Google ordered to identify bloggers

Last updated 13:48 16/01/2013

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A South Australian court has ordered internet giant Google to reveal to a businessman the identities of anonymous bloggers who he claims have defamed him.

Shane Radbone, a former AFL footballer, and his wife Victoria Elise Radbone want to sue the bloggers for defamation and applied to the SA District Court in Adelaide for orders against Google.

Master Mark Blumberg on Tuesday ordered Google to disclose to the Radbones, within 21 days, full particulars of "relevant evidentiary material" relating to the identity of the person or people who registered five named blogs on Google's popular blogger.com. network.

Master Blumberg ruled that the disclosures should include the email addresses, telephone numbers and the IP addresses provided by the whomever registered the blogs.

Google was not legally represented in court and a spokesman declined to comment on the Radbone case.

However, it is not unusual for the company to allow law enforcement agencies and the courts access to information about its account holders, when requested.

It has done so in the past, mostly during criminal cases or investigations, and has often required a court order before it considers disclosing information.

In the first six months of 2012, Google in Australia received 523 requests to disclose information about 841 individuals or user accounts.

It supplied at least some data in response to 64 per cent of those requests, which were primarily criminal cases.

In 2011, Google in Australia received 805 requests to disclose information about 908 individuals or user accounts.

It supplied at least some data for just under 70 per cent of those requests, which again were primarily criminal cases.

It is unclear if Google has ever disclosed information or data during civil proceedings, as in the Radbone case.

Experts on internet law said they were unaware of Google or any other internet firm providing data or information in the context of a non-criminal investigation.

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- AAP

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