That which we feared most hath come to pass: Mean, anonymous people are being forcefully purged from the internet, with lawsuits. First the skankblogger affair, and now it's happening again! Uh, sort of.
The latest case: A decorating firm in Queens called Holiday Image has asked a court to force Google to reveal who made a Gmail account in the company CEO's name, then sent fraudulent emails to clients of the company badmouthing the company itself, and its clients.
Well! We are not lawyers but that one sounds a lot more like "fraud" than does the Liskula Cohen case, where a pissed rival girl made an anonymous blog calling Liskula a skank. That one just sounded like "dumb." But the type of dumb that should be protected by free speech!
The bigger issue here is that if Google plans to roll over and reveal the identity of anyone doing something anonymously on the internet that pisses someone else off, we're all screwed. Here's another case that's a little more serious, courtesy of someone who is a lawyer—Anne Salisbury, who defended skankblogger Rosemary Port in the Liskula Cohen case. She notes a case in California, where a developer is suing to get Google to reveal the identities of an investigative group of journalists who wrote stories about a bribery scheme the developer was involved in:
Google has taken the position that unless it receives a written
"motion to quash" the subpoena, it will release the information to the
developer's attorneys. Many people in the free speech community are
alarmed at this potentially dangerous incursion, because of the belief
that vigorous, honest discourse will be stifled by fear of retribution
if personal, identifying information can be so easily obtained.
The problem is not anonymous insult artists or their victims. The problem is Google. Why don't you just shut up, Google?