyone the a look again and let me know if I have been Malicious in any way, or have made any knowingly false statements.