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Bullshit legal threats for online identity management

Crop of 'My Cyber Social Map' by <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/crystaleagle/2386230724/' title='Flickr: My Cyber Social Map'>frankdasilva</a>

Crop of 'My Cyber Social Map' by frankdasilva

It seems that people are beginning to realize that what they say, or what is said about them, online, could actually matter. More so, if it shows up on Google. Which is exactly what happened to a certain individual, who was recently looking up his own name, and found something he did not like. A forum post, from 2004.

“I found said post as hit #7. The absurd comments contained within could be classified as nothing other than slanderous, if not criminal. My name is not one that is common so I am taking these accusations personally and I ask that they are removed immediately so that further action is not required.”

Among many problems with the above claim, is the fact that the post in question was about some kid, who happened to go by the same name, doing stupid things in high school. If the age discrepancy or the absurdity of the context doesn’t click in, perhaps the fact that it’s an opinion posted by an anonymous users on a forum should.

It is unreasonable to take everything posted on forums or blogs as facts.

Besides, the forum itself, and it’s operators (myself and Dan) are just a carrier, and can’t be held responsible for the actions of 3rd party users. Still, some seem to be under the impression that big words and threats are the way to go.

So we’ve started a wiki page of Legal Threats that we’ve received; it will be updated as more show up. That’s right, we are doing it The Pirate Bay style — all threats will be publicly posted. We even have enough time to reply!

A few lessons learned:

1. Your name will be searched online. Internet content should be considered permanent, so try to do something noteworthy.

2. Failing to do the above, start a blog. If anything, it should rank higher than absurd 4 year old forum posts about random kids.

3. If you plan on threatening someone and make it sound all serious — you have to take it seriously as well. Otherwise that nonsense will just end up on the internet. See point #1.

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Discussion

  1. Posted by Olga | February 23, 2009, 3:20 am

    Is it wrong that I kind of hope your site gets more threats? It’s entertaining! ;)

    Reply to comment

  2. Posted by Aaron | March 15, 2009, 11:51 pm

    HAHAHAHA – Entertaining indeed.

    Michael _G_ has got to finding something better to do with his time than googling himself and sending _stupid_ threats to people. Yes Michael, stupid.

    Love the Legal Threats page – not as “explicit” as TPB but still good :P

    Reply to comment

  3. Posted by Matt | April 4, 2009, 8:16 am

    Gotta love it. Some people always find something to complain about. By the way, I think it’s hilarious you started a wiki about legal threats you recieve. Wonder how many complaints you’ll get about that.

    Reply to comment

  4. Posted by Darkshackle | April 26, 2009, 8:38 am

    Michael _G_ has got to finding something better to do with his time than googling himself and sending _stupid_ threats to people. Yes Michael, stupid.

    Reply to comment

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