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Google Gives Up IP of Anonymous Blogger 386

Posted by kdawson
from the balancing-rights dept.
An anonymous reader alerts us to a story out of Israel in which Google (its Israeli subsidiary) gave up the IP address of a Blogger user without being compelled to do so by a court. A preliminary ruling was issued in which a court indicated that the slander the blogger was accused of probably rose to the level of a criminal violation. Google Israel then made a deal with the plaintiffs, local city councilmen whom the blogger had been attacking for a year. Google disclosed the IP address only to the court, which posted a message (Google says the anonymous blogger got it) inviting him/her to contest the ruling anonymously. When no response was received within 3 days, Google turned over the IP address to the plaintiffs' lawyers.
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Google Gives Up IP of Anonymous Blogger

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  • Re:Do No Evil (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chapter80 (926879) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:10PM (#21499283)
    Not to be too pedantic, but the actual informal motto [google.com] is "Don't be evil". It has more to do with how they are, not what they do.
  • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:54PM (#21499675) Journal
    The usual [wikipedia.org] - hiding war criminals, assassination, overthrowing democratically elected governments and supporting bloody coups, misinformation...

    You know, now that I step back and really take a look at it, CIA really reminds me of a fuzzy little bunny.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:03AM (#21501413)
    Google is owned by the Rothschild family. You won't see it directly, but if you look at the list of proxy owners, it is clear. This family owns Israel as well (bought it from the British) and controls the Mossad. It is a condition of Google's success that all Google data -- and I do mean ALL -- is made available to agents of the Rothschild family, i.e. Mossad in Israel. A reasonably sized portion of illegal Rothschild money is laundered through Google via ad sales (which put the marble business to shame). This is similar to how drug money from the British royal family is laundered through Microsoft -- what do you think Billy G. got that knighthood for? It is quite simple for any company that is part of the stock index to launder money and there are even "national security" laws which specifically allow for "off the books" transactions that make the entire process work quite effectively.


    Well, I did a couple of hours of searching around, and I was only able to pin down the following. . .

    Two capital investment firms did most of the early funding for Google. Sequoia Capital Investments pitched in 12.5 million for a 10% share in Google's pre-IPO development, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers bought another 10% at the same price at the same time. They each made about 4.5 billion when Google went public.

    It is interesting to note that Eugene Kleiner himself was one of the founders of Fairchild Semiconducter, which was originally funded by the Sherman Fairchild, one of those ominously, creepily way-too-wealthy guys whose endless portfolio of companies has heavy ties to the Military Industrial Complex as well as banking. It is also noteworthy that Kleiner's board members include both Colin Powell and Al Gore. (Weird mix there.) --But for all of that, they only had a 10% share of Google, much of which was later divested for tidy profits. So that doesn't seem like much of a means to control Google's board unless there were some private agreements made in the beginning, but that's neither here nor there.

    Sequoia, by contrast, as of 2005 had retained all 10% of their investment. They also hold about 30% of YouTube, so Google's purchase of that kept the money in-house, so to speak and benefited them. But even still, they have nowhere near any controlling interest in Google.

    The other big investor in Google in the beginning was Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. He put $100,000 into the startup, but I haven't been able to find out how much of Google he owns as a result of that, if any. Wikipedia called the cash a 'donation', but I wasn't able to confirm that. Also, I don't know if this is relevant, but Bill Joy, another of Sun's founders became a Kleiner partner in 2005, for whatever that's worth.

    The rest of the controlling ownership appears to sit heavily with Google's original founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

    I wasn't able to find the Rothschild connection you describe. Is there some part of this story that I'm missing?


    -FL

  • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:50AM (#21502103)
    I am not a lawyer, but I am an israeli ;)

    You are mostly right about not defending yourself is a reason for losing a legal proceeding in israel. Since the blogger was invited to place an anonymous response to this challenge and decide not to do so, it was easier for the judge to demand the IP address from google. Another contributing factor, judging from the language of the ruling, was that the judge believed that there is an actual slander case.

    But.... Only a week ago there was a ruling by a different judge related to slander, on one of the forums of a big portal, which was also related to local politicians. It seems that in that case the portal have made a bigger effort to avoid revealing the IP of the poster, and was successful (in its ruling the judge mentioned that she do not believe there was a slander severe enough to justify revealing of the IP).

    Currently there is no law in israel which relates to issues of anonymous slander on the net, and each judge follows his own interpretation of what other judges had decided and the rulings of similar cases in the US and europe. Maybe in the context of the specific judge google's lawyers decision was the most logical course of action, but it seems like they could have fought harder then they did.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Informative)

    by PHPfanboy (841183) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:31AM (#21502223)
    Shalom/Salaam,

    I'm not a lawyer, but some of my friends are.... anyway, here's a summary based on what was written in TheMarker.com (business press part of the largest newspaper) had to say:

    This anonymous blogger has been writing 3 members of a small local town council (Shaarei Tikva, population 4,500) accusing them of bribery and municipal tax fraud (specifically: lying about their status to get tax breaks - probably saying they are retired, or have smaller properties than they have or haven't declared their swimming pools or something relatively minor). The plaintiffs say this is slander. The Plaintiffs and Google came to an agreement that Google would notify the blogger (they say he read the notification) that he could give up his identity and appear in court, or let them know that he was going send a lawyers letter contesting the claims and he would be represented in court as "John Doe"(or actually the Aramaic word "Ploni" equivalent) and Google would provide his IP address to the court. He did neither.

    The judge said this was a suitable arrangement which on the one hand protects the freedom of speech of the Accused and the Plaintiffs right to defend their reputations. The judge emphasized that 2 weeks ago a judge had ruled in a case against one of the national newspaper sites (www.ynet.co.il) that details of a Poster (blogger or reponse to a news item) can be given over only if the content of the posting can lead to legal proceedings for Slander. Secondly, there was a ruling in April which stated that the Posters address can be revealed if Slander proceedings are waiting on it and it can be provided as "Further Deposition" (or some legal term which means some additional evidence that can influence the case).

    In the judges opinion, there are considerations on both sides: on the one hand, since we're talking about competition over a public position, the public's right to know (the slander) in addition to the deterring surfers from expressing themselves on the internet lean towards protecting the anonymity of the surfer. On the other, you can argue that reputation is even more important to those running for public office. The judge ruled that as we we're talking about the defendents being public figures running for re-election, there is a need to define a new balance between freedom of expression and protection of reputation.

    I'm not sure people would have been going ape-shit about this if it was only a national paper's website being in the process (as had happened a few weeks ago). The fact that it's Google Israel means that we're all assuming that Larry and Sergey have been sharing all our information with any legal authority that requests it, which I'm not sure is the case. I'm not convinced it's evil either. Should offline national slander laws apply to online speech?
  • Re:double entendre (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @08:23AM (#21503535)
    True. The Swift Vets were telling the truth, but the media passed misinformation that stated that they were slanderous.

    I mean, you have a group of people that actually worked with the subject who claimed that the character of the person was bad, versus people who only knew the subject through a political alliance claiming that the character of the subject was good and the character of the group was bad.

    Both groups were free to speak their opinions.
  • by sportiva79 (1142959) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @09:07AM (#21503915)
    I don't understand, from the article's last couple of paragraphs it appears the court did eventually give an order to Google.

    In line with Judge Schwartz's ruling, Google and the councilmen reached a settlement in their dispute. Following the 72 hour period, Google was ordered to hand over the IP address to the court. Google was represented by Adv. Keren Beer and Adv. Hagit Blaiberg of Goldfarb, Levy, Eran, Meiri & Co. and the councilmen were represented by Adv. Ben Zion Adoram and Tomer Altus of Adoram & Co.

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