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Netscape complainant speaks to The Reg

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Following our initial coverage of the Netscape SmartDownload court case, we received a peeved email from the complainant Christopher Specht taking exception to our approach. Christopher is an "evidential photographer", which means he takes photographs of contentious scenes which are then produced in court as evidence.

Unsure at first that he wasn't an imposter, we asked for proof. And when he supplied it, we sent him a list of questions which he responded to. These are them.

Incidentally, Christopher chose not to answer the following questions: How did you become aware of the SmartDownload problem? How are you funding the case?

Feel free to draw whatever conclusions you like. He also denied our request to publish the email conversation we had with him.

Did you contact Netscape prior to your court case?
No we did not.

What are your aims with this court case?
I would say that that is pretty well outlined in the complaint.

Are you willing to settle out of court?
Joshua Rubin, Esq. [Specht's attorney] has full authority to make such decisions on the case. I am extremely confident that he will make the best recommendation for myself and all others that have been affected by this particularly egregious invasion of privacy. I won't settle my individual claim, and this class action cannot be settled before there has been notice to the class and an opportunity for all to be heard on the settlement.

What is your gut feeling concerning AOL's attitude?
I feel that AOL is sort of the 'Anti-Christ of privacy'

Are you not worried about tackling such an enormous company?
No. The allegations are irrefutably true and have been independently corroborated by third parties as a result of the lawsuit (see http://grc.com/downloaders.htm and http://www.tecchannel.de/internet/469), many class members are outraged and many more would be if they knew what AOL was doing, and my counsel are extremely experienced and successful in this type of litigation.

How do you rate your chances of success?
Excellent.

Is there anything you'd like to make clear to the public?
YES - Webmasters have no way of preventing this invasion. Moreover, even files that are placed on "the back end" for personal and confidential transfer may be reported back. Being in the legal and evidential business, I often transfer private and sensitive information that is intended ONLY for the recipient and no one else. I have a responsibility to my customers and clients to protect this information to the best of my ability. Netscape/AOL have totally undermined that.

How do you rate the media's coverage of your case?
Overall, it has been quite positive. I have received a lot of correspondence applauding the suit and expressing outrage at AOL's actions.

What do you think Netscape should do?
I cannot comment on that at this time other than what is already outlined in the complaint. ®

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