Feeds

Google agrees to cough Israeli blogger's IP address

Anonymous defendant in 'slander' case

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road
It's hard enough to peel the onion, are you hard enough to eat the core?
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.