Be Careful What You Subpoena. It May Turn Up More Than You'd Like People To Know

from the oops dept

Remember the VC firm, EDF Ventures, which brought a lot more attention to a negative review on the website by sending a subpoena to find out who wrote the negative review? Well, it turns out the decision keeps getting worse and worse. VentureBeat has the details that were turned up by the subpoena -- and the result is more details of the criticism, but no identifying information of the poster. Since TheFunded allows parts of comments to be public, with other parts designated as "members only," the subpoena has now made the "members only" content public, and it trashes the deal terms offered by the firm and criticizes a partner who has no operating experience. Also, the details suggest that this wasn't a spurned entrepreneur, but an adviser or partner in some manner. Either way, beyond drawing more attention to a negative review, now the firm has made public even more critical info.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Shohat, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:43am


    Why do they even have the right to do this ? Someone leaves normal, reasonably worded criticism.
    Is there anything offensive/illegal in what he did ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jake, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 2:39am

    Hah! That'll teach them not to be juvenile about a critical remark in future! I'll be laughing about this one all day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 5:25am

    Re: Ahem

    Its one of the issues with our court system. It has to go to a magistrate/judge/jury before the stupidity of it can be decided.

    If there were harsher penalties for frivolous lawsuits it might help. Chances are it would just get abused like everything else though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Peter, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 6:29am

    You get what you deserve

    Talk about opening pandora's box.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    JB, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 7:08am

    Imposed Anonymity

    It's interesting the lengths to which they have gone to keep users anonymous even to the site owners. The user does not have an email address - which also means no ability to recover from a lost password. No information is saved from the user's membership application. No email address, no IP address. Payment information is not saved, so there no tie back to credit card information.

    The one potential stumbling block - the date and time of the post are saved, which could be tied back to generic server logs which contain the user's IP address. Although I'd have to guess those logs are not saved.

    A refreshing change from sites such as Google, Amazon, or eBay which track and record every move made by the user and tie it back to personally identifiable information.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Benjamin Wright, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 7:25am

    e-discovery subpoenas

    The legal idea of a subpoena has been around for a long time. And one might be surprised how easy it is to get a subpoena. But with the advent of e-discovery, old-fashioned subpoenas can today trigger a volcanic eruption of data disclosure. --Ben

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 19th, 2008 @ 7:33am


    This is crazy. It's just an anon comment on a freaking website! Why get out the big legal guns, Streisand it up, and act like a Diva?

    A better solution would be to lobby TheFunded to add a "feature" that would allow the VC firm a short rebuttal to reviews.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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