Imagine seeing comments about you written on a website…and they’re not complimentary, they’re pretty nasty. The internet company, in this case Google, decides to reveal the identity of an anonymous blogger after a court and now this blogger is threatening to sue Google.
It’s the now famous “NYC Skank” case. And Rosemary Port, the unmasked blogger says Google should have protected her identity and respected her right to privacy. Kelly McParland, writing in the National Post, says Rosemary Port has some attitude issues to deal with. He quotes her: “Without any warning, I was put on a silver platter for the press to attack me. I would think that a multi-billion dollar conglomerate would protect the rights of all its users.”
And as Patricia Hughes writes on a legal website, this case, as well as news that Wikipedia is to end it’s unrestricted editing of articles about people, that maybe more regulation of the internet is needed.
This blogger says: I find that these web brawls (and there are many) where people “drop the gloves” on each other to be quite bizarre. Often one anonymous “poster” is going at it with another anonymous “poster” and the discussion degenerates into a schoolyard verbal joust where they end up saying things that, but for the anonymity, would never be said or written. Maybe, these recent cases will stem some of this behaviour.
So should online anonymity exist any longer? With other forms of media adhering to laws protecting people from defamation, what’s so different about the internet or blogs? Should there no such thing as online anonymity? If you’re likely to offend someone, why should your identity be protected?