Feeds

SexSearch.com gets off on user's underage romp

Her profile said she was 18, your honor!

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The judge rejected Doe's arguments that SexSearch was an information content provider because it reserved the right to revise profiles, pointing out that sites are only liable when they modify the specific information relating to a plaintiff's claims. Since the plaintiff here never argued that SexSearch modified Jane Roe's profile, the judge held that Section 230 applied to block the suit.

The decision completely ignored the recent Ninth Circuit Roommates.com opinion that stripped a roommate-search social network of its Section 230 immunity based on its practice of guiding roommate-seekers to certain profiles based on information provided during the registration process. The court ruled that this channeling created an additional layer of information that qualified the site as an information content provider.

That situation seems largely analogous to the current case, yet the court didn't give it a single mention. There could be a number of reasons for this: a) the plaintiff didn't bring it up in his arguments to the court; b) the decision isn't binding precedent on this district court, since it lies within the 6th Circuit; c) the judge, like nearly everyone else, thinks the 9th Circuit's decision was crap; or d) all of the above.

Instead of following the 9th Circuit down the rabbit hole, the judge's ruling more closely tracked the Doe v. Myspace decision out of Texas that exonerated the popular social network against claims of negligence following the sexual assault of a minor by a man she met through MySpace.

Not only did the courts both find that Section 230 applied, but they also found that it protected the sites against charges other than the usual claims of defamation - breach of contract and fraud for SexSearch, and negligence for MySpace.

The court here went even further for SexSearch, and also ruled that Doe's claims failed on the merits. That is, even without the Section 230 immunity, Doe hadn't stated a case that had any legal possibility of success.

While Doe may be out of luck, the ruling is good news for social sex networks and dating sites. But it may also turn out to be bad for the users of those services.

With no impetus for the sites to weed out age cheats, the possibility that more John Does out there could find themselves surrounded by cops one morning only increases.

Of course, as the judge here pointed out, Doe did have ample opportunity to verify Roe's age before having sex with her.

And considering that she was barely out of middle school and he was meeting her at her family home, that probably would have been wise.®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.