'Skank' Blogger To Sue Google For $15 Million

Dennis Faas's picture

An anonymous blogger whose identity was revealed by Google says she will sue the firm for $1.5 million. But Google, which only revealed her name after a court order, says it was following both the law and its own user policies.

The uproar began after former model Liskula Cohen complained to Google about a site using its Blogger service. The "Skanks of NYC" blog contained unflattering pictures of her and the words "I would have to say that first place award for 'Skankiest in NYC' would have to go to Liskula Gentile Cohen."

Cohen said she wanted to pursue legal action against the writer but Google refused to give out any personal details, citing its privacy policy. Cohen then went to court to force them to reveal the identity.

Fact Or Opinion?

During the trial, a lawyer for the blogger argued that a blog was inherently personal opinion rather than a statement of fact, and thus wasn't covered by libel laws; if that were the case, there would be no legal need to reveal the writer's identity. The judge rejected this argument, which may set a precedent for future cases involving anonymous blogs.

Google then handed over the IP addresses used when updating the blog, plus the original email address used to set up the account. The blogger was revealed to be Rosemary Port, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology who reportedly has a personal grudge against Cohen.

Libel Case Dropped

Cohen has now decided to drop plans to launch a libel case against Port, telling her lawyer "It adds nothing to my life to hurt hers." (Source: nydailynews.com)

However, the case may still wind up in a courtroom; Port is threatening to sue Google for $15 million, claiming that revealing her identity contravened her First Amendment rights. Her lawyer says Google "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity", though some have already declared that a "nonsensical concept." (Source: zdnet.com)

Google says its user policies for Blogger clearly state that it will hand over personal details when -- and only when -- a court order forces them to do so.

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