Thursday, July 30, 2015

Florida Revenge Porn Lawsuits - Sue the bastards


Frankly, there are not many situations where I would use the phrase "Sue the bastards," however when it comes to pornography of your sons or daughters posted online.... Sue the bastards.

Criminal Prosecution

Criminal prosecution is generally what people think of when they want to right a wrong, or imagine a trial on the matter.  Criminal prosecution involves the police, and the State Attorney's office, and generally punish offenses against the state and the individuals which prescribe the state.

Beginning October 1st, Florida will be under the control of 784.049, Florida Statutes which makes it a misdemeanor to commit sexual cyberharassment, and a felony for repeat offenders.   The proper avenue for getting criminal actions begun is to contact your local police department.  Generally, they will work with local prosecutors to get these cases to the point where the offender will be brought before a judge and punished.  Misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail.

Civil Prosecution

Civil prosecution of this kind of case is also governed by 784.049.
(5)  An aggrieved person may initiate a civil action against a person who violates this section to obtain all appropriate relief in order to prevent or remedy a violation of this section, including the following:
(a)  Injunctive relief.
(b) Monetary damages to include $5,000.00 or actual damages incurred as a result of a violation of this section, whichever is greater.
(c) Reasonable attorney fees and costs.
Section (a) regarding injunctive relief is seeking a court order forcing the person to remove the image from the website, to delete the images wherever they may exist, and to prevent any future posting or use of the image.

Section (b) is the civil penalty associated with the act of harassment.  The $5,000 number represents a minimum penalty in the absence of genuine damages.  Damages to reputation, business, or other such damages are difficult to calculate and therefore difficult to ascertain.  However, if the nude picture somehow damaged someone financially in excess of $5,000.00, those damages could also be recoverable.

Section (c) provides that you should be entitled under the law to recover fees and costs associated with the lawsuit that you file to take down the offending material.  This means that if you file a lawsuit, and are successful in the prosecution of the suit, you will be entitled to get every penny back that you reasonably paid to an attorney to get your results achieved.

Graham is Ready to Take Your Case

Finding an attorney to take on a new type of case under a new law is sometimes difficult.  You have to call up offices, wait for a call back, then get a quote, etc. etc. etc.  Graham loves new cases, and is specially positioned to take these cases immediately.

The law office of Graham W. Syfert at 904-383-7448, will be taking on civil cases regarding online pornography, and will pursue them passionately.  Graham has a background in technology, IP networking, and was previously a system administrator for a research firm.   Our goal is to find the bastard, terrorize the bastard, and sue the bastard.

The flat fee associated with removing of pornographic images from website will be $1500.00 with about $500.00 of that used for the costs of suit.  Graham W. Syfert, P.A. will make every effort to recover every penny you pay in fees or costs, and return your life to where it was before this ever happened.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

PDF Metadata in the Practice of Law

Clerk Seeks Indemnification for Metadata Disclosures

The Florida Bar has released an article which states:

 "Florida Court E-Filing Authority, which manages the statewide e-filing portal, that it include a warning on the page where filers designate the type of document they are filing. That notice will read: “Warning: Removal of document metadata is the responsibility of the filer. Any document metadata remaining may become part of the public record.”
The idea is that an identity thief, fraudster, et cetra may obtain metadata from a filer failing to scrub PDF documents after redactions, and obtain SSN's, credit card numbers.
Is the Florida Court E-Filing Authority a clerk of court?  They seem to fill the role.  Or are they as "Pacer" is to the Federal Clerk?

The article goes on to note that only 37% of online filers create searchable PDF's.  Wow.
I'm curious as to how many untold gigs of storage is wasted by clerks of court.

Metadata's potential usefulness, apparently, caught the clerk, and by inferrence some judges by surprise:

Mary Cay Blanks, clerk for the Third District Court of Appeal stated: 
“All kinds of information was in that document, who the judge was, who the secretary was; everything is in there,” she said. “We realized we had to strip all of that information, which, now we do.”
While it may be a prudent practice to strip such metadata and information from an opinion or an order, shouldn't we be allowed to know these things anyway?  If I were a Plaintiff or a Defendant receiving an order, I might like to know what judge worked on it, or what secretary worked on it.  But

I bet you dollars to donuts that the Clerk of the many DCA's can tell you the exact date and time when a Appellant's lawyer got notice of Oral Argument through the logs of their webserver and unique URL's.  It's a metadata of sorts, as it is not exactly plain on the surface that this information is recorded.   I digress- if you are in a law firm, it is obvious that you should not allow metadata to be shared with opposing counsel, or the public at large.

Redaction of PDF metadata in regards to editing out personal information is a no brainer.  If you draw a box over some text in a PDF, the text remains.  If you redact, do so properly.

Apparently in Linux, if you are not running Acrobat in Wine., there is not much of a good way to redact, except Inkscape Vector Editor:

If I told you how often I looked at PDF metadata to get ideas about a case, confirm a fact, confirm a filing time, you'd probably get the wrong idea about me.  I have had two cases where I used PDF metadata to figure out what attorney or firm was responsible for the filing or the drafting of the documents.  One of the cases was widely publicized.  The other case was an attorney who continued to file documents on behalf of his client when they substituted in new counsel after a motion to disqualify.

In addition, there have been at least three other cases where I have used PDF metadata to identify a John Doe defendant, or a metadata remnant of a non-attorney created PDF was key in opening up a new strategy.  

The truth is, that advising attorneys to scrub all metadata from a PDF before filing is a little overbroad.  Is it a good practice?  Sure.  But essentially, scrubbing PDF data is kind of destroying the evidence.

As a part of my practice includes criminal defense, I suppose I could advise everyone out there to scrub their metadata.