Unmasking bloggers in India raises some interesting questions

First it was shutting down blog sites after the Mumbai bombings in 2006. This year it was attempting to snoop into communications conducted over BlackBerry’s. Now Google has been instructed to reveal the identity of an anonymous blogger in a defamation lawsuit filed by an Indian construction company against them.

The story on the Wall Street Journal reports that,

A small Indian construction-equipment company is demanding that Google Inc. disclose the name of a person who used its blogging service, in a case that could change the way the Internet giant does business in India.

The WSJ article needs a subscription to read (try BugMeNot) but another on Wired on the same issue ends on an interesting note,

This could potentially become an issue for bloggers bashing folks overseas, and set an example for cases regarding anonymity.  On the positive side, maybe it will encourage citizen journalists to back up their posts with more researched and trustworthy information.

A landmark ruling in California in 2006 gave bloggers protection from revealing their sources. In a case filed against Apple, the court ruled that

….online journalists and bloggers have the same right to protect their sources as all other journalists. The case was brought to court by Apple Computer demanding from a number of news website operators to reveal the source of confidential information posted about some of its products.

Apple did not appeal.

2 Comments on “Unmasking bloggers in India raises some interesting questions”

  1. Kulendra
    August 17, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    Interesting post, although this somehow confuses me more on something I’ve already had confusions.

    In many instances, journalists claim that they have a right to keep the sources of their information confidentially. Is this by any chance legally recognised? Wouldn’t such recognition it self be discriminatory towards the rest of the society? (No one else can do that, why should they?)

    According to wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalism#Right_to_protect_confidentiality_of_sources) the legal status of this is pretty much the legal status of a normal person; at least thats how I see it, may be someone with a legal background can answer this.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Journalism of the future? Problems and challenges. « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - September 15, 2008

    […] New media producers often disregard the wider cultural, economic and political repercussions of the content they create. The challenge of hyper-local media is that it is both local and it isn’t. A local news story published on the web may pique national interest if the issue is connected to (or seen to be connected to) a larger debate. This is especially the case in violent conflict. This has serious implications for local content producers, both positive and negative, that need to assessed and managed. This includes identity protection.  […]

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