Dangerous Ruling For Online Commenters & Website Owners (Video)
By Susan Duclos
Thursday, January 9, 2014
A Virginia court has just made a very dangerous ruling which puts online commentators that use usernames or Anonymous instead of their real names, at risk of having their real names exposed. This also puts website owners at risk of being forced to betray users’ trust.
Yelp is a website where people can leave reviews of businesses they have used, either positive or negative so others may see the quality of service those specific businesses offer and a Virginia court has just ruled that Yelp must comply in providing a business, Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, with the names of their Anonymous users that wrote negative opinions and claimed Hadeed Carpet Cleaning conducted unfair business practices and deceptive advertising.
In an opinion that partially agree with the majority opinion and partially dissented, the senior judge makes the point that his dissent stems from Mr. Hadeed not provided any proof that the online critics were not his customers, jut suspicions.