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Google Could Release IP Addresses of Whistleblowers

ReadWriteWeb reports that Google has been issued a subpoena by the Santa Clara, California Superior Court and may hand over the IP addresses of the people accessing the TCI Journal’s Gmail account unless the TCI Journal files a counter-motion within two weeks.

The TCI Journal is made up of anonymous volunteers that report on government corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and was part of a group that uncovered information about foreign property developers bribing TCI politicians in order to obtain land at very low prices. One of the property developers mentioned in the report resulting from this investigation is now suing the TCI Journal for libel. The subpoena will help to identify the people behind the journal.

Whistleblowers play an important role in finding and leaking information about corruption and unethical practices of both governments and private businesses. They put themselves in great risk when they release information, making anonymity very important for them, and when courts issue subpoenas so liberally they only increase the risk that whistleblowers expose themselves to.

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2 Responses

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  1. Chris B says

    Wait- just hang on a sec — You are in favor of anonymous accusations? What happened to facing your accuser? Our societies’ moral decay is from this technology mask allowing “someone” to smear or damage another without any questioning of the accuser. This is the highest form of coward I know.

  2. Tony says

    I understand the need for people to be accountable for what they say, but whistleblowers who operate in corrupt countries are risking their safety when they leak reports about corruption. If their identities are compromised, chances are that a fair trial will not be what their government has planned. I believe that a court should take this into consideration before issuing such a subpoena.

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