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Model Drops Lawsuit After Outing Anonymous Blogger

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-can-pull-your-pants-up-now dept.

Privacy 476

JumperCable writes "The NY Daily News is reporting that model Liskula Cohen, who was suing the 'Skanks of NYC' blogger for defamation, is dropping the lawsuit now that she has outed the anonymous blogger, who is a Fashion Institute of Technology student named Rosemary Port. This brings up the question of potential abuse of the legal system to 'out' anonymous authors even if there is no intention actually to pursue a case against an anonymous individual. Also, according to the article, the outed blogger intends to sue Google for $15 million because it 'breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity.' Do Web hosting services even have a fiduciary duty to protect their clients, or is this all legal bluff and bluster?" Should such anonymity-busting court rulings include a provision for penalties if the plaintiff does not follow through with legal action after outing their target?

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476 comments

My fiduciary duty is to point out that... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171529)

Liskula Cohen is a skank and a ho. For that matter, so is Rosemary Port.

Re:My fiduciary duty is to point out that... (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171593)

Liskula Cohen is a skank and a ho. For that matter, so is Rosemary Port.

I hope nobody returns to slashdot after a long leave and starts by reading that post.

If it end up having a (+5 interesting) or somesuch, the scream of pure nerdrage would tear the spacetime continuum.

Re:My fiduciary duty is to point out that... (2, Funny)

TheDarAve (513675) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171857)

That's ok, according to M theory, it'd just destroy one copy of spacetime.

Re:My fiduciary duty is to point out that... (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171705)

Great, now you're going to sue Cowboy Neal!

Re:My fiduciary duty is to point out that... (0, Offtopic)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171839)

Liskula Cohen is a skank and a ho. For that matter, so is Rosemary Port.

Actually, Ms. Port would look quite fetching in a white shirt and red plaid miniskirt.

Mate :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171535)

What's a fiduciary?

Re:Mate :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171845)

I think it means the person who receives the douche. The fiduciary.

Fiduciary duty? (4, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171547)

Maybe, it depends on the local laws and the TOS. But they should have such. However, this release was due to a court order.

Luckily the person in question wasn't a minor (3, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171613)

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2009_08_16-2009_08_22.shtml#1250896617 [volokh.com]

Seen the fall out from Lori Drew case? Cause emotional distress to a minor and your violating the law. Granted the example cited on volokh is downright not nice but some of the clauses, like four and six, are so vague as to play into any prosecutor's hands.

Lori Drew stories on /. include

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/07/02/2017217/Judge-Tentatively-Dismisses-Case-Against-Lori-Drew?art_pos=1 [slashdot.org]

http://news.slashdot.org/story/08/11/30/2014248/Groklaw-Summarizes-the-Lori-Drew-Verdict?art_pos=5 [slashdot.org]

Re:Fiduciary duty? (2, Informative)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171741)

However, this release was due to a court order.

Right. The person who should be sued here isn't Google, who had no choice, but Liskula Cohen, who forced them to release the information.

Re:Fiduciary duty? (1)

dfxm (1586027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171943)

Even if it is Google's fiduciary duty, why would a breach entitle Port to $15MM?

Expectation of anonymity? (5, Insightful)

Cragen (697038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171569)

Sorry. "Expectation of anonymity"? Where did that come from? I don't think anyone should ever expect anonymity. In fact, I am becoming more in favor of making everyone use their real name, all the time, to lessen the ridiculous-ness, the hateful content, the juvenile, spiteful posts, that we regularly see on forums. In RL, there is no anonymity. Every action has a reaction. Maybe more people need to learn that.

Shut Up You Fag (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171591)

Your mom is a anonymity.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171595)

In RL, there is no anonymity

British?

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Insightful)

MindKata (957167) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171895)

"I don't think anyone should ever expect anonymity" and "British"

With a foolish attitude like that, they should try to get a job with the British Government.

Anonymity is almost a form of protection, however its *never* perfect protection. Anonymity is a poor man's protection in an imperfect world, but some small amount of poor protection is still better than no protection.

Its a fact of life not everyone in the world can be trusted, so all of us choose to hide some information. Therefore any attempt by governments to imply "if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide" (tm) is simply part of government (and business) PR manipulation tactics to fool the masses into docile acquiescence. Knowledge is power so all of us have to be careful leaking all knowledge about ourselves. Plus all governments want more power (its why each politician got into that job in the first place, they want the power to rule and control others so they can ultimately personally gain from having that power over others, and its also why they always want ever more of everyones information because it gives them ever more power. Knowledge is power).

As for this model, she is (like many models) very evidently a HPD (Histrionic Personality Disorder), and the one thing HPDs want above almost all else is ever more attention, which is exactly what this case is giving her.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (3, Interesting)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171609)

It is possible that Google guarantees Anonymity when you register for a Blog. Maybe it says something along the lines of "Your private information will not be shared?" If so, while it may be stupid for them to advertise this, they still have to uphold their end of the bargain as best they can.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

TheDarAve (513675) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171711)

This is usually in the section dealing with 3rd party companies. Context, context, context...

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171745)

You agree that Google may access or disclose your personal information, including the content of your communications, if Google is required to do so in order to comply with any valid legal process or governmental request (such as a search warrant, subpoena, statute or court order) or as otherwise provided in these Terms of Service and the general Google Privacy Policy.

From the Blogger.com terms of service [blogger.com]. Seems pretty cut and dried to me.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171781)

This is pretty much the only post that needs to exist on the topic of the "outed" blogger's plans to sue Google.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (0, Offtopic)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171827)

Agreed. Thank-you, GP, for the response. Mod GP up.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (2, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171899)

UNLESS, of course, they changed the Terms of Service since the original incident!! The plot thickens!!

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172033)

Pyra will also not monitor, edit, or disclose the contents of a Member's information unless required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to: (1) conform to the edicts of the law or comply with legal process served on Pyra; (2) protect and defend the rights or property of Pyra; or (3) act under exigent circumstances to protect the personal safety of BTS members or the public; (4) fix or debug problems with the Blogger software/service.

From the Blogger.com terms of service [archive.org] from January 2005.

Pyra will also not monitor, edit, or disclose the contents of a Member's information unless required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to: (1) conform to the edicts of the law or comply with legal process served on Pyra; (2) protect and defend the rights or property of Pyra; or (3) act under exigent circumstances to protect the personal safety of BTS members or the public; (4) fix or debug problems with the Blogger software/service.

From the Blogger.com terms of service [archive.org] from January 2006.

Pyra will also not monitor, edit, or disclose the contents of a Member's information unless required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to: (1) conform to the edicts of the law or comply with legal process served on Pyra; (2) protect and defend the rights or property of Pyra; or (3) act under exigent circumstances to protect the personal safety of BTS members or the public; (4) fix or debug problems with the Blogger software/service.

From the Blogger.com terms of service [archive.org] from January 2007.

You agree that Google may access or disclose your personal information, including the content of your communications, if Google is required to do so in order to comply with any valid legal process or governmental request (such as a search warrant, subpoena, statute, or court order), or as otherwise provided in these Terms of Service and the general Google Privacy Policy.

From the Blogger.com terms of service [archive.org] from January 2008.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171945)

You agree that Google may access or disclose your personal information, including the content of your communications, if Google is required to do so in order to comply with any valid legal process or governmental request (such as a search warrant, subpoena, statute or court order) or as otherwise provided in these Terms of Service and the general Google Privacy Policy.

From the Blogger.com terms of service [blogger.com]. Seems pretty cut and dried to me.

Unless the legal process was in some way invalid? There's always a crack into which you can fit a few lawyers.

Not strictly the definition of invalid but allowing a person who is not pursuing the case to access the information seems rather close to being an invalid process - why didn't the court demand the release of the information and require the plaintiff to keep it secret or risk contempt of court (which can be cause for imprisonment) pending the result of any trial? The plaintiff has screwed over the court here, not exactly unsurprising, but definitely shouldn't be allowed to happen.

Does this mean that the plaintiff has tacitly endorsed the use of the term "skank" to describe Ms. Cohen?

On a point of law, can they raise the same suit again? How about if Ms. Port gets t-shirts printed ...?

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (2, Informative)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171767)

Blogger's privacy policy points to the general Google one, which says (snipped to the relevant stuff):

Google only shares personal information with other companies or individuals outside of Google in the following limited circumstances:

  • <snip>
  • We have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, <snip>

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (3, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171669)

"Expectation of anonymity"? Where did that come from?

Even better, where did the idea come from that there's a "fiduciary duty" to protect anonymity? A fiduciary duty is to a shareholder, to maximise their return, or to a trustor, to correctly manage the entrusted property. Does Rosemary Port think that she gave her identity to Google to look after for her until she grew up?

"Does Rosemary Port think that she gave her (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172001)

identity to Google to look after for her until she grew up?"

yes, absolutely. until the end of time, forever. what is your rationale for this not to be the case?

as for your confusion about how fiduciary duty comes into play, i think the idea of earning the trust of your customers is a simple and easy concept to understand in terms of growing and maintaining a successful business, no? apparently ethics and morality mean nothing to you, only the shareholder's bottom line. in which case, you should be able to understand, in the vast reaches of business acumen, how and why the shareholder's bottom line is served by not breaching the customer's trust

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171689)

So, what is YOUR real name and address?

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (2, Insightful)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171797)

Well, he haven't tried to hide it, has he?
He just didn't post it anywhere for everyone too see.

The opposite to anonymous isn't necessarily posting all your personal information.
His address isn't relevant, and as such he doesn't need to tell you.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171873)

Meh...Everybody knows my name. You can just call me AC for short.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171929)

Aaron, is that you? What did I say about posting on that Sloshdit site? You get down her and clean the dishes right now, young man!

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171715)

Have you considered the expedient of ignoring posts without real names attached, rather than overhauling the treatment of anonymity and pseudoanonymity across the entire internet?

You might find that a bit more practical.

That aside, though, "in RL" there is often anonymity. People have been pamphleteering, often scurrilously, since the invention of the printing press. People have been writing things on walls since (approximately) the invention of walls. Heck, until comparatively recently, with the invention of modern recordkeeping and administration, anybody who went more than a few miles from where they habitually lived could claim to be just about anyone, with no way to check.

The positive history of anonymity: whistleblowing, social support for certain stigmatized groups(alcoholics, homosexuals, low caste hindus, etc.), freedom from coercion by others in your life, and so forth; also bears mentioning.

Sure, sometimes we have to deal with the greater internet fuckwad; but (most of the time) that isn't a big deal, and there are upsides.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (4, Interesting)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171841)

Yes, but in those cases your anonymity was only protected to the extent that someone didn't track you down.

If you're a revolutionary looking to pamphlet, for example, I imagine you'd go to pretty long lengths to ensure your printer won't turn you over to the authorities. Additionally, if your printer did turn you over, the argument, "he promised he wouldn't" doesn't wouldn't carry much weight.

To extend the analogy, someone decided to use google as their printer, without bothering to verify that google wouldn't tell anyone her identity. In other words, you don't have a right to make anonymous public speech. You do have a right to take steps to protect your anonymity yourself - if those steps are insufficient that's your own problem.

The right to anonymity, so far as it exists, is an extension of your right to privacy. You don't have any expectation of privacy when hanging signs on telephone poles or making posts on blogs because those are PUBLIC acts.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171717)

In fact, I am becoming more in favor of making everyone use their real name, all the time, to lessen the ridiculous-ness, the hateful content, the juvenile, spiteful posts, that we regularly see on forums.

I fully agree with this! No one should ever be allowed to hide behind the veil of anonymity.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

Silver Surfer 1 (193024) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171729)

I post on several forums that use your real name and location and trust me when I say it may prevent some people from being a jerk, there are still plenty of negative, rude people and flame wars.
Personally I don't mind and to be honest it does keep me honest, while some people do not think of the consequences of there action (facebook).

Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum. (2, Insightful)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171735)

You have a right to anonymity. You forfeit it the instant you use it to commit a crime or defame someone. The problem is, people have gotten so used to being able to act with impunity that the Internet has become a thoroughly nasty place (the Arpanet was never this bad), and they think it's now their God-given right to call anybody any name they like. It about damn time these jerks were outed and made to take responsibility for their actions.

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171815)

Sorry, but merely "jerks calling people names" falls far short of defamation.

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171949)

you are correct Mister SpongeBobPoopyPants

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171849)

Insults are not defamation. They are matters of opinion.

-Rick

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (0, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172095)

Insults are not defamation. They are matters of opinion.

"Rick, I think you're a retard," is opinion. "Hey everyone, Rick is a retard," is slander/libel/defamation (dependent on mode of delivery and jurisdiction). M'kay?

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171879)

I don't know about God-given, but everyone has a right to call people whatever names they feel like. Its a quaint little concept called 'Free Speech' and anonymity helps protect it by preventing reprisals against someone who says something unpopular or that makes the powerful look foolish.

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171917)

> You have a right to anonymity. You forfeit it the instant you use it to
> commit a crime or defame someone.

I've had some discussions about that in regards to free speech. Somebody told
me, that if you were to say to a cop "You're an asshole!" you'd be guilty of
defamation or whatever the legal term for it is and he'd have legal recourse
against you. If, OTOH, you'd say "In my opinion you're an asshole!" you'd be
covered under the first Amendment of free speech. Anyone know more about that?

Of course, in both examples above you'd likely get the shit kicked out of
you...:-D

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (1, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171919)

you don't have a right to anonymity when making public speech.

You only have a right to try to be anonymous. If someone discovers your identity it's your problem for not covering your tracks better.

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (4, Interesting)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172071)

You have a right to anonymity. You forfeit it the instant you use it to commit a crime or defame someone.

But, and this is the crux of this case, do you forfeit it the instant someone accuses you of defamation? Back to the case in hand, the model should be dragged back into court for contempt. This is clearly abuse of the court system to get revenge without caring about justice.

Re:Most Internet anonymity is used to protect scum (3, Interesting)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172133)

(the Arpanet was never this bad)

Speaking as one who has been on the internet since when there were fewer than 10,000 hosts connected, I'd say your memory is flawed. "Flame wars" were as bad (or even worse) then.

There is a LOT more fear about what you can get away with now, because there are a LOT more laws about whether some speech is too free. And yet the flame wars have not been reduced one iota. Here again we've given up freedom for NO improvement in our situation.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171739)

In RL, there is no anonymity.

Of course there is. You never heard of "Deep Throat?" You don't see that someone might want to do the right thing and blow the whistle on wrongdoing without having to worry about repurcussions?

In some cases, anonymity is protected by law, e.g. tipping off the cops. And there are legitimate reasons for anonymous slashdot postings, as well.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29172065)

Nixon and Haldeman knew who "Deep Throat" was. Their problem was that by the time they could have retaliated, they were already in "Deep $h!t" and would have made their predicament even worse had it been revealed.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172069)

Who, William Mark Felt, Sr.?

In very, very few cases is anonymity protected. Police informants might be one of them, adoption records another. But even in the watergate issue, had Bob Woodward told the readers of WaPo deepthroat's real name, Mr Felt wouldn't have much recourse. Of Course Bob Woodward would be finished as a journalist, but legally there's not much that could be done.

People have been trying to find out deepthroat's identity since the day the story broke - and many names had been aired as possibly being deepthroat.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (4, Insightful)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171749)

Yes, in the wonderful land of Real Life, everything has a reaction. Sometimes these are very negative reactions. Often this is for good reason, but sometimes it is very much not. Having a place where people can express unpopular, or even in some places of the world, illegal, opinions without fear of retribution is a very good thing and for each of these legitimate uses I think even a billion childish, racist, sexist, misanthropic trolls foaming at the mouth is a small price to pay.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (5, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171913)

I concur.

Furthermore I will add that removing the privilege of Internet anonymity would not herald a return to some non-existed golden age of respect, it would technologically disarm the citizen, the whistleblower, and the blogger whilst leaving intact the weapons of the PR guru, the astroturfer and private detective. There is an arms race between those in power who wish to control discourse and those without power who want to carry out discourse outside the reach of power. Surrendering one side would not automatically make the other side step back.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

dangle (1381879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171763)

I wish people would treat each other all the time with the level of respect that most of us are capable of achieving.

Unfortunately, people are ridiculous, juvenile, and spiteful, even though most of us aspire to suppress these urges for the good of society.

While I agree with the spirit of making people accountable for their behavior, I also wonder if there may be some benefit from the ability to anonymously indulge undesirable urges.

This is related to my belief that violent video games are likely a good outlet for most people who don't actually believe that killing stuff is a good solution to their problems, even though the primitive parts of their brains argue otherwise.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171865)

Anonymity allows people to criticism those who can afford PR sharks without themselves being subject to public humiliation and character assassination. The first reaction to any attack against a public figure is counter-attack, and most people can't employ PR firms to manage this. Trolls are a nuisance. The rich and powerful being able to make any of their critics lives a living hell is tyranny.

power isn't often balanced (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171869)

it is often the case that someone who wishes to whistleblow on a company dumping into an aquifer, or having proof of a bullshit reason to invade iraq [wikipedia.org], is pitting themselves against a furious entity with a lot of power. such that you want anonymity ensured in communication channels where individuals are not afraid to speak out against crimes and abuses of the public trust by the government or other powerful entities

of course, the flip side of that concept is you get this ridiculous skankfight and the legal idiocy resulting from that. but protecting skanks from identifying each other is a small price to pay considering the upside of protecting the concept of anonymity

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171875)

In RL, there is no anonymity.

Not true. In real life I can go up to a stranger who's shouting the praises of communism and have a discussion with him and then leave without him ever knowing my name. He may know what I look like, but there's a lot of people who fit my general description. Only with people that you personally know do you not have anynonymity in real life. It's ridiculous to make people use their real names and addresses online so that someone can see that they wrote something they didn't like and then track them down and harass them or assault them.

The anynonimity of the internet allows people to say the things that they really think without fear of being attacked or harassed (because it's easy to block someone online or just stop going to a website).

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171897)

One reasonable reason for using a nick - not anonymous, but not your proper name - is that too many people have the same name. I have the good fortune to be, thus far, net unique (there is a picture of a four-year-old boy with the same name, so in five or six years I may have competition. But I have worked in in situation where two people in a company of 100 had the same name. If you have a common name first name (John, Mohammed) and second name (Smith, Hussein), the possibilities for confusion are considerable.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172075)

If you have a common name first name (John, Mohammed) and second name (Smith, Hussein), the possibilities for confusion are considerable.

Only if both names are common. It probably wouldn't be that hard to pinpoint John Hussein, or Mohammed Smith.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171937)

One of the first presidents of the United States believed firmly on no anonymity when voting. This was to make it completely clear to everyone where everyone stood when they voted. Maybe someone in this forum can expand on this as I cannot remember all of the details...

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171961)

Might want to research how this country was founded before you start believing this.

The ridiculous, hateful, juvenile spiteful posts are all protected free speech.

In RL, there is no anonymity.

Sure there is. Plamplets which have no one listed as author, pseudonyms fall under anonymous as well.

Every action has a reaction. Maybe more people need to learn that.

That seems to be the rallying cry for people that want to censor others.

Re:Expectation of anonymity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29172113)

So your real and full name is Cregen? Because I don't see any other in your profile. Why don't you let us all in on what your name really is. Since you're so against people being anonymous online. By the way, don't forget to leave your address and phone number for us too. Because I'm too lazy to Google today!

(See my point.. You wouldn't freely hand out that information online, would you? I didn't think so. And neither would most of us!)

Um, what? (5, Funny)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171575)

a Fashion Institute of Technology student

Odd name, is it associated with Apple somehow?

Re:Um, what? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171891)

a Fashion Institute of Technology student

Odd name, is it associated with Apple somehow?

Hrmm .. my first thought was that it was called "FIT" by the students, but then I decided it might have a funnier name:

FASHion InStitute of Technology [urbandictionary.com]

Re:Um, what? (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172099)

The Fashion Institute of Technology is the Manhattan-based Acme Trade School for those people who find the Acme Trade School for plumbers and air conditioner repairmen too "icky."

Happy to help...

Re:Um, what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29172061)

Actually, FIT is pretty well known (and well regarded) in the creative arts world - fashion design, etc. Things mostly unfamiliar with the /. crowd.

Ladies, ladies, come on, can't we solve this in (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171579)

a civil manner? What ever happened to two women hashing out their differences in a wrestling ring filled with pudding instead of in the courtroom. Kids these days....

Re:Ladies, ladies, come on, can't we solve this in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171621)

a civil manner? What ever happened to two women hashing out their differences in a wrestling ring filled with pudding instead of in the courtroom. Kids these days....

Who'd want to watch a couple o' skanky hos?

There should be penalties... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171627)

I think that yes, there should be penalties if you use the court for your own "nefarious" purposes. You're upset enough to sue for slander/defamation, find out the name of the anonymous blogger and then suddenly drop the case? If nothing else you should have to pay all the costs involved for all parties...plus a nice fine for having wasted the court's time.

Can the outed blogger sue the model? (4, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171635)

Can the outed blogger sue the model for something along the lines of SLAPP [wikipedia.org]? Well, obviously you can sue for anything, but is it likely to have the suit stand up in court?

Depending on what she's blogged about in the past, one could argue that being forced out into the open has diminished her chances of seeking gainful employment compared to when no one could just google her name and find that Liskula Cohen is a psychotic skank ho [nymag.com] ...

Liskula Cohen was the blogger, right?

Re:Can the outed blogger sue the model? (1)

TheDarAve (513675) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171843)

SLAPP doesn't apply as its not really abuse of the system. If it was, the RIAA would have gotten shut down quite a few times by now. The model never performed any legal action that named the blogger directly to force the blogger into litigation just to cause the loss of money or to be annoying. Its gaming the system, but unfortunately, the model can get away with it by saying "Once I found out it was a nobody, I didn't see the point of persuing litigation."

Google on the other hand seems like they would have a decent SLAPP case if the blogger tries to get cute.

IANAL.

Re:Can the outed blogger sue the model? (3, Interesting)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171965)

I did say along the lines of SLAPP. Not SLAPP directly.

Like I said, depending on what she's blogged about in the past, one could argue that being forced out into the open has diminished her chances of seeking gainful employment compared to when no one could just google her name and find that Liskula Cohen is a psychotic skank ho [nymag.com] ...

Liskula Cohen was still the blogger, right?

But as others have pointed out, the blogger will have no stance in court with her suit against Google, as Google is obviously required to follow a court order, not to mention that following such court orders are specifically mentioned in the terms of service for that particular service.

But a counter suit against the model could work. Might work. I'm not a lawyer, obviously, but I would think that a good lawyer could cook up some argument that being forced out into the open has diminished her chances of seeking gainful employment compared to when no one could just google her name and find that Liskula Cohen is a psychotic skank ho [nymag.com] ...

Re:Can the outed blogger sue the model? (1)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172127)

Liskula Cohen was still the blogger, right?

No, she's the model. Says so in the first sentence of the summary. Also in the first sentence is the information that Rosemary Port is the blogger.

Expectation of Privacy??!? (2, Insightful)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171641)

You have zero expectation of privacy when standing out in the open on a city street in the US, why would one assume you have an expectation of privacy when posting on a public forum on the Internet? I understand if you take some measure to really hide (wear a mask in public, or use something like Tor on the Internet), but even then, you could only blame the service you use to protect your privacy, not the end public bulletin (or blog) I would think...

Re:Expectation of Privacy??!? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171921)

Shouting in a public square may not be private, but unless people you know are in that square, it is anonymous.

Anonymous trial? (3, Interesting)

TranceThrust (1391831) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171667)

Following through after 'outing' seems a non-solution; you could still start cases you know you have a small (if any) chance of winning to 'out' someone.

My initial reaction actually was people cannot and should not expect anonymity on the internet, unless extreme measures are taken which often still do not guarantee anonymity 100%. Furthermore, it is not something people should want; if crimes are committed via internet or with assistance of it, then through proper procedures law-enforcement should be able to track culprits.

This however was not the case here, and so far I can see the only 'solution' would be to keep the identity of the accused anonymous during the trial and make it known only after a guilty verdict. This won't work, however, since often the daily life of the accused is relevant to the court proceedings; the accusing party has a right to be able to research what more the accused has been up to.
Perhaps an anonymous trial is only feasible for a small subset of charges. Don't see it happening though, this is probably just a necessary evil.

On a sidenote, if the charges are too ridiculous, any court would just dismiss the charges entirely without anyone being drawn out.

Fiduciary duty to protect their clients? WTF? (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171697)

I wonder if this is indeed the right way to go about it. I figure that if you're famous enough, there's going to be loads of fora - public and semi-private, mind you - stuffed with defamatory comments. I figure you should just ignore it, set up your own blog, and only react if people really seem to be getting wrong ideas - but then, do so with honesty and integrity on your own blog. Insert a good troll filter so people can comment and avoid the trolls. There's always gonna be shortsighted individuals who'll gripe anything or anyone, whether that person / thing is known to them personally or not. Let 'em rot in their own juices - they'll either shower eventually or rot away, and in the latter case they're hardly worth anyone's time. Also, this avoids Streisand effects and means that anyone seriously interested in what you have to say about something will refer to your blog and not some random forum; the news sites already do so. Just keep on truckin', apologise if you're wrong, react calmly and clearly when you're right, and let the lawyers stay at home.

Her anonymity? (0, Redundant)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171723)

I didn't read the article, only the summery, so I MAY have missed some points.

She is suing google, because google revealed her identity. Google can only do this with information that is public available in the first, or from within there own services, where you agree to throwing anonymity down the drain.

Welcome to the internet. You got no RIGHT to being anonymous.
In fact, some people go through great length to archive pseudo-anonymity.

Get it straight. You are NOT anonymous on the internet.
You cannot sue a indexing site for revealing already public information. Not like Google made a banner "Look here! Anonymous' bloggers name. Click!"

You can join a site, pay some money for being anonymous on that community, but don't think you are truly anonymous. They get your data. And stuff DOES get leaked, accidental or otherwise, some times. You can file a civil law suit against that company, for not protecting your paid for service. Though I doubt you'll win, but have fun!

tl;dr: You're not anonymous on the internet.

its not the ideal way (3, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171759)

to protect the first amendment, but suing companies for not more zealously protecting anonymity from idiot rulings is better than no protection at all. so let this retarded catfight proceed in the only way it can:

1. one dumb biatch gets a bucketload of cash from google
2. the other dumb biatch gets a career boost fom the streisand effect

as if getting on the front page of newspapers is bad for your career, no matter how lascivious. didn't paris hilton's "career" get started when video of her surfaced giving some trust fund ahole a hummer? and didja see her ass(ets)?

http://internetdefamationblog.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/liskulacohen.jpg [internetde...onblog.com]

skank?

skankalicious!

Strike a blow against Gabriel's theory.. (0)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171761)

This is a GOOD thing: it strikes a blow against John Gabriel's Greater Theory of Internet Fuckwads [penny-arcade.com].

If you are a fuckwad online, and get outed for it, good. Perhaps this will discourage fewer anonymous fuckwads in the future.

Re:Strike a blow against Gabriel's theory.. (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171811)

This is a GOOD thing: it strikes a blow against John Gabriel's Greater Theory of Internet Fuckwads.

If you are a fuckwad online, and get outed for it, good. Perhaps this will discourage fewer anonymous fuckwads in the future.

Lawsuits will never happen often enough to cause people to care, though. For every one incident where this happens, there's a few million where someone gets slagged off on the World of Warcraft forums, and the perpetrator gets away with it scot free.

Re:Strike a blow against Gabriel's theory.. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171981)

Perhaps this will discourage fewer anonymous fuckwads in the future.

I don't know, there are an awful lot of offline fuckwads as well. I suspect that online assholes are assholes offline, too.

Anonymous political speech is protect (5, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171765)

Ms. Port refers to the anonymous publication of The Federalist Papers. She actually does have a point there. A few years back there was a lawsuit over anonymously published political tracts. Federal campaign finance law required that the funding source for those pamphlets be publicly stated, and it wasn't. If I remember correctly, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the publisher to speak anonymously.

HOWEVER...

If she really does go through with the lawsuit, contract law will be the deciding factor here, specifically whether Google's Terms of Service promised any kind of anonymity. I expect it doesn't.

Let this be a lesson to all the bloggers out there, to post using TOR.

Re:Anonymous political speech is protect (1)

dfxm (1586027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171927)

Let this be a lesson to all the bloggers out there, to post using TOR.

I think the real lesson here is to sign up your Google Account with a fake name.

Re:Anonymous political speech is protect (2, Insightful)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172091)

Considering that Google revealed Ms Port's identity in response to a court order, and Google's TOS have clear language about this type of situation, I think all the talk about suing Google is moot.

Abuse of the System (2, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171775)

People should be charged when they intentionally and knowingly abuse the system (from filing bogus charges to initiating bogus lawsuits). Yes, I know, sometimes it's hard to tell when it's bogus and when it's just a "change of heart" but, often, an intelligent person can tell the difference. These sorts of abuses to the legal system harm its integrity and waste valuable resources that could be better spent dealing with, you know, real criminals and real societal problems. Were there actual consequences to abusing the system, perhaps people would be less inclined to play these sorts of games.

Re:Abuse of the System (1, Interesting)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172021)

IIRC, her belief was that the blog might have been written by somebody close to her (ex-boyfriend or similar), and thus someone she would want to press charges against. Of course, the only way to know if it was someone close to her was to sue and get the identity.

I wouldn't say this is an abuse of the system, since if the blogger was someone she knew, I'll bet charges would have been pressed. That said, there are certainly circumstances where the system could be abused, but this isn't one of the,.

Re:Abuse of the System (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172131)

What does the person being close to her have to do with whether or not she'd press charges? If it's something worthy of putting before the courts, it shouldn't matter if the person is well-known to her or not. The only justification for pressing charges _only_ if the person is close to her is a personal vendetta "fuck you" played out through the court system. If she's unwilling to press charges against a stranger, she should be similarly unwilling to press charges against someone she knows. Sorry - it's abuse of the system, in my mind. It's using the legal system to play out something that most normal human beings handle on their own, like adults.

Interesting poll on the article site (4, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171789)

60% of the readers believes, that "if you are going to write something, you should have the courage to stand by it by putting your name on it.".

Not necessarily wrong, but considering how much the US is clamouring for people in other countries to be allowed anonymous and secret access to uncensored (but not necessarily unbiased) news [slashdot.org], I find it odd that people in the US shouldn't be allowed to express anonymous speech.

Didn't some of the founding fathers publish a series of letters highly critical of the King's government before the revolution?

Sure, they might kill him, but in a society where you can be sued into what is essentially life long indentured servitude with no means of paying off the "damages" you've done to some company by mentioning that they might not look clean to you, wouldn't you rather face death?

Re:Interesting poll on the article site (2, Informative)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172157)

The anonymous criticisms of the King etc. were just the beginning. The Federalist Papers were a conversation about how to write the Constitution, well after our independence had been won, and all were initially published anonymously. Anonymity is not just important for protecting oneself; it is often a powerful tool in forcing people to evaluate your ideas according to their weight rather than according to your identity (read: popularity or unpopularity).

...in a society where you can be sued into what is essentially life long indentured servitude with no means of paying off the "damages" you've done to some company by mentioning that they might not look clean to you, wouldn't you rather face death?

Kinds nitpicky, maybe, but the phrase in the legal profession is "judgment-proof." It means, "A civil suit against this person will do you no good, because they have nothing." You don't get to make them an indentured servant. If they really have no money and no way to pay off outrageous damages, even garnishing wages can't be so egregious that they can't live a relatively normal life. (I'm sure there are anecdotes out there where garnishments are in fact that egregious, and that sucks, but no system is perfect.)

I would argue that it's actually much worse if you, say, own a house with some actual equity. There are some laws that protect certain basic things like your house, but for the most part, the harder you've worked, the more money you've made, the more attractive a target you are for attorneys to tear down; not only might you have garnishments going forward, but there's rarely much of a limit on how much they can garnish from your past. It's no fun to take a bunch of nothing from a guy whose life will probably be (marginally, temporarily) improved by the fifteen minutes of fame you give him by suing him.

Greater Good (0)

PunditGuy (1073446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171791)

There are legitimate reasons to allow anonymity -- whistle blowing comes to mind. In some cases, the greater good is served by some leeway in the ability of people and organizations to confront accusers.

That said, I sincerely doubt that the skank status of anyone constitutes information necessary for the greater good.

Hi-larious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29171809)

Ah, c'mon! This is a catfight between "Liskula Cohen" (ya can't make this stuff up!) and a blogger whose site had exactly 5 posts about the offending article, all written on the same day.

This all has sooo much relevance to real life!

Court Order (1)

BassMan449 (1356143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29171947)

How can Google be responsible for protecting her anonymity, when it was a court order to reveal it. Is Google supposed to just refuse to fulfill the order? Please someone enlighten me.

Blog On... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29172025)

may the blogger restart the tirade against the model, now that a whole bucket-load of new material is available to her. you could blog for months about everything that has gone on. rip that model a new one.

She thought it was someone else (3, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172059)

It is pretty obvious from the some of the things mentioned in the earlier article that Liskula Cohen thought the blogger was someone else (perhaps someone who has an ongoing feud with her). When she discovered that the blogger was not who she thought it was, she dropped the suit. It is even possible that her case for defamation was partly based on other behavior of the person she thought was the blogger.

Laughing yet? (5, Interesting)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29172063)

I would so be laughing right now, if this was a cool scam on their part...2 friends get together and plan how to launch or boost the models presence as well as make money...she write a nasty column, the model fake sues to out the anonymous friend blogger, then she sues google for 2 million and wins, then the model because of this gets tons of free publicity, she lands a 2million contract and everybody wins, cause they get to watch the drama unfold!

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