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UPDATE TO Grooming Of Men On The Internet. Seriously…..

Further to the warning issued by Yair Cohen in March 2011, this is the latest  ALERT:

“The traps appear to involve attractive Eastern European or Middle Eastern women”

We have recently been instructed by a number of men who have fallen victim to an advanced honey trap set by a gang operating in various online chat rooms, targeting men over 40 years old.  In particular, this has been emanating from the Lycos 40+ chat room

The traps appear to involve attractive Eastern European or Middle Eastern women, whose online profile/account is up to 3 days old.

The chat is always instigated by the woman who would quickly suggest a video chat.  During the video chat the issue of nakedness is raised by the woman, who routinely offers to take her top off, a few minutes into the chat. She then encourages the man to strip off naked and pleasure himself in front of the camera.

The woman captures the video on her pc and then abruptly cuts off the chat. Minutes later, she sends an internet link to her victim, for him to view the video featuring him online. This is always accompanied by a payment demand of between £300-£1,500 to be paid immediately by paypal.

We have seen evidence that failure to adhere to the extortion has resulted in an almost instantaneous viral dissemination of the video, with links appearing on popular websites such as YouTube, Blogger and Mefeedia.com.

Most video host websites tend to remove the offending material once notified, but the cached pages (an image of a previously live webpage) may still appear on the internet for many months together with page titles such ‘John Smith paedophile/sex offender etc.

In most cases it is possible to speed up the process of removing cached pages but this might require expert intervention.

bains cohen solicitorsThere is an old saying that “the first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging”. If you discover that your online reputation has been tarnished on a rough website and that bad results are appearing against your name upon every Google search, do yourself a favour and overcome the natural tendency of constantly clicking on the link to the bad result.

A defamatory remark on the internet is similar to a toothache – we feel almost a compulsive need to touch and feel the pain – in case it has already gone without us noticing it.

Sadly, with defamatory remarks on the internet, the more you click the more powerful they become. Google gives priority to popularity. So every click makes the bad comment more dominant and in Google’s view also more important, which means that the defamatory remark will constantly be climbing up the search engine results with more people seeing it.

When people see a link to a defamatory page against them, they tend to tell friends and family about it with the result that the link to the bad comment becomes very popular. The more people who click on the link to see what is being said about their friend/family, the more likely it is that the link will remain at the top of the search engine. So remember that the first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging.

An internet law expert will use special tools to examine the link and the defamatory page regularly without actually adding to its popularity. So if you are unfortunate enough to have enemies who have taken upon themselves to defame your character online – make sure you don’t tell the world about it and take legal advice from an internet law expert as soon as possible. ”

By: Yair Cohen

There is a big difference between traditional defamation law solicitors and the modern online defamation lawyers. Defamation law and online defamation law are arguably two very distinct areas of law.

This is why, with all the best intentions, old- fashioned defamation advice in relation to online defamation can sometimes backfire, in the sense that even if the case is won at court, the defamation still remains online and can even increase in volume.

Internet law and online defamation law are not subjects which are taught at law schools. They can only be mastered by constant usage and by plenty of practical experience.

Read More on Choosing an Online Defamation Solicitor

 
 

Online Defamation Defence Tools

Creating a basic blog, with information about the services and products that your business offers, can help you create defence shields all around your business reputation.

You can start your own business blog in minutes using WordPress or Blogger and turn it into a very powerful weapon in your fight against online defamation.

If you post information about changes, updates or offers, which relate to your business or your particular industry, you will have an endless amount of information to write about, without the need to be super creative yourself. With every post that you dispatch on the internet your reputational defence shields become harder to penetrate. Post regularly and your blog will be established by the internet search engines as a source of fresh and relevant information, which means the content of your choice will be prominently viewed by your target market.

If however, you decide to take no action, this prominence within the search engines is likely to be given to posts about your business, which had been despatched by others, possibly by your enemies.

Internet defamation solicitor

By: Yair Cohen

internet defamation

you start to find that more and more defamatory material is mushrooming on the internet without fear. At this stage you know that you have become a live target.

Disgruntled employees are in fact, responsible for much of the online defamation postings. Not surprisingly at all, the more inflammatory the internet postings about your business are, the quicker they tend to spread – by blogs, web links, twitter, Facebook, emails and other electronic means.
You see, some of your employees are likely to possess impressive amounts of knowledge about you, your business, your practices, your procedures, your errors, mistakes and regrets, as well as about your true feelings about things that matter to your customers. And if the above was not enough to unsettle you, following your initial shock of being defamed online, you start to find that more and more defamatory material is mushrooming on the internet without fear.

At this stage you know that you have become a live target. You get hit left, right and centre and with very little opportunity to defend yourself. A close friend or one of your customers, who for some reason decided to remain loyal to you then tells you, rather embarrassingly that your customers are being sent emails with links to websites which contain terribly unpleasant allegations about you and that often, these allegations are ‘backed’ with some ‘insider facts’, which are aimed to damage you and your business as much as possible.

These ‘insider facts’ are beginning to add strong elements of reliability to the largely defamatory posts about you on the internet. Then, all of a sudden the phone stops ringing and the bookings dry out. Your instincts are now telling you without a shadow of a doubt, that if this carries on for another short while, you will need to start thinking very seriously about making some redundancies in your company due to the sudden drop in business.

In the meantime, the online defamation attacks are starting to increase. Links are being shared between people and more defamatory material is now being posted by people you did not even know or ever heard of, as well as by past customers who having read the original defamatory posts, are starting to feel aggrieved themselves about their own experience with you or with your company. What a nightmare. Former employees can initiate some very powerful and effective online reputation attacks. The level of detail that they give about your business in their defamatory posts, gives their campaigns the level of credibility that normal negative online reviews don’t get.
But the worst is yet to come. The internet defamation campaign then catches momentum almost at once, at the moment where your former employees decide to release their well crafted Google Bomb.

They use stolen confidential data, which contains your complete mailing lists, of possibly thousands of contacts, leads, customers and past customers and they simultaneously email them internet links to take them to the defamatory posts about you and about your business.

At this point in time, the damage to the  reputation is very often beyond repair. To minimise the possibility of you being a victim to a devastating online reputation attack, you must tackle any issue of potential or actual online defamation by an employee or a former employee with a great deal of decisiveness. Don’t allow yourself to be held to ransom. Appeasement does not normally work.

But there are a few simple steps you could take from the outset to reduce your exposure to online defamation by employees.

First, always remember that even some of your most trusted employees could one day turn against you so choose very carefully who you invite to work in your organisation. Often, though not always, ‘troublemakers’ can be identified very early on in their employment days. Always look for signals of disgruntlement by employees and deal with these signals appropriately.

Second, share sensitive information with care. If sensitive information about your business, your customers or the way you handle them finds its way online, then you could be in serious trouble for obvious reasons.

Third, restrict access to sensitive data, particularly to your customer’s mailing lists. Keep these lists in a safe place, preferably password protected. Don’t make your full mailing lists freely available to your employees and certainly not in a downloadable form.

Fourth, make sure that your organisation fully complies with all the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. If you neglect your legal obligations to protect your mailing lists from being stolen, you could find yourself liable to criminal prosecution. This is the last thing that you or your business organisation will need to deal with.

Fifth, make sure that your employees are aware of the fact that you take an uncompromising approach towards breaches of Data Protection laws.

Sixth, place a contractual requirement for your employees to comply with Data Protection laws and spell out in their contracts the fact that breaches of Data Protection laws could constitute a criminal offence.

Seventh, if you have evidence that an employee had been downloading sensitive business information for their own use, deal with the issue immediately. Challenge them and remind them of their contractual as well as statutory obligations.

Read more about Defamation by employees

How To Destroy A Reputation In 5 Minutes. Don’t Repeat At Home!!!

Everyone has got their own soft spot. Depending on your profession, being called by a particular name in public, could cause you a lot of damage and harm your career. For a doctor, being commonly described as ‘negligent’, for a solicitor, being described as ‘incompetent’, for a builder, being described as ‘a cowboy’ or for a teacher, being described as ‘stupid’, would be regarded by any of these people as a personal attack on their reputation and integrity.

But not all insults are as harmful as the insult suffered by a top civil servant who worked as a social worker for the Children’s Service at a District Council in the North of the country. Having specialised for many years in children with learning difficulties and having achieved a tremendous professional respectability within his County Council and beyond, Stuart Granville (not his real name) was surprised to find out from a colleague that upon searching his name on the internet, the top three results that came out were news stories about social workers who had been jailed having been convicted of offences involving child pornography.

The news stories were not about Stuart Granville at all, but for one reason or another, they appeared at the top of the search pages against the search term ‘Stuart Granville’. The implications of this, as you can imagine were very serious for Stuart. The association of his name, as someone who has been working with children, with articles about convicted child molesters were damaging to him beyond comprehension.

Stuart immediately became concerned about his career and later on about his personal reputation and it was not long before he started to fear for his personal safety as well as for the well-being of his family. Stuart did not have his own website, in fact he was not allowed to have one because of the delicate position that he held within the Children’s Service, which meant that the vacuum which was on the internet against his name, was filled by someone who wanted to harm his career and who had the know-how on how to associate a name with an article.

So who did this and how was it possible for one individual to cause so much devastation to an innocent and a very respectable member of the public? We will come back to the question of who did this in a moment. But first, let me show you the incredibly simple technique that was used to inflict such damage on Mr Granville and his family. The technique that was used in this instance to attempt and trash Stuart Granville’s reputation is incredible in its simplicity and is one which any individual or company should be aware of.

The trick that was used here is called Tagging. Think of tagging as a description of an item. The purpose of tagging is to make it easy for internet search engines to associate an article or a product with certain keywords.

The best way to understand tagging is to forget for a moment about the internet and think instead about a can of Coca Cola. If you were asked to tag a can of Coca Cola with the most relevant words that come to mind, most people will say ‘red’‘fizzy’ ‘cold’ ‘can’ ‘drink’ ‘refreshing’ and so on.

Now, think about this article that you are currently reading. How would you tag it? Or in other words, what would be the best way to describe it in simple short words? I would say, the first words that come to mind are ‘internet law’ ‘tagging’ ‘social worker’ ‘online reputation’ ‘reputation attack’ and so on.

In the internet world the tagging helps the search engines to associate a word, or a phrase with a product or an article. A tag can be added to any article which is posted on the internet by its publisher and sometimes also by third parties, if they are given permission to do so by the publisher. So tagging is simply a series of keywords, which aim to describe an online item, whether a product, a service, a news story or an educational material.

The publisher of the webpages, which contained news articles about a social worker who had been convicted of sexual offences involving children, had tagged each of these articles with a ‘Stuart Granville’ tag and from this point onwards, whenever an internet search was being carried out (particularly using Bing and Yahoo), the search engine made an association between Stuart Granville and the news articles which were tagged with his name.

This process of copying a news article and publishing it on the internet with damaging tags could be done in less than 5 minutes. It can however devastate people’s careers, families and reputation permanently.

Simple? Yes. Powerful? Most certainly. In any event, tagging is something to be aware of and to keep at the back of your mind at all times.

As for the perpetrator of this reputation attack on Stuart, Stuart believed beyond doubt that this was a parent who had had her children taken away from her by Social Services following a serious allegation of abuse. At the time, she promised Stuart, who had been in charge of the Social Services Team which intervened and took the child away from his abusive mother, that he will live to regret the event. Stuart however, has never been able to prove who this person actually was. To be fair, he never even seriously attempted to do so because once the problem was taken care of by specialist internet lawyers, and in fact disappeared within days, Stuart, very understandably just wanted to get on with his life, which is exactly what he did.

Yair Cohen

via Web Host Liable for Contributory Infringement.
A South Carolina jury’s recent $770,750 verdict against Bright Builders Inc. marks the first time a Web-hosting company has been found liable for contributory infringement without actual notice that a customer’s website lists fake products for sale.

South Carolina District Judge Margaret Seymour’s March 14 judgment in Roger Cleveland Golf Company Inc. v. Prince followed the jury’s March 10 verdict.

In the rapidly evolving world of the internet, laws are written that have unintended and unexpected consequences which means that laws which are made by Judges who passed their Bar exams a decade before the personal computer was invented and commercialised, could have an extra damaging effect on the internet savvy public.

Was this elite, led by the top lawyers in the country so naïve so as to believe that information published on websites which are based abroad cannot be viewed in England?

Between the political parties’ unelected and unaccountable  bureaucrat elite, which sits in Brussels, our own well intended, yet somewhat socially alienated  judicial elite and a small group of celebrity elite, we end up with ridiculous Super-Injunctions which only serve to demonstrate how wide the gap is between the new style law makers and those who have to live with the consequences of such laws. It is perhaps not a coincidence that those who have been seeking Super-Injunctions are also part of an elite group; a financial elite which has perhaps little to do with the intellectual elite which has imposed on us these Super-Injunctions but still, these political, judicial and financial elites somewhat managed to get together and conspire to ensure that those who can afford it are able to prevent their innocent victims from telling the truth about the ‘well-off’s’ misdemeanour.

In a way, one cannot help feeling a bit sorry for all those who took part in this shameful attempt to conceal the truth. Did they not realise that these Super-Injunctions would not possibly last forever? Did they really believe that the whole world will slavishly adhere to court orders which are created with the sole purpose of suppressing the truth? Did it not occur to them that the internet also exists in the USA,Canada, Africa or the Middle East? Did they honestly believe that they can force an American based website to refrain from publishing the truth about corrupt celebrities, in particular as injunctions granted overseas are hardly enforceable in any of the American States?

One can perhaps understand how an anxious footballer, who perhaps might not be well versed with the ins and outs of the internet, could get carried away, and be willing to spend tens of thousands of pounds on worthless international gagging orders. But didn’t the lawyers bother to explain to their clients how the internet works? Did they forget to explain that it was inevitable that these ‘permanent’ worldwide injunctions could not have possibly lasted for long because of the way the internet works? Perhaps it is just that our elite is not as intellectual as it would like us to think it is.

Scottish experts have warned gagging orders are ineffective following the naming of Ryan Giggs and former banker Sir Fred Goodwin in the House of Commons.

Critics believe the UK government is to blame for not reacting quickly enough to the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK law in October 2000. Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed concerns about privacy laws being developed in courts rather than in Parliament.

However, Dr Gillian Black, lecturer in law and privacy specialist at Edinburgh University, said successive governments had “ducked the issue” and must now introduce new laws as a matter of urgency.

“It is incumbent on Parliament to do so,” she said. “The media is very unhappy about the courts doing this (writing privacy laws], but they are only doing so because Parliament has ducked the issue.

“The article eight right to privacy (in the European Convention on Human Rights] has been here since October 2000, so Parliament has had long enough to go away and think about these things.”

However, she believes governments have long viewed more stringent privacy laws as a vote loser, with the press and public putting a high value on freedom of speech. Dr Black said: “They’ve not simply missed it. It’s a well accepted fact in the academic world of privacy that the government has not been willing to legislate because it’s not going to be popular.”

She said enshrining privacy laws in legislation would go some way to encouraging people to respect it.

“One concern is that the courts make this up as they go along,” she said. “What we need is a statutory right to privacy – a privacy bill.

“The government would not have to do much more than set down what judges have already done, but it would clear up what the media can and can’t do.

“The one thing they can address is the remedy. Super-injunctions are a failed remedy.”

Super-injunctions have become highly controversial as a court order that not only bans the media from publishing information, but also from revealing that the order even exists.

Former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin obtained one to try to hide details of an alleged affair with a colleague, although the order had to be altered after a peer revealed details in the House of Lords.

BBC journalist Andrew Marr also obtained a super-injunction to try to hide an affair with a colleague – he later abandoned it and admitted he was “embarrassed”. Since the UK became compliant with the ECHR, judges have had to balance the two competing rights within it of freedom of speech and privacy – such as when Mr Justice Eady ruled in favour of Manchester United footballer Giggs’ right to privacy – over Imogen Thomas’ desire to name him when speaking publicly about their alleged affair.

However, Frank Johnstone, convener of the privacy committee of the Law Society of Scotland, said it is not judges’ privacy laws that have been the problem, but the way they have tried to enforce them.

“I don’t take the view that the law on privacy has been broken,” he said. “The law was interpreted by a judge and he granted a remedy – the super-injunction. The remedy has proven to be ineffective, that does not mean the law was wrong.

“Rights are important but rather meaningless if you cannot translate it in effective remedy.”

He suggested tighter security might be imposed around the court proceedings, limiting the chance of the information getting out.

“What would be interesting to know is how did it get out in the first place, someone must have breached it initially, and it is that person that made it an ineffective remedy,” he added.

However, Maurice Frankel, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, warned free speech must be enshrined in any new legislation.

“My concern would be in cases where there’s genuine, or substantial, public interest that that (freedom of speech] should not be over-ridden.

“Freedom of expression is very important. It’s not an automatic trump card over everything else, but neither should it be set aside.”

Yair Cohen, a leading internet lawyer, said people should be given stronger powers to challenge inaccurate or defamatory stories before publication, as an alternative to super-injunctions.

However, he also warned that celebrities who cheat on their wives, husbands or partners, may have to accept the blame for hurting them if their antics later appear in the press.

Mr Cohen said: “The families of, let’s say a footballer, who is guilty of indiscretions might have to bear the consequences of this change in the same way that families of criminals have to live with the consequences of an unlawful act by one of their members.

“And the family member who committed the indiscretion will have to take some responsibility for his actions, including the effect of his actions on members of his family.”

He added: “Any change in the law of privacy should cement this principle but should also give an opportunity to aggrieved parties to challenge any publication in advance in the event that the information which is about to be printed is incorrect or defamatory.”

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday opened the first ever e-G8 forum in Paris. The event brings together leading figures from the technology industry to discuss the impact of the internet.

News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch and BBC director general Mark Thompson were due to speak at the event.

via Yair Cohen\’s Business Talks.

Super-Injunctions: Former Sun editor tight-lipped in super-injunction case – Surrey Herald.

NATIONAL newspaper columist and Weybridge resident Kelvin MacKenzie says he will not reveal his emails or text messages to a defence lawyer in a super-injunction case.

The former Sun editor got dragged into the super-injunction case between the affair of a footballer, who cannot be named, and reality television star Imogen Thomas, after revealing on BBC Radio 4’s Today show he received emails and texts from readers asking to tell them the names of celebrities using injunctions to protect their privacy.

Read full story on Super Injunctions

http://www.super-injunctions.com/

Friday, 13 May 2011

 

Blogger publishes super injunction order in full- The Inquirer

 By Lawrence Latif
Fri May 13 2011, 17:01 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION was the reason given by a blogger who published the full text of a gagging order.

 

As celebrities clamour to cover their indiscretions by asking judges to issue injunctions that suppress information, one blogger has gone a step further and revealed, in full, a gagging order. The super injunction was granted to a claimant, referred to as ZAM, to prevent details of his (mis)behaviour from becoming public.

Read full story

Writing in today’s Scotsman, I explain that the super injunctions have interfered with our good set of moral values and have caused confusion regarding our perception of the difference between right and wrong.

via Analysis: Internet democracy sounds the death knell for the super injunctions – Scotsman.com News.

Cyber-stalking should be made a criminal offence, says a group of MPs calling for an overhaul of the law.

BBC News – Cyber-stalking should be a criminal offence, MPs say

The MPs also say police and prosecutors must give all stalking complaints greater priority.

Data released by probation union Napo shows 2.2% of the 53,000 stalking incidents recorded in England and Wales in 2009 led to a jail term.

The charity Network for Surviving Stalking says the internet is “another weapon in the stalker’s armoury”.
via BBC News – Cyber-stalking should be a criminal offence, MPs say.

 
 

An Online Reputation Attacks On A Successful Small Family Business Which Resulted In The Family Losing Almost All Of Its Income And The Collapse Of Everything They Have Ever Worked For.

Jeff Clark, a husband and a father to three young children age 3, 6 & 10 has always loved cars. He has been fixing them since he was 12 and has worked in local garages around the Manchester area for many years now……

Read full story on Defamation Solicitors website

Online Defamation Almost Destroyed The Family Business One day, Jeff received a telephone call from a chap by the name of Herald Keller, who worked for one of Jeff’s regular suppliers in Germany – the largest wholesaler of second-hand Saab car parts in Europe. Herald Keller told Jeff that his employer was not going to supply Unique Vehicle Suppliers with parts anymore, because there was too much ‘bad stuff’ about Unique Vehicle Suppliers on the internet and that the name of Hines’ employer started to get tarnished as well through some of the very negative internet posts. Basically, there was so much negative publicity on the internet about Unique Vehicle Suppliers that Hines’ employer started to get concerned about his own company’s reputation

Read full story on Defamation Solicitors website

Very often victims of online harassment, online intimidation and online defamation feel hopeless and powerless to act: simply scared and paralysed with a growing number victims seriously considering suicide as they feel they have no one to turn to for help.

If you have ever been a victim of any online attack and tried to report your attackers to the police, you would have been very disappointed to learn that your local police force either was not interested, didn’t understand your problem, was underfunded and therefore unable to invest time and resources in investigating your matter, or if your matter was finally investigated, you would have been told it would take a very long time for the criminal justice system to come up with any real solution to your problem.
Victim of Online Intimidation

Victims of online harassment, online intimidation and online defamation feel hopeless and powerless to act with a growing number victims seriously considering suicide as they feel they have no one to turn to for help.

The police in the UK are indeed not equipped to deal with online harassment and online intimidation. Very few senior police officers have any understanding of the psychic of the internet, the nature of a Google Bomb, the technologies or the techniques which online attackers and bullies use to intimidate their victims.

But even if the police accepted your case of online harassment and agreed to investigate it, the police would have warned you that if any action was to be taken against your online attacker, this would take a very long time to investigate and once investigated, a case would have to be made to a local civil servant who works for the Crown Prosecution Service who would eventually have to decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prosecute.

If and when, many months later, your case would have come to court, you should expect many more months of delay until it is completed, and not necessarily in your favour. You see, the criminal justice system requires a very high level of proof before anyone could be convicted which means the court might not necessarily decide in your favour.

In a recent case, which is believed to be the first in the UK where a person was jailed following a long term campaign of online harassment, it took the criminal justice system no less than 18 months to place the attacker, who was internet savvy behind bars and even then the court was unable to force him to remove the intimidating blogs and websiteswhich he created against his victim over a period of 18 months. These remain intact, which means that following the publicity which the case received in the national media, the defamatory comments and remarks gather almost unprecedented force and ‘search engine power’ which in turn means, that following the jail sentence which was received by the attacker, his defamatory blogs and websites received an unprecedented number of visits, causing the victim even more damage than before.

This begs the question of whether the criminal justice system is the best forum to have cases of online intimidation and online harassment resolved. Who wants to go through 18 months of hell just to see their attacker being jailed for a couple of months and without having the defamatory blogs removed at the end of the process, but instead, seeing the blogs gathering momentum because of the publicity which surrounded the court case?
 

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Dedication

Years of Internet Law Experience