News & Analysis as of

Is an Internal Investigation Privileged?

An internal investigation into whistleblower allegations was privileged, thus protected from disclosure, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently held in Talisman Energy Inc v Flo-Dynamics Systems Inc, 2015 ABQB 561...more

Judge Orders Yelp to Identify Anonymous Negative Commenter

On September 15, a judge in Boston ruled that Yelp must reveal the identity of an anonymous commenter who wrote a negative review of a jeweler on the online review site. The order to non-party Yelp in the attempted...more

Fourth Circuit Holds Employer to High Standard for Responding to Anonymous Workplace Harassment

Employers and employees often face frustrations when trying to determine the identity of persons who engage in anonymous acts of harassment in the workplace. These acts can involve notes, graffiti, telephone messages or other...more

Yelp Fights for the Right to Complain Anonymously

In e-commerce, user reviews can make or break a business. Review sites such as Yelp are a double edged sword for merchants and service providers: on one hand satisfied customers can generate buzz about the company and bring...more

Socially Aware - Volume 6, Issue 2 - May 2015

In This Issue: - Court Protects Anonymity of Yelp Users - FTC Issues Landmark Report on Internet of Things - Who Will Update My Status When I’m Dead?: The Biggest Social Media Platforms’ Policies on...more

Court Protects Anonymity of Yelp Users

Virginia’s highest court recently held that Yelp could not be forced to turn over the identities of anonymous online reviewers that a Virginia carpet-cleaning owner claimed tarnished his business....more

EEOC Not Required to Identify Aggrieved Individual in Title VII Race Discrimination Claim

On April 7, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois held that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") is not required to identify an aggrieved individual in order to pursue a race...more

Blogger Immune From Suit for Anonymous Comments

A Pennsylvania judge in the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas ruled that the defendant blogger was not liable for anonymous posts in the “comments” section of his website, despite his active moderation of these posts....more

In Criminal Defense Can We Ever Trust An Anonymous Tip?

As a seasoned Arizona criminal defense attorney, I have learned that deceit often lurks behind anonymity. I think Fezzik said it best in the movie, The Princess Bride, when he told Inigo Montoya to be careful in his dealings...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Anonymity of Internet Poster

In the closing days of its January term, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument in Hadley v. Subscriber Doe. Hadley poses the question of whether the defendant is entitled to quash the plaintiff’s subpoena seeking to...more

Courts Continue To Find That Unique Device Identifiers Are Not Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Under The Video Privacy...

Two recent federal district court rulings regarding the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) follow the emerging trend of decisions indicating that courts are reluctant to find violations of the VPPA for sharing anonymous...more

Woodbridge Structured Funding LLC v. Pissed Consumer

Decision and Order of NY Appellate Division Affirming Order Dismissing Petition for Discovery of Anonymous Commenter

Decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, affirming the dismissal by the trial court in New York County which denied a petition to compel to disclose the identity of the person or persons who...more

"Courts Parse First Amendment Protections for Anonymous Critics Online"

The Supreme Court has long recognized that the freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment extends to anonymous speech, noting that “persecuted groups and sects … throughout history have been able to criticize...more

Employee Gripe Apps: Should Companies Be Concerned?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Lindsay Gellman on a new app by Collectively that allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers. The app is cheekily called...more

Status Updates - December 2014 #5

An undercover app. Internet innovators have for some time been trying to cash in on the public’s mounting desire for anonymous messaging platforms, with varied success. As we recently noted, at least 11 students at colleges...more

Status Updates - December 2014

Yik Yak arrests. For several months now we at Socially Aware have been writing about how college students have been using the purportedly anonymous messaging app Yik Yak to communicate deeply offensive remarks and threats of...more

Waldman: Stop Immunizing Websites That Allow Harassment [Video]

Nov. 18, 2014 (Mimesis Law) -- Ari Waldman, Professor at New York Law School, talks with Lee Pacchia about the recent theft and online dissemination of intimate photos belonging to a number of celebrities such as Jennifer...more

Status Updates - November 2014 #6

That’s a lot of latte. It turns out that Starbucks—not a company in the mobile payments business—was the first company to make in-person payments by mobile phone mainstream. According to recent statements by the coffee...more

Internet Free-Speech and the Push Towards Unmasking Online Anonymity

Internet heavyweights including Google, Facebook, and Twitter are backing the popular business review site Yelp in a Virginia Supreme Court case that has gained country-wide attention as having the potential to significantly...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Unravel Procedural Tangle in Internet Posting Case

Our previews of the newest additions to the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil docket continue with Hadley v. Subscriber Doe. Hadley is a defamation case arising from an anonymous internet posting, but that issue comes wrapped in...more

Unmasking the anonymous online critic – first, there is the matter of jurisdiction

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a 5-4 decision holding a plaintiff needs to establish jurisdiction over an anonymous blogger before a court will allow pre-suit discovery that would likely unmask the blogger’s...more

Status Updates - July 2014 #7

..Since launching its Google+ social network three years ago, Google has insisted that Google+ users use only their real names on the network — no pseudonyms. Perhaps in an effort to attract more users to Google+, the...more

Reviews Posted Under a Pseudonym Could be Defamatory

As written on this blog before, plaintiffs often have difficulty when alleging claims of defamation against anonymous defendants. Unsurprisingly, websites that provide a forum for anonymous commentary are loathe to reveal the...more

“Do You Want to Know a Secret?” The Risks Posed by Anonymous Social Apps

First we had social media platforms, but recently a variety of “anti-social” media platforms have emerged—well, anti-social in a sense. For years, social media platforms have encouraged (or even, in some cases, required) us...more

D.C. Court of Appeals Permits Early Anti-SLAPP Appeals for Anonymous Speakers

In a victory for anonymous speech, journalists and free speech advocates, the D.C. Court of Appeals, in John Doe No. 1 v. Burke (No. 13-CV-83), issued its first decision under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP statute....more

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