Slagging people on the internet anonymously is one thing. Today’s Irish Independent reports:
For years, ethereal internet buffs have boasted cyberspace is immune from earthly jurisdictions, but foul-fingered Irish citizens hiding behind the once invincible e-shroud of anonymity could be about to come down to earth with a bang.
Yesterday, High Court Judge Michael Hanna directed that American Internet Service Provider (ISP) Godaddy.com, which is hosting the controversial rateyoursolicitor.com website, be served with notice of a groundbreaking internet libel action unfolding in the Four Courts.
The case involves a Dublin-based barrister, who claims she has been grossly defamed on the site.
She is not alone. Individual solicitors, barristers and even members of the judiciary have all fallen victim to derogatory comments by anonymous “posters” on the internet portal.
“Irish” websites – hosted by ISPs outside of the reach of Irish laws – are causing a major headache for maligned individuals, companies and even the operation of the courts.
Earlier this year, a high-profile murder trial at the Central Criminal Court was almost collapsed after prejudicial comments were posted on the Dundalk blog The El Paso Times.
The rateyoursolicitor.com saga is significant as it is the first time the boundaries of online libel will be tested in this jurisdiction.