How do we prevent such a situation?


Yesterday I saw this story about Lori Drew who was recently acquitted off her crimes by US federal judge. Remember Lori Drew? The woman who impersonated a boy’s profile on MySpace and drove a girl (Megan Taylor Meier) to suicide?

What I found interesting was the argument put forward by her attorney.

Dean Steward argued that the facts used to support Drew’s conviction on illegal access –that she violated the website’s terms of service by creating a false account — do not constitute a criminal offense and there is no evidence she even knew the rules existed.

I argue with his argument that most people are not aware of the laws or bother to read through the terms of service. But do everyone on “dating sites” like MySpace lie? Is there any details posted on your Facebook / Orkut account which you would call a lie? At least not in my case. I am surprised no one pointed out the difference between lying on a small detail and impersonation. Even if no one pointed it out to the attorney, I can’t believe judge took his theory to come to such a conclusion.

That said, what rules does India have in this regard? Of course there is a law which holds bloggers responsible for content posted on blogs and even for content posted in comments. (comments too?) So what about Fake IPL Player, the same dude who’s cynical posts were one of the reasons quoted for the increasing conflict within Kolkata team? Can Shah Rukh Khan sue him? If yes, why didn’t he? Would a judge in India accept to the point put forward by the lawyer in MySpace case? I doubt it. That aside, shouldn’t India make an addition to its IT law to get rid of such a loop hole…

After all, you have to ‘agree to the terms’ when you sign up for any service don’t you? What say?

8 replies on “How do we prevent such a situation?”

We have funny rules in India. Shiv Sena and their goons go round attacking people in Bombay and vandalising property. The police stands back and enjoys the scene.

A blogger sets up an anti Shiv Sena group on Orkut and he is promptly arrested and harassed.

Wonder who are the morons ruling us.

Well there is no point blindly aping laws in other countries. India should learn from the cases happening abroad and try to come up with a more comprehensive law in India. Implementation is a different case altogether 😀

Nikhil, I thought exactly the same as you!

I think that people probably do not read the small print (or even the large print) when signing on-line agreements, and I certainly fall into that category. Those agreements are there to protect the providers and I bet that MySpace is mighty glad it had one in place in this particular case.

By the way Balu, nice fresh new look to this blog.

@Paul Nixon
Thank you Paul, turns out I won a theme in a contest 😀 Will blog about it later.
Sorry about misleading you people, I think the file that does auto-image resize has a bug. The image was a little skewed, also text (apart from the heading) doesn’t appear on the home page, that too needs a fix!

As far as the finer print goes it’s way too confusing to me. I read them carefully only when I am getting a paid account in any service.

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