August 19 2010 - Lawsuit over cyberbulling on Facebook
Some readers may be growing tired of hearing about Facebook in the media; however, we are likely only beginning to see some of the many privacy issues arising from Facebook and other social networking sites. In A.B. (Litigation Guardian of) v. Bragg Communications Inc. ("A.B. v. Bragg"), a case currently making its way through the Nova Scotia courts, the plaintiff (a young female) is attempting to mount a lawsuit for defamation against a currently unknown defendant who allegedly created a "fake" Facebook profile for the purpose of tormenting the plaintiff. This "cyberbullying", case implicates a number of important privacy issues.
Armed only with an Internet Protocol ("IP") address and date stamp, a motion was brought asking the court to order the Internet service provider ("ISP"), Bragg Communications, to provide the defendant's subscriber information. This case appears to further clarify that ISPs will be required to disclose subscriber information where a case of defamation can be reasonably demonstrated.
The plaintiff also requested that she be allowed to protect her identity by proceeding with the case under a pseudonym. Finally, citing similar privacy concerns, the plaintiff sought a publication ban.
While the motions judge ordered Bragg Communications to identify the defendant, he rejected the latter two requests. Each of these three issues are addressed separately in this issue.