Reddit’s ability to post anonymously is one of the core attributes of the social media platform. But media companies have been attempting to chip away its ability to protect its users via lawsuits, on the name of combating piracy.
TorrentFreak has a nice breakdown of the numerous lawsuits, with filmmakers trying three times to gain access to user information. In the first two attempts, filmmakers asked the court to compel Reddit to hand over the identities of the users who commented on piracy-related topics in lawsuits targeting two different internet service providers. Reddit rejected the request, and eventually the courts agreed with its stance that the move would violate its users right to anonymous speech.
But it’s the third attempt that should have folks nervous. In a separate case targeting Frontier Communications, attorneys sought not the names or email addresses of the Reddit users, but their IP addresses. The attorney, representing Voltage Holdings and Screen Media Ventures, argued that the IP addresses would preserve the users’ anonymity.
Reddit this week filed a motion countering the request, arguing that disclosing IP addresses would still violate its users’ right to anonymous speech. It added that the IP addresses could still be used to identify users, and should be treated like sensitive information.
The case is still ongoing, but a ruling could have ramifications on whether Reddit will be able to protect the identities of its users. You can check out Reddit’s full motion to oppose the request through this PDF shared by TorrentFreak.