What are the web security repercussions if you can successfully sue someone who posts an anonymous comment on line that slanders, offends or otherwise damages you or your company?. Yes an anonymous comment! A lawsuit currently playing out in Idaho involves a politician suing an anonymous commenter on a blog hosted on the website of the Idaho Spokesman-Review newspaper. The politician is seeking damages of $10,000 .
The politician is Tina Jacobson, chair of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, she has launched a lawsuit against a commenter who identified themselves as “Almost Innocent Bystander” following a couple of comments made on a February 14, 2012, The comments were placed on an article about local politician Tina Jacobsen and involved alleged missing funds with the commenter accusing the politician of embezzlement. The complete post and offending comments were promptly deleted by the paper.
The newspaper argues that people should be able to make anonymous posts on its blogs without fear of being identified and subsequently sued. We will have to wait and see if the paper will reveal the name of the commentor or continue to protect his/her identity and possibly bear the cost of any damages awarded.
It is clear that this judgement will have significant consequences for company’s hosting blogs, forums and social media platforms that allow interaction. It is likely that this case could set an important precedent and the results will prompt action in terms of web security and monitoring.
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