Petty Comments

August 23, 2009

I couldn’t help but blog about the media ‘maelstrom’ that has engulfed internet blogger Rosemary Port.

Rosemary, from behind the anonymous veneer of her internet blog, dubbed model  Liskula Cohen a ‘skank’ and a ‘ho’.

A court order forced Google to reveal who the blogger was. Model Liskula has now dropped her lawsuit against Rosemary touting  ‘forgiveness’ as her reason.

In an ironic twist, however, Rosemary is now suing Google for failing to protect her privacy and anonymity.

She also argues that Cohen ‘defamed herself’.

“By going to the press, she defamed herself,” Port said.

“Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my Web site: One from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it,” Port said. “That was before it became a spectacle. I feel my right to privacy has been violated.”

Of course, in Australia anyway, a defamatory statement needs only to be read by one other person in order to be considered to be ‘published’. This reflects the idea that defamation only needs to lower you in the estimation of one other member of the community in order to be considered harmful.

However, the fact that a court injunction can force Google to reveal the identity of an internet blogger is, I believe, the point of this story that has broader ramifications. If there is no real anonymity on the internet, the blogger next door who hasn’t studied media law could easily find themselves in water just as hot as what our heroine Rosemary finds herself in.

Do citizens have the right to remain anonymous on the internet?

N.B thought provoking article on the subject here.