Defamation –E mail sender s beware!

To many times the internet has been seen as a place where free speech rule and responsibility for comments, even defamatory comments can be made without consequences.

In a recent court hearing before the High Court in Dublin Eircom were ordered to disclose the name and address of an anonymous emailer who distributed an allegedly defamatory letter about a waste collection company.

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The order was sought under the 2011 Communications (Retention of Data) Act which allows service providers divulge information on foot of a court order.

The Order was obtained for an intended defamation action against a person who, for the moment, is has not been named.

The High Court Judge hearing the matter Mr. Justice Paul Gilligan heard that Eircom had a ‘Neutral’ attitude to the application and he proceeded to make the order for the release of the requested information

There was no allegation of wrongdoing against Eircom or Google Ireland, the judge said.

The case is an interesting development at a time when many people feel that the liberty of free speech has gone too far on the ‘web’.

The case shows that the freedom to make defamatory comments at least in e mail format may be a thing of the past!