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May 5, 2003

For More Information, Contact:
Cindy Cohn
Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Phone: +1 415 436-9333 x108 (office), +1 415 307-2148 (cell)

Assembly Judiciary Committee to Discuss Identity Disclosure

SACRAMENTO - Tomorrow Assemblymember Joe Simitian (D - Palo Alto) will present to the California Assembly’s Judiciary Committee a bill designed to protect the privacy of anonymous Internet speakers.

A broad coalition of organizations—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the California Anti-SLAPP Project, the Northern California chapter of the ACLU, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse—support the bill. The bill was drafted by the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.

Assembly Bill 1143 would require that ISPs notify a consumer of any request to divulge the consumer’s identity when that consumer’s personally identifying information is sought in a civil suit. The bill passed out of the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee on April 29, 2003.

The law would provide time and the necessary information for the consumer to object to the disclosure to the court. The legislation would not lessen the accountability of Internet users who are subject to valid legal claims, but it would ensure that individuals have the necessary time and information needed to protect their own privacy, as well as limit the growing problem of frivolous claims filed for the sole purpose of discovering the identity of an otherwise anonymous Internet user.

People speaking online have a wide variety of reasons for remaining anonymous, ranging from inappropriate or untimely disclosure of a medical condition, sexual orientation, or gender identity to the potential for retaliatory job loss, harassment, or violence.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee meets at 8:00am on Tuesday, May 5, Room 4202 of the State Capitol. Assemblyman Simitian plans to present AB1143 between 8:00am and 9:00am, but there is not a set schedule.

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About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most linked-to websites in the world at