This is an update with new information about the case of ”Tunnel Rat” vs. APEX. It's assumed you have read the first and second story that I wrote on this issue so I don't have to repeat stuff about what is going on.
Status of court orders:
Facebook — conditional compliance with court order
Network Solutions — no response yet
Comcast — agreed to comply with court order
Yahoo — agreed to comply with court order
discountASP — agreed to comply with court order
Godaddy — agreed to comply with court order
Facebook sent the following email to Tunnel Rat. They may appear to be giving Tunnel Rat a way out, but there is a catch: A Motion to Quash takes a court order, and of course expensive lawyers. Facebook doesn’t give a deadline so there is no telling how long they will wait before obeying the Judge Hurley.
Subject: Re: Court Order To Violate My Privacy
Facebook has been recently issued a civil action court order regarding Docket No. MID-L-7879-09, which has been issued by the Honorable James P. Hurley. Please note that unless Facebook is issued a Motion to Quash, we might be legally obligated in responding to the judge's order. We strongly suggest that you contact your local legal representative regarding this matter as soon as possible due to the time sensitivity of this matter. Your legal representative may contact us at [page] http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=legal_inquiries if they wish to further correspond with a Facebook representative.
Thank you for your understanding,
Judge James P. Hurley of The Superior Court of New Jersey initiated what is called a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), in this case a cyberSLAPP.
Lawsuits targeting individuals who post anonymously on the Internet, usually because their posted messages criticize the actions of public figures or corporations, are sometimes called cyberSLAPPs. Like a regular SLAPP, a cyberSLAPP aims at chilling free speech by intimidating critics with the prospect of defending an expensive lawsuit. But it also often aims at uncovering the identity of the anonymous critic.
In the year 2000 Hurley was nominated for "Worst Family Court Judge in New Jersey" by FACE. It seems that things haven’t gotten much better since then.
So, APEX is using the document posted by an angry Indian employee as an excuse to go after the John Does. The John Does got caught in the middle of a labor struggle between bodyshop and one of their H-1B workers. Without doubt ideology is playing a major role also. The Indians that run APEX just plain don't like what those Americans had to say about APEX and H-1B. Computerwold reported the following (remember that the term "racist" is used to label anybody that wants to control immigration):
Patrick Papalia, an attorney representing Apex, said that the company has already identified an employee who left the initial comment. But he said the issue goes well beyond the agreement and involves threatening and racist comments against company officials, as well as ongoing allegations that it is engaging in illegal activities. "Apex has an outstanding reputation in the information technology field," he said.
For those that feel that Judge Hurley is overstepping, the state of New Jersey has a form called: How to File Complaint About a Judge.
So far, none of the John Does have lost their anonymity so at least the news isn’t all bad. At this point in time it’s not clear what else is going to happen. Hopefully APEX and the NJ court will get so much negative publicity they will offer to drop the case.