Global Freedom of Expression

David Post: Constitutional Protection for Anonymous Speech

Key Details

  • Region
    North America
A paper by David Post for the 2016 Justice for Free Expression Conference, 4-5 April.

My presentation will address a set of closely-related cases which, in my opinion, expose serious cracks in the constitutional protection for anonymous Internet speech (and which have received considerably less attention than I believe they deserve).

The cases all involve 1st Amendment challenges to the “Internet identifier” disclosure requirements imposed by a complex inter-locking set of federal and State statutes (known collectively as “SORNA,” for “Sex Offender Registration and Notification Acts”) on “sex offenders” – defined broadly as persons who have been “convicted of a criminal offense that has an element involving a sexual act or sexual contact with another” under federal or State law.1 Over 800,000 people (approximately 1⁄4 of whom were juveniles at the time of the previous conviction) currently fall into this category.


David Post

Herman Stern Professor of Law, Temple University, USA