A New York judge has ordered Google to reveal the identity of a cyberstalker who has anonymously posted video and messages on the Internet about a consultant for non-profit organizations.
Plaintiff Carla Franklin has an idea of the individual involved, and sued Google in order to confirm the identity of the cyberstalker. Before becoming a consultant, Franklin worked as a model and actress.
In addition using her videos on Google-owned YouTube, the anonymous poster -- who created names such as JOEBOOMO8, JIMMYJEANOO8, and GREYSPECTOR09 -- included sexual slurs and personal information that potentially were damaging to Franklin's career, she said. They were posted alongside videos she made for Columbia Business School while earning a master's degree there, Franklin told the court.
"I don't care about being called names. It was a safety issue. The Internet cannot become a safe haven for harassers and stalkers," she said, in a statement.
Google had been "cooperative," said Franklin. In fact, Google had removed the offensive video and comments from YouTube.
"It was a private matter that needed to be resolved. What was happening to me was unacceptable," Franklin told CBS2 in New York. "There was an Internet shrine created for me on YouTube dedicated to Carla Franklin, containing information that could be used to trace me to my job or to my home. My issue is not really with Google. My issue is with this person who is doing this."
The judge ordered Google to reveal the individual's identity, phone number, email address, and computer IP address. The Internet giant has until Oct. 29 to respond to the court's ruling.
Google has declined to comment.
Rules differ from state to state and nation to nation. In February, a judge in Milan, Italy convicted three Google executives of violating Italy's privacy laws, a decision that Google is characterizing as an attack on Internet freedom. The charges stem from a video that was uploaded to YouTube in Italy that depicts four high school boys taunting another boy with a mental disability.