Feeds

Google agrees to cough Israeli blogger's IP address

Anonymous defendant in 'slander' case

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google has agreed to hand over the IP address of a user of its Blogger service accused of "slandering"* three Israeli council members.

According to Globes Online, the trio of Shaarei Tikva men - local council chairman Gideon Idan, Shaarei Tikva director general Haim Blumenfeld, and council member Avi Yokobovich - were for more than a year accused of various criminal acts, including "pretending to be handicapped in order to receive discounts on local property taxes, receiving bribes from a contractor, and having ties to criminal gangs".

Finally, the three filed a NIS 300,000 (£37,500) lawsuit aginst the blogger, naming the defendant as "anonymous". They also requested a court order requiring Google to hand over his IP address, with which they could track him down via his ISP.

Google initially declined on the grounds that "disclosing the blogger's identity violated rulings on the balance between freedom of expression and a person's right to his reputation".

However, Judge Oren Schwartz decided that "the blog's content raised suspicions of criminal conduct", citing a Tel Aviv District Court ruling that "the details of a surfer may be disclosed only if the slander was tantamount to criminal defamation".

Google and the three litigants finally agreed that 72 hours before the hearing on the case, the latter would leave a message on the offending blog inviting the author to "disclose his identity, participate in the hearing, or oppose the disclosure of his identity by filing a motion as 'anonymous'". If he declined, Google would supply the IP address.

Globes Online's report, dated yesterday, does not clarify when the case is due to be heard in court. ®

Update

According to CNet, a Google spokesman has clarified the company's position thus:

Google's approach to personal data is clear - we only ever hand over information about our users to third parties (such as law enforcement agencies) when they have been through the proper legal process. This ensures that we are able both to protect the privacy of our users and act responsibly where people may have used Google's products to break the law.

In terms of Blogger, we have clear terms and conditions, which users agree to when they sign up for the service. These make clear that: violent, hateful or copyright infringing content, for example, is against our rules; violation of our terms of service may lead not only to the termination of the users' account but also "state and federal penalties and other legal consequences"; and Google may investigate any violations to "comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request."

In terms of this case, we handed over the IP address of the Blogger after an Israeli court order required us to do so. Google has not blocked the blog or taken it down. Google gave the IP address to the court (the court handed it over to the complainant).

Bootnote

*We use Globes Online's term. In the UK, this would be classed as libel.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV
And insists on $5 million insurance per motor against accidents
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?