A resort developer has obtained a court order requiring Google Inc. to help uncover the identities of anonymous contributors to an online newspaper that posted articles linking him to government corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Developer Cem Kinay of Miami accuses TCI Journal of causing “reputational damage and lost profits,” according to a civil complaint filed in California. A court order tells Google to turn over data that may help identify users of the newspaper’s account with Gmail, the Internet search company’s e-email service.
Google said in a statement to The Associated Press it is obligated to comply with “valid court orders,” but generally notifies users to give them time to challenge an order, as it did in this case.
Read more of this Associated Press story on BusinessWeek.
In a related commentary, Greg Sterling writes on Search Engine Land, “Is Google Using A Privacy Double Standard?” in which he contrasts Google’s lack of vigorous defense in both this case and the Liskula Cohen case to their vigorous defense of server logs subpoenaed by the Department of Justice in 2006 as well as their stated policy about protecting Google Book readers.