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Anonymous Coward Sued for Slander 334

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the future-of-speech dept.
An anonymous reader sent us a link to a story where you can read about Anonymous Posters being Sued for slanderous comments made on forums at Yahoo. This ain't good people: I've been trying to keep ACs here for a long time to make it possible for people to speek openly, but the abuses put the whole system at risk. Slashdot couldn't afford to be sued- and we've been threatened several times. I'll be watching this one carefully,
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Anonymous Coward Sued for Slander

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  • by drwiii (434)
    If they entered false crap in their profile, I'd like to see them track these guys down going on IP address alone.. I don't know about other ISPs, but my shop's login/radius logfiles rotate out within a month or two.
  • I must agree with Ellis-D. I love linux, but cannot find an ISP that will give me the same kind of access that I can get under Windows. This would not not be a problem if I could afford a dedicated connection, but alas I cannot.

    All ISPs can be used with Linux (or any Unix). TCP/IP is the same, PPP is the same, and even Ethernet (where it's used) is the same everywhere.

  • Well this is what it took to get me to finally say it :

    Rob: I know you're busy, but I have been wondering for a long time why you don't make posting as an AC more difficult than as an authenticated poster?
    I mean make sure that if someone wants to post something anonymous (hey, I love free anonymous speech too), make them do some extra work to do it.
    That should take care of the "first posts" newbies too ;)

    Just ask for an email and send them a login that says "AC" with an anonymous account for like 10 minutes.
    That would solve lots of peoples grief about ano....blah :)

    Just wanted to say something :)

    But I'm tired and drunk so who am I?

    /bye
    Bram at grmbl dot com
    --

  • Nobody was sued for slander here. Slander is a defamatory oral statement. As no oral statements were made on yahoo, there was no slander taking place. Libel, perhaps, but not slander.
  • The reporter can write just 'bout anything they want to about someone in public office unless they know it not to be true.

    Someone running a business... well... then a whole lot more limitations on what you can say kick in.
  • The courts have traditionally (long-long-time) respected marriage, not making married couples testify against each other and the like.

    Extending these would make for difficulty in definition... who's to say if you were "close friends"? Does "people living together" apply to a college roommate? Anyhow, extending said protections would weaken the courts' ability to make a case.

    IANAL.
  • Posted by HeyPartner:

    The way it is in everyone other medium, if you are going to allow the voicing of opinions, you are exposing yourself to subpoenas when people abuse your medium with malicious lies that do harm. A big part of slander is proving "harm". If /. is subpoened to release a name when a proven lie has done proven harm, you have the same responsibility as a content provider in any other medium (newspaper, TV, radio). Chances are, you will be sued. I doubt that will happen at /. But imagine you being maliciously attacked at say eBay for selling bad goods. When in fact, you never sold anything yet, can prove it, and it turns out some oligopoly is trying to divy up the beenie baby market by shutting everyone else out through slanderous comments in other sellers profiles.

    It is eBays responsibility to cooperate in stopping that. How can it be any other way?

    -kevin
  • Posted by Lord Kano-The Gangster Of Love:

    DMW, you don't have a complete understanding of the laws. You can sue for slander or libel IF a reasonable person might believe that the (false) charges made against you are true.

    If I were to say that "I've got pictures of Bill Gates giving oral sex to JFK's corpse while taking it up the rear from a martian."(which I don't), that would not be libelous or slanderous because it's obviously not true. No reasonable person would believe that it could be true.

    Public figure or not, you may sue for slander or libel if the creteria are met. In this case Wade Cook would be better off suing for defamation. Because to prove slander or libel charges, you must prove that the statements made against you have hurt you financially.

    LK
  • I've got to agree with this. People should take responsibility for what they write.

    A right to free speech is NOT a right to irresponsibility.
  • Contrary to popular misconception, slander is not simply saying something bad about someone. Slander is saying something bad about someone when you know it to be false.

    If I tell the world you are a pedophile, and it turns out you actually are a pedophile, then I am not guilty of slander. However, if I was lying, then I'm guilty.

    Before you morons spout off about how bad of an idea that is, try to think about how much power big money would have if there weren't slander laws. For example, if it were legal for Microsoft to start an ad campaign saying Linux will destroy files randomly and crash every 10 minutes and sacrifice your firstborn to Zirkon the space goddess, you know they'd have no qualms about doing it.

    FUD is pretty bad, but it would be even worse were it not for the slander law. With the slander law, they have to be very careful to not say anything which is directly false - their lies are restricted to half-truths and connotative ambiguities that can't be technically proven false.

  • Simple solutions to increase the signal/noise
    here on ./

    1. Do not allow Anonymous Cowards to post more
    than 3 comments. After 3 comments, you must create
    a user account. If your browser has trouble with
    cookies then too bad!

    2. Do a browser sniff and ban Windows-based
    browsers from posting comments.

    OK, #2 is extreme, but I think #1 is a reasonable
    suggestion.

  • I don't want people to lose their rights to free speech, but they should be responsible for what they say.

    Exactly.

    Free speech without accountability is just noise.

    TedC

  • Right... That'll be an accurate determination of who's intelligent and who's not.

    Not to mention that, if slashdot did this, it would tell you that I'm using Netscape Navigator Gold 7.32 in AIX running on an Apple ][.



    --Phil (The Internet Junkbuster can be such fun.)
  • How about if someone wishes to post anonymously,
    that their post has to be approved by the moderator, more so than a registered user?
    Thus, if the AC post is worthy of being
    posted *and* posted anonymously, *and* won't
    harm /. in any way it's ok, but otherwise,
    the post hits the bin bucket?
  • Do not speak the "C" word here. The last thing Slashdot needs is FCC regulation as a common carrier. Don't declare it as one or even hint that it might be one.
  • The FCC has fairly broad power to regulate common carriers, the services they provide, and the content of broadcast media surrounding them. Thinking harder about it it might not be so bad a thing as I thought since Rob already provides equal services to everyone for the same price, and it's easy to show that he is using a non-limited transmission medium, but I'd still rather see the FCC keep away from Slashdot.

  • Okay, "no one" (not no-one) forces me to work with NT, but it's what came up the last time I got screwed on a contract, okay?

    And it's "their ignorance" not "there ignorance" and "their choice of jobs" not "there choice in jobs" and "mentally deficient" not "mentally deficiant".

    Now, what were you saying about ignorance and being deficient?
  • I absolutely agree with that.
    Anonymousity and right of free speech are not at all a reason for allowing AC posting.
    See me? I am accountable, but I am absolutely anonymous.
    If you AC advocates now want to reply: "Oh no, we know your email adress, your gender, or your summary", let me tell you this: "You know nothing babes, all you do is BELIEVE to know, and all you can find out about me, is because I want you to find out or I want to tempt YOU to make stupid assumptions because I like to laugh hard about your credulity"
    Best Regards
    Tobias or Candy or Bill Gates??????
  • Being forced to take "responsibility" for what you say can, in some cases, be the same as being silenced. Whistle-blowers would have a much harder time under a no-AC situation.
  • and how do you propose to use IP spoofing to post to slashdot???

    hint:
    http -> tcp -> connection -> two way thing.

    IP spoofing, remote end cannot reply to you.... no connection, no http....

    ip spoofing works for sending untraceable mutant tcp/ip packets to crash windows machines... but it ain't going to get you very far in communicating with a http server.
  • Although IANAL, I used to edit a newspaper and one thing I can say about the subject, is that the
    "common carrier" idea is completely mis-understood by most people.

    The basic idea behind a "common carrier" is to limit the liability of third parties in legal
    disputes. For example:

    1) can't sue travel agent for booking your family on a plane if the plane crashes because a plane
    is a "common carrier"
    2) can't sue telephone company because one person made a liable about someone else because a
    telephone is a "common carrier"

    Notice that in case 1, the owner of the plane CAN BE SUED even though they are a "common carrier"
    because they are a second party not a third party. The "common carrier" defense only protects third
    parties in lawsuits.

    However, things like newspapers and BBS are on shaky ground for this defense since they often
    execute "editorial control" over their content. For instance: you censored that article, why
    didn't you censor the hate mail that got my friend killed.

    It all depends on whether people are thinking that they are reading /. or they are reading the
    comments of the other person as to whether or not /. is considered a third party.

    For instance when you read the front page of the NY Times, you are reading the newspaper, not the
    author of the article. If you are reading the editorial page, you are reading the author.

    ISP have tried to make themselves into CCs by posting a strict policy and deleting all material
    (I mean all material, no exceptions) that violate this policy. In this way, they can argue that
    they are not exercising editorial control, but are just implementing a written policy which all
    users implicitly agreed with before using their service.

    WARNING: You should definitely consult a REAL LAWYER before attempting this strategy since
    having an incomplete policy is MOST DEFINITELY WORSE than having no policy at all!

    This type of strategy is know as an attempt to create a "safe harbor" which in layman's speak
    is to say "everyone else does this, and nobody's complained before". In other words, it gives
    people the opportunity to act like a 6 year old.

    As far as I know, this hasn't helped the ISP cause in Europe, but in the US, I think the feds are
    willing to let this go.
  • do you know what wade cook does? he promotes "investment" techniques that he claims he made millions of dollars off of when in reality, he was a taxi driver that made millions off of selling his secrets. if anyone is a fraud it's him. he's the one abusing free speech by misleading people. all the people he ripped off should file a class action suit!

    "The lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths."
  • How about a modified threshold system + some fun with perl scripts? If a user tries to post something with a s or f word or other type of obsenity then the post will be denied. The threshold system could allow posters to categorize their posts, with things like: informational, question, my $.02 (opinion),flame, and Anonymous Coward. The AC would be a manditory flag for non logged-in users. Then the user of /. could set up their own prefs. such that you could screen a certain type of post or even specific users. Sure it will give the servers more of a load, but that new dual 450 box needs something to do anyway.
  • This is a problem that faces many many Internet Service providers and one I faced when I ran ml.org... Big companies with big pockets (or even individuals with deep pockets) can easily harass a company for the identity of their users. And its difficult for little startups and groups of users to defend themselves against this without going broke. It's just a symptom of the litigious nature here in USA... I'm more and more tempted to move servers overseas.. though of course they can still get you personally if you live in the states... Can't win....

  • "cyber rasict"? That's a new one. As I recall, part of the definition of racism/prejudice is that someone is being judged for something they have no control over. Race, ethnicity, nationality &| culture(of birth), disabilities, and so forth. I find it quite rediculuous to try and lump a person's choice of OS into that category. A person can install whatever OS they want on their box, and if they need certain programs only available on one OS (a prime reason for keeping Win9x in combo w/UNIX as I have been forced to, admittedly) there's always the option to split your HD w/partitions.

    Bottom line, It's not prejudicial, thought it may be petty. I don't hold a person's choice OS against them,
    but in this forum and context, I see nothing wrong with pointing out where (what OS & information culture) people are coming from. It's perfectly relevant, and very insightful as to the person's background and point-of-view.
  • I've seen this coming for a long time. technology has rushed faaaar ahaid of the law. there will be more and more of these privacy and copyright cases that are caused only because the law hasn't caught up with the software industry and the internet yet. it's the wild west out here, and in this wild west the law is also just one of the cowboys...


    )O(
    the Gods have a sense of humor,
  • It is amazing that your ignorance is so pervasive in almost every word you type. It maybe that the Internet is a world wide adventure. This does not mean that you could not be held liable for slander. The fact is most European country have similar laws concerning slander (a result of common law being accepted in many places). So, I suspect even in Norway, you could find yourself in a law suit (it would of course have to be filed in Norway).

    For the most part, I suspect you are not smart enough to understand the problems related to unchecked public slander.

    Troy Roberts
  • First, you have looked slander up in the dictionary. This is not the place to find a legal definition. However, I believe the same laws apply to both slander and libel.

    Troy Roberts
  • Slander can cost company millions of dollars. A person or company has legal right to protect themselves from malicious propagand.

    Troy Roberts
  • Rob, I don't think you have too much to worry about. First, the plaintiff in this case is not after "Anonymous Coward", but instead after specific pseudonymous posters, like "CmdrTaco" or "MrSpock". Though IANAL, I'm a law enthusiast, and am relatively sure that so long as you take reasonable measures to keep slandrous comments out of /.-space, and have a mechanism in place to deal with them, then you should be relatively safe (assuming, possibly incorrectly, that you would be able to stand up financially and fight in court).
  • I like "same rule as anon.penet.fi"--reveal identity only if subpheonad.

    - Sam
  • While I think the AC concept does hurt the sense of "community" at /. (everyone is anonymous and no one ever gets to know each other here, unlike the BBS' of the early 90's).

    But it does allow people to post things they might be otherwise too embarassed to post. I think that is probably more important.
  • Really, I mean it, why not?
  • Kitchen table works fine for me and Mrs. Alums...
  • Sue sue sue.......That's what the good ol' USofA is all about now......going after weenies on a bulletin board...What next?
  • until you get it fixed.

  • by Cosmo (7086)
    This is AWESOME. I LOVE IT! You've gotta be fuck'in kidding me! This is one of the funniest things I've heard all week. I think this is great! Some ALL MIGHTY law firm pissed off by a couple of guys fuking around with their dinky little yahoo uids.

    Maybe I'm the only one that finds real humor in this, but I think it's priceless.

  • Even more radical, ban ACs.


    If people don't have the guts to put their name to a posting, its automatically of dubious provenance.

    While ACs may have some use (whistle-blowing), to hide behind them for illegal activities (slander/libel are illegal, even in the US) should not be seen as acceptable, and should be pursued in law if all else fails.

    Of course I don't expect anyone to agree with me, this is afterall /., where any AC can post stupid infantile comments.

  • If you're embarrased to post something, perhaps it's because it sounds stupid, or vulgar. Maybe it's because you're talking out of your ass and somebody's going to ask you to back yourself up. I am willing to stand by what I say and either back it up or admit I'm wrong -- why can't we ask that of *all* /.ers?
  • If you need a lawyer to defend your company
    against claims made by a bunch of yahoos on
    Yahoo, you have something to hide.

    Grow up.

    The mature thing to do is to offer considered,
    well substantiated facts in rebuttal to each of
    the posters' claims, if they bother you so much.

    If they do, see paragraph one.
    ---------------------------------
    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage,

  • Pretty slanderous to a certain corporation in the
    1600's.

    And Galileo Galilei got "sued" for it.

    Point is, if courts of law were to agree faceless
    corporations, with financial or political
    resources far beyond that of any one person's,
    have the right to put individuals on trial, for
    what they say or what they write the
    truth may get lost.
    ---------------------------------
    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage,

  • If unbacked, anonymous messages in a public forum are enough to damage your image, perhaps there's something wrong with your image in the first place. I could say I'm Rob's illegitimate bastard son, or I could say that I'm Bill Clinton's illegitimate bastard son... which are you more likely to believe, and why?

    logan

  • Do you mean, submit the information to anybody
    who threatens to sue you? Or only if
    subpoenaed?
  • I read through the article, and it seems that they named the Anonymous posters as defendants. Interesting concept, since they don't know *who* the posters are. They talked about getting the data from Yahoo, but if Yahoo's system allows for truly anonymous commenting, that data may not be easy to get, if it's possible at all. I know PalmStation.Com [palmstation.com] logs *nothing* about anonymous commentors. The only way I'd be able to track anyone down, if I were to be asked, would be to look in my server logs, and find the IP of the person who posted a comment at the exact time that the comment in question was posted. While this may work for something posted recently, I dont have logs for anything other than the current month. I can only imagine that /.'s comment system works similarly for anonymous people.
    -Hal
  • it is one thing to have free speech, but there are reasons why we restict it. there are these things called libel laws and laws that say you can't disclose inside company info. My dad had this happen to his company on the Yahoo message boards, posting some VERY secret stuff, and some VERY illegal stuff, and some stuff that was just designed to hurt the company. he killed their stock price. it is a problem in some cases.

    I'm all for free speech, but not for speech that is designed to hurt a company in illegal ways.
  • by chialea (8009)
    give an even better name to those AC's out there!

    why don't you attack those posters for giving AC's a bad name instead?
  • and unfortunately, this does happen -- it happened to my dad's company on I think Yahoo stock boards. they posted some stuff that was illegal to post (trade secret stuff or inside stuff I guess) and some stuff that was untrue and harmful. their stock price took a hit. it was not pretty.
  • it isn't

    oops... I guess I must have typed in the name of my professor instead. oh well... :-)

    MUHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHA
  • well, what do you do if someone posts inside/secret info about your company that is illegal to post? and then ALSO posts slanderous things that aren't true but MIGHT be. and then it makes your stock price go down?

    this happened to my dad's company. it was not exactly cool.

    (not that I'm for people getting beaten by those AOL users either :-P )

    maybe message boards about stocks... dunno... hard to fix it! confirmation email at the VERY least!
  • although some free speech is protected, false and harmful speech is not. lying about a company/posting insider information/doing illegal things by posting is NOT protected, and I don't believe it SHOULD be either. screws everyone involved, except for the person it gives a nice little thrill -- or a big fat check for selling the stock short.

    so why is this a solution? I think that in many ways, it simply compounds the problem.
  • This information was obtained from Smith & Roberson's Business Law 9th Editition, West Publishing.(page 146-147)
    The tort of defamation is false communication that injures a person's reputation by disgracing him and diminishing the respect to which he is held. An example would be the publication of a false statement that a person had committed a crime or had a loathsome disease."
    ....
    .....
    Elements of Defamation The elements of a defamation action are (1)a false and defamatory statement concerning another, (2) an unprivileged publication (communication) to a third party, (3)in some cases, depending on the status of the defendant, some degree of fault on her part in knowing or failing to ascertain the falsity of the statement, and (4) in some cases, proof of special harm caused by the publication. Restatement, Section 558. The burden of proof is on the plantiff to prove the falsity of the defamatory statement.

    It goes on to discuss the difference between libel and slander. Libel being communication in a medium other than spoken or oral. Slander, of course, being oral or spoken communication. There are however defenses to defamation. They fall into two classes:truth and privilege. Truth, is self evident. If what you communicated is true, then you have not defamed the plantiff. There are three types of privilege: absolute, conditional, and constitutional. Absolute privilege is for the rare situations where public policy favors complete freedom of speech like (1) statements made by participants regarding a judicial proceeding; (2)statements made by members of Congress on the floor of Congress; (3) statements made by certain executive branch officesrs in the discharge of their governmental duties; (4)statements regarding a third party made between spouses when they are alone. Conditional priviledge depends upon proper use of the privilege. A person has conditional privilege to publish defamatory matter to protect his own legitimate interests, or in some cases the interests of another. Conditional privilege also extends to many cases where the publisher and the recipient have a common interest, such as in letters of reference. A publisher who acts in an excessive manner, without probable cause, or for an improper purpose forfeits conditional privilege. Constitutional priviledge refers to the first amendment and allows individuals or the press to comment regarding public officials or public figures so long as it is done without malice.

    Therefore if these individuals have communicated false statements about Wade Cook(possibly)(1) to a third party(the internet community)(2) without bothering to check the validity of their statements(3) and created special harm to Wade Cook(4) then they are guilty of defamation in the form of libel. Their only defense could be truth as I don't believe they qualify for any of the three types of priviledge.

    The law is the law is the law. The internet is just another communication medium as far as defamation is concerned. If they had printed up flyers defaming Wade Cook and mailed them to everyone they knew, it would still be defamation.

    Now the important question, is not whether a bunch of bozos defamed Wade Cook but rather what will happen to Yahoo!. Any good lawyer is not going to waste time trying to sue these bozos for money. Rather he will try for a criminal conviction against them and then sue Yahoo! for publishing the statements without verification and in effect acting as an accomplice to the defamation. Obviously the lawyer would do this because Yahoo! is likely to have more money than the bozos.
    Stuart Eichert
    U. of PENN student/FreeBSD hacker

  • While I abhor the KKK I will always defend their right to promote their point of view through speech and print. I will also defend the right of anyway to denounce their point of view through speech and print. You have to take the good with the bad. Defaming someone is a serious matter. Remember you can charge the KKK with defamation if they single out some innoncent black guy and say "He murdered and raped three white women last week." Defamation laws allow people to fight the KKK when they go beyond just publicizing their point of view.

    On another note: capitalism is freedom.


    Stuart Eichert
    U. of PENN student/FreeBSD hacker
  • by trb (8509)
    Ya, see for instance, the Yahoo Biz page for WADE. [yahoo.com] Recent Price: $0.45, 52-Week High: $3.375
  • The disclaimer has been in place for a long time, see the FINE PRINT at both ends of the comments
  • I wouldn't ban them.

    It would be interesting to list the browser and OS in the comment header, just to see who is using what.
  • You've slandered the GNU/Linux^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Lignux^H^H^H^H^H^H er, Linux name. Tux is not happy with you and is speaking with his lawyer.
  • America has more lawyers per-capita than any other country. The lawyers need work, so they come up with new and interesting ways to interpret the law, and take a case to court. They find a "open-minded", "progressive" judge. (who used to be a lawyer him/herself), and the case goes forward. If they win the case (by appealing emotionally to 12 people who weren't smart to get out of Jury duty) the open the doors for more lawyers to try similar cases (and reap the benefits).

    Law remains lucrative, and guarantees that in the future there will be even more lawyers than there are today.

    Oh, and if you try to change any of this, you will be accused of attempting to take away the rights of all Americans to have fair access to the Judicial system (IE the poor will get screwed).
  • You can't sue AT&T because someone phoned someone else and slandered.

    But you can expect the phone company to be able to be able to identify (ie trace) abusive phone calls. They may not tell you the identity of the caller, and it might turn out to be a payphone, but they should be able to identify the source of calls. Likewise for internet. The ISPs should not be responsible for the actions of their customers, but they should be able to identify which of their customers (or whose account) is causing the problem

  • With most ISPs (the exceptions being the information service providers such as CompuServe and AOL) you should be able to get exactly the same access using Linux as you do with Windows. As long as it will "talk" PPP, the OS you use to connect should be irrelevant.
  • IANAL, but it seems like they wouldn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to holding /. responsible. I quote:
    "The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say. "
    This case is *not* about anonymous cowards, but about people who have an account. Furthermore, Yahoo is not named as a defendant in the case, so /. likely wouldn't be either.
  • People on Yahoo weren't just calling each other names - they were former employees of a company who were making statements about their former employer which may be considered illegal within SEC rules.

    Yes folks, the law does curtail your right to say whatever you want, in certain circumstances.
  • hmm, that law actually seems quite sensible when you read it, except for one thing: it makes SPOUSES a particular case. what the fuck does being married have to do with what you're allowed to say to each other? make that "close friends" or "people living together" or somesuch, at least.
  • How can people say this? We defend the KKK's right to hate others and spread this message to their children and others, and yet someone puts down some idiot in a stupid *capitalist* company and they need to be sued! This is just wrong people. I don't give a DAMN what the laws are, it is NOT RIGHT.
  • #1 - Slashdot could claim immunity from being sued for a slanderous comment by an AC as a 'common carrier'.

    #2 - This is OLD news. Slashdot ignored my submission [yahoo.com], as usual, about half a week ago.

    As for Anonymous Cowards, the comments posted in reponse to the (bullshit) story about the UK satellite being taken over by hackers, confirmed for me that Slashdot's usefulness as a place where interesting and informative discussion takes place, is severely compromised by ACs.

    Dodge

    PS: You Americans, go see 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' (released in theatres across the States last Friday). It rocks.
  • Why not find a country where the owner of anon.penet.fi could never have been forced to reveal anyone's true identity, and set up a box there?

    Oh yeah - money.

    Okay. How's about we declare independence as a virtual nation and establish an "embassy" in the form of a broom-cupboard-sized room in a Telehouse somewhere with a few Linux boxes.

    I can see it now. Slashdot - the world's first virtual nation. It would have to be a Republic, with a President as Head of State (first one would be CdrTaco, OF COURSE!). An elected Cabinet, led by a Prime Minister (i.e. a Minister who can't be factored! ;), with Ministers for Bandwidth, Disk Storage, Processing Power, etc.

    Argh! Shades of The Diamond Age's CyrptNet. :)


    The Dodger
    Minister of Offe^H^H^H^HDefence.

    "No, I'm not planning a military coup, honest..."
  • Obviously US regulations aren't the same as European ones. Elucidate, please.

    D.
  • I was actually thinking about the telephone company example when I was writing that comment, so what you've outlined above is what I was thinking of.

    Your point regarding the whole editorial control and ISPs implementing a policy is valid. imho. However, I think that /. is more likely to be a common carrier than an ISP, because CmdrTaco and his henchmen [;)] exercise no editorial control _whatsoever_. Admittedly, they do say that "Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated." but this is followed by "(You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold).", so I'm assuming that this means that no message, no matter what it's content, is ever deleted.

    Perhaps CmdrTaco would like to comment at this point?

    D.
  • > I hope the court will rule yahoo cannot be held responsible.

    Uhm...
    The court will NOT rule upon whether Yahoo can be held responsible or not.

    Why?

    Because noone's asking them to rule that Yahoo _is_ responsible.

    The only thing that might happen to Yahoo is they might get a subpoena requiring that they provide the court with the email adresses (or whatever) of the people who made the posts.

    I'll just say it again, so everyone understands:

    NOONE IS FUCKING SAYING THAT YAHOO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE POSTS THAT AC'S MAKE USING YAHOO'S FORUMS!

    ok?

    Although it ires me slightly when people don't know what they're talking about, it pisses me off infinitely more when people can't even be bothered to read an article before posting their opinions.

    Christ, it's not as if the article doesn't say, quite fucking clearly, that "Yahoo! is not a target of the lawsuit."

    In fact, I find myself wondering why CmdrTaco is even worried about this.


    Dodger,

    Stressed out and taking a break from conducting mortal combat with sendmail.
    "I'll get it to work if I die trying!!"
  • The Internet is not a forum for whistle blowing. If you are involved in or witness illegal activities, report it to law enforcement agencies and/or through a "whistle-blowing" phone number that is often advertised for various companies/government agencies.

    I agree that if you have something productive to say, you might as well take credit for it. If you don't have anything productive to say go ahead and say it un-anonymously so I know who to ignore later. AC is just a means for spreading stupidity, ignorance, FUD and whatever else (the majority of the time).

    Simply slamming people/companies just isn't necessary.

    In a perfect world, everyone would ignore AC posts and therefore people/companies would not be damaged from erroneous AC posts and consequently AC posts wouldn't be a problem. Then no one would read them so no one would post them....


    ~afniv
    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
    "We could be happy if the air was as pure as the beer"
  • Interesting... they seem to have been falling steadily for over a year now... I wonder when these supposedly slanderous comments were made? (Having not seen either the actual comments themselves, I refuse to make a potentially slanderous comment myself by stating one way or another wether the comments in question were true, after all, a lawsuit-happy american company with money problems is involved.) Did these comments come before or after the decline of their stock value began? If it's before, then the AC's in question are likely to get toasted, since Wade's lawyers would be able to point to that and say "Look! See the damage these people did!" - And that would be a bad thing for us, since it would mean more clamping down on freedoms that we often take for granted. If, on the other hand, the comments were made much more recently, then the AC's lawyers (or the public Attourney, or whatever) could say that no damage was really done, since there isn't really any significant change in the trend the company's stock was taking. (Steadily down, nice and smooth...) I may not be a financial expert (Ok, I'm not even an amatuer, I have enough trouble with my own bank book, so don't take stock advice from me.) but isn't the value of stock supposed to measure how well a company is doing?
  • by Lumpy (12016)
    You get a spinless whiner with money and a lawyer and they love to threaten lawsuits. All it amounts to is a pissing contest and he who has the biggest wang wins, the problem is that the lawsuit will be impossible to win unless the person suing can explicibally prove that they lost money from that exact comment. Unfortunately the law doesnt state that if you sue someone and dont win you have to pay your and their court costs plus a $20,000.00 pain in the ass fee for bringing up a stupid lawsuit to begin with, payable instantly or 2 months in jail and then payable 30 days after that. That would be a great law, like one that allows clients to cane their lawyers when they mess up. oh well we live in the land of the free where the judges are lawyers and perpetuate the rich are in control plan.
    (you're poor? GUILTY! rich? ohhhh your' just a victim.. Lawyer? naughty! you got caught! try to hide your illeagal activities better next time!)
  • back in the 80's we had a Free speech BBS here, it was like /. except there was no login at all you connected and you're in. they were sued for some commment, when the judge looked at the evidence he told the person suing that life's a bitch, and awarded the defendant the counter suit of loss of money. ($5000.00) The judge said that it's a BBS just like a Bulliten board or telephone pole. you cant sue the phone company for something posted on a telephone pole.
  • I agree, but just the browser and OS should be tacked onto each person's post. The ip serves no purpose but to show hackers who to smurf when they disagree with you.
  • "What makes this 'virtual attack' even
    more egregious is the fact that these
    falsehoods are posted on Yahoo!
    message boards for millions of
    people to read and they cannot be
    removed from the Internet by the company."

    Give me one reason why you SHOULD be able to remove these falsehoods from the internet! Poor millionaire, can't make people stop saying bad things about him...I have absolutely no sympathy.

    -lx
  • Let's ALL go and post on yahoo message boards that Wade Cook was arrested for accepting kickbacks...see what they do then... >;)
    -lx
  • Although you are right that the cook people are misled, please try to remember who gave you the internet - the US.



    And frankly, you have no room to talk about personal habits - Lutefisk, Aqvavit(sp), Lefse - need I say more? Pimply teenagers in red jumpsuits?

    -lx
  • Just set your profile to only show people who have a score of one. You get 1 point just for not being anonymous.
    -lx


  • I believe that slashdot would be protected under the standing parts of the CDA. In fact, you may expose yourself to liability, only IF you make an attempt to censor slanderous conduct. Basically it is not reasonable to expect you to monitor the behavior of private individuals. It could, and has been, argued rather easily that expecting web sites to censor would have a chilling effect on free speech. The only argument I could see is if you POSTED, like on the front page, an article that you knew to be false, and somehow made commercial profits by intentionally republishing this inflamatory content. Anyhow, I've gotta run, but I can show you some precedents when I get back.


  • People can get hysterical sometimes, when it comes to personal safety issues and what not. There have actually been a few perfectly good airplanes that ceased to be produced because the media and what not wrongly pinned the blame in the airframe, when in fact it was the engine.....and other issues. This is a billion dollar type of wound, its not so minor. You tell that the to employees who lose a job as a result, its not just 'the suits' who get hurt in these things.

  • Private citizens do not enjoy an absolute privilege, unlike members of congress and those in the court room.

    I could not for example, announce that I am an employee of Boeing and that management uses defective parts. This would both be untrue and publicized. It _would_ obviously hurt Boeing's shareholders, management, employees, etc. If Boeing could prove that I was never an employee, they are legally entitled to damages. Why should the government protect such speech. It would be very hard to show why a private citizen is entitled to this. The courts have decided that various entities are entitled to varying degrees of free speech. Journalists, for example, are given a great deal more latitude in their publishing standards. If they make a reasonable attempt to verify somethings validity, they are protected even if it later turns out to be untrue. Likewise the courts and various individuals in the government are protected when attending to official business. If the courts started holding Congressmen liable, they would be hestitant to challenge, try, inspect, etc.

  • I do not feel the need to defend myself from a twit such as yourself. But for your information, far more Europeans smoke than Americans. Secondly, you know as well as I do that the USA is responsible for 99% of the computer technology. While NT might be a product of the USA, so was AT&T Unix, so was Berkley, so is the semiconductor industry. And lets not forget Cisco. And MIT.....I could go on, but lighten up. Oh yeah, I'd be willing to bet that I am a great deal more literate than you are.

  • Regardless of the ineptitude or ineffectivity of the user, the law is still pretty clear. Should the secret service ignore a would be assasin just because he probably wouldn't be successfull?

    And on your last comment, commercial speech is limited as well. Many people get taken by these scams, in fact publishers clearing house just got sued I believe.
  • Can't we all just GET ALONG!!! :)
    --
    Paranoid
  • All Slashdot.org readers are wonderful (in bed and out of it, on coffee tables, etc), never have or have had a Bad Day (tm), stay crunchy (even in milk) and live on planet Earth! They're even DYNAMIC!

    We should have a poll asking which household object people most prefer to !@#$ on.
    --
    Paranoid
  • Hmmm... you have good taste :P
    --
    Paranoid
  • There is no way to trace these people if they seriously want to be annonymous [sic].

    that's not entirely correct. if someone really wants to know who you are, they can get at your IP, and trace it down to a physical location. also, if you are using ethernet your card has a uniqe signature sent w/ every transaction. that, too could theoretically be traced.

    basically, there is no such thing as privacy for us normal schmegeggies. ;)

    ciao.

  • And rights come first, dang it!!!1
  • Even DHCP isn't fool proof. I have a cable modem and I can set any IP address I want. The DHCP method is nice because it prevents IP collisions. I could just randomly pick IP addresses until I find one that isn't in use then do what ever evil things I wanted to.
  • Other than the Gods thing you got it. Your boss can't fire you because you're a wiccan and he's a born again christian.
  • Isn't it a safe bet to just say "In my opinion" before a statement? I think that if you're portraying your statements as fact, it's considered slander, but if you're giving them off as just your "opinion" then you're pretty safe against this stuff...after all, it's opinions that the first amendment was designed to protect, right? I think this is the same thing that MS used in their antitrust defense tho, so it might not be that great of an idea after all...:oP
  • I still use Windoze for some things, people. (Like getting my work done while I'm still learning Linux.)
    How about we alter proposal #2 there to banning Microsoft (not windows) browsers instead. At least that way, if someone really wants to post, they've got to at least be smart enough to be able to install another browser (or have a friend do it).
    Digital Wokan, Tribal mage of the electronics age
  • I think people need to stand up and demand their anonymity. If something is proven to be a lie, the owner can remove it upon receipt of the proof.
    If possible, /. shouldn't log the IP's of visitors. You can't subpeona records that were never made.
    That would, of course, mean that people would be entrusted with behaving around /. as far as attacking the service itself goes. (Though, I suppose a good raider would leave no traces anyway.)
    Digital Wokan, Tribal mage of the electronics age
  • I think this country is going to hell with all these lawyers wanting to sue over everything. We can't do anything in this country anymore without the threat of being sued.

    I think I'll go move to some remote island in the middle of the Pacific... geez...
  • DO NOT KEEP RECORDS. If you keep records, you can be ordered by a court to turn them over. Nothing REQUIRES you to keep records. Do not keep them.

    In any case, Yahoo is not being sued. Their users are being sued, as soon as their identities can be determined. In an analogous situation, Slashdot would not be sued, but you might be ordered to turn over records. Check out what's left of the original CDA. Under that law, you are an interactive service provider, and interactive service providers are specifically EXEMPTED from being held responsible for things that their USERS say. This law has been tested a couple of times in court, once at least with AOL, and the ruling of the court was that the provider (AOL) was not responsible for things that their user said. I know Wired at least covered this.

    Do not keep records, and make it well-known that you do not keep records. That is your best defense and one employed by anonymous remailer operators. If you keep records, you are a TARGET, and soon a victim of, well, you know.
  • Even if they do log, then the ones who want the info now have to subpeona the proxy to find you, which could take a while. And the magusnet.com proxy chains through another proxy to boot, so now that's three subpeonas you've got to issue, in sequence, and the logs may no longer be around at that point. And this assumes you aren't making longer proxy chains, which you can do. This whole Yahoo thing has been going on for weeks now. Plus subpeonas generally have to be issued within the jurisdiction that they take effect. So now maybe they have to go to another state or another country, which takes time and money.

    Don't put all your faith in proxies, but they do help, even if they do log.
  • If Yahoo reveals the registration info on the user name, wouldn't that leave Yahoo wide open to a class action suite from all users for revealing so-called confidential information?

    Maybe David Brin was right, the only security is in no privacy for _anyone_. Scary.

  • Actually it shouldn't be that hard to track down who owns a dynamic ip address. If you are dialing in then the dialup server knows what ip address it gave which user id. If you are using DHCP then the DHCP server knows what machines had which IP addresses when. Maybe dialup servers and DHCP don't keep track of this information but it doesn't mean they can't very easily. Tracking people down through their IP address isn't that hard. And if companies start bringing lawsuits you can bet more and more people will track IP addresses to help limit their liability.

Did you know that for the price of a 280-Z you can buy two Z-80's? -- P.J. Plauger

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