Nurit Roth reports:
Surfers who post comments on Web sites scored a victory in Israel’s Supreme Court last week. The vice president of the country’s highest court, Eliezer Rivlin, and Justice Edmond Levy handed down a majority ruling that Internet service providers cannot be forced to disclose the identity of anonymous posters, even at the behest of a person who claims he has suffered damage from the comments.
Justice Elyakim Rubinstein held a minority opinion, that the court did have the power to order the identity of anonymous posters to be revealed.
The ruling ended the appeal by Rami Mor, an alternative medicine practitioner. He wanted to sue surfers who had left derogatory comments on a Ynet news story, for libel. Among other things, unidentified surfers called him a “charlatan” and a “thief.” Another wrote, “Rami Mor, you’re getting pretty annoying, putting fake messages in every forum – you aren’t even a practical nurse.”
Since the posters were anonymous, identifying them would have required a court order. Mor therefore motioned the court to order Ynet, and the communications company Barak, to identify the posters (a technical matter involving finding and disclosing their Internet protocol addresses).
Read more on Haaretz.com, where Roth provides more of the history on this case and the court’s reasoning.