Can Texas’ Supreme Court Force Google to Unmask Anonymous Bloggers?

By David BrownNovember 6, 2014 5:07 pm

Let’s say you’re angry with your boss.  You go online and vent in an anonymous post. It’s therapeutic, sure. But now your boss wants to sue for defamation.

In Texas, courts haven’t settled on guidelines for online defamation. But a little-discussed case before the Texas Supreme Court could help determine if the state can force companies like Google to identify anonymous bloggers.

In the case, an anonymous blogger is accused of defaming Ohio-based auto-dealer support company Reynolds and Reynolds. The company claims to have been defamed in a Google-hosted blog post by an anonymous author, following the company’s $2.8 billion merger with Universal Computer Systems. Based on the posts, the author appeared to be an employee upset with the merger.

KUT’s David Brown spoke with University of St. Thomas professor Nicole Casarez to figure out if Texas can force Google to hand over the author’s name – and if Texans really are as anonymous online as they think they are.