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Anonymous Newspaper Commenters Subpoenaed In Tax Case 394

skuzzlebutt writes "In a federal tax case reported in the Las Vegas Review Journal last week, a local businessman has been paying his employees in gold coins instead of cash or ACH, and has reportedly told them that they can only be taxed on the face value of the coinage — not the much higher market value of the metal. The United States disagreed, and brought him up on 57 counts of income tax evasion, tax fraud and criminal conspiracy. The non-authenticated comments section of the original article brought a lot of supporters out of the woodwork, including a few who thought the jury should be hung (literally, procedurally, or figuratively ... pick one). In response, the prosecution has subpoenaed the names of the anonymous commenters, citing fears of jury safety. Or something. The obvious questions of privacy and protected speech aside, for the folks that support the defendant (the newspaper is fighting the subpoena), this also brings back into the spotlight the troll-empowering nature of pseudo-anonymous, non-authenticated boards. If they want to find you, they will; is anonymous commenting still worth it, or is it just too risky for the board owners?"

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