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UK Facebook User's Name Appropriation Draws Huge Libel Suit 165

Posted by timothy
from the had-my-fingers-crossed-the-whole-time dept.
Slatterz links to a story which shows that nowadays, it's sometimes possible to find out whether someone is a dog on the Internet, excerpting: "A freelance photographer is facing a £22,000 bill after setting up a fake Facebook page that libelled a former classmate. Grant Raphael, a freelance photographer, set up a Facebook page in the name of former school friend Mathew Firsht and posted false information about his sexual and political preferences. He also set up another page for Firsht's television company, the latter entitled 'Has Mathew Firsht lied to you?' ... 'The significance of this case is that it shows that what you post is not harmless, but has consequences,' media lawyer, Jo Sanders, of Harbottle & Lewis, told the BBC."
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UK Facebook User's Name Appropriation Draws Huge Libel Suit

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  • Profound news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mazarin5 (309432) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @06:34PM (#24327611) Journal

    Libel is libel, even on the Internet.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2008 @06:42PM (#24327689)
      OP here: disregard that, I suck cocks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rtb61 (674572)

      No, libel is hugely different on the internet. Want to draw attention to opposing opinions, launch a libel suit, want to create the impression that you have a hugely inflated opinion of your self worth - launch a libel suit, perversely enough, want the convince people that you have something to hide launch a libel suit and, finally want to convince people that you have more money than sense, launch a libel suit.

      So there is a huge difference between 20th century print libel and 21st century internet libel

      • Re:Profound news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:01PM (#24327905) Journal

        No, libel is hugely different on the internet. Want to draw attention to opposing opinions, launch a libel suit, want to create the impression that you have a hugely inflated opinion of your self worth - launch a libel suit, perversely enough, want the convince people that you have something to hide launch a libel suit and, finally want to convince people that you have more money than sense, launch a libel suit.

        If some dickhead with zero reputation is saying bad things about you on the Internet, sure, it's pointless to sue them for libel; in the US you might even have trouble proving damages. But if some dickhead is credibly impersonating you, using your own name and reputation to say false and derogatory things about you, that's a different matter. It would be worth suing to get an injunction if nothing else.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          But if some dickhead is credibly impersonating you, using your own name and reputation to say false and derogatory things about you, that's a different matter. It would be worth suing to get an injunction if nothing else.

          The problem with that approach is the same problem that the MAFIAA are having - enforcement is nearly impossible. Sure *THIS* case was enforceable, but its like taking down an ftp site of mp3s, pre napster. Anyone who wanted to do it "right" can do so today using tools like Tor, its just a matter of escalation.

          A problem that the MAFIAA has, that impersonation cases don't, is the general desire of people to commit the 'crime' - people inherently like to share, but far, far fewer are into malicious imperson

          • by Zordok (90071)

            I think the general solution is teach people to "trust no one"

            If the solution involves changing people's behavior (arguably impossible anyway), why not teach people to not be dicks instead?

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          Im all for freespeech but impersonating someone isn't freespeech it's identity theft.

      • by EWAdams (953502) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:19PM (#24328107) Homepage

        The days of the Internet as some kind of Wild West where you can do and say whatever the fuck you want without having to take the consequences for it are coming to an end. If somebody want to be an asshole, he'd better be one anonymously from an Internet café... which shows just what a cowardly little shit he is.

        A good many people depend on their good name for their living. Jerks who try to damage someone's ability to feed his children deserve to be punished.

        • The days of the Internet as some kind of Wild West where you can do and say whatever the fuck you want without having to take the consequences for it are coming to an end.

          Wich is why we must act now to save it.

        • by Daetrin (576516)
          That would truly be a shame! We must do something preserve the Wild West-like status of the Internet! Therefore we should continue to let everyone do and say whatever the fuck they want, and the next time someone says something bad about you on the internet instead of whining about it or suing them for libel, just hunt them down and shoot them just like in the real Wild West!
      • Re:Profound news (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Original Replica (908688) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:30PM (#24328227) Journal
        Online libel is serious even if you are an Average Joe, looking to get a job [nytimes.com] or maybe just stay out of prison. [cnn.com] There has been enough of this kind of stuff discussed here on /. recently that it should be obvious that a carefully made false FaceBook page could be seriously damaging to even an average person. Just a site that degrades you might be enough to create a bad impression if it shows up on the first page when your name is Googled. Now if that site appears to be made by you it's even worse.
        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by Gordonjcp (186804)

          That's because Americans are terrified of alcohol though. I don't know why people in the US are bleating pitifully about Islam when their Fundamentalist Christian overlords are utterly indistinguishible in almost every respect.

          • Except for the airplane hijacking and crashing into buildings respect.
            • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              They prefer detonating a truck load of fertilizer next to large office buildings.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Hognoxious (631665)

            That's because Americans are terrified of alcohol though.

            What, even the Catholics?

      • Except this was on facebook, which potential employers have been known to reference when considering hiring someone... I can understand the libel argument here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SpacePunk (17960)

      No it isn't! Everything on the internet is different, and needs a special set of laws!

    • by b4upoo (166390)

      England is entirely different from the US in regard to libel. And at the other end of the stick L22,000 may not be much more than a slap on the wrist depending upon the guys ability to pay.
                      Frankly I think that England is a bit off the mark with their libel laws. Usually a sharp counter attack is enough to blow most would be bullies into the weeds.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        England is entirely different from the US in regard to libel.

        In the US, it means making derogatory statements (in written form) that are not factually true. Whereas in England it means walking on the cracks in the pavement (which is what they call a sidewalk) during the hours of darkness.

        So yeah, entirely different is a perfect summary of the situation.

  • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @06:36PM (#24327633) Homepage Journal

    Cue the "'Firsht' Post" jokes.

  • I like being able to post completely anonymously. I even like being able to misinform people about my identity. I think it's a good thing that a 14-year-old girl can pose as a 50-year-old man and see if her ideas will be taken seriously on their own merits.

    But not as a specific 50-year-old man who actually exists. While I think we should all have the right to conceal our identity, we certainly shouldn't have the right to assume someone else's.

    This is the least controversial thing I have ever written.
    • by rwillard (1323303) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @06:44PM (#24327745)

      I think it's a good thing that a 14-year-old girl can pose as a 50-year-old man and see if her ideas will be taken seriously on their own merits.

      Funny, that usually goes in reverse.

    • by Vectronic (1221470) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @06:48PM (#24327771)

      "I think it's a good thing that a 14-year-old girl can pose as a 50-year-old man and see if her ideas will be taken seriously on their own merits.

      No.

      I think it's a good thing that a 14-year-old girl can pose her ideas and will be taken seriously on their own merits.

      Yes.

      If she's posing as a 50 year old man, then whatever she is saying isn't being taken on its own merits but under the assumption that she may be more qualified simply because she appears to be older and/or male.

      • But if she's posting as a 14 year old girl no one will take her seriously at all. Sometimes it's best to not even give out any information.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by chris_mahan (256577)

          I'll take her absolutely seriously. It's a lot more important to listen to teenagers than 50 yo rambling farts. Teenagers are still discovering the world, can still be encouraged down the right path, and will impact the world a lot longer. Spending time listening to them, their fears, their ideas, their dreams, tells a lot more about the world we are going to live in than listening to someone born in 1958.

          There are exceptions, of course, but generally this is my personal experience.

          Disclaimer: I'm turning 4

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Iamthecheese (1264298)
            You really don't see what you did there do you? I'll take her absolutely seriously... Teenagers... can still be encouraged down the right path... Spending time listening to them... tells a lot more about the world we are going to live in... There are exceptions

            You just said that you will take the seriously because you can guide them. If you're listening to someone to determine the direction in which they are misguided, you're not listenting to them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Vectronic (1221470)

          That's the fault of the person she is conversing with, and basically the point I was making.

          I'll take a 14 year old girls, and a 50 year old mans opinion/statement with an equal amount of salt. the 14 year old may have spent 4 years learning a subject, the 50 year old may have spent 30 years on the same subject, however the 14 year old doesn't really have much else to think about but that subject, whereas the 50 year old has well established political and ideological standards, its all intertwined with his

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by servognome (738846)

            The 50 year old may have 30 years experience, but may be clinging to the same ideas from 30 years ago, and might be unaware of newer ideas, the 14 year old is most likely the reverse, they both have an equal amount of say on a subject as far as I am concerned. It's just more input to assist my own learning process

            That is a rather disingenuous statement because we all make assumptions about speakers and very rarely can set aside natural bias. We are bombarded by too much information to process without some

            • For some perhaps, the only time I have preconceived bias, is if I have read or heard something they stated prior to the conversation at hand.

              However, the first statement(s) made by each, has an influence on everything they say on the topic hence forth, with the exception of if they entered the conversation disgruntled from a prior event, or have a disposition to push buttons on first contact, and later described respectively so, that can change my opinion about their motives/etc.

              But I have no reason to form

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      You should've posted as anon, then.

    • by Wildclaw (15718)

      I like being able to post completely anonymously.

      Agreed. Baning anonymous posting would be terrible. However, internet is a large place so it should be possible to have sites that require different types of authentication.

      Right now it is easy to setup a site where you can post anonymously or with handles, but it is a pain in the ass to make a site where everyone are who they say they are.

      I even like being able to misinform people about my identity. I think it's a good thing that a 14-year-old girl can pose as a 50-year-old man and see if her ideas will be taken seriously on their own merits.

      The better solution is to not mention your age, gender or skincolor at all. If you want to be anonymous, be anonymous.

      Lying about the most basic persona information to pr

  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@nospAm.geekbiker.net> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @06:41PM (#24327677) Homepage Journal

    While the UK libel laws are still in need of serious fixing, it looks like they got this one right.

  • Libel in Britain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @06:41PM (#24327685) Homepage Journal
    ...tends to be taken rather more seriously than in the US. There is no automatic right to free speech (except on Speaker's Corner, where even the slander laws can't touch you) and the penalties aren't gentle - the satirical magazine Private Eye found that one out. However, the standards of proof are high and a false accuser can expect rough treatment too from both the courts and the press. That is why frivolous lawsuits and abuses of the legal system are rarer in England. In this case, however, if the alleged victim was indeed a victim of libel, the damage will be hard to undo. What is on the Internet is there forever and falsehoods will continue to circulate in all perpetuity. This is not the trivial stuff of a local gossip causing problems in a local village, where you can simply move. You cannot (yet) move off-planet.
    • Re:Libel in Britain (Score:5, Informative)

      by shalla (642644) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:00PM (#24327899)

      Libel in Britain tends to be taken more seriously than in the US. There is no automatic right to free speech (except on Speaker's Corner, where even the slander laws can't touch you) and the penalties aren't gentle - the satirical magazine Private Eye found that one out.

      Okay. Let's clear this sucker up. For the last damn time (in my dreams, eh?), your right to free speech in the US is your right to free speech AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. You do not have the right to libel anyone or anything you want. The Constitution protects your right to make comments about the government, to agitate peacefully for government change, to seek redress, to petition the government, etc.

      When people say "I can say whatever I want! I'm entitled to my free speech!"? They're usually freaking morons. Unless they were talking to or about the government, it just ain't so. There are ramifications for what you say about other people or institutions.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You do not have the right to libel anyone or anything you want

        But in the US, to show slander or libel, you have to show that you had a reputation to reduce, that your reputation was reduced, that this reduction in reputation caused you monetary damage, and that whatever was said about you was false. The standards are different in Britain.

      • not really true (Score:4, Informative)

        by commodoresloat (172735) * on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:22PM (#24328147)
        It's not so much what you say, but who is doing the restricting. In other words, the first amendment says the government may not abridge the freedom to say whatever you want, not that you only have the right to speak against the government. It says the government may not restrict your speech. So a corporate entity or whatever may restrict your speech without running afoul of the Constitution but the government may not. That includes speech about things that have no political or governmental implications whatsoever. Libel is considered an exception to the first amendment, but proving libel requires certain things (that, as the original poster correctly pointed out, are different in the US than they are in Britain). But make no mistake about it -- a successful libel lawsuit is certainly a GOVERNMENT restriction of free speech.
        • Re:not really true (Score:4, Insightful)

          by megaditto (982598) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:49PM (#24328451)

          I think what you and the parent poster are missing is who has the burden of proof. In the US, the accuser has to prove that whatever was said was a lie (said knowingly and with malicious intent). In Britain, the default assumption is that the accused is guilty unless she can present the facts proving what she said was true.

          The result is that in Britain, very rich (and very bad) people like Khalid bin Mahfouz (funds suicide bombers) and Roman Polanski (molests little girls) are able to shut up anyone trying to expose them.

          • In the US, the accuser has to prove that whatever was said was a lie

            You are a serial kitten huffer.

            Go on, prove otherwise.

            [ Tumbleweed, wind, distant bells... ]

        • by stinerman (812158)

          Actually the government isn't doing much restricting at all since libel is a civil action rather than a criminal one.

          You can say pretty much whatever you want about someone and never see the inside of a jail cell.

          • you're wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

            A civil action must be enforced by the government to be meaningful. A decision is made in a (government) court and if you don't pay what you are required to, you in fact just might see the inside of a jail cell. But either way it has nothing to do with whether you go to jail -- the point is that if a law is on the books (civil or criminal) that restricts what you say, that law is a government abridgment of your speech.
            • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

              A civil action is enforced by the courts, and ultimately by a judge. The government doesn't have any say in it apart from drafting the law in the first place... in fact a court can enforce an action *against* the government and there are many cases where this has happened.

              • So you think the judge is some kind of private party? Don't be silly. The courts, and the judge, represent the government.
            • by stinerman (812158)

              At this point we're talking about semantics. I don't disagree with anything you just said.

              I could even go on and say that the government very rarely restricts speech because prior restraint is generally frowned upon. It all goes to the definitions of "restrict" and "government".

              • I see what you're saying, but if you look up "restrict" and "government" in any dictionary you will see that there isn't that much flexibility in the definitions. The U.S. judicial branch is definitely part of "the government" pretty much any way you define it.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        "your right to free speech in the US is your right to free speech AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT."

        Since you are wrong, you aren't really clearing anything up.

        Even a cursory reading of the founding fathers papers would tell you that.

        You probably think only a government can censor;which is wrong and would make you the freaking moron.

        Of curse, libel is a crime.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by corbettw (214229)

        Larry Flynt [wikipedia.org] would like a word with you.

      • by russotto (537200)

        Okay. Let's clear this sucker up. For the last damn time (in my dreams, eh?), your right to free speech in the US is your right to free speech AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. You do not have the right to libel anyone or anything you want. The Constitution protects your right to make comments about the government, to agitate peacefully for government change, to seek redress, to petition the government, etc.

        Robert Bork, is that you?

        No, free speech is free speech. It is true that there are exceptions like libel law,

      • by imrehg (1187617)
        How about that the freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

        Article 19.
        Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

        Of course, this is holding opinions - when I present something as a fact, when it is in fact false, that's not protected. But whenever I start a sentence by "I think, that...." it is just an opinion, and should be fine, whatever I say... At least I think....

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        The same is true in the UK - The 1689 Bill of Rights (on which our historic right of free speech is based) states:

        "That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal"

        (I really like the nice short wording of that..)

        It was further clarified by the Human Rights Act in 1998 to read:

        "Everyone has the right of freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without

    • Re:Libel in Britain (Score:5, Informative)

      by coljac (154587) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:13PM (#24328037) Homepage

      I don't think there's an exemption in slander laws for a particular corner of Hyde Park. Indeed, Wikipedia says:

      "A Speakers' Corner is an area where public speaking is allowed. The original and most noted is in the north-east corner of Hyde Park in London, England. Speakers there are allowed to speak as long as the police consider their speeches lawful. Contrary to mythology there is no immunity from the law, nor are any subjects proscribed. In practice the police tend to be tolerant and intervene when they receive a complaint or when they hear bad language."

    • based on the information presented here, I'm pretty sure this would be considered libel in the U.S. as well. The guy's not really a public figure, the material published is demonstrably false, and clearly shows intent to harm reputation. I think even under the stricter "actual malice" standard required for public figures. And on top of it, there could possibly be fraud charges and grounds for an invasion of privacy suit.
    • Re:Libel in Britain (Score:5, Interesting)

      by beadfulthings (975812) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:56PM (#24328571) Journal

      I dunno. There is a certain fairly popular blog in the U.K. that I read daily. (The blog has a basically religious content. Please read past that if it might bother you.) A couple of years ago, it seems that a pair of American lawyers, brothers from Texas, decided to launch a campaign to convert England to (Russian) Orthodoxy. To that end, they formed a "Charitable Trust," presumably under the laws of the UK.

      At about the same time, the oldest chain of religious booksellers in England (the SPCK, which actually dates back to the 1600's) found itself in financial turmoil at a number of its stores. The Texas lawyers somehow winkled a large number of these stores away from the SPCK at fire-sale terms, in exchange for vague promises to keep things basically the way they were--in terms of the variety of stock, the employees, and other aspects of the stores. Apparently the SPCK shops were widely respected because they carried a broad spectrum of religious and philosophical tomes representing many viewpoints as opposed to confining themselves to Christian theology.

      The story of what happened next was pretty tragic, and the blogger in question chronicled it faithfully. Books on philosophy and theologies other than Christian were swept away wholesale to be replaced by narrow, fundamentalist pop-tripe. Agreements with employees were terminated, often without notice. People had their vacation hours and sick/personal days taken away despite being represented by a union (or the British version of a union). Customers began staying away in droves. A rather pathetic Website was installed that was basically an amazon.uk storefront. A few days later, Google pronounced it unsafe and refused to allow people to visit it from search results without a strongly-worded warning not to do so.

      Still the blogger continued to blog about it, though his regular focus is generally a lot more humourous. There were times when no one else was saying a word. Bookstores began to be closed. People continued to be fired without notice or arrived at work to find the shops shuttered.

      The union representing a number of the employees signaled its intention to seek relief for them through the British courts. That, in turn, seemed to cause the Texas lawyers to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in their native Texas, far away from England. They then argued in the British courts that this should protect them from the action by the union.

      Meanwhile, the blogger continued to blog. Newspapers ran an occasional article, but his blog had become the default gathering point for former employees, people who just plain missed the old bookstores, and people who were outraged at the heavy-handed behavior of the foreign lawyers- turned-missionaries.

      Tragedy struck about a month ago in the form of a suicide by a longstanding and much-respected bookstore manager who became despondent after being let go along with his staff. That attracted the interest of several national papers, and his funeral was so large they had to hold it in a cathedral as opposed to his regular parish church. Naturally, messages of condolence and outrage piled up in the blogger's blog as well as in other blogs with similar interests.

      This went on until about three days ago, when the blog contained a tersely worded message. The blogger had been the recipient of a cease-and-desist letter from one of the brothers. He did not have the funds to retain legal counsel or continue the fight. All references to the issue had been removed, together with their comments. Twenty-four hours later, even that post was removed.

      As nearly as I can tell, after having followed this for over a year, no libel was committed, either in blog posts or in comments. People who wanted to attack the Texas lawyers personally were gently but firmly reminded that this wouldn't be tolerated, and their comments were removed.

      I'd have to say that a voice in the UK has gone silent that should have been allowed to continue speaking. While this affects only a small section of the gen

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jd (1658)

        IANAL, but IMHO, the blogger was probably protected under British law (what he was doing was reasonable, he was sticking to the truth, no reputations were harmed in the eyes of a reasonable person, etc) and he may have been eligible for legal aid. The Unions in Britain vary wildly, but have been known to go out on a limb to support those who were considered friendly and supportive. Those who were dismissed unfairly should have been eligible for protection and could probably have won compensation for violati

        • enable the blogger to present their case to a fair an impartial court, as has been the lawful right of all British citizens since the signing of the Magna Carta, is a disgrace, dishonour and indignity that Britain must now carry, until or unless those rights and dignities denied are restored in full.

          Hyperbole much? Maybe his country let him down... or maybe he was too lazy to investigate the possibility of legal aid, or simply didn't want to go to the lengths of employing a lawyer just to uphold a princ

        • by Medevo (526922)
          IANAL, but IMHO, the blogger was probably protected under British law.

          This may be true if the trial went to court. For many, the costs of representation upfront, combined with an unfamilar legal system, make simply "giving in" the easier and safer choice. Few people are willing to take a stand on an issue like this when its just a hobby of yours.

          The fact that legal aid failed...

          A Cease and Desist letter is basically a warning, somebody saying I will sue you if you don't stop, but if you do I mo
        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

          On the US side the owners tried to file for chapter 7 then use that to close down the operation without being liable for the debts (we have no chapter 11 here). I'm not sure exactly *how* they've managed to do that.. it's an odd point of law if it's possible. Someone complained to the judge and the chapter 7 was blocked..

          Maybe someone familiar with US law can make more sense of what they're doing than I can:
          http://www.ministryoftruth.me.uk/2008/07/24/spck-owner-seeks-to-bankrupt-uk-charity-in-us-court [ministryoftruth.me.uk]

    • Speakers corner has no legal exemptions and never has done. It is subject to the same law as elsewhere in the UK

    • by radio4fan (304271)

      There is no automatic right to free speech

      Article 10 of the Human Rights Act guarantees freedom of speech (within certain limits).

      See Human Rights Act [bbc.co.uk].

      • Freedom of speech is not the same as freedom from the consequences of that speech. You have the freedom to call your boss a cockwiping buttmunch, and he has the right to call you newly unemployed.
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        We've had freedom of speech since 1689.

        The problem is so many of our own population spout rubbish about 'unwritten consitutions' and 'no right to free speech' because they don't care to know the laws of their own country.

        You in the US have a huge advantage.. you *know* your constitution. Half our population don't even realize we've got one - so the government can continue to take the piss out of it without any serious opposition.

  • 'The significance of this case is that it shows that what you post is not harmless, but has consequences,'

    Then this case is insignificant. It has always been this way.

    media lawyer, Jo Sanders, of Harbottle & Lewis, told the BBC.

    Maybe the summary should link to the BBC article [bbc.co.uk].

  • You know I gotta. (Score:1, Redundant)

    by artifex2004 (766107)

    Firsht post?

  • People slandering each other on the internet! What is the world coming too!

    • It's libel. It's even in the summary. Pay attention.

  • The Internet has its share of problems, which I won't get into, but the fact that people believe anything on here is a major one. Stuff on facebook is not definitive if it was I really am Superman. That account got closed for being fake, I was the first hero to get closed, I had more friends than Jesus. But I'm off topic, I agree he should be sued, and so should facebook because I'm sure they were informed it was fake but didn't remove it in a timely manner.
  • Where is the story here ? Its not satire, or free speech... it was malicious and designed to humiliate and hurt the victim. Case closed. More interesting to me is what information/tools were used to track the creation of the fake Facebook pages back to the perpetrator... (or...duh..did he use his own email address to set the account up?)
  • 'The significance of this case is that it shows that what you post is not harmless, but has consequences'

    If people are only just realising that now, then the world is in more trouble than I thought.

  • Guess Ross and Chandler should get a fine too.

  • Dumb (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ebonum (830686) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @07:39PM (#24328355)

    Forgetting the ethics of what this guy did, when will people learn that there are limits to anonymity online? I'm surprised how this keeps happening. People should know by now that they can be tracked.

    People who are more technically inclined should know to use proxies. Especially those based in countries that are unlikely to give the UK access to their logs - read: China/Russia. What about Tor? Honestly, posting stuff online that could get you in trouble directly from your home computer is on the same level of intelligence as robbing a bank with a big sign bearing your name, address and phone number.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aetuneo (1130295)
      On the other hand, robbing a bank with a big sign bearing someone else's name, address, and phone number is a fairly smart thing to do (assuming that you don't have a choice about robbing a bank), especially if your face is obscured. Even better, use a nametag, and pretend you just left a party, thus explaining why your name and contact information is written on a tag affixed to your shirt.

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