The Irish Red Cross recently succeeded in an action to force UPC to disclose the identity of an anonymous blogger. The Irish Red Cross have stated that the blog “wilfully distorted and misconstrued” confidential material which “has had a serious impact on staff morale, on fundraising and on the day-to-day running of the organisation”. The blog was hosted on blogspot which is owned by Google. The High Court authorised naming Google Inc. (who host the blog) as a defendant. Notwithstanding the action taken by the Red Cross, the blogger voluntarily revealed his identity on his blog.
The Irish Red Cross’ success at the High Court suggests that the era where individuals are free to post anonymous and allegedly accurate materials on the web may be coming to a close. This case follows a developing line of authority whereby internet service providers are being ordered to disclose information. Please also see our recent IDEA article High Court Upholds “Three Strikes” Settlement . Despite these successes companies should consider the risks of instituting legal proceedings, being the resulting media coverage may publicise the blog to a much wider audience.