A federal appeal court has upheld lawsuits filed against a computer program used by a dissatisfied former boyfriend to harass and stalk the plaintiff.
Wednesday's verdict of the 2nd American circuit law in New York in a Matthew Herrick against Grindr LLC et al., illustrates the need to update the 1996 Communications Decree Act, says a lawyer in the case.
Grindr is a web-based "hook-up" program developed by West Hollywood, California-based company that matches users based on their interests and location.
Mr. Herrick was subjected to a harassment by her ex-boyfriend, who created profiles on Grindr to challenge Herrick and communicate with other users in his name and directed them to Herrick's home and workplace according to them. [1
In February 2017, Grindr removed the case to the US District Court in New York, who denied Mr. Herrick's movement to extend the restriction order and established that each of his claims were either excluded from the Communications Decree Act or failed on its merits.
The court granted Grindr's proposal to reject the case in January 2018. It was unanimously approved by Herrick that Grindr was defectively designed and manufactured because it lacks security features to prevent reconfiguration profiles and other dangerous behavior, and that Grindr erroneously failed to remove them. reconstructing the profiles created by his ex-boyfriend, "said the court.
Referring to the Communications Decree Law, the Court said:" Insofar as allegations of negligence, deliberate inflow of emotional distress, and negligible inflow of emotional distress are premature on Grindr's allegedly inadequate answer to Herrick's complaint. They are barred because they try to hold Grindr accountable for their exercise of a publisher's traditional editorial functions. "" To the extent that they are proposed on Grindr's matching and geolocation functions, they are also obstructed ", because according to the Communications Consequences Law" interactive data services "will not be held responsible unless it helps to develop what made the content illegally "and cannot be held responsible for providing" neutral assistance "in the form of tools and functionality equal to bad actors and the intended users of the app," said the verdict with an earlier opinion.
Tor B. Ekeland, by Tor Ekeland Law PLLC in Brooklyn, who represented Mr Herrick, said as a summary order, the court cannot be cited as recedent in other cases.
He said the ruling highlights the need for Congress to address the 1996 Communications Decency Act. was designed to protect internet companies from being sued for their passive content, but it came before smart phones, apps and geolocation services star who can transfer everyone's place, he said.
"This functionality is dangerous" and is used by domestic and sexual assaults and killers "to stalk and harm people," says Ekeland.
This case "is not an isolated incident. It is canary in the coal mine," he said.
Grindr's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2014, a federal appeal court appealed a lower court of justice and restored a negligence claim against a website of a model raped after two men used the site to attract her to a false audition, stating that the case was not blocked by the communications validity law .