It's Carib, I've been very
quite this week watching this stock sink further into
On my porch here in Barbados, I came across this
frightening article in the Miami Herald. Yes, a Miami-Dade
Court Judge has ordered Yahoo and AOL to disclose the
identity of an anonymous message writer who is now being
sued for defamation by a Fort Lauderdale businessman.
I believe that the Electronic Privacy Information
Center will be fighting this, as well as other civil
liberties groups. And Yahoo is not taking a position one
way or another. Do you believe that they are not
fighting to protect us.
What does this means to
us. It means as badly as we think that Cendant may be
managed, that we have to be careful about call Henry a
____, _____ or _______. Because, based on this case and
where it goes, he can sue you. It's really pretty
disgusting, but who ever said our court system was fair.
Hence, Killers can go loose because of technicalities or
no room in our jails, and the court system can be
tied up concentrating on a poor anonymous message
writer who was obviously as upset at this Fort
Lauderdale businessman, and his company management as many
of the guests writing on this board. Makes no
Published Friday, May 26, 2000, in the Miami Herald (to see
full article, it's on Herald.com
AOL, Yahoo! to identify online writer
Circuit Court judge on Thursday ordered America Online
and Yahoo! to divulge the identity of an anonymous
message writer sued for defamation by Fort Lauderdale
businessman J. Erik Hvide -- saying Hvide has every right to
face his accuser.
Although the issue of
releasing identities behind screen names has been at the
core of much legal debate, attorneys in this case and
national experts believe Circuit Judge Eleanor Schockett's
ruling is the first court order to question whether
``John Doe'' has a constitutional right to anonymous
speech on the Internet.
Schockett deemed Hvide's
right to face his accuser in court more important than
the defendant's right to remain
Privacy advocates said the ruling sends a frightening
message to Internet users: If you critique someone
online, a lawsuit may be coming your way.
has become an increasingly common tactic to silence
criticism on the Internet,'' said David Sobel, general
counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy
Information Center. ``If the courts decline to provide some
protection for anonymity, then that really is a negative
development for free speech on the Internet.''
recent years, people under attack from anonymous
message-posters have increasingly relied on subpoenas to root out
their attackers' identities. But Yahoo! rarely notified
its customers when they were being sued, so the
anonymous writers had no chance to challenge the subpoena.
Thinking their screen names were protection enough, they
were unmasked without a fight.
pressure from such agencies as Sobel's, Yahoo! recently
changed that policy. Hvide's anonymous critic had time to
hire a lawyer.
Yahoo! attorney Clifford A.
Wolff said the Internet company would not take a
position one way or another on the issue -- but indicated
the company wouldn't contest a judge's order.
But the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida,
which urged Schockett to keep the identity secret,
fears the decision could set millions of chat room
users on edge about every posting they
``Hvide made general allegations about being criticized
and being damaged, and I think the judge needs to
look into those before opening the door to a policy
that may threaten free speech on the Internet,'' ACLU
Executive Director Howard Simon said after the
Schockett placed a 20-day stay on her ruling to allow time
for an appeal, but Leigh said his client has not
decided whether to appeal.
I have an opposing viewpoint.
would use more common sense when posting on public
forums, you'd never see anyone go to all the time,
trouble, and legal expense of tracking them down. But some
people don't have any common sense. They think they can
tell outright lies, and completely defame people or
companies they may not even know based on hearsay or other
types of information for which all the facts aren't
known. They cause damage, sometimes to a very great
degree. These people do not care one little bit about how
much damage they do to the shareholders of the
corporations they lie about, or about people who they defame,
and their families.
I'm sorry, that's just not
fair. It's sick, and it's wrong. How would you like it
if you were an important public figure, and somebody
was allowed to make public yet anonymous shots at you
with no ability for you to defend youself from the
comments? Especially when the "comments" tend to be really
horrible things that attack one's basic integrity,
character, and moral values. How would you like your family
members to have to be exposed to horrible lies said about
you in an authoritative way? Personally, I think
people who cross that line, who go too far with their
attacks should be found and then pounded.
line: You are posting on a public forum. Watch your
mouth. Be prepared to back up what you say, or state
very clearly that this is your private opinion and
that it's unsupported by any known facts. Do not post
statements as though they were factual when you know them to
either be misleading or outright lies. Our society must
be based on good, honest, forthright communications.
Some of the stuff I see on these chat boards is not
fit for a bathroom wall. People that spew this type
of crap should not be allowed to hide from the
people they are attacking.
Just my opinion.
Did anyone else recieve the Proof of Claim Release re: Cendant Corp. Litagation?? Is it worth my time & the postage to fill out & send in??? I don't presently own CD but did in April of 98.
Your post is very eloquent,
but I fully disagree. It's all about freedom of
expression, the constitution, and the bill of rights. And the
internet is no different. America was build on freedom,
whether religious freedom, or political freedom. Our
ancestors fought many wars, and many died in the battle
fields to preserve this right. Your comments remind me
of Rush Limbough, and some of the other scary, right
wing view points. Rush may be on Monday night
football, another scary thought. Believe me, I am no
liberal either, but the right to personal freedom is
essential to preserve our society.
freedom, the behavorial components that led the Nazi
Germany could prevail again.
This law suite will
hopefully get stopped in the appeal process. In the
meatime, someone's anononymity was destroyed.
don't be naive to believe that Henry and CD management
don't review this board and fight back. Many companies
and I'm sure CD is no exception, have employees in
their PR depts, that review all the message boards and
selectivity comment. You don't know right away it's coming
from a CD employee, but it is.
Don't get me
wrong, your comments are welcome on this board, but I
couldn't disagree with you more.
Erik Hvide, I believe is the owner/ceo of
Hvide Marine, a company he has led straight
bankruptcy and taken his shareholders with him. Nothing
particularly good could have been
said about the
individual. The lawsuit is
Amazing, I believe that the law suite tries to
make the argument that the negative messages, and
character defamation on the Yahoo and AOL message boards,
helped take down the CEO and therefore, contributed to
the eventual bankuptcy.
This is unbelievable,
yet this first judge found for the plaintiff and the
innocent message board writer's name was disclosed. Now
the whole world knows who he is.