August 25, 2009

One More Time...

I've posted before about blogging and anonymity.  My basic premise is that even if you don't give your actual name, you are not anonymous as long as you have an identifiable blog.  You are identified by your association with your own creation.

There are many kinds of blogs: this one is my soapbox, where I express myself on issues of the day.  Or where I just share whatever it is I want to get out there.  Other blogs serve more specific purposes; news analysis, reviews of plays/books/restaurants/whatever, "how-to" do just about anything, personal journals - there are all kinds of blogs, serving all kinds of purposes.

But a lot of them are just places for people to spew invective about things they hate.

Rosemary Port is one such blogger, according to CNN.  She created a charming blog called "Skanks in NYC," a blog wherein Port made derogatory remarks about fashion models. Of course, she didn't attach her name to the stream of bile she posted.

One of the models, Liskula Cohen, got tired of the verbal abuse, and sued. 

That's when Rosemary Port learned that just because you don't put your name on your blog, it doesn't mean that you can't be found.  Cohen's lawyers got a court order for Google to release information about the blog's owner, and Google complied, handing over Port's email address.
The judge rejected Port's argument that blogs on the Internet "serve as a modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions" and should not be regarded as fact.
- Stephen Samaniego, CNN
The 1st Amendment of the Constitution guarantees us the right to free speech, and to say whatever we like.  But it doesn't absolve us of responsibility for the things we say.

Port, on her own volition, started a blog and used it to insult, harass and defame people.  She was held accountable in a court of law.  She learned a painful and expensive lesson; with great power (free speech), comes great responsibility.

And it's proof, once again, that bloggers are not, and cannot be, anonymous.  We are, at best psuedonymous.  We can be held accountable for the things we say.

And Port?  That twisted skank doofus moron misguided person is suing Google for complying with a court order and otherwise obeying the law.  Yeah, that's going to work well for her.

Google is not obligated to hide your identity.  If you're going to say stuff about other people, you're well advised to be responsible about it.  You can reveal ugly truths about people, but you'd better be able to back up the claims you make.


  1. I have always thought if you can't say it to my face don't say it If you can't do the time don't do the crime. Personal responsibility or lack thereof is a huge problem in our society today! just look at the politicians and wall street people

  2. Who's the skank now, Rosemary?

  3. If you're going to do that, at least be smart enough to set up the account with an e-mail account with bogus information so it doesn't get traced back to you.