Boxer Curtis Woodhouse Tracks Down Twitter Troll, Shows Up at His House

Reading this article made me consider the legality of “doxxing” a person.  For those unfamiliar “dox” is an internet slang word for finding and releasing personally identifiable information, such as their real name, address, or account information. In this instance, I am unsure how he got the person’s name and address, but clearly he had intentions of confronting the person.  This could have resulted in a violent altercation.  A couple of questions that came to mind:

Can a person be liable (criminally or civilly)  for “doxxing” someone who then suffers harm as a result of being “doxxed”?

Should the act of “doxxing” be considered a tort?

In some states, you can be sued for publishing private facts about another person.  “Private facts” refers to information about someone’s personal life that has not been previously revealed to the public, that is not of legitimate public concern, and the publication of which would be offensive to a reasonable person. However, the law protects you if you publish something that is already publicly available.

Some states also consider it a tort to unreasonably intrude upon the seclusion or solitude of a person.  In order to bring an action for tort of privacy invasion based upon the concept of intrusion on the seclusion of another, the following elements must be established (Doe v. High-Tech Inst., Inc., 972 P.2d 1060 (Colo. Ct. App. 1998)):

-that defendant committed an unauthorized intrusion or prying into plaintiff’s seclusion;
-that intrusion was highly injurious and objectionable to a reasonable man;
-that matter intruded on was private; and
-that intrusion resulted in agony and suffering to plaintiff.

It seems from this that a person can be held liable for “doxxing” someone if that person is harmed, or if the information released is not newsworthy or publicly available.


NCAA Loosens Social Media Policy for Sportscasters

I must confess that I pride myself of knowing my college sports, and on having a fairly strong understanding of social media.  I even know that the NCAA has very strict regulations regarding whether athletes can tweet about their teams.  But what I was not familiar with was the NCAA strict ruling on non-athlete social media use.  Apparently, the NCAA had a rule on the books that limited the number of posts credentialed media could post to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.  The theory behind the ruling was that constant updates would deter viewers from watching the broadcast versions of the games, and in turn would hurt advertising revenue.  But with upcoming March Madness upon us, there is some good news.  Apparently the NCAA is having a change of heart.  No longer will the NCAA cap a reporter’s use of social media.   NCAA’s change of heart reflects the larger trend among corporations, government and sports organizations from viewing social media as a threat to viewing it as a necessary accessory; one that complements viewing of traditional broadcasts.  I am all for the ruling, but if CBS starts showing little hashtags on the bottom right-side of the screen, much like American Idol or Glee, I’m out!

Social Media’s Role in Trump v. Maher

Donald Trump is suing Bill Maher for breach of contract.   Last month Maher made an announcement during the Jay Leno show that he would pay the charity of Trump’s choice $5 million if Trump released his birth certificate.  Maher made the offer in response to Trump’s seemingly illogical calls for President O’Bama’s birth certificate, which he made as head of the so called birther movement.  Trump, who in the court filings identifies himself as “a highly successful businessman, investor, and television personality” claims that Maher’s failure to honor the offer constitutes a breach. So  what does social media have to do with the seemingly easy contracts case?  In his complaint, Trump alleges that Maher “engaged in base insults, stating that Mr. Trump’s postings on the Twitter social networking service are the work of a “syphilitic monkey.”  Not sure what these posts have to do with a contracts claim; the comments might be better suited for libel.  Except there are a host of defenses for Maher on this one; truth, privilege, failure to cause special damages, absence of malice (after all, by his own admission, Trump is a public figure)   Which one’s do you think would stick?

Social Media Firms are Moving into the Middle East

Social Media firms are now increasing their presence in the Middle East. The companies hope to capitalize on the recent popularity of social media in the region.  They are asserting their presence via digital advertising. Digital advertising has traditionally not been used in the Middle East.  According to The New York Times, print advertising, and television advertising, have been the main methods of advertising.   It will interesting to follow whether digital advertising will take off in the Middle East. Click on this link to read The New York Times article about the topic.

Employer’s Attempts to Limit Employee Speech – and the NLRB’s Response

This semester, I’m writing about how social media has changed/is changing the face of employment discrimination law suits. In that vein, here’s an article from the NYTimes about how employers have attempted to limit employee speech online – regulations which have clashed with union advocates and federal regulations.


France to prohibit the use of #hashtags

It amazing to see just how far the French Government is willing to go to prevent Anglicization of its country. A French governmental commission, charged with assuring that Anglican words and traditions don’t infiltrate its boarders, has directed that all official French government legislation and correspondence use the word mot-diese, (meaning sharp word) in place of the familiar hashtag.   A few years back the French government was successful in changing the word email to courriel, and so there is no reason to think that the new word for hashtag might just catch on beyond the governmental mandate.  Interesting to see just how far a country can go in mandating language, without the cloak of the Constitution as a bar.


What do we mean when we say social media?

The Dayton Business Journal recently published the list of the top ten most visited social media websites. The list was compiled based on total number of visits.  No big surprise with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in the top three spots.  Interesting to me was that Pintrest ranked fourth and that two relatively new sites, MeetMe and Tagged, scored pretty high up there, bumping Yelp at the same time.  Nothing much legal about a list of sites, but I think it interesting to have a sense of just what we are speaking of when we say “social media.”

Husband of Prosecutor Defends Wife on Twitter

So, the Husband of the U.S. Prosecutor who charged Aaron Swartz was using Twitter to defend his Wife’s reputation. It didn’t go over well, apparently.   Interesting to note that under the Model Rules, a Prosecutor probably shouldn’t be saying the kind of things that her husband did on his Twitter – does SHE have any responsibility for what HE posts?

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