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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:02PM (#21498543)
    The court order should have come first, but Google ultimately did the right thing. Questions of alleged criminal activity were in play. I'd certainly want the chance to dispute such allegations were they made against me.
  • Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Aurora (969557) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:02PM (#21498545)
    ...in contrast to Google's vow to protect its users' privacy [boston.com] early last year. Although this is a very different situation...criminal libel instead of general aggregate use data. Perhaps Google cares about its users as a whole but not as individuals.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:07PM (#21498611) Homepage Journal

    "Do no evil"?

    Do no evil + IPO = Public company

    IPO = Public company

    Google is just as good, bad, or ugly as the next public company. They're trying to balance the interests of their shareholders and their belief in doing no evil. In the end, the interests of shareholders will win every time. If they can keep clear of any illegal insider trading, mistreatment of employees, or other b.s. that affects so many public companies, that'll be a "good" outcome. Believing that somehow Google is different because it thinks it is different is pure fantasy.

    It's 2007, folks. The Cult of the Shareholder rules.

  • Do No Evil (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sc0ob5 (836562) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:07PM (#21498615)
    I guess that doesn't mean much to Google anymore.
  • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:10PM (#21498633)
    I'm not sure that I fully understand the situation, but if Google had waited until the final ruling to release the IP would that have actually prevented the blogger in question from fighting the ruling? If that is the case then short of simply defying a court order (which is something that should be considered on a case by case basis) this would seem to have been the best thing Google could have done. Had they waited they would have been allowing the plaintiff to "pull an RIAA" on the guy (or girl). If, on the other hand, that is not the case then shame on Google (a bit anyway - I still think Yahoo's games with the guy in China were much worse, but that doesn't excuse this).
  • Keep in mind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moogied (1175879) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:16PM (#21498731)
    This is Isreal, not America. Its laws and enviroment is Different. This also was not a google CEO choice, it was probably some middle manager in Isreal.
  • by jgarra23 (1109651) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:22PM (#21498783)

    mindlessly defending how this is not "evil".

    Wow! So I'm to take it that from this one article you now have all the information you need to call anyone that disagrees with you "mindless"!

    Seems somewhat "narrow minded" to me. You must be a Republican!

    Well that is specious reasoning. I'm not grandparent, a Republican, or anything else for that matter but not only did you misrepresent grandparent's quote but then you attack him by calling him narrow-minded, then you accuse him of being a Republican with the implication that all Republicans are narrow-minded!

    It does not bode well for your case when you treat your enemy worse than they treat you. Learn some respect for other people's opinions (even if they are criticizing mindless Google-lovers), for narrow-minded people, for Republicans, and for Evil-Baby-Crushing-Google.
  • by catwh0re (540371) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:22PM (#21498787)
    If what you mean is that Google is beholden to the law in the countries in which it operates. I agree fully.

    Otherwise it's just sensationalist nonsense. Google is a company with an aim to generate income. However much of it's business deals are driven by the knowledge that google works in "good faith" with it's partners. (Many companies won't partner with Microsoft on new technologies because they don't want to be the next SGI/Fahrenheit sucker.)

    Companies, universities and investors would not embrace google if it's practices were unfair on it's users. From reading the article we can see that Google actually made a decent decision and gave the anonymous user options before eventually releasing the details.

    Google needs to appear as a reasonable entity to the courts. If google fights the courts to the last frontier in every case it is presented, it would not only be costly to the company, but give google a damaging litigious image. Instead google chooses it's battles wisely for the betterment of it's users allowing it to defend more important legal issues with success. [iht.com].

  • by Jimmy_B (129296) <slashdot@@@jimrandomh...org> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:24PM (#21498803) Homepage
    According to the article, Google released the blogger's identity when he failed to respond within 72 hours. That is MUCH too fast. Even if he dropped what he was doing and acted immediately, it would still take longer than that to figure out what's going on, get a lawyer, and draft a response. That's ignoring the fact that he probably didn't receive the message immediately (subtract 24 hours), probably had other things on his plate (subtract another 24 hours) and may not have even realized that the notice was legit. (An e-mail is not a legitimate court summon. If you receive one which claims to be, it is probably a scam.)
  • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:29PM (#21498871)
    Don't be absurd, they're not trying to balance anything with the interests of their share holders.

    Google is a company that relies heavily on its public image. Hurting that image is bad for it's share holders. Thats why any significant company has PR people. Just that with Google they take it a good deal further than most, and its obviously served their wallets well.

    I don't mean to disparage Google, I tremendously enjoy a good number of their services, but lets be realistic.
  • by qbzzt (11136) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:30PM (#21498881)
    Would you also review your patronage of companies that do business with Saudi Arabia, which forbids any exercise of non-Muslim religion? Israel isn't perfect, but it does have non-Jewish citizens, and allows the exercise of other religions. It does discriminate, but it goes both ways. Non Jewish citizens aren't usually forced to serve in the military, although they can volunteer.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:39PM (#21498965)
    Everyone eventually dies anyway.

    Following due process is important and Google should have done so. Releasing info without court demand is as bad as searching without a warrant.

  • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:41PM (#21498989)
    Yes but only 3 days? There are some times that I dont get on the computer for 3 days although it is rarely, and other days that I just quickly check the news, /. or my e-mail. It should be at least 2 weeks to allow for vacation and other time when people would be away from the computer.
  • Easy solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by matt me (850665) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:44PM (#21499009)
    Google wouldn't be able to do such evil if it only stored the IP addresses of its users for immediate necessary use, and discarded them. Keeping data indefinitely, such that they can be reinterpreted and abused in ways unimaginable at the time , makes such problems as these likely.
  • by AndrewM1 (648443) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:49PM (#21499079)
    In this circumstance, the anonymous blogger has nothing to complain about. Despite the litany of "Do not evil, yeah right!" posts that are already becoming evident in this discussion, I think google did the least evil thing possible. An anonymous blogger was committing slander, which is a civil tort. Under the rules of any civilized legal system, the plaintiff has the right to go after someone who has unjustly slandered their name - this is especially true for politicians, whose very livelihood relies on their reputation. If this person lied to defame someone, they should certainly have the weight of the law come down upon them. Furthermore, all google did was give out the information on how to contact the blogger. This blogger will not be served with the lawsuit, and will have the opportunity to defend themselves. And all this after giving to blogger a, I would think, unnecessarily generous offer to contest the ruling anonymously. In short, I think that everything Google did throughout this process has been quite in keeping with their motto, and see this as a perfectly reasonable series of steps to take in accordance with their ethics and the law.
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:53PM (#21499117) Homepage Journal

    Seems somewhat "narrow minded" to me. You must be a Republican!

    Trust me, the Republicans don't have a monopoly on narrow-mindedness.

    Ron Paul is a Republican and he doesn't seem narrow-minded at all.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @08:05PM (#21499237)
    Perhaps Google cares about its users as a whole but not as individuals.

    tell me why Google should ignore criminal abuse of its networks and services.

    tell me why someone shouldn't have the right to ask Google for help in the prosecution of a crime.

    tell me when "the right to privacy" became a right to injure others anonymously - safe from any consequences.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @08:08PM (#21499263)

    You need to stand up for your views..
    Very true. But if you stand up for your views and your views are libelous, you must be prepared to accept responsibility for that.

    Freedom of speech is not always a licence to defame others.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @08:09PM (#21499273) Homepage

    Fact: someone who's been wronged has a right to pursue the person responsible. No argument there. The fact that the person responsible is attempting to hide his identity doesn't change that. The problem with the RIAA's tactics is that they want the identity before proving they've been wronged. In this case the councilmen did the right thing: went into court, convinced a judge that the words as written did in fact qualify as something legally actionable, then asked for the identity of the responsible party. It might be technically more correct to wait until a final ruling, but I doubt the final ruling would be significantly different from the preliminary one. Judges don't just fire from the hip when making a preliminary ruling, it's more like "This will be how I rule, unless someone fairly quickly comes up with something that hasn't been even hinted at yet that's major enough to counter everything I've seen so far.".

    Sorry, guys, but contrary to popular belief the right to remain anonymous is not a shield against being held responsible for your statements and actions. It just means that the other party should have to prove that your statements or actions were in fact legally actionable before stripping you of your anonymity.

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @08:09PM (#21499277)
    This is about some asshole thinking they can just slander anyone online and not have to own up to it.

    privacy isn't a platform you can use to attack other people.

  • by rossz (67331) <ogre.geekbiker@net> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @08:31PM (#21499473) Homepage Journal
    Stirring the hornets nest? Sure, by simply existing. Israel has tried everything they could to bring peace with their neighbors. Their last attempt was giving up huge amounts of land they had taken in a war, thus pissing off lots of their own citizens. The result? Terrorists used the new lands to launch rockets at civilians.

    In the middle east, which countries can you openly practice your religion no matter what it is? Only one country, Israel. Which countries have full equal rights for women? Again, only Israel. Which countries have open and honest elections? Only Israel. Which countries are perfect? Ha, a trick question. Not a single one.
  • Re:double entendre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @08:45PM (#21499601)
    I think that this is just a case of responsibility, for the individual to be held accountable for what they say.

      Then you clearly don't know what anonymous means.
  • Re:double entendre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thrip (994947) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @09:34PM (#21499989)

    Freedom of speech is not the same thing as freedom of anonymous speech.
    I keep hearing this argument from the kind of people who you know would love to curtail speech in general. In a country where a large majority vigorously defends free speech, perhaps anonymity would not be necessary. But in a country like the one I live in, where the citizens are told that they have free speech, but where you can be jailed for years for speaking certain truths to your lawyer, spouse, or doctor, and where thugs can come to your home or workplace and intimidate you if you publicly question your rulers, anonymous speech is necessary. When the government tries to ban certain types of speech, having a way to speak anonymously nullifies the ban. Sometimes it is necessary for a thing to be said anonymously at first, so that it can be discussed openly afterward.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@ e a r t h l i nk.net> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @09:40PM (#21500027)
    It's a sticky problem.

    This sounds, from a distance, like a case where Google made the correct decision, but...

    Who gets to define "criminal"? How is this different from turning over the id of a Chinese journalist?

    When powerful people get to define what is a crime, then I'm not easy about "criminal" being used as a justifier for the breaking of confidentiality.

  • Re:double entendre (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @09:53PM (#21500153) Journal
    Would you consider this to be true even when the speech isn't true? I mean I can understand getting the truth or an opinion out there. But outright slandering someone isn't really the same thing.

    Something else I find disturbing is that a court did request the information. The fact that it was an informal hearing usually doesn't negate any actions or orders produced from it. You didn't bring it up, but the GP did so I wanted to kill two birds with one post.
  • by fohat (168135) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:06PM (#21500235) Homepage

    In the middle east, which countries can you openly practice your religion no matter what it is? Only one country, Israel.

    You can even be openly Christian and live in Isreal, as long as you don't mind a little spit on your face [google.com]

    I think the moral of this story is, if you don't have anything nice to say about someone on the internet, don't say anything at all.
    Fuckers.

    oops...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:07PM (#21500247)

    Which countries have open and honest elections? Only Israel.

    Are the occupied Palestinians allowed to vote?
  • by c6gunner (950153) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:13PM (#21500293)

    How the hell is this marked insightful? I've never seen anything so patently drooling-on-your-shirt crazy getting modded UP.
    Have any of you considered that the PLO has plants working AT Slashdot, and that (like other countries with plants working in key or security-critical employers-- civil or private) that plant's duty is to mod up comments which blame the Mossad?

    Ok, no, seriously, there's some really nutty people running around on slashdot :p
  • Re:double entendre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thrip (994947) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:29PM (#21500387)

    Would you consider this to be true even when the speech isn't true?
    Yes. One price of free speech is misinformation. This is true regardless of anonymity. Look at the Swift Vets, for instance. And my instinct is that anything said anonymously is automatically not slanderous, because it either contains evidence or it has no weight. That, of course, is my moral opinion, not a legal one.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:32PM (#21500405)

    According to which final ruling? Innocent unless proven guilty.
    I haven't heart the defense yet. Tell me why Google should be on the prosecutors side. This is Google taking a stand, instead of Google letting the judge make a stand first with a final ruling.
    It's good to see you've decided to place the cart in a convenient location, immediately before the horse. There is a certain process in all judicial matters, and part of that process is that the accused must be made aware of the charges they're being brought up on. If google were to protect their anonymity it would defeat this and then there would not in fact be a trial. Google's revealing of this information was not the same as making it public information, rather it was assisting in a specific criminal trial where the information is being used to identify the accused. They have not determined guilt, they have simply decided to be cooperative with the authorities.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rmerry72 (934528) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:33PM (#21500417) Homepage

    They notified the guy and told him he had three days to contest their actions.

    They left a note on his blog and told him he had 72 hours to respond with his own comments. One of those actions was to respond to the court as an "anonymous".

    The judge did not rule that Google should hand over the IP address. This was a preliminary ruling only. Google was not ordered by the court to do anything and indeed could have ignored the request without breaking any laws. They chose not too. They chose to take action to help identify own of their bloggers.

    But then the action was nothing more than a shopkeeper telling a lawyer: "Yes, I've seen him, he buys bread here regularly." Now, is the shopkeeper violating his customers privacy? Should the shopkeeper asked for a warrant first?

  • Re:double entendre (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:34PM (#21500425) Journal
    dunno. i am of the opinion that it should be pretty much impossible for an anonymous person to slander on the internet -- at least, it would sort of make sense that if you are being told something by someone you don't know you shouldn't consider it fact very easily.

    Very good point, but there are two reasons I think the concept of slander would still be valid:

    a) The cases where anonymous message reveals information that only a reliable source would have, such as a passcode.

    b) Even if people *shouldn't* accept self-serving unverifiable statements at face value, they do, and thus slander can wrongfully harm someone.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmerry72 (934528) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:42PM (#21500473) Homepage

    Who gets to define "criminal"?

    The government. Any and all governments. Each individual government in each individual jurisdication where that government holds power. Even governments we view as being corrupt or morally reprehensible to the determent of their own people.

    How is this different from turning over the id of a Chinese journalist?

    Google was ordered to by the legal court in the country. Google was not ordered so in this case. There was no court order, merely a preliminary ruling. Different country, different law.

    When powerful people get to define what is a crime, then I'm not easy about "criminal" being used as a justifier for the breaking of confidentiality.

    Tough. Criminals have few rights, in some countries less than others. Rights to a "fair trial" or "innocent until proven guilty" are all at the discretion of the ruling power in the land - whichever land that may be - and often on a case by case basis. And yes, some governments define almost everybody as a criminal and then apply whatever punishment they want.

    That's life. Reality bites. Has been for all civilisations for all time, including the one you live in and the one I live in now.

    And no, you shouldn't feel comfortable about it, but then there is nothing you can do to change it. Just avoid getting caught in those countries by those governments.

  • Ok, sure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by foreverdisillusioned (763799) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @11:00PM (#21500553) Journal
    tell me why Google should ignore criminal abuse of its networks and services.

    Because if it were truly criminal, a judge could say so and issue a subpoena.

    tell me why someone shouldn't have the right to ask Google for help in the prosecution of a crime.

    They do. It's called a subpoena. If Google Israel truly respected their customer's rights, they would simply wait for a subpoena. Also, slander/libel isn't typically considered a crime--though the summary says it "probably" was in this case, I can't see how this would ever be a good idea. Malicious/harmful lies are torts and are punishable by civil law--not by people with guns knocking you to the ground, tasering you, dragging you off and locking up up with violent criminals.

    tell me when "the right to privacy" became a right to injure others anonymously - safe from any consequences.

    As someone else has already said, any reasonable person should judge that no harm was done. Anonymous slander/libel by definition is completely frivolous and unbelievable. Look, watch:

    GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, RAPES BABIES! HE RAPES THEM UNTIL THEY BLEED TO DEATH AND THEN EATS THEIR CORPSES WITH A SIDE ORDER OF FAVA BEANS!

    Now, you see, who here believes me? No one, obviously, because I'm just another vulgar, anonymous, raving lunatic on the internet. With very few exceptions, anonymous slander doesn't cause significant damage in today's rumor-jaded world. The Israeli politician in this case should have to prove that someone actually took the anonymous blogger seriously, and that person somehow took harmful action against himself. Even if he could, I still don't think this should possibly be considered a crime.
  • Re:double entendre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jay L (74152) <jay+slash@jay.REDHATfm minus distro> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @11:17PM (#21500657) Homepage
    it is probably better for people to check their sources rather than pretend that it is safe to assume what you hear is true. i personally believe that the freedom to lie should not be restricted, even though lying is certainly a bad thing. this is partially because of how awkward cases for slander and libel and defamation can be.

    So take the Internet out of the equation.

    It's cool for me to post unsigned flyers around your neighborhood, with your photo, full name, and address, claiming that "This man raped my daughter", because people should assume that it's not safe to trust anonymous flyers?
  • by charlieman (972526) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @11:20PM (#21500677)
    That's the thing with big companies, once they get big they forget how they did it.
  • Re:double entendre (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @11:33PM (#21500787)
    What happens when the person being slandered is denied the ability to stop it using the courts because there isn't enough evidence to justify revealing the IP address but the slander continues. How would you feel if this was happening to you and google declined to hep without a court order? How long would this take and can the damage ever be repaired?

    Saying "the person being slandered" begs the question of whether slander has been committed.

    If a court determines slander has been committed, the court will order the owner of the IP to be revealed, and presumably punished. Any "damages" can then be pursued in a civil suit. You seem to be arguing that you should have the right to demand the identity of anyone who you claim to have slandered you without regard for any standards of proof.

  • Public Terminal? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by chaney (526944) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @11:47PM (#21500885)
    Has anyone considered the fact that this person may have been using a public terminal rather than using a home computer? That how I leave all my slanderous comments about people. =] -Chaney
  • Re:Ok, sure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lelitsch (31136) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @11:48PM (#21500893)

    Now, you see, who here believes me? No one, obviously, because I'm just another vulgar, anonymous, raving lunatic on the internet. With very few exceptions, anonymous slander doesn't cause significant damage in today's rumor-jaded world
    John McCain has a baby out of wedlock. WITH A BLACK WOMAN!

    Now, you see, who here believes that? No one [boston.com], obviously, because it's from just another vulgar, anonymous, raving lunatic on the internet. With very few exceptions, anonymous slander doesn't cause significant damage in today's rumor-jaded world.
  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:02AM (#21500979) Journal
    Modified weight, maybe.

    But an entire class of people who fall prey to groupthink don't care that a gossip seed was originally "anonymous". It's tantalizing, and once they tell the story enough time themselves, they decide it's true by default.

    When anonymous is combined with permitted lies, social structure breaks down because it opens the way for people to accuse each other of saying it. Trolling indeed.

  • Re:Do No Evil (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jelton (513109) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:11AM (#21501449)

    Seriously, since when do people feel the need to stick up for a corporation? They don't care about you at all. Why should you defend them?
    I defend corporations because I like plenty of food in my belly, my desk job that pays better than being a hunter-gatherer and the ability to engage in many leisure activities in the evening rather than cowering in a cave, stoking my fire and fearing wild animals.

    Hooray progress!
  • Re:double entendre (Score:3, Insightful)

    by magixman (883752) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:49AM (#21501639)
    In the U.S. the constitution protects the right to free speech and not the right to anonymity. Google did not turn over data such as emails or documents - they effectively just "fingered" an "anonymous coward". Your post made me realize that my knee-jerk reaction that everyone who posts anonymously is a coward is a luxury I can afford because I live in the U.S. and that "free speech", which we Americans cherish so deeply, is intrinsically connected with anonymity in many parts of the world.
  • Re:Genocide. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:55AM (#21501921)
    Chances are you're simply a Jew-hating turd who won't be happy until Israel is wiped off the earth. If that's the case, then I'd refuse to talk to you based on principle alone.

    Wrong. Half my friends are Jews. I think I stated already - no, I KNOW I stated it already, but just for you, I'll do it again; I have no problem at all with Jews in exactly the same way I don't have any problem with Americans. But their psychotic governments are a different matter altogether. There. Let that sink in. --Just because I am criticizing a government for killing civilians en masse, it does not make me anti-Semitic. Why is that so hard for people to grasp? The 'anti-Semite' card is getting very old and very tired.

    The ONLY way to arrive at your conclusion is by ignoring all of the available data, and all common sense, so what point is there for me to attempt to engage you in rational discourse?

    I've known IDF soldiers who came back to the West to laugh about getting high and killing people. Maybe they were an extreme example, but their accounts were certainly hair-raising in a, 'these guys are really scary' kind of way. --And if theirs was an accurate indication of some of the forces moving within the Israeli military and government, then it is very hard to take Israel's stated innocence in the media at face value.

    As for my ignoring all available data? Hm. Even CNN covered the wall which Israel put up, so I didn't miss that fact. Then there's the armed check points; those are in the main-stream news (i.e., pro-Israeli-spun news, it should always be remembered), so I didn't miss those facts either. The confiscation of land is well known. The recent bull-dozing of civilian houses and orchards is less well known, but the footage is plentiful, so I'm not missing those points. The imprisonment and starvation of an entire population on the Gaza Strip. . , well nobody likes to talk about that much or use those terms, but those facts are also freely available, so they can't be the facts you're referring to. --And of course, the on-going bombing raids and the shootings and the general killing of civilians through the use of a highly advanced and extremely well-equipped military. What facts am I missing here?

    Just because genocides in the past have been more sudden and abrupt does not mean that there is not a deliberate and systematic campaign to destroy an entire people going on; a campaign which has a measurable and regular body count; more facts. --And you suggest that I am the one with race hatred? Hm. It is an interesting fact, (and yes, this is another fact), that the abuser, particularly the sociopathic abuser will accuse the victim of the very abuses they themselves are guilty of.

    But then, you are telling me I don't know what I'm talking about. Maybe that's true. However, maybe your facts are the ones which are not accurate. Maybe you're the one who is buying into propaganda. Have you considered that before? And assuming you have considered this, what did you base your (clearly) negative conclusion on?


    -FL

  • by scuba0 (950343) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @05:27AM (#21502421) Homepage
    First, the defendant is "probably" using their network to slander someone. The court haven't desided that yet, therefor no court-order. Google just assumed that they where correct and handed over the IP-adress even though the accusations where not defenitely a crime.
  • Re:double entendre (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @05:47AM (#21502493) Homepage
    Well as long as you put it out as an opinion rather than a statement of fact, in most countries in would not be slander, how ever it would likely be considered as harassment. There is a real sense of physical threat in wondering around a persons neighbourhood when the olnly reason for doing so is a grudge against that person. There is only the time and effort it produce some blog rant versus printing photo copying and delivery, that level of commitment implies a real measure of potential threat.

    In the context of you post of course your comparison is wildly wrong. As people have to choose to look at and read the anonymous blog, more accurately your comparison aligns with spam also a bit of privacy invasion as you would have to have obtained all the email addresses of the people in that neighbourhood.

  • Re:double entendre (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @08:21AM (#21503191)
    What about the notion that words and language have a use and a power beyond communication?

    If all that language did was communicate fact or opinion, then it would be easy to say "Don't trust anonymous sources," "Verify your data," etc.

    But language does more than communicate information -- every act of speech is also inherently creative. When I say "The Duke lacrosse team beat and raped me," I am doing more than communicating a fact (true or false). I am calling into existence an instance of "rape" in the minds of all those whom my language datum reaches. I am creating it there, bringing with it connotations and associations of powerlessness, abuse, degradation, patriarchy; I am calling up emotional responses of horror, righteous anger, shock, etc. Further, I am associating all of this with 'the Duke lacrosse team.'

    Even if we eventually learn that the informational content of the message is false, the human mind is still subject to its associative effect -- particularly if we are exposed to the message many times over. Witness the pairing of the words "9/11" and "Iraq" in the run-up to the current war. Witness the pairing of sexuality and product in every other ad.

    The associative effect of the creative power of language is inevitable -- it's this effect that allows us a learning process to take place in the human mind. It's an inherently human effect, one that makes the human mind qualitatively different from binary circuits. It cannot be avoided or brushed off to "stupid people." It affects "us," as in "all of us," not "them," as in "the others, the evil and/or dumb ones."

    I think a recognition of this, the metacommunicative power of language, places a heavy responsibility on all of us who would use it. However, I agree that the twin problems of lying and bullshitting (slander surely falls into one or the other) are not easily solved by legal measures -- nor do they properly belong in the realm of law. They seem, rather, to be two issues of personal ethics -- ones that we should take seriously, and foremost within ourselves.
  • Re:double entendre (Score:1, Insightful)

    by penguin_dance (536599) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:18AM (#21504709)
    That's a normal, knee-jerk reaction. But what if the blogger was accusing a public figure of being a pedophile or an embezzler? In this case, the blogger accused them of criminal acts. What if this is just a tactic used by the opposition party being that this is an electoral race? It's not a case of a disgruntled employee or customer talking about a company. It asks a bigger question: At what point does the line get crossed between free speech and smearing someone's reputation--perhaps affecting an election--from behind a cloak of anonymity?
  • Re:double entendre (Score:2, Insightful)

    by E++99 (880734) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:55PM (#21507195) Homepage

    anybody that takes internet 'slander' serious should grow a thicker skin.

    You can't sue for slander because someone says something that hurts your feelings. You sue for slander when someone spreads false information about you that causes you actual harm. If someone destroys my livelihood by spreading false information about me, thick skin isn't going to put food on the table.

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it. -- E. Hubbard

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