Feeds

Facebook ordered to unmask anonymous trolls by beak

We've axed web pests' accounts... bitch

Top three mobile application threats

Facebook was given 24 hours to supply a court in Northern Ireland with the email addresses of account holders who used the site to post abusive messages about a Belfast company, according to press reports.

Three staff members from the unnamed company have been targeted by messages on the site over a period of several months, the BBC said. The social networking site had a day to provide the email addresses of the people responsible and 10 days to supply more information about them to the court.

Mr Justice Weatherup said last Friday that the company in question could not be named as to do so would draw more public attention to the matter. He did not disclose any of the content of the Facebook posts in question.

The court said that the messages had been posted on the site over a period of several months by people using pseudonyms. The company has not been able to find out who was sending the messages, it said.

There are strict controls over the disclosure of personal data under UK data protection laws. However, the Data Protection Act states that organisations are not held by these restrictions "where the disclosure is required by or under any enactment, by any rule of law or by the order of a court".

Under the Act, an exemption from the general rule covering non-disclosure of personal data also exists "where the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of, or in connection with, any legal proceedings (including prospective legal proceedings), or for the purpose of obtaining legal advice, or is otherwise necessary for the purposes of establishing, exercising or defending legal rights".

Previously, courts in England and Wales have ordered Facebook to hand over the names, email addresses and IP addresses of users who have posted abusive information about others on the site. In December last year the Court of Appeal ruled that a website which enabled users to buy and sell tickets for international rugby matches had to provide the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in England with the personal data of those who used the site, Viagogo, to trade those tickets at an inflated price. In the Viagogo case, the judge said that it was "proportionate" to overrule data protection laws where there was "no [other] realistic way of discovering the arguable wrong-doers".

A lawyer representing Facebook said that the social network would comply with the orders, while the accounts of the people responsible for the posts have been closed.

Copyright © 2012, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.