Monday, March 14, 2011

"Textual" Harassment Case Over Anonymous Text Claiming Infidelity

A Naples Florida couple recently filed a defamation lawsuit against an unknown entity for sending a text message claiming that one of the spouses were having an affair with an employ. The whole incident was made worse by the fact that the husband and wife were celebrating the wife's 45th birthday when the text message arrived on the wife's cell phone. The text message came in anonymously and they did not recognize the phone number. They hired an attorney to get to the bottom of the anonymous message. The lawsuit allows the attorney to start serving subpoenas to trace the origin of the message.

The couple's lawsuit, filed in Collier Circuit Court, alleges the anonymous texter knew the text message was made-up and defamatory, creating severe emotional stress for the couple. The lawsuit, assigned to Circuit Judge, seeks damages of $15,000 or more.

Harassment and defamatory comments are on the rise in electronic mediums such as the internet, SMS texting, blogs and social networking sites. So are requests for subpeonas to sequester information that would reveal the identites of anonymous commenters, e-mailers and texters. Thirty-seven states, including Florida, have passed cyberharassment laws. Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington focus on texting in addition to e-mails, blogs, the Internet and other forms of electronic communication, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Silent Sender has always expressed the important of "thinking before you click". If you want to send an anonymous message you better make sure you are not abusing the power of anonymity for nefarious purposes. Unfortunately, valuable tools like anonymous email can be used for "good" and "bad". With great power comes great responsibility.

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