A New York court has ruled that Google must hand over the details of a blogger who called a model a 'skank' so that she can sue for defamation.
The blog, entitled Skanks in NYC, was hosted by Google's Blogger.com, and made comments about model Liskula Cohen. Justice Joan Madden today ruled that bloggers cannot remain anonymous and, in a strongly worded judgement, said that bloggers could not hide behind anonymity.
"The thrust of the blog is that [Cohen] is a sexually promiscuous woman," Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden wrote in her decision, according to the New York Post. That included references to Cohen as "whoring" and "ready to engage in oral sexual activity".
Lawyers for the blogger argued that the comments were "non-actionable opinion and/or hyperbole", but the court rejected this in a ruling that could have huge ramifications for bloggers around the world.
"The floodgates would be opened if you tried to regulate these very broad, common insults and invective on the internet," said Anne Salisbury, who represented the blogger.
"You can be really, really mean to people – you just can't lie about a set of facts that are provable as lies, and that you knew or recklessly disregarded the truth of."
Cohen has said that she will now sue the person involved.
"I really hope it's not somebody I know," she said. "I'm a human being. I bleed. I have feelings. When I saw that blog, it was awful. All I can say for this person is, I really truly hope that they have more in their life than this. "
The blog has now been removed. Google said that it would only hand over a user's details if it was ordered to do so by a court.
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