Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sticks and stones.....

Should we care if an anonymous blogger calls out a model as a skank and a ho'? Should the model even care? Well, apparently one such model cared enough to go to court to force Blogger (Google) to reveal the person behind the offending blog, because apparently there are possible issues of libel here. More on that in a moment. The blogger was outed.

Unfortunately, there are major privacy issues here as well and this sets a dangerous precedent where people who choose to remain anonymous to protect their identity may no longer be afforded that luxury. Or is it a right? Do people have the right to remain anonymous online? As Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing says, "switch the parties around to, say, Iranian political dissidents, or torture witnesses, or fraud whistle blowers -- and you can see how the privacy issues involved (and liability issues for Google) are worth considering."

The model calls it 'cyber-bullying'. The lawyer for the blogger calls it "hyperbole" and suggests that blogs "have evolved as the modern-day soapbox for personal opinions," adding that blogs have "mere venting purposes, affording the less outspoken a protected forum for voicing gripes, levelling invective, and ranting about anything at all."

Anyway, I'm not a legal expert, but as far as a libel suit is concerned, I think it could be argued "If there is third-party communication, but the third-party hearing the defamatory statement does not believe the statement, or does not care, then there is no injury..." I doubt it would be hard to argue the 'does not care' part, the 3rd party in this case being the blog readers.

So the blogger is suing Google for wrongly outing her. I hope she wins the battle.

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