Do cyber bullies have privacy rights? That’s the question posed in an Illinois case where parents of a teenage victim of nasty tweets want Twitter to provide user identification of the people who sent the hateful messages. Rose Martorana-Lollino claims her daughter was the subject of a bullying campaign headed up by whoever is behind the user names @dreadfullyLARGE and @dreadfulFATchic. Tweets include statements like “my passion is being fat” and “hi, my passion is gaining weight.”
On the Privacy Police issue, it is true that Twitter’s policy says: “We may share or disclose your information at your direction, such as when you authorize a third-party web client or application to access your Twitter account.” But the same policy also says:
“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Policy, we may preserve or disclose your information if we believe that it is reasonably necessary to comply with a law, regulation or legal request; to protect the safety of any person; to address fraud, security or technical issues; or to protect Twitter’s rights or property.” So is the teenage victim’s safety at issue here? It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable argument.
I’m not sure whether there are any Illinois criminal laws that come into play here. Being cruel is in itself not a crime. I hope the mom is able to get to the bottom of this. I’m all for privacy, but those rights ought to take a back seat when bullies abuse them.