This privacy story has been making the rounds in New York this week. Someone anonymously created a blog called “Skanks in NYC” and used it primarily to bash model Liskula Cohen. The blogger called Cohen a skank, a ho, and an old hag, among other nasty things, and posted photos of her, taken from various websites.
Cohen was not pleased and wanted to pursue a defamation lawsuit. That’s hard though, when you don’t know the identity of the person defaming you. Her lawyer asked the judge to force Google to reveal the identity of the blogger, whose blog was hosted by Google-owned Blogger.
The blogger’s lawyer did not manage to convince the judge with that argument. On Monday, the judge ordered Google to turn the blogger in, or at least reveal her e-mail and IP address. Cohen was able to use that to figure out who the woman was. It turns out it’s someone Cohen knows socially.
According to the New York Post, it’s a classic girlfight. Port badmouthed Cohen online because Cohen had said nasty things about her to Port’s boyfriend. Gothamist hunted down Port’s photo on Facebook. It shows her lying naked in bed. It’s… well… it’s a bit skanky.
Privacy groups are concerned by the precedent set by the judge in forcing Google to reveal Port’s identity.
The San Francisco Chronicle has more experts weigh in on the case, who all agree that this is “a tough intersection of free speech and defamation.”
Interestingly, the model, Cohen, decided last night to drop her $3 million defamation suit against Port, which gives some credence to the claim that this may have been a ‘frivolous lawsuit just” to “issue a subpoena to the Web site or Internet Service Provider (ISP) involved, discover the identity of [an] anonymous critic, and intimidate” them.
I think the lesson is: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it on the Internet unless you’re okay with the fact that you might one day get outed.
It isn't about right and wrong. It's about having enough money to use the system to your own nefarious means.