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JIPS 2011 7.1 Article 1

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Tracking the Footprints of Anonymous Defamation in Cyberspace: A Review of the Law and Technology

Raymond Placid and Judy Wynekoop, Florida Gulf Coast University -- Fort Myers, USA


The rise of the Internet has made anonymous defamation a reality. Tracking the footprints of anonymous defamation in cyberspace can be difficult from a legal and technological perspective. Legally, the injured party may need to pursue two defendants – the website that hosted the defamatory statement and the anonymous defamer. This process can be taxing from both an economic and personal perspective, and in some cases will lead to a dead end due to technological roadblocks. One of the primary reasons that the footprints of anonymous defamation can lead to a dead end is that the IP address logs may have been purged. Currently there are no regulations or standards in the industry requiring IP address logs to be preserved for a minimum time period. This article addresses the legal and technological roadblocks that can lead to anonymous defamation and suggests regulatory systems for IP address logs as a means of combating unacceptable anonymous behavior on the Internet.