The case for anonymous lawsuits begins with the unfortunate story of Lani (a nickname) as told by the New York Times Magazine. In 2009, Lani was alerted to nude photos of herself on a Web site called Private Voyeur — along with her name, her workplace, and the city she lives in. The post, titled “Jap Slut,” was put up under an anonymous handle. Although Lani's ex-boyfriend admitted distributing these pictures to his friends, he did not know who put them on the web, so police told Lani they could not help her. And while Private Voyeur took the post down, a few months later it was up again.
Emily Bazelon at the Times' Magazine points to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit case involving two young women who sued the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise and founder Joe Francis for emotional distress because they’d been filmed flashing their breasts or having sex when they were too young to legally consent. The 11th circuit granted the plaintiffs’ request to sue anonymously, nothing that another woman who sued Girls Gone Wild under her own name has been permanently tagged by name as a “breast-flasher” on the popular Internet Movie Database website.