Google Faces Lawsuit in India Over Blogger

Google’s India subsidiary is being sued for alleged defamation in the Bombay High Court by an Indian construction equipment company, The Wall Street Journal said.

Mumbai-based Gremach Infrastructure Equipments & Projects Ltd is demanding that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) disclose the name of a person who criticized it using Google’s blogging service, the paper said.

A blogger using the name “Toxic Writer” criticized the company on, a site that allows individuals to create blogs without publicly revealing their identities, the paper said.

The Journal said the Bombay High Court ordered the blog taken down on Feb 26.

“At the present stage, there is merit in the contention … that the article put up by the defendant on the blog site is defamatory,” the paper quoted the court as saying.

The court ordered Google India to reveal the identity of the blogger within four weeks of the order, the paper said, adding that Google is yet to reveal the blogger’s name.

If Google loses the case it may have to disclose the blogger’s identity, a move that could set a precedent for court challenges to the anonymity of its users, the Journal said.

Google’s India subsidiary could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bloggers have long been the target of companies looking to quell what they feel are illegal critics, as well as to silence rumor mongers and plug inside leaks about upcoming products.

In past years, groups like the Electronic Freedom Foundation have sought to clarify “safe” blogging policies for corporate employees while fighting back against by vendors like Apple to find and silence bloggers leaking product information.

In the Apple case, the PC, iPod and iPhone maker maintained that a blogger was revealing confidential information that should be considered stolen property. A California state appeals court ultimately ruled against Apple, a move the company did not appeal.

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