Google ordered to turn over blog info under rarely used N.S. cyberbullying law
Couple say in court filings that blog alleged they lead 'domestic terrorist organization'
A judge has ordered Google to provide information to a Nova Scotia couple on who is behind a blog and YouTube channel that have posted disparaging and harassing comments about them.
Darius Mirshahi and his wife, Sakura Saunders, say they were the targets of a post on a blog called Antifa:Exposed and of a YouTube channel they say is linked to the blog Undercoverkitty. In the blog, Mirshahi is described as an anarchist from Iran.
Mirshahi is a union organizer who said in an affidavit filed with Nova Scotia Supreme Court that he is of Iranian heritage but has never been to Iran. Saunders is described in court documents as a social justice activist.
"The blog alleges the applicants are a member and a leader of a domestic terrorist organization, which uses extreme violence against those they disagree with the intent of destroying civilization," the couple said in their recent court filing.
"The blog alleges the applicant Sakura Saunders made trips to Australia to organize student riots. The blog alleges the applicant Sakura Saunders engages in criminal projects."
Rarely used law
The order related to Google, issued late last month by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Richard Coughlan, was granted under the new and rarely used Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act, Nova Scotia legislation that was introduced in 2017.
The first case under the legislation was an acrimonious divorce action in 2019 in which a woman claimed she was being bullied by her ex-husband and his new partner. A judge agreed.
More recently, the parents of a missing three-year-old boy, Dylan Ehler, have gone to court to try to permanently block two Facebook groups that were posting comments about their son's disappearance. That case is still before the courts.
In the case involving Mirshahi and Saunders, lawyers for Google had indicated they were not opposed to the court action. They have until the end of April to supply the information requested.
One passage in the blog attacks Mirshahi directly, calling him "arrogant" and said he "has zero interest in your safety, only his own ego matters."
The author of the blog has obtained photographs from the couple's wedding in Toronto which are displayed over several pages. The author boasts about how he was able to get access to the photos and he claims to have identified several anarchists among the wedding guests.
The blog and YouTube channel include videos of Saunders and, according to the couple's affidavit, "informs her that he is everywhere and that he will continue to follow her to events and film her."
The affidavit goes on to note "that the Blog, and Undercoverkity have caused them psychological stress and fear that they will be targeted with violence."
CBC reached out to the couple but they declined to comment for this story.
In his argument before Coughlan, the lawyer for Saunders and Mirshahi said the actions of the blog and YouTube channel are clearly cyberbullying.
"Their intent is to promote fear and hatred towards the applicants. Labelling individuals terrorists, and sinister criminals intent on destroying civilization is offensive and dangerous."