Google India could be ordered to break one blogger's anonymity

A construction equipment company in Mumbai, India, has asked that country's high court to order Google India to disclose the identity of "Toxic Writer," a blogger who made defamatory remarks about its mining project in Mozambique.

According to the original complaint filed by Gremach Infrastructure Equipments and Projects Ltd., the ninth paragraph of a blog entry entitled "toxic fumes" contained defamatory material that amounted to a smear campaign against it. However, because the blog post was taken down on an interim order from the Bombay High Court, the actual text is unavailable and even some cached copies cannot be retrieved.

Still, some cached replies contain information as to the subject matter within the contentious blog.

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An unnamed source from Gremach has been quoted as suspecting "corporate rivalry behind the hate campaign." Indeed, the blog post began: "Here's what somebody from the steel sector has sent me: As an employee of an Indian steel maker using the blast furnace route, we too are keenly watching the developments in Mozambique in order to secure our..."

The post reportedly goes on to describe an investor whose investments were tied up in Germach's rapidly falling stock, as the manufacturer allegedly diverted funds to a company called Austral Coke. Germach's stock price has dropped in value from Rs 500 ($11.90) to Rs 86 ($2.00) per share as of closing bell yesterday.

A reply entitled, "Gremach Investor Don't Fear" posted by a user named Chinu on February 11, 2008, reads in its entirety:

I am Employee of Gremach Infrastructure. I bought the shares at Rs. 440. But i don't have any Fear because technically stock is very Strong. Mr Toxic Writer we have already launched Police FIR against your mail , Your Computer and your ID is access by Cyber Crime Department. Now your time is finished now it's a game of 5 days.

This reply corroborates reports that Gremach had first contacted Mumbai Police to find the blogger's identity before taking legal action. Google was given four weeks to disclose the name of the blogger in the order issued by Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud, but has yet to do so. The case will be heard again within the next two weeks.

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