Google gives up anonymous blogger's IP address

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by mysterytramp, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

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    #1
    This just seems wrong, very wrong.

    Granted, supermodels have rights, too, but in U.S. law, she's clearly a public figure and therefore would have extra hoops to prove her case in court. And somehow, anonymity should somehow be protected.

    mt
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #2
    Wrong? Yes. But I can't fully blame google when they were ordered by the courts.
     
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #3
    Slippery slope.

    Agree.

    Google is only following the court directed order. Initially, they would not release the information.
     
  4. mysterytramp thread starter macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

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    #4
    Certainly that's a good point, but the courts separate a medium that exercises some control over content to those that don't. A newspaper can get sued for publishing defamatory information, but a telephone company can't get sued because it carries defamatory information over its telecommunications lines.

    Lots of lawyers will make lots of money arguing that Google is more like one than the other. But by taking down the blog and giving up the IP, it nudges them closer to an editor of content, and therefore a target for action. (And more enticing because Google has more money than all its bloggers combined.)

    mt
     
  5. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    ^ IMHO, the courts are still in the dark ages when it comes to computers, the Internet, and other areas where technology is constantly evolving.

    Definitely a slippery slope.
     
  6. MTI macrumors 65816

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    #6
    There are two distinct issues. The opinion of the blogger may or may not constitute opinion "free speech" but in the US, that is not an absolute right, and it is a right which is protected against government suppression or censorship.

    The second issue, whether the blogger's "identity" was entitled to privacy protection . . . that's between Google and the blogger, which it turns out is non-existant.
     
  7. wako macrumors 65816

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    #7



    newspapers and media get sued all the time... i think the funniest story i read was actually a group of Chinese lawyers suing CNN last year with the whole fiasco of lead and other toxins found in our imports from China.
     
  8. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #8
    News update

    The article says Rosemary Port is "furious at Google for revealing her identity, so much so that she plans to file a $15 million federal lawsuit against the Web giant."

    It goes on to say
    In her suit, she'll charge Google "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity," said her high-powered attorney Salvatore Strazzullo.

    "I'm ready to take this all the way to the Supreme Court," Strazzullo said. "Our Founding Fathers wrote 'The Federalist Papers' under pseudonyms. Inherent in the First Amendment is the right to speak anonymously. Shouldn't that right extend to the new public square of the Internet"​
     
  9. MTI macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Best of luck Salvatore, your client's expectation of privacy won't be the issue if Google's "terms of use" doesn't include such protection and if the disclosure was done in response to court order. :cool:
     
  10. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #10
    Wrong. This is a clear cut case of intentional defamation which harms reputation. Courts call it libel.

    Yup. Exactly. Sounds like someone PERHAPS has a case of the crazies. Note keyword perhaps.
     
  11. MTI macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Anyone with a filing fee can file a lawsuit, winning is another matter. On the other hand, if the client has deep pockets (doesn't seem the case here) then the phrase "all the way to the Supreme Court" is an attorney's wet dream . . . countless fortunes have been spent in hourly billing with those words. However, I suspect that Salavatore is on a contingency fee . . . hoping that Google will throw some settlement dollars to make them go away.
     
  12. mysterytramp thread starter macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

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    #12
    Maybe not. The model is clearly a public figure, so she's going to have to prove malice. To prove that, she's going to have to prove the poster knew calling her a "skank" was false. Which means her lawyer is going to depose the model and likely ask her with whom she had sex and when. No libel case will ever ensue.

    The more interesting case is the (possible) one against Google. If the TOS aren't extremely clear about Google's limits on protecting anonymity, some judges will take a dim view at anything that looks like legalese. Plus, the plaintiff can make the argument that if Google wanted your real name, it could insist on it when the blog is first created. Since the company doesn't, it's fair for reasonable people to believe they have a right to anonymity. I'm not saying that's a winning argument, but it is one that could cause Google some heartburn, and therefore lead to a settlement for the blogger.

    This case might have some legs.

    mt
     

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