Saturday, March 23, 2013

Unleash the Hounds (again) - to go fishing!

Seems like the lawyering is starting again.  Advanced Career Technologies (another Denver, CO company) is asking google, via an order from Colorado Fed Court, for personally identifying information about people who posted to this blog.

So this place is called Advanced Career Technologies - they're half a mile from where ITS is/was setup.    I don't know for sure these are the same group of guys, or if there's just something in the air around that part of denver that makes people want to go into this kind of business.  (From a web-search there are a lot of posts that say that ACT, ITS, McKenzie/Scott are all part of the same company, but just so no-one gets the wrong idea: i don't have any first-hand proof of this, myself - so don't hold me to it in a court of law!)

It doesn't look like the order covers info about me personally, however it looks like they already have that (since i'm named in the order itself - though incorrectly) and because a set of lawyers from ITS already sent me a nice love note, i'm quite sure they have my info already.   The court order says they are going after 10 people who posted anonymously "violated the Lanham Act and the Colorado
Consumer Protection Act and committed trade libel and commercial disparagement through
postings on a weblog"

Not clear what the alleged violations are.  The order implies that "good cause" has been showed that there are the above described violations.  But it doesn't list what those are.  Also, the motion from the plaintiff that was filed doesn't seem to be available online (Here's the docket listing from March 7, but it doesn't show anything for Judge Mix on that March 7.)  Looks like the information may be available electronically (for a fee) via a program called PACER - anyone got a copy?

Not being a lawyer, i can't parse the precedents, or what is considered "normal practice," but it looks like the Rule 26(f) notation is just about how quickly they can go after this information, not the fact that they need something tangible (other than a hunch) to show good cause.  Or is the court saying that the allegations from the plaintiffs are enough given that they are up against "anonymous behavior."  Any lawyers out there know?

The lawyers this time are:

Thomas D. Leland
Lathrop & Gage, LLP
950 17th St, Ste 2400
Denver, Colorado 80202

They've also scheduled a "planning conference" for June 4, 2013 in Colorado federal court.

But all that said, the only way google is going to be able to comply (assuming they do), is to turn over IP addresses, names, MAC addresses for ALL people accessing and let the plaintiff comb over them.  So no matter how you slice it, it's a fishing expedition.

Long story short for those posting comments - you might want to do it a library (and don't use your own computer because they'll be turning over your MAC address...).