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Major League Baseball hunts for trolls posting porn

Seeks subpoena naming anonymous genitalia uploaders

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Major League Baseball is seeking a court order requiring an internet service provider to identify people posting pornographic images and threats to parts of its MLB.com website, Reuters reports.

Attorneys for the league asked a New York state judge on Thursday for a subpoena that would order St. Louis-based Charter Communications to name the person or people posting the material. The court filing said MLB has repeatedly tried to ban them, and has traced the IP addresses used to post the messages to Charter. The postings make threats against an individual referred to as McCabe and include images of what the posters said was their genitalia.

The court document described the postings as “threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, demeaning, offensive, pornographic, profane, sexually explicit, indecent and inappropriate” and said they violate “all reasonable standards of decency,” Reuters reported. The language appears to be an attempt to convince the court that a subpoena in the case is warranted, but according to Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, it's probably a stretch.

Subpoenas, he said, can be issued only when there is evidence someone has engaged in a crime or act that can be redressed in a civil complaint, and based on the facts available, that doesn't appear to be the case.

“If it's an open website that allows people to post information anonymously and people post stuff [MLB officials] don't like, the quick answer is the site administrators should be policing the site,” he said. “Time would be better spent moderating the forum.”

What's more, the most seasoned trolls often use infected PCs to proxy their connections, so it wouldn't be all that surprising if a subpoena failed to out true source of the offensive postings.

The Reuters article is here. ®

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