There’s a fine line between the First Amendment right to free speech and defamation, and this has become an increasingly larger problem online. What do you do if you’ve been careful with your reputation personally and professionally, but someone with a vendetta decides to attack you?
Internet lawyer John Dozier is one of the country’s leading experts on the issue of online defamation, and is the author of Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet. The book details the Sue Scheff’s landmark internet defamation case that reminded the world that real people are the target of online harassment, cyberbulling, privacy invasion, and Google bombs. A “Google bomb” is an attempt to manipulate the Google rankings related to a particular search term to the detriment of a person or organization.
Part of the problem with online defamation is that our laws judges simply haven’t kept up with technology. Anyone and everyone can write anything on the internet, and often getting to the bottom of it and taking appropriate action is difficult. Dozier instructs readers on how to protect their reputations by carefully monitoring what is said about them online and signing up for various services online to to essentially take their own name (and therefore prevent someone from maliciously signing up with your name in an attempt to impersonate you).
This is John Dozier on a morning news program, talking about the risks and his book Google Bomb.