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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 26, 2009 / 6 Elul 5769

Shock Waves From the Google Bombs

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When Oscar Wilde observed that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, he could not have imagined the Internet.


The wild frontier we now know and (mostly) love called the blogosphere is a not-always-okay corral where Free Speech is armed and often dangerous.


The latest showdown is between two women — a Vogue model and an anonymous blogger — at odds over what is permissible in the name of free expression. After the blogger called Liskula Cohen a "skank," among other things, the model demanded her identity from the blog host, Google. A New York Supreme Court judge agreed that she was entitled to the information and ordered the company to reveal her name.


Outraged, the blogger, revealed as Rosemary Port, is launching a $15 million lawsuit against Google for disclosing her identity. Google's Andrew Pederson said that while his company sympathizes with victims of cyber-bullying, "We also take great care to respect privacy concerns and will only provide information about a user in response to a subpoena or other court order."


Voila.


This all may seem like an inside-the-runway spat between two women who don't like each other. As pioneering blogger and law professor Glenn Reynolds noted on Instapundit, "I never would have heard the words 'Liskula Cohen' and 'skank' together if it hadn't been for her blogger-outing litigation efforts."


The model case isn't insignificant, however, and raises weighty questions about privacy, anonymity and the future of e-free speech.


The problem of online defamation is hardly new, but several recent lawsuits have begun challenging the anything-goes modus operandi of the Internet. One of the most famous dates to 2006, when Sue Scheff won a staggering $11.3 million verdict against a woman who had posted hundreds of defamatory comments about Scheff and her company, which counsels the parents of troubled teens.


After years of torment that included stalkers and death wishes, Scheff was able to prove that her reputation and business suffered as a result of the defendant's comments. In her new book, "Google Bomb," due for release Sept. 1 and co-authored with attorney John W. Dozier Jr., Scheff tells the story of her lawsuit and offers advice to others similarly defamed online.


"Google bomb" is Internet slang for attempting to raise the ranking of a given page during a Google search. The popularity of a page may not reflect the page's relationship to truth, but it may be popular for other reasons. Let's just say, nasty sells.


Defusing Google bombs isn't much fun unless you're a computer geek or have no preferable ways of spending your time. To keep your online profile positive and prominent, you have to blog, tweet and maintain Web sites — or hire someone to do it for you. Scheff says she resents having to do these things, but, "if you don't own your own name, someone else will."



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Scheff considers herself lucky because she was able to hire an attorney as well as an Internet monitoring company, ReputationDefender, that manages her online persona. Others, hundreds of whom write her each week, aren't so fortunate. In one example, a wedding photographer lost his business when a single unhappy bride went 'zilla and trashed him online.


"No one is immune," says Scheff. And, just because you're not personally active on the Internet doesn't mean that your persona isn't online — not necessarily in a good way. The Internet has unleashed that part of ourselves that we used to keep under wraps. Dark thoughts, like the trolls of Mordor, can now surface and thrive by the light of day.


The freedom granted by anonymity and a virtual audience may have been a boon to democracy, affording everyone a voice, but it has been a plague on decency. Inhibition, we lament, is an undervalued virtue.


Scheff's case and the Cohen incident suggest that a new level of accountability, largely missing from personal blogs, may be in the offing. "What you type today can haunt you tomorrow," says Scheff. "People need to know that if you use your mouse and keypad to harm others, there is a price tag."


Harm is the operative word. Although Scheff was able to prove material losses, Cohen likely gained from her brief tenure as a victim. In fact, she has dropped her lawsuit and forgiven the blogger.


No one likes being bashed online or elsewhere — and public people are familiar with the experience. But even Scheff thinks that in the absence of quantifiable defamation, anonymity deserves protection. As Google and the courts slug it out, Cohen did manage to render an oft-ignored lesson in bold italics: Think before you type.


Or else someone may want more than a penny for your thoughts.

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