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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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  • What the hell... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by davidsyes (765062) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:13PM (#21498675) Homepage Journal
    Have any of you considered that the Mossad has plants working AT Google, and that (like other countries with plants working in key or security-critical employers-- civil or private) that plant's duty was to monitor, collect, report on, sanitize, and enable the use of it for government purposes, whether to bring charges against someone or to slander someone?

    Most of the comments so far (among the 1st 15) make it seem like Google is slipping into the hells. It very well could be that MOD/Israel contacted Google USA out of cursory moves, but already planned to use the IP collected whether or NOT GUSA assented, and probably had plans to SAY GUSA cooperated.

    Of course, the US State Department and other agencies might WELCOME this, as another ruse/means of getting 'merkuns to RELAX their expectations of privacy over security.

    Any more informed or better opinions to follow those prior to my own (slanted) assumptions here?
  • Re:double entendre (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Klaus_1250 (987230) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:29PM (#21498865)
    Sounds like he was not anonymous in the first place. But doesn't this violate Google Privacy policy, giving up address/personal information without a court order? And what about not being evil? Giving up anyones address/identity if some authority asks for it, without going through appropriate legal channels, doesn't sound good to me.
  • So What? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:42PM (#21498999)
    I love how all the slashbots defend anybody, in any court case, as long as they aren't a business, big or small, and do something online. Slander DOES exist, and it does happen, and while there is a chance the case is BS, it might very well be legitimate. Just because somebody's a blogger dosen't mean that they're innocent, and the court could have gotten the guy's IP if they really wanted to anyway. Besides, it's not like they're going to behead the guy if he's found guilty, and Israel's court system doesn't seem too dysfunctional. On a side note, however, it is a bit disconcerting that Google will give it away that easily. I can understand if they were asked by the court, but Google seems to be headed downhill.
  • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:43PM (#21499001)
    Yes. And when you ask me for a gun so you can murder your wife, if I give it to you then most people would consider that "evil". When my brother asks to borrow my gun to go hunting most people (non-animal-rights activists anyway) would consider it to be just fine for me to loan it to him.

    Circumstances are important in judging the morality of an action by most standards (unless you've been reading Kant - in which case I'm sorry).
  • Re:double entendre (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beyondkaoru (1008447) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @09:00PM (#21499725) Homepage
    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.

    i believe that slander, libel, defamation, etc are... perhaps outdated concepts. 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.

    many people, such as yourself, might define 'freedom of speech' differently from how i define it for myself -- and the law certainly has a different view of it than i do. but that's my opinion, and i think that absolute freedom of communication would work. (specifically, i mean allowing consenting parties to communicate whatever they want, not absolute freedom of speech which might be considered to include yelling into an unsuspecting person's ear)

    or, to put it another way, if a mere pseudonym is slandering me, i might just ask, "why trust this person?". if people can learn how easy it is to be lied to, then they might learn to check their references, and slandering will become much more difficult. (of course, i do have significant doubts that people will learn to do this... but if people are sheltered from simple communication, then they might never learn.)
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @09:48PM (#21500115)

    Google was not compelled by a court order to reveal the IP address. It is the judiciary's role to decide whether the plaintiffs are entitled to that information.

    Before we go down this road, it would be helpful to know a little more about relevant laws in Israel. The article indicates that the judge made it clear to Google that it seemed to be a case of criminal activity. Google "took the hint" and provided the information. Without knowing what the law in Israel says about disclosing this type of information during this stage of a court case, it's difficult for us to comment on it.


    So, can anybody in Israel with legal knowledge comment?

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

    by evil_aar0n (1001515) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @11:25PM (#21500717)
    Land "stolen"? Land taken in a defensive war does not qualify as "stolen" in my book. When you get your ass handed to you - especially by a smaller guy - in a fight you started, you don't have the right to ask for your dignity back. Oh, and you won't hear it in the popular press, but a lot of "stolen" land was actually sold freely by Arabs to Jewish folks.

    And, ya know, the "refugee" problem could be solved right-quick if the other Arab countries gave a damn about the plight of said refugees. Israel is about the size of New Jersey, and shrinking, because of continued - wasted - concessions. Any one of those larger Arab countries in the region could spare enough land to give the refugees a place to live. But, according to Arab logic, it's better to keep these people as refugees, placing international pressure on Israel to keep bending over backward - maybe they'll eventually create a mobius strip? - creating generation after generation of Arabs hostile to the mere existence of Israel, than to actually fix the problem.

    This is far from a wholesale endorsement of Israel; they're not perfect, either. But, a quick question - in which country would you rather live: Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Syria? You're less likely to have your lifeless body dragged through the streets, while your murderers dance around with your blood literally on their hands, in Israel than in any of the other countries.

    And, no, I'm not Jewish.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SnowZero (92219) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @11:30PM (#21500755)

    So, can anybody in Israel with legal knowledge comment?
    Apparently not.

    However, it seems plenty of people can act as armchair lawyers, and assume that the Israeli laws are the same as the US. Most likely, their not. We need better information.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wikinerd (809585) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:26AM (#21501137) Journal

    Perhaps Google cares about its users as a whole but not as individuals.

    Which actually makes sense for them if we assume that they are in business for the money and that if users as a whole leave then they will lose ad revenue, but an individual alone has little effect on their balance sheet. Is Google in only for the money? I don't know... but most businesses are because they are composed of many different individuals each one having different ideas about ethics, thus causing the business as a whole to act on more-or-less universally accepted goals, and this is usually profit as most if not all people on the planet prefer having their pockets full of money rather than air. Is running a business solely on profit bad or good? Well, I think it's better to take other ethical issues into consideration when doing business and not just count your success by your balance sheet's totals.

  • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by powerlord (28156) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:36AM (#21501221) Journal
    What is interesting to me, that no one seems to have brought up, is that the Court itself seems to have offered the opportunity for the Defendant to respond anonymously.

    I don't think there would even be the consideration of something like this in the U.S. (not sure about other countries).
  • by eh2o (471262) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:03AM (#21501707)
    The plantiffs asked the court to mandate that Google hand over the IP. Then Google agreed to an out-of-court "settlement" where they provided the IP directly to the plantiff, based on a "hint" (TFA's words) from the judge that it was OK to do so.

    Now it seems likely that this was going to happen eventually, but why the rush? This blogger had been at it for an entire *year* already, and suddenly it becomes a 72-hour emergency? That makes no sense. Why not wait for the mandate and do the thing that is *technically* correct -- morally and legally unquestionable? Were there terms to the settlement that are undisclosed? Was there money involved? We will probably never know. The whole thing just looks bad, bad bad... I hope some heads roll at Google, because they screwed this one up in a big way.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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