Trolling – the end of it

Up to late last night I had never heard of Liskula Cohen and I am not much into “super models” either. But the blonde catwalker just recently made a dent into a situation I had talked about in earlier comments: trolling.

Cohen was the victim of an anonymous blogger who spread bias and falsehoods about her. The catwalker did not just swallow it but went against Blogger.com – Google Inc, that is – to obtain the blogger’s IP and email addresses. Last Monday she succeeded: as ABCNews reported yesterday “Cohen took Google to court in hopes of forcing the company to reveal the writer’s identity — and won.”

A little googling found me a courtesy copy of the actual court document. Google was ordered to “provide petitioner with information as to the identity of the Anonymous Blogger(s), specifically that person’s or persons’ name(s), address(es), email address(es), IP address(es), telephone number(s), and all other information that would assist in ascertaining the identity of that person or persons.”

And they did. Google provided the information to Liskula Cohen’s lawyers right away. She now plans to pull through a libel suit against the troll.

Oh, I can hear the sleazebags clamoring about privacy and free speech and the usual trash that is put on the table when it comes to anonymous jerks taking responsibility for their doing. Certainly one can argue that Freedom of Speech must be protected by all means and I agree.

But your own freedom ends where you violate somebody else’s.

45 Comments

  1. That is the question, isn’t it? To be fair, I don’t figure her as a Carmichael, he’s a unique brand of nut. Unless, of course Louanne supports what he said on television? Do you think it was okay?

  2. I second that one :)

  3. Of course they would- here, they’re not held accountable for their comments or actions. Would Louanne, for example, be so vulgar and agressive in real life, perhaps in her workplace? Certainly not. Would she talk about the F*ckheads and A**holes if she were being interviewed on television? No way. But here, she knows that she is not personally accountable, and acts accordingly.
    Of course, I suppose it is possible that she could do so— “Rev” Carmichael did it on television.
    But, until Louanne reveals her true identity AND continues acting in the same manner, I stand by my belief that she’s feeling comfortable being anonymous.

  4. thank you csd.
    but i’ve come to expect nothing less :)
    but, I suppose we all wear our own masks, at times. I would imagine that louanne and pat would be far less insulting if the were not anonymous!

  5. It’s funny, here.
    Big daddy brings up a very good point, as to how the scientologists here will hide behind their own masks, hiding their identities and casting stones from their hidden location.
    And they fault others for chosing to remain anonymous for, as far as I can tell, seems to be very good reasons.
    And how does Pat respond? She mocks his grammar. Forget the point, just focus on his english speaking skills.
    That’s just awesome.

  6. Yes, Patsy, I’ve taken a grammar/english class at the local college, and have decided to increase my use of the language. Thank you for your compliments.

    I quoted you multuple times. No need to do it again. Read the tabs at the top of the screen- the “anonymous” one, I believe. The law does not say that a “specific” crime needs to be noted now, does it?

  7. Comment by bigdaddy on September 4, 2009 7:00 am

    “pat, it has alrady been defined. read the thread anonymous, fr already took the time to point it out to u. does not matter who u said it to… it has been recorded on that thread that u did. it matters not. no one is after u. ”

    Sweetie, there has to have been a specific crime that I accused someone of. Where’s your law review?

    I find it amusing that you have suddenly developed a fairly intelligent understandable written language in your later posts with Tom Newton. Big Daddy, you found yourself!

    Pat

  8. I am rather saddened by the hypocrisy of this group.

    calling others cowards for criticizing while wearing masks, while pat and louanne themselves hide behind user names and anonymous websites…

    pretending to champion human rights by ignoring the racist writings of hubbard and using raciel epithets…

    calling anonymous a hate group while maintaining a hateful attack on the mental health profession…

    attacking, attacking critics, and never acknowledging that even a single claim is valid (hyperbole).

    how disheartening

  9. no, it’s not, and watch ur racism. don’t call me boy.
    plus, I was talking to pat, unless ur the same person?

  10. # Comment by bigdaddy on September 3, 2009 8:45 am
    >>>“u ldefame ppl anonymously…
    >>Says who?
    >US law :) look up “defamation per se””

    US law says I am defaming people anonymously? That’s libel to say, boy.

    – L

  11. no one here blames u, pat. it’s simply what u were told to be tre. u even nearly quoted hubbard saying the same thing. all we are saying is that it is wise to be careful of what u say from ur own mask….

  12. pat, it has alrady been defined. read the thread anonymous, fr already took the time to point it out to u. does not matter who u said it to… it has been recorded on that thread that u did. it matters not. no one is after u.

  13. Let’s be more specific, here

    Who did I accuse of committing what crime in which topic?

    Pat

  14. @Comment by mark tomles on September 3, 2009 9:55 pm

    Pat,
    I know you directed the previous question to me, but it is irrelevant WHO you accused of crimes. Maybe me, maybe not. But, the point is that while hiding behind a digital mask, you accused others of crimes. While not as serious, still a breach of law.
    Don’t worry, no one’s suing you. But just remember that next time you cast hate at someone for doing the same thing that you are.
    Mark

    So you admit that I didn’t actually accuse you of being a criminal? The rest is the same.

    More generalities, Mark? Who, when, where did I accuse others of crimes?

    Pat

  15. Pat,
    I know you directed the previous question to me, but it is irrelevant WHO you accused of crimes. Maybe me, maybe not. But, the point is that while hiding behind a digital mask, you accused others of crimes. While not as serious, still a breach of law.
    Don’t worry, no one’s suing you. But just remember that next time you cast hate at someone for doing the same thing that you are.
    Mark

  16. “u ldefame ppl anonymously…”

    Says who?

    US law :) look up “defamation per se”

  17. are not the two of u anonymous? u criticise from an online mask- at least anons wear masks ang get outside :)

    do u disagree?

    do u disagree also that pat accused ppl of crimes?

  18. #Comment by bigdaddy on September 2, 2009 7:19 am

    “grow a pair, pat :)”

    Get a clue, bigdaddy…

    “that is as much of a violation of law as the cohen blogger.”

    Anything happening on this blog is a long way from the Cohen case. BTW, the comments are searchable here: http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ascientologymyths.wordpress.com+ (add search term after +)

    “u ldefame ppl anonymously…”

    Says who?

    – L

  19. grow a pair, pat :)
    mark is not making an accusation, he is raising the point that u libeled at least SOMEONE, while hiding anonymously. that is as much of a violation of law as the cohen blogger.
    u ldefame ppl anonymously… how can u speak against others doing the same thing?

  20. @Comment by mark tomles on August 29, 2009 3:24 pm

    Mark,

    Still no time, place form and event. I want this from you.

    Where exactly did I call you a criminal? Not from anyone else – from you, since you made the accusation.

    Back it up. Date of post, topic etc…. Those words where I call you a criminal.

    Pat

  21. “Yeah, but it’s still possible to make an anonymous account on blogspot and use a proxy server to even conceal your IP, if you want to. So this won’t be the end of anonymous trolling by far.”

    I agree, technically there will always be a way to make it difficult to track down some troll. But – the penalty of being caught rises every year. At some point insisting to be an asshole will just be too expensive.

    I just ordered this one:
    http://www.thisisbrandx.com/2009/08/googlebomb-our-exclusive-preview.html

    Sounds interesting.

    – Louanne

  22. “Hey, there are some people not sharing this opinion:

    http://www.feministing.com/archives/017322.html

    Yeah, but it’s still possible to make an anonymous account on blogspot and use a proxy server to even conceal your IP, if you want to. So this won’t be the end of anonymous trolling by far.

  23. Pat- FR collected some of your accusations in that thread. Reprinted, hopefully with his blessing:

    “You’re terrorists.”

    “You’re critical. What are your crimes?”

    “Those who are critical of Scientology have crimes. The only ones objecting to that and whining about it are the very criminals that it applies to.”

    “I don’t need to know you to know that you’re a critic, therefore you have crimes. That’s a certainty. It is true, 100% of the time”

    “You have crimes. That’s all I need to know.”

    You are accusing me (or others, I lose track) of crimes.
    According to most jurisdictions (very few do not have these laws- what state are you in?), defamation per se includes “Allegations that the person has committed a crime of moral turpitude”. Such as… terrorism? Or, your many accused crimes?

    How is that not defamation per se?

  24. Pat, tl/dr, but I believe it’s under the “anonymous” tab.
    My point is that you accuse people (me, if not others) of crimes in a public forum such as this, which makes your actions eually reprehensible.
    But, then again, you never did respond to the thread there, so perhaps you hadn’t read all of the related comments, or _FR’s summary.

  25. @ Comment by mark tomles on August 22, 2009 8:52 am

    “Very simple, Pat. You called me a criminal several times. That’s illegal (read my comments above) . I was making a point that you, for example, have done no better than Louanne’s exaple.”

    Where exactly did I call you a criminal?

    Pat

  26. Hey, there are some people not sharing this opinion:

    http://www.feministing.com/archives/017322.html

  27. Certainly not the end of trolling, but rather an invitation to troll her even more.

  28. l,
    u started this conversation :)
    the issue is why? cohen is not a scientologist… why do u post this in scn blogs if not to set precedent or, maybe, to threaten?
    recall what marc said. only one of this site to defame is a scientologist…

  29. Mark,

    I feel you are squirming and trying with all might to make a real simple story into a complicated debate. I am passing this time. Enjoy reading a great comment about the case though:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/08/25/kelly-mcparland-rosemary-port-s-absolute-right-to-insult.aspx

  30. Louanne-
    It’s a common mistake, but both of your “examples” of trolling reference 4chan. I must remind you that members of 4chan who frequently post “anonymously”, are not necessarily the same group that chooses to protest scientology “anonymously”.
    perhaps you’re not implying this, but I did want to make sure we were on the same page.
    Now, I would say that free speech is part of what makes this Country great. It’s one of the cornerstones of our Nation! But, I do agree that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater, nor should one break laws. I must point out the irony that California, as is New York, is a defamation per se state- which would mean that comments on this very blog are considered defamation. I only point this out to show how easy it can happen, even with the best of intentions!
    Now, you say “Anonymous certainly harmed individual scientologists in various ways, starting from constant intimidation and provocation when they try to go to an event or visit their church to being terrorized by being shot at or receiving dead animals in the letter box”.
    If your allegations are true (and, may I add, you should approach police with these allegations!), please clarify how you would consider these to be defamation, and as such relevant to this thread? I may have misunderstood.
    As it is, the only allegation of defamation that I see involve free press releases, but I have not seen an example. What have you seen that would fall in this category?
    Lastly, it does my heart good to hear that certain individuals may have been doing immoral things, such as putting dead animals in letter boxes, but were stopped by internal controls. That’s how it should work :)

  31. Louanne,
    Please re-read my comments. According to page 2 of the document, the statements were considered “defamatory per se”, which has a specific legal definition. In this case, as referenced in the document, the petitioner feels that the comments made “impugns her chastity”.
    New York is one of the States that has defamation pe se laws, which is why is was prosecuted as such.
    Note that California does as well, so one must be careful when accusing others of crimes :)
    Note that the core of her argument is correct (although I am not defending it, rather I am analyzing the legal facts of the matter) that opinion can not be determined to be true or false, if it is truly opinion. For example, I might say the weather is nice today. Although you may disagree, you could certainly not call it false. However, as NY is a defamation per se state, the comments referring her sexual purity are beyond the realm of opinion. If she had called the model a “jerk” or a “bad person”, there would be no case. The “trash talk” was the determining factor.
    As such, defamation was committed, allowing the possibility of pre-action discovery.
    However, when you paraphrase “the accusation must be shown to be false and to lead to a loss of reputation”, you leave out the important phrase “…or constitute defamation per se”
    In other words, it was her opinion that the model was a “ho”, but defamation per se laws demand that this is not protected speech.
    More in a sec
    -Mark

  32. #Comment by mark tomles on August 23, 2009 6:40 pm

    “”louanne” and myself have been talking for years. Is there anything that I have said, at any time, in any forum that YOU feel would compel one to release my personal information?”

    Nothing that I would be aware of. Which is basically the reason why we are still talking.

    – L

  33. #Comment by mark tomles on August 23, 2009 6:32 pm

    “I agree, mostly. But you must realize that the only reason that libel applied to this case is due to the allegations about sexual impurity, which isn’t “automatically” libel in New York.”

    Not exactly. The court agreed that the legal requirements for defamation were given. Those are – roughly – “the accusation must be shown to be false and to lead to a loss of reputation.”

    “Are you believing that this will affect what you define as “trolls”, particularly (as you seem to insinuate) in relevance to the scientology debate?”

    The “scientology debate”, i.e. actual conversation, seldom reaches a level of defamation and is of no concern to me. What I am concerned about are libelous statements on blogs, “free press release sites” and similar online places where anonymous posters personally attack scientologists. Also many other people who are subject to cyberbullying (an Anonymous sports*) have now a court order that they can give to their lawyers for the preparation of proper defense.

    “I suppose that would be a good point for a determination- has anonymous “harmed” the numbers of scientologists, or is the group truly growing?”

    I don’t know that and the Church has not published statistics recently. Subjectively there are more members in those churches I frequent than there were in 2007, most of them joining due to the release of the Basics, which is the chronological study of all relevant Scientology material (18 books).

    Anonymous certainly harmed individual scientologists in various ways, starting from constant intimidation and provocation when they try to go to an event or visit their church to being terrorized by being shot at or receiving dead animals in the letter box. The latter by the way only receded after publication of two documentaries:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyHuOZY7GVs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlkEGpL-qwc

    and certainly the following arrest of a couple of Anonymous. BTW, wasn’t Guzner due to be sentenced today (http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2009/061.html). Anybody knows?

    * some recent examples of Anonymous trolling:
    http://thecoffeedesk.com/news/index.php/2009/08/22/4chan-hacked-facebook-pictures/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html

  34. re: cyber-bullying case:
    Note that the issue is, once again, allegations of sexual impurity against a private individual.
    Here is a relevant question. “louanne” and myself have been talking for years. Is there anything that I have said, at any time, in any forum that YOU feel would compel one to release my personal information? In other words, is there anything that I have said that you feel is not protected speech?

  35. I agree, mostly. But you must realize that the only reason that libel applied to this case is due to the allegations about sexual impurity, which isn’t “automatically” libel in New York. Also, this was a state decision that may be sited as precedent, but is certainly not a national phenomenon.

    Are you believing that this will affect what you define as “trolls”, particularly (as you seem to insinuate) in relevance to the scientology debate?

    I suppose that would be a good point for a determination- has anonymous “harmed” the numbers of scientologists, or is the group truly growing?

  36. “We’ll never really find out, I’m afraid. Google rushed to provide the information without appealing to a higher court (turns out to be a friend of Cohen, angry that Cohen “trashed” her to her boyfriend), and the suit was dropped. So we’ll never see how it would have played out, unfortunately.”

    But Mark, that IS the important part. There are “attack blogs” that hide behind a shield of anonymity and use this freedom to hurt others. So the good news in this case is that a court recognized that the use of anonymity for libel is not “Freedom of Speech” – but an abuse thereof – and ordered Google/Blogger.com to turn over their records. The second good news here then is that Google in fact DID turn over the records promptly, something they were not exactly known for in the past.

    BTW, there was another cyberbullying case just recently that seems to go in the same direction:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-cyber-bully19-2009aug19,0,7718475.story

    If I find the time, I’ll make an article out of that.

    – Louanne

  37. “This ruling will probably be seen as a good sign by cults who do not like to be criticized. Cults that have a history of harassing critics, even going to far as framing critics with crimes… those cults will be very happy with this ruling.”

    We’ll never really find out, I’m afraid. Google rushed to provide the information without appealing to a higher court (turns out to be a friend of Cohen, angry that Cohen “trashed” her to her boyfriend), and the suit was dropped.
    So we’ll never see how it would have played out, unfortunately.

  38. Example, Pat, please take a look at the post by _F in the Anonymous thread on July 14, 2009 12:31 am. It quotes you several times accusing others of criminal activity.

  39. Very simple, Pat. You called me a criminal several times. That’s illegal (read my comments above) . I was making a point that you, for example, have done no better than Louanne’s exaple.

  40. @Comment by mark tomles on August 20, 2009 6:26 pm

    “Wow, sorry louanne. I guess when Pat called me a criminal, I should go after her?”

    Huh?

    Pat

  41. Thank you, Louanne.

    Pat

  42. This ruling will probably be seen as a good sign by cults who do not like to be criticized. Cults that have a history of harassing critics, even going to far as framing critics with crimes… those cults will be very happy with this ruling.

  43. As an aside, this was the category of “Defamation per se” that caused your example to be considered “defamation”.

    ‘Allegations or imputations of “unchastity”‘

    I believe he called this fine, upstanding woman a ‘sk*nk’, which is clearly within this standard, unless he’s in Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. Not knowing for sure would allow for the discovery action taken by the judge.

    Interestingly, another category of “Defamation per se”, which DOES apply in California is “Allegations or imputations of criminal activity”.

    Such as on this blog.

  44. Wow, sorry louanne. I guess when Pat called me a criminal, I should go after her?

    No, actually, not exactly. What you’re not taking into account is that there are very specific legal requirements for defamation. In Pat’s case, for instance, when she called me a criminal, she believed it to be true. (that may not pass the “reasonable belief” requirement, but you see the point)

    In fact, freedom of speech is a very broad brush, and deserves very careful protection. Your implication that “fake” scientology posters will be affected by this potential suit reflects a chilling propensity towards attempted silencing of critics, even so by presenting this information in such a manner!

    Legally, it is not defamation if the statement is made in good faith with reasonable belief to be true, OR actually true, OR a fair comment on a matter of public interest, OR innocent dissemination, OR the subject is incapable of further defamation (as in when the subject’s reputation is already negative, and further information could do no real harm), OR (and this is very important), if there is No actual injury.

    That last one is very telling. If the CoS is truly growing, as they claim, then all the negative statments are causing no actual injury! In order to be defamation, one would have to consent that the CoS is not growing at the rate claimed, or at all. In fact, I recall you (and others) claiming that the negative publicity was actually increasing membership.

    Lastly, comments made regarding public figures are generally exempt (in most cases).

    I, myself, value freedom of speech, even when I don’t agree. To paraphrase, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”.

    Even your sweeping comments on your other blog (directed at private citizens who may or may not be part of a particular group), which can be considered malicious, to say the least- I still value your right to say such things.


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