Larry Godwin, a Police Director for the city of Memphis, Tenn. and the city itself is subpoenaing AOL in order to find out the names of bloggers that write for MPD Enforcer 2.0. MPD Enforcer 2.0 constantly chastises the actions taken by the Memphis Police Department.
“In what could be a landmark case of privacy and the 1st Amendment,” stated Dirk Diggler MPD on MPD Enforcer 2.0. “Godwin has illegally used his position and the City of Memphis as a ram to ruin the Constitution of the United States. Dirk Diggler MPD is the fake name used by the bloggers on the site. Diggler was actually a character name used on the movie Boogie Nights.
In order to protect themselves in the courtroom, MPD Enforcer 2.0 is working with the Public Citizen Litigation Group, a group made for the interest of the public and founded by Ralph Nader.
“Some members of the Enforcer 2.0 have contacted their attorneys and we are in the process of filing a lawsuit against Larry and the City of Memphis. What’s wrong Larry? The truth hurt?” wrote Diggler on the blog after they found out that the City of Memphis and Godwin subpoenaed AOL to find out the identities of MPD Enforcer 2.0.
“You can complain about the government, and you should be able to do that without fear of retaliation or threatening actions on the part of the people in these positions,” stated Lillie Coney, an Associate Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). “I guess they’ve kind of annoyed them at some level, but you really don’t want to see law enforcement or government resources spent in this way.” EPIC is a Washington, D.C. based organization formed in 1994 that focuses on protecting civil liberties on the Internet.
“We are quite interested in preserving the anonymity of the bloggers,” added Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. “Anonymous speech has long been protected speech under the First Amendment.”
This is a classic case of determining whether the First Amendment applies when published content may be considered slander. If the content that MPD Enforcer 2.0 publishes is true, then Dirk Diggler is innocent. The e-mail address of the blog is hosted by AOL on the @aim.com domain.
1. MPD Enforcer 2.0
2. Commercial Appeal