Dangerous Ruling For Online Commenters & Website Owners

Before It’s News – by Susan Duclos

A Virginia court has just made a very dangerous ruling which puts online commentators that use usernames or Anonymous instead of their real names, at risk of having their real names exposed. This also puts website owners at risk of being forced to betray users’ trust.

Yelp is a website where people can leave reviews of businesses they have used, either positive or negative so others may see the quality of service those specific businesses offer and a Virginia court has just ruled that Yelp must comply in providing a business, Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, with the names of their Anonymous users that wrote negative opinions and claimed Hadeed Carpet Cleaning conducted unfair business practices and deceptive advertising.  

In an opinion that partially agrees with the majority opinion and partially dissents, the senior judge makes the point that his dissent stems from Mr. Hadeed not provided any proof that the online critics were not his customers, jut suspicions.

Via Washington Times:

Senior Judge James W. Haley Jr. stated in a separate opinion that agreed in part and dissented in part with the majority that Mr. Hadeed had not proved that the reviewers were not customers — he only suspected they were not.

“A business subject to critical commentary should not be permitted to force the disclosure of the identity of anonymous commentators simply by alleging that those commentators may not be customers because they cannot identify them in their database,” the judge said, adding that Mr. Hadeed’s complaints were likely a “self-serving argument.”

This has ramifications for more than just those commenting, but for every website owner, forum owner, blog and any online entity that allows has a comment section or posts Anonymous emails they receive, where if other courts mimic this ruling those website owners can be forced to betray their users’ trust.


9 thoughts on “Dangerous Ruling For Online Commenters & Website Owners

  1. “where if other courts mimic this ruling those website owners can be forced to betray their user’s trust.” Yeah right, like their gonna make Henry do anything to betray his family here on the Trenches. It would be a cold day in hell boys.

  2. Signing a poll is like putting your head on the chopping block as the polls have never made a difference anyway because they will do what ever they want anyway. It would be nice if those polls did sand for something though.

    1. Dammit digger, you scared her off. I was just about to sign the petition to join with all the other-worldly aliens in the Galactic Federation. What the hell was that?

    2. I understand your right to not sign petitions. Sometimes. however they do work. Even if its only to bring attention to a specific issue. I also understand why you pulled my post. But, I ask you to listen to this audio then. If you feel I am right, you have my original post than re-post on your own as an article. I want nor take no credit. Here is the link ~https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7mAnJEGy1g

  3. Those with much to hide will do anything they can to get the web off their case. It has always been us against them in the digital world and always will be. They made everyone want a computer, and waited till it became the De-facto method of communication and now they want to control it. Well let them go ahead and we can just turn around and make another way to use it. These sites they are seeking to intimidate an just be replaced and on a daily basis if need be.
    Or if you really want to mess their world up start sending letters. Imagine the time to read them all. Think of the jobs. Hard to just use a program to scan through a truck load of letters. This would also help our dying postal service.
    And who cares if they get your name because you complained you are entitled to an opinion unless you are too scared to voice it and stand by it, in that case no you are not entitled to an opinion, just a bed to crawl under and hide.
    If they want to know who I am it is written at the top of every post. And I always speak my own opinion, if they do not like it, I love it.

    1. Now that I think about it, they have everyone’s name and IP address, they can turn your camera and microphone on without detection on your computer or smartphone, they have a record of all movement on your phone or car’s GPS, in fact, they’ve most likely already made their “assessment” as to whether you will go to a re-education camp or to the edge of the ditch. If you have visited this site, then you already know what list you’re on.

      1. You sound just like one of those tin foil hat wearers.

        We don’t cotton to none of that ‘conspiracy theory’ cr@p around here, buddy, so just watch it.

        Heh, heh, heh…………..

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