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article imageBlogger Unmasked by Google to Sue

By Chris Dade     Aug 24, 2009 in Internet
The blogger whose identity was revealed last week by Google, upon the orders of a court in New York, will reportedly sue the Internet search company for $15 million, claiming her right to privacy has not been protected.
When model Liskula Cohen found herself to be the subject of a blog entitled "Skanks in NYC", on which according to the London Times she was once described as a "psychotic, lying, whoring ... skank", the 37-year-old former model went to court to force Google to reveal the identity of the person behind the derogatory terms being posted about her.
A court agreed with Ms Cohen that she was indeed entitled to know who it was who was attacking her in such unpleasant terms and consequently ordered Google, the comments were posted on the site run by the search engine company, to reveal the identity of the blogger.
Now that blogger, 29-year-old Fashion Institute of Technology student Rosemary Port, is preparing to sue Google for $15 million, claiming that the company "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity". Ms Port is being represented by Salvatore Strazzullo and Mr Strazullo is saying that the case could go all the way to the Supreme Court as he considers that the First Amendment guaranteeing the right to speak anonymously should be applied, as he put it, to "the new public square of the Internet".
Speaking about the blog, which has not been active since March, to the New York Daily News Ms Port said of last week's court decision and the woman who had taken the matter to court:
This has become a public spectacle and a circus that is not my doing. By going to the press, she defamed herself. Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my Web site: One from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it. That was before it became a spectacle. I feel my right to privacy has been violated
As well as Ms Port's anger at Google, words have been exchanged between Mr Strazullo and Ms Cohen's lawyer Steven Wagner. The former man says Ms Cohen is an "attention seeker" who had posted provocative pictures of herself on the Internet.
Mr Wagner countered that his client was not anything like the person Mr Strazullo had described and added that had she realized such publicity was going to be generated by the case she would have considered never filing the suit in the first instance. He also denied that the pictures posted on the Internet of Ms Cohen were particularly racy, insisting that they certainly did not warrant his client being called "a psychotic, lying whore".
Ms Cohen has declined to proceed with a $3 million defamation suit against her detractor, opting instead for forgiveness says Mr Wagner .
For her part Ms Port, who was due to appear today on ABC's Good Morning America show to put her side of the story, will neither reveal the true motive for her creating the blog nor apologize, her lawyer saying that by doing so she would be incriminating herself.
Google maintains that users of agree to a code of conduct which includes giving the company the right to disclose the identity of a person if ordered to do so by a court. Company spokesperson Andrew Pederson said:
We sympathise with anyone who may be the victim of cyber bullying. We also take great care to respect privacy concerns and will only provide information about a user in response to a subpoena or other court order. If content is found by a court to be defamatory, we will, of course, remove it immediately
A not dissimilar case has come before the High Court in the U.K. where Judge Eady ruled that bloggers were not entitled to anonymity because they indulge in "a public rather than a private activity".
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