Google to identify blogger

Posted: 11th February 2013

An orthodox Jewish rabbi who claims that he was seriously defamed on a blog site has won a High Court order requiring search engine giants, Google, to divulge the identities of those who blackened his name. The court ruled that persons who make prima facie defamatory statements on the internet should not be protected by a cloak of anonymity.

GoogleDirecting Google to disclose to the rabbi’s legal team the registered name, address, or IP address of the author of the blog and others who had contributed to it, Mrs Justice Gloster said: "I take the view that if people are making what appear to be prima facie defamatory comments, they should not be protected by the cloak of anonymity. Although of course the protection of freedom of speech is very important, people who make weasely comments online in circumstances such as this should not be allowed to hide behind the shield of anonymity."

Google had neither opposed nor consented to the disclosure application and the rabbi’s lawyers had submitted: "Where a person, or in this case an organisation, albeit innocently and without incurring any personal liability, becomes involved in a wrongful act of another, that person thereby comes under a duty to assist the person injured by the acts by giving the claimant any information by virtue of which he is able to discover the identity of that wrongdoer."