Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Porn Sites Sending Subpoenas To ISPs To Get Visitor Info

from the find-out-everything-you-want-to-know dept

That didn't take long. One of the arguments Verizon made against having to reveal subscribers names to the RIAA based on DMCA subpoenas was that it was a violation of privacy. The DMCA allowed subpoenas that were not reviewed by a judge, and the fear was that just about anyone could use the pretext of "copyright infringement" to get access to an ISPs' subscriber data - and the subscriber would have no legal recourse to stop it. Well, now it seems that this scenario is happening. I'm not sure where the evidence is from, but this article claims that a porn website has filed a number of subpoenas to find out who has been visiting their site. The writer expects other sites to follow suit, just to fill up their marketing database. Just take your log files, and send out "DMCA copyright infringement subpoenas" to various ISPs and you end up with a nice database of everyone who has visited your site, including all of their private contact info. Of course, hopefully, as these scams get uncovered, the legal system will deal harshly with those who filed false subpoenas. As the article states, there's no reason why the ISPs should be forced to reveal the info when it can simply be a "John Doe" procedure. The individual in question is kept secret until a judge can determine if the case has merit. If they decide there's no merit, then the individual remains anonymous. If it does have merit, then the name is revealed.

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