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

NEWS STORY

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 !

OPINIONS & VIEWS

Paysite Meetup: Catching Lightning in a Bottle

We just completed the first XBIZ.net Paysite Meetup in Prague. We caught lightning in a bottle. I first heard that expression from a friend who works in TV. He started in TV in the 1960s selling advertising,... More »

Why a Traffic Network Killed a Popular Offering

Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast. If a man habituated to a narrow circle of cares and pleasures, out of which he seldom travels, step beyond it, though for never so brief a space, his departure... More »

Luring Cam Users With the Right Ad Format

The live cam marketplace is highly competitive filled with big-, medium- and small-sized players. So how do you stand out from the crowd to attract new users or persuade users to come back and spend their... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
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.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
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.
Subscribe to XBIZ World magazine, the industry's leading e-commerce trade publication, delivering in-depth coverage of the online, mobile and ancillary digital markets.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Latin America Adult Business Expo

Jul 10 - Jul 12
Cartagena, Colombia

ANME Founders Show

Jul 16 - Jul 18
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport

QWEBEC Expo

Aug 03 - Aug 06
Montreal, Quebec

XBIZ Berlin 2017

Sep 11 - Sep 14
Berlin, Germany
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!