No anonymity on the 'Net, N.S. judge rules -

No anonymity on the ‘Net, N.S. judge rules

Google, ‘The Coast’ must reveal identities of users who allegedly made defamatory claims


A Nova Scotia judge has ordered Google and managers of a weekly newspaper to reveal the identities of seven people who are alleged to have defamed senior members of the Halifax fire department with remarks about racism within the organization. The long-awaited decision by Justice Heather Robertson is an important step in the legal dispute pitting Internet freedom against the right to protect one’s public reputation. The court has ordered The Coast newspaper to provide all information provided by the users when they established their accounts on its website; all other email addresses
associated with those accounts; log-file information such as IP addresses, times and dates of log-ins and the activity on the accounts. Google, meanwhile, must provide all information it has relating to the identity of a person who distributed online a letter about the fire department from a Gmail address. Since IP addresses are included in the court’s sweeping requirement, any of the commenters who used fake names to set up their accounts with the paper or Google won’t be anonymous for long.

Chronicle Herald

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No anonymity on the ‘Net, N.S. judge rules

  1. My apologies, I forgot to append the link to the aforementioned book, "Three Felonies a Day: How the Fed Target the Innocent"
    I'm a firm believer in laws & ethics, but there is such a thing as privacy in the "bedrooms of the nation", no matter how much the ReichWing would have you believe in 'purity' for one's body being synonymous with criminalizing social permissions…

    consenting adults actually should have leeway on the choices they make with enjoying & sharing their own bodies!
    Privacy is the first tenet of choice… & responsible government.

    [youtube 240Bjka6cGI youtube]

    • I am an intense proponent of privacy, particularly on the internet, but invoking "bedrooms of the nation" to describe a share opinion intended for anyone in the world to read is disingenuous. Straight up libel assuming the chief and deputy are not racists. This is the correct course of action. (racism in the Halifax Fire Department is another story, and an interesting one at that)

  2. Are you able to stand up in the middle of a crowded room and make libellous allegations about someone? Yes, you are, providing you are willing to face the legal consequences of doing so.

    You do not have the right to expect that wearing a hoodie while you do this will protect you from these consequences.

    You can have all the privacy you like. The minute you post something libellous on a public forum, your expectation of privacy is gone.

  3. M-A-N. is best get ready for praise, well said. Libel and slander,even innuendo should not matter who the author is ,just the author better provide proof. Reminds me of a case in the Uk. when Liberace was i.d. as queer. He sued the newspaper and won since the paper had no proof. Doesn't matter if he was.

  4. I think blueberry pickin' is reading/responding to a different article. The article refers to making serious, liabellous comments about another, not enjoying his/her own body!

  5. An ip address doesn't mean anything in terms of identifying someone… with wireless networks (secure or unsecured) it basically throws that method out the window. And anyone can take offense to anything, I'm offended that this article is on the internet, so the author should be sent to jail. Oh guess what, my name comes up "anonymous" on here therefor I expect privacy in what I say.

  6. I hardly think accusing someone of racism is defamation, there is not a person on earth who is not racist/culturist to some degree or lying to themselves.

  7. This is a sad day, when a public officials image is more important than free speech, if an individual acts in a way that hurts their image than they should not be in the public eye, if there is no truth to what the individual making accusations says then there is no reason for them to be insulted or worried.

    Not to mention that we live in a racist/sexist/homophobic/patriarchal society, so it is no surprise that men in a position of power who have felt the privileges of our society would say racist, sexist or homophobic things. They are just pissy that someone called them on it .

    I for one think that we should all call out someone in authority as racist, first to show that our right as citizens trumps their public image and secondly because its true of almost all of them. Here I will start…

    The Canadian government engages in acts of racism on a daily basis, one of many examples would be when they shipped body bags to First Nations peoples in order to combat swine flu.

    Who is next?

  8. Some people don’t seem to realize that the internet isn’t just a nifty little program that lets you “check your emails” and forward funny pictures. There are good and bad sides to the internet, and it makes me sick that this judge ordered the privacy of these people to be completely violated. What’s even more disgusting is it’s happened in my province. If someone on the internet calls you a racist and you’re that concerned about the opinions of the internet that you have to whine to a judge to have their rights violated only to comfort yourself, release a statement saying “Nope, I’m not racist, actually”. Problem solved.

    I don’t want to see my country become like the festering hellhole known as Australia. The courts have no business telling websites to reveal information about their users, they’re anonymous for a reason.

  9. All newspaper website MUST PUT IN CLEARLY VISIBLE & WRITTEN LANGUAGE that the comments people write are not anonymous and the author can be revealed by court order.

    This type of requirement for public forums must occur otherwise newspapers run the risk of being sued for implying anonymity either explicitly or implicitly.

    The author(s) of the 7 comments (could all be the same person for all we know) MUST sue the newspaper if they are revealed. The newspaper's website "implies" anonymity and therefore it owes the duty of providing anonymity to its forum participants.

    Anonymous Advisor

  10. Mine comes up that way too, and guess what; if I decide to use this forum to advocate that someone should be killed…say a sitting president or premier for instance…I would fully expect law enforcement agencies to use every means at their disposal to find out just who I am. M_A_N is correct, you don't get to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater and then try to hide behind freedom of speech.

  11. I totally agree with this decision. I think that people who hide behind their computer screens to get away with character assassination and defamation should not have an expectation of privacy. Free speech is great, but there has to be a limit. I am glad somebody decided to step up and establish one.