Courts Force Tech Giant to Handover Bloggers ID
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
As a “blogger” I am held accountable for what I say. Bloggers are being sued and held libel for their comments. People who comment on blogs are now coming under fire.
For years I’ve put myself out there making a concerted effort to educate, inform and try help out mankind by informing people of their options to protect themselves from the bad guy. Despite my heart being in the right place, someone always finds it appropriate to criticize and disparage. I don’t hide under an anonymous chat name or obscure my identity with some faux persona. But my critics often do.
In this process I’ve always followed the creed, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I bring this right to the forefront because I spend 70 hours a week doing what I love and I get paid to do it; some people don’t like that. I’ve had numerous vocations and finally with persistence and a slight amount of talent, I’ve managed to keep the lights on doing what I love. AND, anyone who questions my association with any product or service when I write about or promote them needs only to look at my website and see their logo splashed everywhere. I align myself with brands I believe in because they matter, and I hide nothing.
In the public eye, which I am, at a very small small level, I’m subject to criticism. I know this and put it out there every day despite that fact. Occasionally, someone will take issue with what I say or how I say it and question my credentials and attack me personally. As in the case of the model who was persecuted in an open forum and horrible things were said and accusations were made. She was quoted saying “Why should anybody let it go? If somebody attacks somebody on the street, you’re not going to let it go … why should I just ignore it?” Cohen told Good Morning America. “I couldn’t find one reason to ignore it.”
I come from the same school of thought. I come from the streets of Boston, or a proper suburb of Boston. I have my fair share of scars from various times of my life. I’m pretty sure I was suspended for fighting more than anyone in the history of my high-school. But as one grows older and hopefully wiser, they respond accordingly.
Today there is a certain amount of anonymity on the web and allows people to say what they want and not feel the repercussions of what may occur if they said something to ones face in the street. Most of the comments made deserve a swift appropriate response that would equate to a WWF Smackdown, deservedly.
Fortunately, there isn’t as much anonymity as people might think. For one, if you spew hatred and filth in comments or in a blog post, there is a good chance a court will hand over your identity to those who you’ve offended and you get to experience the lovely long, expensive process of being sued. People don’t like lawyers for this reason. Frankly, I love lawyers and thank God for them. Mine protects me from all the trolls who like to take from those who have.
There are some great ways to expose the trolls who write the comments and spew the hate. Your IP address isn’t too far away, and generally gives your address away. Google of course does a great job of indexing the world’s data and mining for information via Google hacks that can reveal a lot about whom a person is and where they are. iSearch.com from Intelius.com is another great set of tools that allows a person to investigate chat handles, user names, email addresses and reverse search phone numbers. These are the exact same ways one vets out a potential date when meeting online or when considering hiring a nanny to watch your kids. These are the same steps a potential employer takes before hiring someone.
Once you find out enough data about them, all one needs to perform a full background check is a name and an address and then you have enough data to take the troll to court for any disparaging things they may say. You may not win in court, but the costs associated with going to court are enough to discourage anyone from opening their spew hole again.
These are some of the same processes a lawyer may go through when filing suit. They do a full investigation using these various tools including pulling data from your social networks too. So now what you post is not nearly as anonymous as you might think. Whatever companies you work for, who your boss is, your professor’s names, where you go to school, any academic degrees that you believe hold you higher than the rest and make you believe you can say anything, your families names and addresses, are all available to the public. And when you say and do things that hurt, well, you many end up at the wrong end of a law suit too.
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing hate and vile comments on CNN