Today Eugene Volokh has an update about the New Jersey Attorney General's investigation of the vile site JuicyCampus.com and its contemptible founder Matt Ivester, about whom I previously blogged. Matt Ivester, you might recall, founded JuicyCampus as an anonymous site for college kids to gossip about each other, and now professes to be shocked, shocked, that his site is a sewer of racist and misogynist drivel and libel.
Anyway, the New Jersey Attorney General is investigating Juicy Campus on a consumer fraud theory. Volokh cites an article strongly suggesting that the investigation is a publicity-hound measure and not based on any rational theory, as the site does not seem to contain any guarantees that are being violated and no applicable law seems to require JuicyCampus to take down the nasty stuff that is its lifeblood.
As I said before, I strongly disapprove of government enforcement measures to address this sort of stuff. I'm still hoping that inventive college students with lots of time on their hands — is there any other kind? — will use inventive internet triangulation techniques to identify the nastier posters and reveal their identity and what they posted to their classmates. If we ask Patrick nicely, maybe he'll tell you about how he identified an "anonymous" internet poster by tracing his username to an Amazon wish list, or how we traced a poster here by linking his username to a restaurant review and a society page party description.
Also, I'd still be interested to see whether some of these schools have internet use policies that explicitly disavow any expectation of privacy. If that's the case, I have no problem with schools identifying threatening, libelous, or generally obnoxious posts, tracing them to their on-campus authors, and releasing that information to the student body.
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