we understand there might be more questions regarding possible removal from nameandshame. we have tried to answer as many as we can here
WHY WE DON'T (OR CANNOT) REMOVE OF EDIT ANY REPORT ?
US Federal Law, specifically, "Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act" of 1996, holds harmless Internet Service Providers, from unpopular or controversial content that is posted to websites by the website?s users or members.
Section 230 says that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." This federal law preempts any state laws to the contrary: "[n]o cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section."
In case you missed it, or didn't understand it, Federal Law says that NameandShame, as a 3rd party posting website, is not to be regarded as the publisher of the content posted to its site by others, and is afforded immunity from liability for the words and comments posted by its users. Based on the legal precedent that has already been set, you cannot bring a lawsuit against NameandShame.
Now here is why we cannot edit reports -
The Immunity granted by CDA will upheld, so long as the Incident Reports remain 3rd party posts, meaning in their original form as their submitting author submitted them.
There has been talk that some Congressional law makers are exploring the rescinding of Immunity?in cases where it can be determined that a Web Host has taken any censorship actions to control, edit, alter, or even delete 3rd party posted content by it's users. Therefore, NameandShame, to avoid risking the possibility of losing its legal immunities, cannot and will not delete any incident report, or edit them even in the slightest way.
Based on the above, NameandShame is under the strict advice of its legal consultants to not get involved as an arbitration service, and to not ever edit or delete posts at any time, for any reason. To be uninvolved and completely neutral is the only way we will be sure to maintain our legal immunity under Federal Law. and if a person has a problem being listed in the registry, the law says they must pursue their differences with the report's author.
why don't you delete a report which has been resolved or successfully challenged
We are a Public Safety site (like a crime database), therefore we have to treat all posts as seriously as possible. The reports added to the database are an incident report of some inappropriate activity or crime or scam that a citizen (like you and us) was subject to. Due to the seriousness of many of the posts, we feel that editing or removing any posts could at some time in the future place other people in harms way, and that is not what we are about. Histories or Patterns or Behaviors - NameandShame is only effective when all complaints are maintained and preserved so that over time the patterns of an individual?s behaviors, personality traits, values, beliefs, and character traits are properly exposed and comprehensive in scope.
To remove any reports for any reason would not only detract from the trust and integrity we?ve established over the years, but it would then open the door for others to suspect us, or accuse us, of playing favorites or engaging in unethical practices. We cannot allow those perceptions to be possible.
If we allowed reports to be removed, this would give an incentive for the bad guys to pressure our users through blackmail, extortion, harassment, bribe, intimidation, and legal threats, to remove true and accurate negative reports.
Think about this - our blanket policy of non-removal of all incident reports ensures that, no reports are to ever be edited or removed. that way, there is no benefit to anyone who threaten, pressure, or bribe the user into getting them to retract a post. And correspondingly there is no benefit to any user who might think they can use Blacklist to extort money from someone they posted against, and then retract the post after they've been paid.
Let us explain using another example - Consider this real life scenario. Two people get into an argument, and it escalates into a fight. Person A injures person B, and the police are called. An incident report is filed. If later on both of them reconcile, and person B refuses to follow though and press charges against person A, it doesn?t make the original incident report go away or disappear. The police and/or courts will file the arrest and incident report and save it for the future in case person A repeats his act again, probably with someone else. That?s all NameandShame is, it's just an incident report database. It does not mean you are guilty of anything, just that someone is claiming something happened between you, or they are sharing an opinion about you, based on a real-life (probably unsasavoury) experience with you.
We stress on the fact that "No legal claims should be made based on any of the incident reports listed at NAS."
is nameandshame biased towards the consumer and against all businesses ?
Often times the incident report is not entirely accurate, or based merely on an opinion of the user. Therefore we cannot vet the site's users, or authenticate the post's authors or the post's content, because to have a working knowledge of such inconsistencies in the report, NameandShame could be seen as supporting or encouraging these inconsistencies in the incident report.
what if i still want to sue nameandshame ?
If you are listed in our database all this may seem unfair to you, and angry and maybe you want to sue someone, please familiarize yourself with the following law; The Communications Decency Act and how 3rd party reporting website like NameandShame are protected by the CDA, and we cannot be taken to court for the content posted to our site that was submitted by our users.
The CDA says you can legally pursue the author of the post if you feel the post is defamatory, but once you get to court, you cannot just claim the post is defamatory, you will have to "prove" the post is defamatory. At NameandShame, we already have an Evidence Box to allow users to contribute any evidence (if at all) to support their allegations which might help (or not).
If you still wish to pursue a lawsuit against NameandShame to try and add pressure to us, you are welcome to try out that avenue. We don't mean to sound harsh, but if you knowingly file a frivolous lawsuit against us, regardless of where your case is filed, you and/or your lawyers can be subject to a lawsuit in USA in which a jury could, if appropriate, award both substantial compensatory and punitive damages against you. Finally, you need to be aware that if you file a lawsuit simply to harass us, not only will this not work, it will very likely end up being EXTREMELY expensive for you. Due to the number of volunteers skilled in legal practices, as well as our partners and supporters we have had, NameandShame has adopted a very strict policy about lawsuits -- once NameandShame is forced to appear in a case, it will not stipulate to a dismissal of the case unless the party who filed the action agrees to pay NameandShame's attorney fees. There will be no exceptions. If you conduct a thorough investigation BEFORE you sue and you believe you have a valid case despite the CDA, it is your right to pursue your case and prove it in court. However, once you file a lawsuit, be prepared to either take it all the way to a decision on the merits or pay NameandShames attorney fees because NameandShame will not stipulate to a dismissal without compensation.
i have a court order against allegedly unlawful content
If you have a court order which states that an incident report is unlawful, please ask your lawyer to email it to [email protected].
Please remember that although we try and honor most court orders, we do not remove any content based on an ex-parte order. In case we do decide on removal, we will only remove the specific content as stated in the court order. Any other content, including comments and attachments by other members will remain intact. The removal will be submitted to chillingeffects.org and also listed in our transparency reports section.