There has been a substantial increase in number of internet based attacks in recent time and most of these attacks are mainly launched prior to or during the ongoing litigation. Focus or target of such attacks is either to obtain crucial information for the lawsuit or to harm the competitor. To avoid detection and identification attackers use fake pages of free websites like Facebook or anonymous Email accounts as it is really easy to fish anybodies information by such pages. Such fake accounts can be created by providing unauthentic information like name, address, etc and tracing the origin is also quite difficult. In this post I will try to address both the legal and technical steps one can take when a client is subject to internet-based activity that damages the client’s personal reputation or professional reputation. Below are some approaches which have proved worthy in such sensitive situations.
As soon as you feel that your information has got compromised by any un-legitimate website, quickly try to get the identity of that website. You can use the free online database of the Websites owner information and its demographic information. One of the free directories of Website information is www.whois.net. It is quite possible that the owner would have given incorrect information there but at least you can get the correct geographical information which cannot be spoofed. Once you get the information you can present it in front of the court and this might second you in destroying the credibility of the opponent and can also lay high charges and under the outrageous conduct under Section 2503, 42 Pa C.S.
All the globally used social sites like Google, Facebook has their own conduct for dealing with such situations where in people spoof their identity to capture other peoples details. As soon as you encounter such thing happening with you, just fill in the specific complaint forms available on these websites. Please note that this should be done as soon as possible or else they will not respond to your request or complaint. After following the proper channel of filing the complaint form you can threaten the attacker to sue the hosting site unless they remove the material. Depending upon the kind of material that has been stolen or inadequately shown on the websites you can file litigation on the grounds of privacy invasion acts. Also if the information is not actually false but makes your client in false light and can damage the image of your client even then the litigation can be filed.
You can assert copyright or trademark claims covering any of the information being used that will provide an additional basis to pressure the hosting site to take the information down promptly. As most of the time the hosting site is normally not liable simply for hosting the information, once they are put on actual notice that they are hosting copyrighted or trademarked material without your client’s authorization, they can also be sued for damages. If the above methods do not work, then you can even file a request for temporary restraining order. Once you have got a signed TRO then you should fax and email it to all the hosting sites along with their complaint forms and they will promptly remove the material.