Social Enterprise

Google hands over blogger's IP address

Google has released information that will result in the identification of an Israeli blogger who used its Blogger.com platform to allegedly slander Shaarei Tikva council members running for re-election.

Google has released information that will result in the identification of an Israeli blogger who used its Blogger.com platform to allegedly slander Shaarei Tikva council members running for re-election.

For more than a year, it appears that this anonymous blogger has slandered three Shaarei Tikva councilmen on the blog, accusing them of various criminal acts.

According to Israel's Globes Online:

The three councilmen filed a NIS 300,000 lawsuit against the blogger, who was named "anonymous" in the statement of claim. They also asked for a court order ordering Google to disclose the blogger's IP address, which would enable the court to contact the blogger's Internet services provider and order it to disclose the blogger's identity.

Google initially refused to comply, saying that disclosing the blogger's identity violated rulings on the "balance between freedom of expression and a person's right to his reputation."

It was at this junction that what really transpired became obfuscated. IDM News ran a report that accused Google of first handing over the IP address to the court, leading to his identity being revealed. Google spokesman disputes this in an e-mail to CNET News.com's Declan McGullagh, stating that Google only handed over the IP address of the blogger after a court order required it to do so.

What was known, though, was that Judge Oren Schwartz, who presided over the case, said in a pre-ruling that the blog's content raised suspicions of criminal conduct.

While libel can be a civil offense in the United States, it is not a crime. However, the legal situation in Israel is such that it can be tantamount to criminal defamation. In such a scenario, the details of a surfer may be disclosed.

So what really happened? Did Google really set a world precedent by its actions?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

17 comments
nighthawk808
nighthawk808

After all, their sense of ethics and decency is still beta--just like everything else they've ever released. You'll know they've finally gone gold (don't worry; it will be Real Soon Now) when you hear a loud popping sound from hundreds of Google suits pulling their heads out of you-know-where. "Do no evil" is GoogleSpin (still in beta) for DWLLWGAF.

royhayward
royhayward

no matter how anonymous you think you are, you really aren't. And IMHO is as it should be. If you want to attack a person in writing, have the guts to put your name on it. Why should we be forced to suffer cowards like this?

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

that Google display search terms from the general web at their HQ reception as they are being carried out. If so the world should simoltaneously search swear words and watch the chaos unfold. :-)

fisherhl
fisherhl

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." --Ben Franklin The inevitable result of unnecessary censorship is a build up of silent resentment. The quickest way to force someone who talks into someone who acts, is to compel silence upon a subject that worries them; then, like steam in a pressure cooker, it is merely a matter of time before their suppressed anxieties erupt into action. The inevitable consequence of legislation that forbids any spoken, or written, expression of hatred, must be violence. By forbidding the expression of hatred the law is promoting violence. So the first persons who should be prosecuted under such laws are the people who enacted the laws, as they are committing the very crime the laws proscribe, inciting violence. Which means the laws are absurd and should be changed so that people have an outlet to blow off steam.

BBPellet
BBPellet

They should not have handed anything over at all, Google is a US company and therefore bound by US laws. If they wanted to try the case, it should be on US soil not Israel's! They have no say here!

paulmah
paulmah

So what really happened? Did Google really set a world precedent by its actions?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With so many people now on the world wide interporn, they must have to block the "popular" search queries already. It would be pretty funny to see everyone search for "google human rights abuse" at the same time though.. that would get past the filters and turn some heads.

royhayward
royhayward

Lets be clear, Google allowed to be posted the remarks, and as far as this story goes, has not been requested to remove the blog. Censorship is about suppression of expression. After that expression has taken place, allowing or instigating consequences should not be construed as censorship. I know there are some that would claim that by prosecuting someone for their remarks or blogs would cause others to hold their tongues, or keyboards. But that is just not censorship. If the pressure of not making the blog entry will as Fisher claims, "like steam in a pressure cooker" then there is an outlet that is less than the explosion of "violence". That would be an explosion of blogging. Now when we have a case where Google must prevent users from blogging on specific topics, then we have a cause to claim censorship. This just doesn't make the cut.

Inkling
Inkling

the price of doing business in another country is that you have to follow their laws. If a court ordered them to give up the information, then they have to or they risk facing charges themselves. Having no knowledge of what the blogger posted, I don't think it's fair to pass judgment. The cynical side of me wonders if Google would have been ordered to hand the information over if it had been a private citizen that was being defamed. Probably not... But, as I said, without researching precedent in Isreali law and knowing what the blogger posted...who knows if it was wrong or not?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"sure your a US company and we recognize that. Either hand over the blogger IP (restrict your information results) or extract your services from our country." And Google being a business had no choice but to comply with the best interests of it's investors rather than be booted out of a potential market. I'd like to think that trying the case on US soil would have had a different outcome but it still comes down a government telling a business to give up the info or get out.

demosthanese
demosthanese

That in the US there would be no need to get google to do anything as the Gov't keeps copies of every IM Email VoiP call webhistory and just about everything else sent over the internet since well before sept11. check this out: http://www.eff.org/nsa

demosthanese
demosthanese

Nope, its not. But IMO this is just as bad. The guy was basically writing a journal. He didnt contact a news network and slader anybody. And somone decided it was such a horrible offense that they had to go after him.

Inkling
Inkling

I'd like to think that too, Neon. Sadly, I know better.

aptechme
aptechme

If you don't, then others will and the loss of freedoms is the consequence. I'm sorry, but I do not agree with the folks that believe anyone should get away with saying anything they want about anyone else. There is a limit and it should be self-imposed. If it not self-imposed and one steps over the line, then other parties must have the ability to counter, period. Google did the right thing, whether they handed it over willingly, or were forced. They did not supress anyone. (for those talking about it happening in the U.S.) The U.S. constitution was based on the people governing themselves. The founders realized (and have stated, i believe) that once people refuse to govern themselves, the government(institution) will have to step in. This will lead to the loss of privileges/freedoms. *yea, yea, I'm out of date. Sorry for necro'ing this blog.

royhayward
royhayward

I have to laugh, "The guy was basically writing a journal." Ha! Is that how you feel about TR? Don't you get excited and upset with all of us writing all over your journal? If I were a fool, I guess I could call people names and accuse them of being criminals here, but that would be unwise. They might get mad an 'come after me' And I would expect that if someone started posting lies about me accusing me of despicable and immoral acts, that I would have the right to go after them. Especially if these remarks had the impact of affecting my employment. (These were public officials therefore they needed to be elected...) Hey, if you want to write your private thoughts down, you can use a word doc. You don't have to publish it here.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

They won't hesitate to piss all over someone's freedom of speech and expression because they seem to be socialist minded idiots who are easily pressured into disclosing what should be private and confidential information.

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