Web prankster publishes personal sex details
This article talks about a sick web prank on Craiglist, where
Jason Fortuny posted an entrapment (a fake sex ad) and then
published the personal details (and in some cases, nude photo's) of
those who responded via e-mail.
"If a really malicious person wanted to get on craigslist and
ruin a lot of people's lives, he easily could. . .
He wrote, "178 responses, with 145 photos of men in various
states of undress. Responses include full e-mail addresses (both
personal and business addresses), names, and in some cases IM
screen names and telephone numbers."
In a staggering move, he then published every single response,
unedited and uncensored, with all photos and personal
Encyclopedia Dramatica (kinda like Wikipedia for web fads
and Internet drama). Read the
responses (warning: sexually explicit material).""
Many folks are saying that Mr. Fortuny is mean and evil, but it
appears that what he did is not a crime.
Sadly, low-income losers (without assets to take in a civil
lawsuit) have free reign to ruin the reputations of private citizens
without fear of jail time.
We all remember the famous 20/20 TV show where child molester
were entrapped using the web, and the TV show had no qualm's
exposing the personal details of the pervs because it is in the
Invasion of Privacy?
In this case, the article alleges that some of the respondents
were married and seeking an adulterous relationship, but the central
question is whether it's in the public interest to expose
Many States have laws against
invasion of privacy, and in some places you can be sued for
disclosing embarrassing facts about someone, even if they are
Invasion of Privacy, A New Tort in Town, judges Breeeden and
Zayicek note that the the right to privacy is protected in many
"the wrongful intrusion into one’s private
activities, in such manner as to outrage or cause mental
suffering, shame, or humiliation to a person of ordinary
They also note that the U.S. Supreme Court has
agreed that publishing embarrassing facts about a private citizen
(even if the statements of fact are completely true):
This (U.S. Supreme) Court has approved the
following as a fairly comprehensive definition of what
constitutes an actionable invasion of the right of privacy:
The unwarranted appropriation or
exploitation of one’s personality, the publicizing of one’s
private affairs with which the public has no legitimate concern,
or the wrongful intrusion into one’s private activities, in such
manner as to outrage or cause mental suffering, shame, or
humiliation to a person of ordinary sensibilities.
In some cases, bloggers who embarrass people have been levied
hefty damages "The Pensacola News Journal was ordered to pay
a $18.28 million jury verdict for actual harm to a businessman by
casting him in a "false light."
"People who use blogs and message boards are publishing
statements in a public forum and the same rules apply as they
would if these statements were published in a newspaper.
"If a statement is likely to provoke hatred, ridicule or
contempt, and the blogger is not able to prove that it is either
true or a fair comment based on fact, then a libel has been
South Carolina has strict laws against invasion of privacy. In
the publication "THE
RIGHT TO PRIVACY vs. THE FIRST AMENDMENT" (1978), author Alice
Marie Beard notes that in many States it is illegal to intrude upon
someone's seclusion or solitude, to publicly disclose embarrassing
private facts about someone; or to generate publicity that places
the someone in a "false light" in the public eye.
It ought to be a crime?
It appears that Mr. Fortuny is in a heap-o-trouble from lawsuits,
but it he has as much money as he has ethics, it's likely that he is
judgment proof. As the old country lawyer one said "You cannot
get blood from a turnip".
The really scary part is that anyone who is judgment proof
(without assets) has free rein to disclose private facts and ruin
the reputation of private citizens.