Some people like speaking their mind—especially on the Internet, having been provided that glorious veil of anonymity. But now a Brooklyn couple has subpoenaed Google and Yahoo to divulge names of anonymous blog commenters who criticized them so the fiends can be sued for $411 million!
In 2008, it was revealed Michael and Miriam Hersh had hired professionals to "kidnap" their son Isaac (from his bed at 4 a.m., no less!) and send him to an infamous behavior boot camp in Jamaica, where physical and mental abuse was allegedly common practice. However, fellow members of the Orthodox Jewish community voiced their displeasure online... hello, lawsuit!
The Daily News reports that Michael Hersh "was described as a 'Nazi'—and worse—by commenters on thecooljew.com" and other Jewish blogs hosted by Google and Yahoo. Some sites have removed their Hersh-related posts or no longer operate, but there is a "Save Isaac's Life!" Facebook group (467 members) which asks in its description, "Should This Man Be CEO of Hatzalah? The better question is, shouldn't he and his wife be in jail?" Naturally, Michael Hersh claims that the online chatter forced him out of his $200,000-a-year job as CEO of Hatzolah, the Jewish volunteer ambulance corps.
Others named in the lawsuit include Hersh's sister-in-law (allegedly jealous of Miriam Hersh), a Hasidic activist, families who housed Isaac and his twin brother Shlomo during the rescue mission and additional bloggers and blog commenters. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is trying to block subpoenas sent to Yahoo and Google. EFF lawyer Matt Zimmerman told the News that all an offended blog post subject needs to do is "file a lawsuit, issue a subpoena and find the identities of your critics," a trend which "is happening more and more, so more people are being offended than ever before."