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More on New Jersey Attorney General's Investigation of JuicyCampus.com:

New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine has more, including this:

The attorney general contends that the site is violating the consumer fraud act because it fails to "honor the terms and conditions that it informs the public it will adhere to."

I called consumer affairs spokesman Jeff Lamm and asked him to direct me to any terms and conditions on the site that are binding on the operator. If such terms or conditions existed, I reasoned, then JuicyCampus must have hired the dumbest lawyers on the planet.

It didn't. Although Lamm said he was told by the attorney general's legal staff that "there were representations on the site about people who visit the site being able to report objectionable or malicious content or content that violates one's right to privacy," he couldn't direct me to any such representations.

In fact, the site's FAQ (frequently asked questions) section goes out of its way to tell complainers to buzz off. The answer to the question "What if I see a comment that isn't true?" amounts to five paragraphs of the old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

Then there's this:

"Q. I'm offended!

"A: Sorry. Also, that's not a question ..."

David Wald, Milgram's spokesman, said the site is fraudulent because "there's no avenue to remove postings." But that would be fraudulent only if the site's operators had promised to remove postings. They didn't. And of course there are tens of thousands of other websites out there that offer no avenue to remove postings. Are they all subject to $10,000 fines under New Jersey consumer law?

The American Civil Liberties Union doesn't think so. "I can't fathom how the AG could consider this a target for a consumer fraud claim," said Deborah Jacobs of the New Jersey chapter....

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. JuicyCampus Lawyer Responds About the New Jersey Attorney General's Investigation:
  2. More on New Jersey Attorney General's Investigation of JuicyCampus.com:
  3. Misrepresentation by JuicyCampus?
BruceM (mail) (www):
Without going to the site or having ever heard of it, I assume Juicycampus.com does something that offends Jesus?
3.27.2008 8:35pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
I may be feeling especially cynical today, but this just reinforces my feeling that a whole bunch of prosecutors and attorneys general think "violates the law" means "offends me personally and/or will get my name in the paper."

With possibly the addition of the Spitzer Statute: "I don't have to be able to take it to trial if I can get enough press."
3.27.2008 8:57pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Verminous site, bogus investigation.

I still maintain that the way to handle the sort of thing is to:

(1) have offended people and their pals use online investigation to identify people making obnoxious comments and then expose them at their schools (many people, particularly dumbasses, use the same internet handle across multiple sites, and reveal more personal information at sites where they are more comfortable; my co-bloggers and I have identified "anonymous" online asshats by tracking down their Amazon wish pages, restaurant reviews, etc.);

(2) Investigate the terms on which the schools have extended use of the school networks to students. Is there a guarantee of privacy for traffic over the school-provided network? Or (if the schools are smart) is there an explicit disavowal of any expectation of privacy? If the latter, I'd be happy to see schools use traffic logs to identify students who posted some of the worst vile crap on Juicy Campus and then release their identities and what they posted. After all, (a) if you want to be anonymous, don't be an idiot and use an institution's expressly non-private internet connection, and (b) the right to speak does not include the right to be free of the social consequences of speech.
3.27.2008 9:12pm
Kazinski:
Just because JuicyCampus didn't commit consumer fraud, doesn't mean they weren't guilty of causing mortal offense to a NJ Assistant AG's wife's niece.

And something needs to be done about it.
3.28.2008 12:47am
Crunchy Frog:

Just because JuicyCampus didn't commit consumer fraud, doesn't mean they weren't guilty of causing mortal offense to a NJ Assistant AG's wife's niece.

She needs to get out more.
3.28.2008 2:14am
EricE:
Aren't many web publishers immune from liability because they are the vehicles for others' content? If someone posts a message and then asks the site operator to delete that message, and the site operator refuses - instead leaving the message in public view forever - who is the defacto publisher of that information? Certainly not the original poster?

Why does the website not become liable for the content after the request to remove it is made?

Whether or not this this violates state fraud laws, it seems that there is a distinction here that is not being made? The poster has a right to speak, but she also has a right not to have others speak for her, no?
3.28.2008 3:19am
Dave N (mail):
When I agree with the ACLU I know that something's wrong. I don't see the consumer fraud either.
3.28.2008 3:19am
pmorem (mail):
Without going to the site or having ever heard of it, I assume Juicycampus.com does something that offends Jesus?

That sounds like a knee-jerk reaction. Why would you assume that?

It's also not correct. Kazinski's offering is far more likely to be correct, but I haven't seen any factual basis for it.
3.28.2008 5:35am
TruePath (mail) (www):
pmorem: It was a joke (a pretty amusing one too).
3.28.2008 9:39am
pgepps (www):
no question juicycampus.com is, as one commenter put it, "verminous." Pestilential, disreputable, and the old standby offensive also come to mind.

But it's not consumer fraud. And there's just no good way to turn entirely justifiable indignation into legislation, in such matters.

That asinine behavior is protected by a decent respect for liberty only makes its asininity more shameful, though.
3.28.2008 11:15am
Thomas Richardson (mail):
I guess this brings up a different point, but does an individual who has been written about on the site have any legal grounds to attempt to (a) obtain information as to who the poster of harmful material is and (b) subsequently carry out legal action against these individuals? One would, I suppose, at first possibly claim 'free speech', but could it not be treated as some sort of publication reaching a 3rd party instead?
3.29.2008 2:50pm