Google May Face $15M Suit Over Blogger’s Outing

By: Doug Caverly - August 24, 2009

Obeying a court order and revealing the identity of a formerly anonymous blogger might not work out so well for Google.  Rosemary Port, who was exposed as the author of the now infamous "Skanks in NYC" blog, has said that she intends to sue the search giant for $15 million.

Rosemary PortA little history: Port’s blog uses Google’s Blogger software.  Port used her blog to call model Liskula Cohen a skank.  Cohen then sued in order to find out who was behind the insult, and following a legal skirmish, a federal judge forced Google to hand over the relevant information.

That brings us to the $15 million lawsuit-in-the-making.  Port told George Rush, "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 according to Port’s lawyer, Salvatore Strazzullo, Google "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity."  He also said, "I’m ready to take this all the way to the Supreme Court."

Either a win or a loss could have a significant impact on how anonymous bloggers operate.  We’ll keep an eye on the matter.

Doug Caverly

About the Author

Doug CaverlyDoug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

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  • adimerdeka

    Wowww very fantastic…

  • Guest

    There is no anonymity on the internet. Does this moron really think that Google will lose a suit for $15mm when it was a Federal Judge who FORCED them to release her information in the first place?

  • Cheap Sites

    Why would she ever use her real identity to make an account on google and talk about some famous model. Seriously, what are people thinking?

    The internet is a wide open book, everyone with an internet connection can find what you posted. sigh…

  • Collection agencies

    Getting a judgment is easy, its collecting it thats hard, good luck

  • Helen

    Funny, I’ve never noticed Blogger being promoted as an ANONYMOUS platform – in fact I’d be surprised if the legal language around disclosure isn’t in the terms of service that she agreed to when she signed up.

    Having freedom of speech doesn’t absolve you of the responsibility for what you say.

  • Guest

    What part of the google blog user agreement did Port and her attorney not understand?

    “We may also share information with third parties in limited circumstances, including when complying with legal process, preventing fraud or imminent harm, and ensuring the security of our network and services.”

  • Guest

    She’s upset because she was outed & offered up on a silver platter, but it’s ok to tell the world that a model is a skank and accuse her of being a whore? Is she kidding? I read that blog excerpt and it was nasty and way out of line. She deserves to be sued for libel for writing that!

  • Steve

    The only way you are protected is that a person can’t just write a letter to Google like…


    Dear Google,

    I am requesting the name of the person who writes the blog at the following address (or whatever it really is.)


    Upset internet user


    It takes a court order to do so. That’s where the privacy stops. It’s clearly stated in the terms of service, or some disclaimer on most sites.

    I still can’t believe that person did give Google their real information and went on a libel spree like that. Did nobody learn anything from the tabloid papers being sued all the time? Now it’s going to be hard to prove to what extent the libel did it’s damage. If there is no damage, even if libel occurred, there will be no validity to the suit.

    I seriously doubt the Supreme Court will even hear the case. Or if they do, it will take all of 5 seconds to quote some other related case and throw the entire suit against Google out.

  • Michael RobertsInternet libel victim’s advocate

    The very notion of this woman filing suit against Google is absurd. Google’s terms of use make it very clear that they will protect the user’s identity were possible. Google was ordered by a court to reveal it, what choice did they have? I have actually seen the discovery given by Google and based on other productions for other cases I’m involved with, I believe they withheld information that could have been construed to be in compliance with the actual court order.

    Furthermore, the blogger seems to think that free speech is absolute. Libelous and defamatory speech, allegations of fact that our deceptive or casting the subject in a false light are not protected. If someone wants to send a nasty gram to the world about somebody they don’t like, they can expect to be held to account for their actions if the damage is substantial enough.

    I long for the day the judges, and the public in general, will begin to realize just how debilitating a relentless and malicious Internet smear campaign can be to its victims. In an attempt to convey the reality of the situation to “future victims”, a person who relies on the reputation in order to obtain gainful employment or new customers can be as completely devastated by Internet libel as a farmer who has all his livestock, buildings, and fields burned by a vandal. The difference being, the vandal can go to jail. (And in Georgia I think he could be hung)

    Very respectfully submitted. Michael Roberts

  • Yurichson

    The skank as defined by dictionary goes this way “One who is disgustingly foul or filthy and often considered sexually promiscuous. Used especially of a woman or girl”.

    The definition itself (her blog site) does not fit to use google free service.

    It show the person has the inclination to behave in such a way. NO way she can fight back as the skank blogspot is already on the losing side.

    Internet & blog spot is not the place to blaspheme or condemn an innocent individual.


  • MetzyMom

    As the current co-target/co-victim of a smear campaign, I think anyone who posts maliciously and untruthfully on ANY internet venue should be… well… sued and imprisoned until they make a substantial financial deposit into their victims bank account…

    For companies that allow this kind of behavior, they too should have to answer… Too many sites just shrug their shoulders and say ‘Free Speech’, which is far easier to do than actually taking care of a growing problem… I think sites that knowingly allow cyber bullies and blogs that are destructive to human beings should be shut down…

    …however, for Google to be sued for turning over court ordered info? OMG! Who is she kidding? She’s a bully but someone else should pay for it? Come on…

    Then again, stranger suits have been won… think about McDonalds and Hot Coffee…