American Morning

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August 25th, 2009
06:29 AM ET

Blogger who ranted about model to sue Google

Her identity revealed, a blogger who posted rants about model Liskula Cohen said she was the real victim in the case and plans to sue Google for violating her privacy.

Rosemary Port and her lawyer said Monday that they will file a $15 million lawsuit against the search engine giant for not doing enough to protect her identity.

"I not only feel my client was wronged, but I feel now it sets precedent that anyone with money and power can get the identity of anyone that decides to be an anonymous blogger," said Salvator Strazzullo, Port's lawyer.

A New York Supreme Court judge ordered Google to reveal Port's identity after Cohen sued the company to acquire information about the anonymous blogger.

Full story »

Should bloggers' identities be private? Is freedom of speech protected online? Tell us your thoughts.

Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Spoof Caller ID

    In Most Situations I Could Agree with you
    I however can't. I'm usually a avid reader of this site however am pretty dissapointed in this posting.

    October 26, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  2. Gary D-G

    Way to go Cohen! I admire your courage to take a stand and face your accuser. Hopefully others who are being slandered in future blogs will
    also take a stand to help clean up the lies and trash being thrown around.

    September 8, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  3. Joe S.

    A person should absolutely have the right to anonymous postings of their opinion online as long as there is no physical harm that can come from it. Such as divulging information how to harm or cause harmful or fatal injury to someone or something. Like everything else in this world there is never something good without bad and vice versa.
    What we really need to do is put an end to letting authorities take away things because someone found an incident of bad. Generally speaking that someone tends to have their own agenda behind it such as in this case to change things to their favor. After all automobiles are great but they cause tremendous harm to the environment. Where are all these “do gooders” for causes such as that? Where are the congressional hearings for the banking industry that stole 36 trillion dollars? Where are they for the hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed and tortured by us in the Middle East? Where are they for the millions of jobs that have now been sent overseas to places that in our own laws and standards are committing slave labor on a grand scale not seen since the 1800’s? Oh I forgot they have absolutely tied up their resources and time trying to redirect our attention to those incredibly harmful sports stars that use steroids and not to mention those gay people who want to get married. So our ability to gage what is truly good versus bad is without question nothing more than misleading and false representation to the American public by the authorities funneled through a handful of entities which control all the media.
    That being said anyone that thinks that they are living in free country really needs to go back and redefine what freedom is. Freedom in the United States today is nothing more than smoke and mirrors that gives the illusion of freedom which is only given to those if it is convenient to the powers that be. The patriot act as well as the now consolidated media outlets under control of a few key entities pretty much controls what is heard and also controls by repetition how you should feel about what you are hearing. This is why we see endless stories of Michael Jackson although tragic it is hardly worth the entire resources and news efforts we see on TV today. This is nothing more than attention diversion for the American public and a to profit by boosting ratings from it. It is the modern times equivalent of the Roman Gladiators.
    I guess enough of my rambling if someone truly wants to anonymously post online then doing so from known sources is always traceable by those with money, power and knowledge. It really only requires one of the three mentioned requirements. If you are going to post something that truly bucks the system one would be foolish to use his or her own machine at his or her traceable locations. The best way is either to go to a random internet hot spot with kiosks or drive down highways with a laptop looking for the normal John Q. Public unsecured wireless connection that the majority of people have and then post your remarks. The internet is really the only last best hope for any freedom left. Take that away and we are nothing more than corporate slaves obeying our masters.

    September 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  4. Don D. Brock

    If it is on line , on a cellphone, a wireless phone and sometimes a land line it is not private and if you are ashamed to flame someone to there face you need to be more careful.
    Hide behind someone else or do not participate in illegal activities.
    If you cannot do the time don't do the crime

    Don D. Brock

    August 26, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  5. Donna Olmstead

    As a former journalist, I learned that you should never put in writing what you don't want the world to know. And that you should have the courage of your convictions - not be a coward hiding behind anonymity. If everyone who posted on the 'net knew that everyone else would know who they were, there would be a heck of lot less garbage floating around out there.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  6. Stacy W

    I have no need to share my full name and yet be civil and hopefully, far earlier in the thread, contributed to this discussion re: my opinion that when an opinion reaches the line of slander or anything breaking the law (or interpreted in breaking the law – and gave the example of the Pentagon Papers in the past) – that freedom of speech does not imply freedom of anonymous speech. That the internet affords me this only in that I do not break the law. I also realize that people will judge me on many things; but I have the choice whether or not to use my full name for personal reasons (and might I add that there are over 500 people in the USA with my same name). Calling people like myself a hypocrite doesn't really help the dialog – it's just calling people names.

    August 25, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  7. Thom Geiger

    Come on. Take a good, long, hard look at how many people using words like 'accountable', "slime' and 'coward' are not using their real first and last names on this site. Try the word HYPOCRITE on for size. Practice what you preach. Under your own standard, no real names, no credibility. Put your own real name and reputation where your mouth is.

    August 25, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  8. Shag

    Anyone being a coward and anonymous sliming someone, they should be publicly exposed.

    August 25, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  9. nancy

    If you don't want people to know ~~ then don't put it out there. There is no expectation of privacy on the internet.

    August 25, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  10. jay m

    There are too many cowards on the internet that hide behind screen names,if you feel that hard about someone you should reveal your own name.

    August 25, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  11. rob

    1st Amendment – has anybody read it? While it may guarantee freedom of speech nowhere does it say anything about anonymity. If you post something in a public forum you should be required to put your name to it.

    August 25, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  12. Nathaniel

    This once again is a typical example of where the law appears as a stooge – guarantees both the right to freedom of speech [Rosemary Port] as well as right to be protected from derogatory and demeaning comments and/or harassement [Cohen]. However our learned gentlemen will explain that ones freedom to speech stops where anothers freedom to be protected from derogatory and demeaning comments begins, this is a fundamental fact which is often taken for granted in ignorance.

    What is the question here is to what extent can the law of estopple be applied to prevent Google from reneging from enforcing its confidentiality clause assuming there is one to protect a blogger's identify and confidentiality – except Google can argure that there is no sufficient consideration for enforcing its representation,then the question of 'fairness' to the blogger who relied on such representation will be raised.

    Also, another key message is to what extent can people hide under the protection of one aspect of law to infringe on another aspect. The court will establish whether there was a premeditated intent to demean on the part of Rosemary, this may infact affect fundamentally the way civil law is adjudicated in the future.

    August 25, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  13. Danny Paul Carrone

    Barbara Allendorf, it is people like you who are making this country a hard place to live in anymore. Sue me over that!

    August 25, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  14. Danny Paul Carrone

    Amen Gregory P. Jones!!! Where's the line? If your Rush or Palin, you can flat out LIE and not be held responsible but if you are some no name person, you have to be held responsible? This country is a joke anymore.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  15. Katie Funk

    It is really sad that the freedom of speech has failed on the Internet. I feel as if the government has already intruded on our lives enough and now we can't say how we feel anymore. I support the comments made by the blogger. I believe Google should not have given up her name. It is sad when you can go to court for an anonymous opinion. What is the world coming to?

    August 25, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  16. Joan

    If you feel strongly enough about something to post it online, you should be willing to put your name on it. Free speech is not the same as anonymous ranting.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  17. Velma

    Rosemary Port or anyone who defames another person regardless to whether it is their personal opinion deserves the same experience created for Liskula Cohen. Comments made in Port's blog maybe her personal opinion but that does not make her comments true. Once she made her personal opinion public, she and anyone else should be held accountable for what they blog. How can she spend months defaming someone and now because you are identified with your comments, that make her the victim?

    August 25, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  18. Alexander Rea

    The downside to the internet is that anyone can get a dot com and can setup a blog in mere minutes. Nothing qualifies the person such as a background check. There is no accountability. If you create a blog you need to be accountable for what you AND your commenters say. Let's look at what happened to Dan Rather. CNN states clearly that this comment will be moderated. I fully support litigation that forces the identity to be revealed. If you publically defame someone and it can be proven that this effort has impeeded someones career you should be liable. Look how many times Mike Drudge has been sued?

    August 25, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  19. Jim McDade

    Anonymity on the web is being abused by some. The sleazy bloggers who hide behind anonymity and hurl scandalous accusations and unfounded claims should be held accountable for their damaging and hurtful actions. I really hate it when falsehoods from blogs are unquestionably accepted by web surfers and even some news editors. Just because a spectacular rumor is popular with your friends, that does not mean that it is factual. Anonymous accusations are cowardly and disgusting.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  20. Kevin

    Cohen has slandered herself by bringing this ridiculous claim to the tables of newsrooms and into the homes of tv screens. That in my opinion makes her a dope. I wonder if I too will be sued if she reads this post.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  21. mymanhenri

    I'm all for free speech. But as someone who has been following and using the internet since the 14.4 baud modems were the standard, I also saw how anonymity gave some people braver and audacity they would not display in an actual public forum. Using malicious gossip, slander and oft racist statements, like the true cowards they are.
    If you have the guts to say, stand by your words and let the ppl know who you are. This may even spark some positive (eventually I hope) conversation, as the gent from Wired added.
    But if you had plans on being a mean spirit from day one, you better think twice or wear a burka.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  22. Kevin

    When suggestive content ( make it to the internet they tend to spread like wildfire. Drawing attention to such content via an online "cat-fight" only guarantees that the aforementioned content will be seen by all. Perhaps what we really have here is a model trying to spark a failing modeling career.
    I also disagree with CNN's anchor opinions that bloggers/posters shouldn't remain anonymous. Anyone who signs a post as "anonymous" typically isn't taken very seriously as most readers expect someone to own their statements. Neither Port nor Google owe Cohen a thing; if she wants compensation, she should get it from the photographer.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  23. mike-sey

    In real life, people with any sense learn to conduct themselves with a degree of restraint , even self -censorhip. Otherwise, Life would be unliveable. The same life lessons, learned in Kindergarten, should apply to the blogosphere before it deteriorates into a kind of romper room for the spoiled, juvenile and, frequently, the illiterate and disturbed.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  24. Floyd Williams

    Anonymous blogging is done by cowards they work with us everyday, they are people from every walk of life they say one think to our faces and another behind the hidden shield of the blog. Some of the comments we read are cruel and bigoted and cause great pain to people, if I have an opinion and choose to voice it, then I should have the intestinal fortitude to put my name on the blog. Further, if I have an issue with a position, then I should be able to defend my position in open dialog and debate. Finally, now we might get to use the blog for what it was intended, open, and honest discourse.

    Floyd Williams

    August 25, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  25. Barbara Allendorf

    Anyone who writes a blog should be held accountable for their language and images. It is absolutely not right that someone can defame someone and take NO responsibility. I feel very strongly about this. I don't care it it is twitter, a blog, a web site...the people who make inappropriate remarks about anyone, including the president and abortion doctors, or a teen.

    In some ways I believe this is a form of terrorism, at the worst and stalking at the least, within our country. How scary to have someone call you names and you have no idea who they are and what else they will do.
    Bottom line: Keep your thoughts to yourself if you are embarrassed, or don't want to take the consequences for your actions.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  26. Stacy W

    Freedom of speech does not guarantee anonymous freedom of speech. With freedom of speech comes the responsibility or knowing who is speaking or writing. What is so wrong with that? After all, the The Pentagon Papers were still published – there was no anonymity There was jail time, but some people will always do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Without potential consequences, is there no reason not to libel if you have a grievance with someone?

    Btw, this woman suing Google must not have read the TOS which state that if given a court order to release identity, Google will comply. Google merely enforced their TOS. What is she suing over? Didn't she read the TOS? I did.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  27. Bruce Schreiman

    Anonymity is simply an excuse for cowardice. Blogging is cheap thrills for the gutless. If you have something to say in the public forum: raise your hand and introduce yourself. Sign your name. Or shut up.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  28. AnnaLivia

    No one has the right the spread anonymous gossip. If people are afraid to put their name to what they are saying, they should not say it. Period. This is not a free speech issue.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  29. Frank

    We are headed down a very slippery slope. Anonymity on the interent was one of our last great freedoms. This case just nailed the coffin shut. The unfortunate result of this court action is people will now clam up and not write anything on blogs, knowing their anonymity is gone. What's next? Disagree with Obama's Health Care Plan and the FBI knocks down your front door? A very slippery slope.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  30. David S Brenchley

    As the web and blogs in paticular are electronic extensions of the print media, any law or responsibility applicable to print should be exersized. It's time web authors be held accountable to the content they publish. Unfortuanatly as the web know no bounderies, such laws will be difficult to enforce.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  31. Danny Paul Carrone

    vrempg......the playing field though is not even unless you have money! so where does that fit in to your whole freedom of speech bs line?

    August 25, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  32. Daniel

    Some of these comments are disturbing. I think we're attaching too much title to the word "blogger", as if we have a predefined description of what this means. I do not identify myself as a blogger, but the day that I can't post opinions about what I see in popular culture, anonymous or not, is the day I have lost freedom of speech. And to the person that says you do have freedom of speech but must face the consequences...that's fine, but there should be no *legal* consequences...that's the point of protecting freedom of speech.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  33. Gregory P. Jones

    People come on TV all day long and make outlandish claims about health care, they show up at Town halls with Guns and we are gonna draw the line at Blogger opinions! I'm sorry but i just can't see the importance, if you don't take those kinds of pictures they won't end up online.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  34. Danny Paul Carrone

    I think that it is sad that if you have money, then you have the ability and right to go after others. If this model had no money, she could have never afforded the lawyer and like many times in this nation, the blogger would not have gotten in trouble. This just shows that if you have enough money, you can do what ever you want. we have people everyday in this country who speak hateful words and even accuse others of being things like socialists on american airwaves and those bastards are never held responsible........all that matters is the money!

    August 25, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  35. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Publicity publicity publicity and hurting another strong U.S. company in the progress .

    August 25, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  36. vrempg

    Thom Geiger

    You have got to be kidding. The intention of this particular article of the first amendment is to allow anyone to stand on his/her soapbox, in full view of the general public, and state his or her opinion. And all of this without fear of persecution/prosecution. It doesn't allow you to make claims "of fact" without basic proof. You still have to pass the tests for liable and slander. For anyone to now claim that they have the right to say anything anonymously and then hide behind the first amendment is a joke.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  37. Tony

    I think that we need to be very careful here both to not lose our rights of speech and also be responsible for what we say. If all that was said in the blog was that Ms Cohen was a "Skank" than this issue is ridiculous and the blogger’s rights were vehemently violated. I have not read the blog, nor do I intend to. If you deliberately say something in speech about another that is untrue and can not be substantiated than you are guilty of slander. (I am not an attorney so I don’t know the legal definition from liable v slander, they are different) The point is that if you say this person is prostitute and they are not, you are guilty and you are NOT protected by free speech. If you state that it is your opinion that you think the person is X than that IS WITHIN your right of free speech and you should be protected. Bloggers need to be aware of both their rights and their responsibilities. One problem I see, I don’t necessarily mean in this case, is that we are losing our rights little by little. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen. Having said that bloggers need to be responsible. I agree with what many of the others have said that in my own personal opinion, the blogger should put his or her name on their blog. Stand up for what you believe in. They should NEVER be compelled to do so, however. I should be free to say that entertainer B is a ball of fluff with no talent. I should not be free to say that entertainer B is a heroine addict that knocks back whiskey and pills and sleeps with her best friends donkey. One is an opinion and one is me making false statements as if they are facts, that is wrong and is not protected sleep.

    By the way, the names have been removed to protect the rights of the donkey. LOL

    August 25, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  38. Margaret

    I whole heartily agree with the right for all Americans to have "Freedom of Speech", responsibly! However, this privilege should not be used or abused, in this case, to the detriment of someones civil liberty!! Ms. Cohen is clearly a victim in this ordeal. This was NOT an article that was printed regarding some inappropriate on Ms. Cohens' part. These were photo's taken in her private life without her knowledge. The "Freedom of Speech" act is in place mainly, to protect true journalist from disclosing their source(s) of factual information and should not apply to irresponsible, opportunist!!! Yes blogger's should be more responsible and most are. However, I put a number of them in the same category as the poparizzi,who cross the line of invading someone private life and have the mind set to" get a story at any cost", which is wrong!! Blogging is a form of a grass roots media whereby, none professional, would be journalist have the opportunity to provide viable information and not misuse the privilege irresponsibly. Ms. Cohen, I hope that you win your lawsuit!!

    August 25, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  39. James Joyce

    The willingness of people to surrender rights is appalling. The case should have been dismissed. In fact the suit against Google has more merit than the initial suit.

    Recall how Jefferson attacked Adams under a pen name? This is protected. More disturbing is the courts willingness to allow a line of legal rationale which benefits corporations and lawyers who have the resources to petition courts to compel corporations to give up pen names under court order? The model, filed the libel suit because she did not like what was being said, has suffered no damages other than her "hurt" feelings. In fact she may benefit and profit by the publicity!

    This is a bogus decision with bogus results intended to set in motion a line of legal reasoning to be used as ""intimidation,"" to silence the exercise of first Amendment rights. It is a legal cancer designed to be exploited by corporations and politicians to intimidate, to silence dissent, an individual right, not a right simply available to a silent compromised corporate media!

    This is an overt attack on free speak in no uncertain terms.........

    August 25, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  40. Dwight M Lee

    The conflict between right to know and right for privacy as pertains to the web has been at issue since the emergence of the web. Nothing is labeled more ‘surface’ than beauty and modeling. Interesting that such a pair of “beauty on the surface” women are at the center of this controversy. Beauty on the surface belies deep ugliness below the surface again in this case.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:11 am |
  41. Jamal

    This is ridiculous. I've had people attack me online and attempt to cause emotional trauma, but you what, I have the ability to hit "x". I don't have to acknowledge the existence of some minor blog, and if it was larger than that, so what? They should be allowed to voice their opinion regardless of how hateful and slanderous it is. I hate racism (I am a black man), but if someone ignorant wants to post a blog dedicated to hating blacks, then they should be allowed to do so. Maybe this medium could refine their character by people who stumble upon their insane ideals and showing them a different path that they have no considered.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  42. Lee Cherry

    The Constitution guarantees the people the right of free speech. Nothing is more sacred or fundamental to life. In the past America placed a high value upon freedom of speech. Not any more.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  43. Anonymous

    The internet should not be legislated. There are a lot of terrible, terrible things on the internet, but it doesn't belong to anyone. Anonymous internet trolls have existed since the beginning of the internet, and they are never going anywhere. There is no "purpose" to the internet, it is neither positive or negative–rather neutral–it should remain that way.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  44. mike pistone

    Bloggers, for the most part, are morons as a breed. Its obvious that port is a loser and a coward hiding behind her anonymous blog. Thats the way it goes in the scratch your eyes out world of high fashion and "wanna be's". But you know what....jurys are so ridiculous these days shell probibly get her $15 million. Everyone wants something for nothing these days. Sad.

    facebook, myspace, twitter... hey .... go out and make a face to face friend.... see if you can say....eye to eye....what your so fond of blogging

    August 25, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  45. rob

    If you have an opinion about a subject a feel so strongly that you must put it in a place that all the world can see you should be willing to provide your name. People who make malicious posts or state things that they can't backup with facts do much harm. If you make statements in a public place you should be responsible for them and be required to post your name, just as if you went to a town meeting and voiced your opinion. You wouldn't be anonynous there and you shouldn't be anonymous in forums like this. Have I ever done anything anonynously? Yes! In a letter to a specific person asking pointed questions with facts I had but with no defamatory or condascending language and my concersn were addressed.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  46. Jerry

    I feel it's about time people on the internet are held to the same legal standards as the real would.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:02 am |
  47. Larry Dolan

    Prior to the emergence of technology that allows blogging, one was responsible to the community for the comments made publically. Your reputation and good name was on the line. This served to protect everyone. Blogging allows anyone, to say anything, for any reason without any responsibility for these comments. One’s rights to free speech only go as far as the other person’s “nose,” so to speak. Blogging and other types electronic media, have the power to destroy the lives of others, without the author having any responsibility for the damage, or any requirement to be truthful or accurate. This needed to be changed.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:02 am |
  48. Matt

    For the UPTEENTH thousandth time the first amendment only protects you from the government censorship. It does not give you the right to publicly defame someone and then sue for $15 million because you're identity was released.

    These people are amazing because they waste time and resources of the legal system with these frivolous lawsuits. If I was the Google legal team I'd throw Porter a $20 for her "troubles" and call it a day.

    August 25, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  49. Conrad Yust

    I think ALL malicious bloggers should be outed, it would bring the speed of the entire system up to where it should be. The Cohen/Post thing is a perfect example of blogging gone mad. I think Cohen and Google did the right thing.
    If you are going to send out info about someone, you should be ready to accept responsibility for that statement.
    Thanks for the soap box!!

    August 25, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  50. Erika Schimmel

    As just illustrated by your requiring our e-mail address in order to post our comment here... you promise to keep our identity private. This encourages freedom of expression and protection from repurcussions – both private and public.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  51. Lbparker

    Blogs do indeed play a role in "modern day" communications. But surely the First Amendment was intended to protect those who spoke from the courage of their convictions, not people who hide within the anonymity of the Web to defame others.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  52. Steven

    Both parties in this matter have very valid reasons for their actions, it will be interesting to see how the court(s) rule on Miss Ports suit for damages from google. Really, this is an attorneys dream and a cable news channels bonanza : really wealthy, pretty, spoiled brats sniping at each other using grade school recess language!!!! For once, though, there is a very serious legal issue to settle, this could end up actually becoming "black letter" law as a serious precedent for/against free speech.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  53. Bill

    Google sold out too quickly (Bad president)…and what of multi users on my web connections am I responsible too for all their blogs as well. …And does foreign blogs have a free pass without legal reproach…. Where does it end? Who cares to write soft blogs, takes all the fun out of trival-blogging with or without malice.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  54. Philip from Atlanta

    Rosemary Port should stop whining. My mother told me if you have nothing good to say about someone, don't say it at all.

    But if you are compelled to say it anyway, you should say it to their face. Rosemary argument for anonymity is, in essence, talking behind Cohen's back

    Freedom of speech is a fundamental American principle. Rosemary should get to call Cohen a skank. Who knows? Cohen may deserve it. That being said, it is also a fundamental American principle to know your accuser. It is a fundamental media principle to consider the source.

    People argue that outing Rosemary curtails free speech. I argue that NOT outing her supports online bullying, a real problem in middle schools and high schools. Such acts have led its victims to suicide. Why? They cannot defend themselves against those who are saying these things. Why ? They don't know who they are.

    Perez Hilton gets to say all those nasty things because we know who he is, i.e. his dirty laundry is just as open to scrutiny as those he bashes.

    Rosemary grow up and take responsibility for your harsh words. OTherwise, she is just another bully.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  55. Daryl Toney

    I believe in freedom of speech. I am glad that I have the right to express my opinion on any subject. However, I will stand behind my thoughts and words and proudly put my name on what I write. People who do the hurtful things and stand behind anonymity is just like a watching terrorist on a video with their faces covered – cowards.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  56. Rod Davis

    Blogging should have the same code of integrity that governs the media and its sources; however, no writer has the right to defame or slander another person.

    Stating that you think someone is a skank is not the same as saying that person is a skank!

    August 25, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  57. Ron in Canada

    Anyone want to venture a guess on what Port's Lawyer's attitude would be if some "unidentified" blogger referred to him as an ambulance chasing inept lawyer who would overcharge his clients and fail to represent them appropriately ? Would he still feel that this blogger is the real victim or would he try to establish their identity through the courts ?

    August 25, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  58. Donna Saichek

    Freedom of speech is not defined by anonymity. This court decision has not prevented bloggers from stating their opinions. It only says that if you express your opinion, you are accountable for what you say. If you are afraid or ashamed to stand behind the opinions you are expressing in a public forum (the internet), then keep them to yourself.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  59. Linell Grundman

    When people don't have to put their name behind what they say, it creates usless negative communication filled with libelous behavior and lies. It gives power to cowards. Blogs that allow this are serving no positive purpose. Papers that have blogs that allow this have lost their integrity for good reporting. I'm from a small community that is now living into it's 4th year of local newspapers and other blogs with blogs that allow people to tell lies with no accountability through announous blogs. It has been demoralizing to the community, and turned people off to politics and civic engagement. Announomous blogs will not help our culture. It makes people feel power in a negative destructive way.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  60. blinkeredinva

    Just started my own blog as part of a blogging class. Apparently these legal issue are part of a gray area due to the ever changing circumstances of self-publishing. If you are brave enough to have an opinion, maybe you should be brave enough to let people know you have an opinion? It wouldn't occur to me to call someone a skank in my blog but if that is your chosen vernacular, you should be willing to defend it. That said, there is a certain expectation that if you write a blog you may do so anonimously.

    Until these areas are more clearly defines, writer beware.. Your free speech expectations are in murkey waters.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  61. Rick H

    Everyone has the right for freedom of speech, but whatever you say you have to take credit and blame for. If you don't have anything nice to say some times it's best to just close the page and move on.
    If you don't to be attached to what you are saying you need to stop saying it.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:52 am |
  62. jaimey perham

    freedom of speech should always be protected online. period. end of discussion...

    as for being anonymous that is the preference of the blogger. i always use my full real name, but we are protected to anonymity under freedom of press as long as you do not personal attack another person without supporting evidence and facts and in that case the blogger should use their real name...

    the constitution and bill of rights should continue to the internet! congress should immediately pass an amendment.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:52 am |
  63. iBernard

    I run a blog of my own, and if you actually read it, you'll find my name. It's quasi-anonymous. A casual reader won't necessarily find it, but if you google me, you'll find it.

    A blog is like a book. If you don't like it, but it down and stop reading.

    With all this news about the boycott of Whole Foods, the news media, including CNN, is missing the bigger picture: the hiring practices of Whole Foods, which I not only covered on my blog, but received a phone call from corporate HR, and an email from the HR person for the Northeast.

    Here's the posting requirements for a graphic arts position:

    • Able to communicate, read, and follow instructions in English.

    • Able to work 8 – 10 hours per day. Able to sit, stand and or walk for extended periods of time, up to 4 hours, without a break. Able to bend/stoop to grasp/lift, objects not to exceed 50 lbs., unassisted.

    • Art degree or formal artistic training preferred.

    And that's in order. English comprehension, physical strength, and, oh yeah, art training.

    This needs to be looked into. And soon. It seriously dovetails the the editorial written about healthcare.

    Sick? Disabled? Don't apply to Whole Foods.

    Here's my entire posting:

    August 25, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  64. Mike

    It depends upon the contents of the blog. When libel is involved, the blogger should be identified. However, investigative blogging can be anonymous. The difficult and gray area is opinion blogs. Curtailing opinion may well be a first amendment issue. Expect this question to come before the Supreme Court, as will other Internet issues.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:50 am |
  65. Rob

    People speak. Speech without a "face" is not free. If people were allowed to speak behind a veil, all inhibitions would be gone and the result could lead to anarchy.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  66. Gary

    Hate speech is still free speech. The internet is full of trolls, and people have their privacy invaded everyday; only celebrities and the wealthy are able to press charges, where is the justice in that?

    August 25, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  67. John Westra

    As both a blogger and public official, I fully support the court's decision to order the identity of Ms. Port being revealed. There is a difference between political comment and targeted, libelous attacks on individuals.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  68. JD Hamilton

    I feel that expressing an opinion should be protected speech. I don't recall anything in the US constitution protecting from insult. In addition the model in question WAS in the albeit embarrassing position in the photograph. One thing that does speak well for the young woman was that she didn't sue for monetary damages.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  69. Victor Velez – NYC

    Consider the source; she's a model that is probably no longer working or able to find work like she used to. Did anyone ever think that perhaps SHE'S the manipulator bringing this to forums like CNN to jump start her sputtering career?

    She looks a little old (by model's standards, not mine) to be a model. Perhaps she needed money. Has she dropped the suit? Is she gaining monitarily from this? Are the book deals or realty shows now knocking on her door? I'd be curious to see where she goes with this. As far as our civil rights are concerned, while I don't agree with character defamation, this will affect EVERYONE and as we move forward with using sites like blogger, twiiter and facebook to communicate, yes, our civil liberties will start disappearing, thanks to people like MS. Cohen. That says it all. Now I'm going to be sued.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  70. Nancy Daniels

    Anyone who has been a victim of internet attacks will agree how hurtful and painful and live changing these attacks can be at times. I don't believe it should have gone as far as to court. I feel there should no anonymous anything allowed on the internet. It is a haven for criminals, stalkers, pedophiles and just plain hateful paople etc.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  71. Adam M

    Why shouldn't the freedom of speech be protected on a blog. The blog was written by an american on american soil. The freedom of speech does not say that the device used to convay the speech is protected but the speech itself.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  72. el

    The great thing about freedom of speech is the ability to say what we want, when we want and where we want. The internet changed all of that, for the good but also for the bad.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  73. seth from baltimore

    I'm afraid to comment on this in fear of my identity being revealed!

    August 25, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  74. Jody Imars

    If you think you have to be anonymous, maybe you should question what you're blogging. If you believe in what you're saying, put your name on it. I believe in free speech, but not at someone else's expense.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  75. Hillary

    I think she that model was a 'skank', after seeing that picture. It's a good idea for people to get exposed of what they really are!

    August 25, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  76. Kyle

    If you want to be anonymous learn how to block your identity online. Every computer has an IP adress that can be traced right to your house.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  77. Jason

    The internet is one of the last places that is still free; we don't need any completely ludicrous precedents being set that will keep people afraid of legal action even when they are anonymous.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  78. Thom Geiger

    Re: Blogger v. Google, I operate a small community web forum, with the same world wide web access Google has, but with a lot fewer readers (1900+ members).
    The ability to anonymously express opinion, even controversial and angry speech, has long been a cornerstone of our society.
    On our small, insignificant forum alone, we have messages that one could consider hateful speech about a number of public celebrities, from Al Sharpton to Michael Vick, from President Obama to Mel Gibson. If we, as US citizens, lose the right to publicly and anonymously express our most intense and controversial thoughts, our system of government and our society will suffer. Current law has special provisions that apply to public figures and celebrities. Those provisions exist for a reason and shouldn't be breached or violated because the celebrity at issue is an attractive model. When the President of the United States can unmask an anonymous critic, because he/she thinks the speech is mean spirited, we have lost something very special that citizens in most other countries don't have.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:29 am |
  79. Neva

    Any time a person uses the internet to harm someone, then privacy should no longer be a protected right. Bloggers should take responsibility for actions and words. We have a lot of hate and cowards in this world of the internet!

    August 25, 2009 at 7:12 am |
  80. Coco Del

    I should he said "Some internet bloggers........."

    August 25, 2009 at 7:10 am |
  81. Justin

    I'm surprised Liskula's case hasn't been thrown out of court, being that defamation requires false statements to have been made in a malicious effort to damage someone's reputation. The term "skank" is slang and has no official definition. By most definitions, "skank" is a Jamaican term, used to describe "a loose-limbed dance, often performed to Reggae music". By another definition, it means "an unattractive woman". Calling someone a "loose-limbed Reggae dancer" is pretty far from defamation, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Even though Liskula is a model, that doesn't mean everyone has to think she is beautiful, and since she is a public figure and beauty is her business, a blogger would be well within their rights to comment on her supposed beauty, or lack thereof. If the judge defines "skank" as a "prostitute", or something worse, then the blogger might be in trouble, but everything will depend on how the judge defines a slang term that has many different meanings. It's extremely subjective.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:09 am |
  82. Donnie Size

    I totally agree with Christine. Free to say whats on your mind is one thing hiding and making degrading comments is another. Then you try and hide behind blogging. Cluck.Cluck. I respect the right of free speech

    August 25, 2009 at 7:09 am |
  83. Coco Del

    Internet bloggers have become more and more offensive and malicious with no regard for fact or truth that I believe they have forfeited their rights to annonimity. There should be standards set for blogs as there are for print media.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:06 am |
  84. Pam Baldwin

    Your question is essentially, "Do the same laws governing free speech vs. libel and slander apply equally to electronic, or cyber, media as to other forms of communication media?"
    My answer: Why are we even asked that question?!! Why SHOULDN'T they? My reply to that guy, whoever he is, whom you showed saying that this case may prevent people from posting things that should be posted for the good of society: If so, why are the TV and print media still operating? All they do, their only function, is tell the public stuff, for which they bear the responsibility of proof if challenged. Any blogger who posts anything TRUE that "should be posted for the public good" need not fear prosecution. If it's not true, it shouldn't be posted.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:04 am |
  85. Anonymous

    Blogging should be head to the same standard as printed word or any other public forum. In law, libel is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image. If you can't print it then don't state it as fact. "In my opinion" or "allegedly" in the statement usually covers that and is not that much more to write. Google is at no fault for abiding by the court's ruling. In my opinion she is just looking for the money. See its not that hard to do.

    August 25, 2009 at 7:00 am |
  86. Bev Dupin

    You feel you need to slander someone else than you need to own up to your words. You can not hide behind privacy when you have invaded their privacy. This kind of action is the lowest. You say it-you own it.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:59 am |
  87. Kenya

    I'm sorry but the woman who posted the blog is not inoncent, she invaded the woman's private life. The woman should have never posted on the internet for all to see and should have known she'd be discovered. People can find and trace anything electronically these days. I feel if you don't like someone then don't post it publically if you don't want to be found. She was asking for it when she posted and I feel the courts should side with Google. Also the amount she is asking for is ridiculous, she doesn't deserve it and should be fined if anything. People like that disgust me.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:58 am |
  88. mike-sey

    Malicious speach should never be protected, particularly when it is spread so virally, so far and can do so much harm to people in an age when employers and others can and do Google to vet people.

    It is the Malware of speach, and in the schoolyard would have warranted an instant punch in the nose. On the streets it'd probably get you shot.

    Absolutely no sympathy for Ms.Port who seems like a nasty, envious,cowardly young woman who deserves to be slapped upside the head ( figuratively -speaking, of course)

    August 25, 2009 at 6:57 am |
  89. Dick Posthumus

    If you publicly give your opinion or critique you should have the guts to sign your name. Only cowards spread false rumors, lies and such and do not want to be held responsible or answer verification.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:57 am |
  90. Donnie Size

    If your a Blogger and cannot ad your name to the blog then you are a chicken. Everybody has the right to complain, comment or whatever but a true person will put their name to that comment if not then it's not worth the press time or even being on the blog.

    BTW love the show and for the record I am Canadian

    August 25, 2009 at 6:51 am |
  91. Artelida Hairston

    In response to Shane. If Cohen wanted to sue for a deflamation whom would she sue?

    August 25, 2009 at 6:51 am |
  92. Michael Pravlik

    NO! People try to claim freedom of speech for all the wrong reasons. Freedom of speech does NOT give you the right to say malicious and slanderous statements about others, hence the successful lawsuit. People need to wake up and actually read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and understand them before trying claim their protections for illegal acts.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:51 am |
  93. Christine

    The woman who blogged about Liskula Cohen was purposefully degrading but more importantly she impugned Ms. Cohen's reputation and I don't think that is acceptable. It's one thing to talk and gossip (aren't we fed up with rude gossip as adults – hopefully mature adults?) about someone about a story well known to be true. Fair comment and anyone has a right to partake. However to say something that honestly affects someone's reputation for no good reason other than to be catty or to genuinely want to hurt a reputation – to hell with someone like that. Google has the best lawyers. They obviously felt it was imperative legally to release the blogger's name. Hey she went ahead with her verbal garbage and she took a risk. People like that count on the fact no one will retaliate – this time someone did and frankly I support Ms. Cohen 100%. Of course people like whistleblowers should be able to use the venue to get out correct, credible information without risk of penalty. Harming someone's reputation? No, why should someone be allowed to do such a harmful thing? I hope she is rich because legal fees are going to be phenomenally huge.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:50 am |
  94. Victor

    The Internet concept of anonymous ghettos is a huge problem. One must be responsible for what they say and do on line . period. when someone is out to blog ( in a positive or negative manner) in all scenarios You are rsposible to understand what you say and do. This is why privacy issues are a mess on line

    August 25, 2009 at 6:49 am |
  95. Artelida Hairston

    I feel like the blogger should have considered the rights of the person she was defaming. Its amazing that she feels like she should have remained anonomous. I do think there should be some kind of laws in place for future cases. But I feel like the lawsuit is bogus.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:49 am |
  96. sherri

    No one has a right to slander your name. To speak your opinion to your neighbor or friend is one thing. But to put it out in the open where everyone in the world can see it. Port deserves to be outed, Is Port is woman enough to make that judgement she should be woman enough to deal with the consequences. Why should she be allowed to hide behind annominity while slandering someone else.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:49 am |
  97. Celebrity Digs HQ

    Anonymity is necessary because your friends don't have the heart to tell you your house is ugly.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:47 am |
  98. Shane Starcher

    Cohen has the right to request a take down of the material, but should not have the right to have the private information of that individual revealed. Last I checked blogs were not held up to the standards of print newspapers and are a place where someone can post there opinion freely.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:46 am |
  99. Ron Jeremiah

    I would say no, there is no privacy if and when you present yourself online as a blogger. You volunteered to reveal your identity when you publish your own information and then write about other people's lives. Google should not be penalized for it. $15 million? Haha...Cohen is right...."some nerve!"

    August 25, 2009 at 6:36 am |