Tuesday, 25 August 2009

"I'm suing Google..."

The Times online reported that Google is to be sued for $15 million (approx £9 million) by a not-so-anonymous blogger who was unmasked by the internet search company.

Rosemary Port said that Google had failed to protect her right to privacy when the company obeyed a court order to reveal her name after she used her blog to accuse a former Vogue model of being a "psychotic, lying, whoring ... skank".

Liskula Cohen, 36, won a landmark case in a New York court last week, forcing Google to disclose the online identity of Ms Port, 29, a Fashion Institute of Technology student, who created her "Skanks in NYC" blog a year ago using Google's Blogger.com site.

The New York Supreme Court ruled that Google must reveal the identity of the blogger.
Judge Joan Madden rejected Ms Port's claim that the blogs were a "modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting" and should not be treated as factual assertions.

After the court ruling Google turned over the e-mail address and IP addresses from each time the blogger had logged on to the blog, allowing Ms Cohen to discover the identity of her tormentor.

She said she was relieved to discover that the woman who created the blog was not someone close to her and decided not to continue with a defamation suit. The blog was deleted in March.

Google said that users of Blogger.com agree to a privacy policy that allows the company to share personal information if required by legal action.

Firstly, is it me or are the lawsuits getting crazier by the week across the pond? Okay, I know that people will be flying the freedom of speech flag in support of this nasty coward – I have read the comments online already.

That’s a good flag to fly – but not in this instance! Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if that opinion is defamatory and expressed to an audience (in print or by word), why shouldn't the person making the statement be liable for it? All this decision does is stop Ms Port hiding behind a wall of anonymity.

If Ms Port's comments aren’t defamatory, then she has nothing to worry about. Insulting people or holding a public opinion is not automatically defamatory. Her right to free speech is not infringed in any way.

Problem is, what she wants is freedom to abuse/insult/possibly defame people, in a manner designed to bring them anguish and degradation, in a highly public manner, anonymously. It's the fact that she is embarrassed and concerned that she has been outed that has angered her – not the fact that Google revealed her details – as a result of a court order I must add. Somewhat hypocritical to say the least.

That is not what free speech is about - free speech is the right to say what you want to say, not the right to be unaccountable for your vicious tongue. People should be responsible and accountable for their words and actions - that's part of enjoying these freedoms.

Please tell me this lawsuit will be dropped before it wastes any time or money in court. Someone should also try to contact the victim here - the model that has been called what can only be described as childish names and tell her to take a u-turn and sue Ms Port – not for cash, just for the principle and teach the nasty creature a lesson.

No comments:

Post a Comment