Friday, March 20, 2015

Chemjobber looks out for you!

A Michigan judge has ruled against a motion by PubPeer to protect the identity of an anonymous commenter, and asked the post-publication peer review site to give her any information they have about the commenter. 
According to one of the lawyers present, the site said in court the only identifying information it has is an I.P. address. The judge will decide March 24 (Tuesday) whether or not to share the I.P. address with the lawyer representing a cancer researcher who has demanded PubPeer release information about those who have written anonymously about his work....
I have been tempted for many years to install an IP tracker, but I never have, because of exactly this issue. If you don't have the info, it makes it hard to subpoena...

12 comments:

  1. I'm curious: has anyone ever said anything on this site so pernicious and controversial in the view of the person or organization that was the subject of the post that they have bothered to seek the identity of the poster?

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    Replies
    1. 1) Back when I covered the Sangji case weekly/monthly, there were a lot more actionable comments.
      2) A CJ commenter started the Blog Syn IBX kerfluffle; to this day, I do not know who they are.

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  2. My guess is that the guy who has been accused of committing fraud wants to throw a defamation of character lawsuit on the anonymous commenters.

    Maybe its better to day that CJ is not trying to look for you......at least to sue you.

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  3. it is hard to actually win a defamation lawsuit award in US, there is a huge burden of proof (a clear presence of malice), there are protected speech issues (i.e. parody, satire or scathing critical review piece typically does count as defamation), and the aggrieved party has to prove some financial loss as a direct result of the defamation. It can backfire too - the Hitler apologist and historian David Irving tried to sue his critics, in UK (where it is much easier), and he ended up trashing himself.

    Another infamous case was Magic Jack trying to shut up Boing Boing for "unfair" review, and losing badly

    I would say: So sue me if you want a big stink

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  4. sorry for typo - I wanted to write "does not count as defamation"

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  5. You mean all this time i've been using a fake name, fake email and (trying to) bounce everything off a satellite (thanks, 24!), and you weren't even monitoring my IP address?

    That's it, time to get real.

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    Replies
    1. Gee, it would be totally unlike me to post anything accusatory or defamatory, anyway. ;)

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  6. The question is not only whether you can successfully defend yourself against a defamation of character lawsuit. It's also important what it will (financially) cost you to do so. I've made the unfortunate acquaintance of people whose "ideas" mostly amount to garbage science and impossible "phrophetic molecules" in patent applications which never get approved. But this person will likely just meet an untimely professional end.

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  7. What about your ClustrMaps? Aren't those traceable?

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    Replies
    1. I think so? But I think that only logs site visits and not comments -- and I do not have access to their (very apparent) IP tracker. I guess that TPTB could get access to ClustrMaps?

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  8. Sadly, defamation lawsuits are increasingly being used by scientists to silent their critics. I'm surprised this is only getting attention here now.

    "First they went for the___________, and I remained silent" (fill in the blank)

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