Home > News > Court Orders ISP to ID Party Responsible in Email Fraud Case • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


Court Orders ISP to ID Party Responsible in Email Fraud Case

Court Orders ISP to ID Party Responsible in Email Fraud Case
Get XBIZ News
Mar 23, 2005 6:03 AM PST    Text size: 
PORTLAND, Maine — In a legal groundbreaking case, Maine’s highest court ordered last week that an Internet service provider must disclose identifying information about a subscriber who is alleged to have misappropriated the identity of an account holder.

In the decision, the Maine Supreme Court upheld a lower court determination that a victim of forged email has the right to unmask the identity and sue the person responsible for sending a derogatory message to his neighbors.

The ruling is important because it is the first time a court has made a definitive ruling on “electronic harassment.”

A lower court ruled last May that Time Warner Cable must furnish information relating to the identity of the person who established an email account using the name Ronald Fitch.

The email was a bogus Christmas card that included a cartoon satirizing a dispute between Fitch and his neighbors. The card included offensive caricatures of his family, Fitch said.

The email was sent on Dec. 24, 2003, to the board of directors of the gated community where Fitch resides.

Fitch filed a “John or Jane Doe” suit, alleging fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, criminal simulation and identity theft.

The lawyer for Doe appealed the decision to the state high court contesting the lower court's finding that Doe had authorized Time Warner to release his or her identity to a court, arguing that no criminal activity has been shown.

But Justice Howard H. Dana rejected the rationale relied upon by the lower court — that Doe consented to disclosure when he accepted the company's subscriber privacy policy — and instead found that the "plain language" of the federal Cable Act "allows a cable operator to disclose subscriber information when ordered to do so by a court."

Section 551(c)(2)(B) of the Act allows the release of personally identifiable information "made pursuant to a court order authorizing such disclosure, if the subscriber is notified of such order by the person to whom the order is directed."

Time Warner responded to the lower court's order by submitting to the court a sealed envelope containing the information it had about Doe.

Doe argued that the court should apply stricter requirements of the Act that prohibit government entities from obtaining personally identifiable information without clear and convincing evidence of criminal activity.

But Maine justices said those requirements apply only to governmental bodies, not to individuals like Fitch.

The court rejected Fitch's argument that Doe had consented to disclosure, finding Fitch failed to produce a consent agreement, or any evidence, affidavits, or testimony establishing the authenticity of his arguments relating to the agreement Time Warner requires its subscribers to accept.

Justices also bypassed Doe's opposition to disclosure on First Amendment grounds, ruling that Doe had never raised the argument at the trial court level.

The case is Fitch vs. Doe, No. Cum-04-295.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !


WIA Profile: Mia Saldarriaga

Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of... More »

Profile: CAM4 Pushes Boundaries in Adult

CAM4 remains a leading live-streaming adult show platform in what has quickly become a very competitive field. Although CAM4 launched as a brand in 2007, the company behind it has been involved in the... More »

ExoClick’s Publishing Head Is Passionate About Job

ExoClick’s Ada LLlorca, who leads publishing efforts for the ad network, sure loves the adult webmaster space. And maybe that’s why she can honestly say she’s good friends with the company’s... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.



Nov 04 - Nov 06
Edison, New Jersey

2016 Inked Awards

Nov 05 - Nov 05
Edison, New Jersey

XBIZ 2017

Jan 09 - Jan 13
Hollywood, CA

XBIZ Awards 2017

Jan 12 - Jan 12
Los Angeles, CA
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!