A familiar dichotomy in the legal academy juxtaposes freedom against a contrasting value like security or equality. Applied to speech, the “freedom” half gets assigned to abusers and harassers while those who speak up against harm are perceived as censors or silencers. The dichotomy is unfair to the latter camp: Abuse and harassment threaten not only security and equality but freedom. As phenomena that have grown with the rise of social media, abuse and harassment drive individual speakers from the Internet; cause points of view to be lost to discourse; force attacked persons to spend scarce time and money in pursuit of physical safety; reinforce unjust and oppressive hierarchies; and generate emotional distress, which in turn impedes the production of new speech.
Facebook Tag Sufficient Grounds for Protection Order Violation
In People v. Gonzalez, 15-6081M, a New York judge recently ruled that “tagging” someone who has a protection order against you can constitute a violation of that order. This case arose from a protection order issued against Maria Gonzalez. Protection orders, also referred to as restraining orders, prevent one party from contacting another party. Here, Maria Gonzalez was prohibited from contacting her ex-husband Rafael Calderon or his family. This, however, did not stop Maria Gonzalez from going on Facebook to tag her former sister-in-law Maribel Calderon and call her ‘stupid.’ Maria Gonzalez also tagged Rafael Calderon in another post and wrote the following:
You and your family are sad…You guys have to come stronger than that!! I’m way over you guys but I guess not in ya agenda.
Upon receiving notification that she had been tagged, the ex-sister-in-law went to the police and Maria Gonzalez was charged with violating a protection order. Maria Gonzalez filed a motion to dismiss the charge arguing that the protection order did not specifically mention Facebook. The court denied the motion finding that:
The allegations that she contacted the victim by tagging her in a Facebook posting which the victim was notified of is thus sufficient for pleading purposes to establish a violation of the order of protection.
The case is now at the trial stage.
New York, New York
This position will support the General Counsel Office’s “Cyberlaw Unit” and its Vice President and Senior Counsel in the provision of internet law focused legal services across American Express. The position’s key client will be the Company’s Digital Customer Experience unit, the Company’s internal utility providing digital strategy, standards, and delivery of optimal customer online experiences for American Express websites and digital communications. The selected candidate will support the American Express digital experience, creating, keeping current and enforcing industry leading standards, requirements and best practices for American Express digital properties and communications. Candidate will review digital projects in the U.S. and international markets for compliance with “interactive” requirements. Candidate will work closely with GCO attorneys to create and maintain standards documents and provide general support on various interactive law issues, such as electronic contracting, mobile contracting, effective delivery of disclosures in mobile space, website accessibility for the disabled, user generated content, Web 2.0 and social media risk mitigation, Open Source, API development practices, negotiation of key interactive vendor relationships, co-branding and hyperlinking issues and others. Candidate will also conduct research, draft related memoranda and help educate and train internal groups on various US and International internet laws, practices and policies.
Offer of employment with American Express is conditioned upon the successful completion of a background verification check, subject to applicable laws and regulations.
• Must be a strong communicator, leader, team player having customer facing relationship skills, all with a global perspective.
• Must be proactive, independent, self-starter with a strong sense of personal accountability and a “will to win.”
• Must have ability to research, understand and resolve novel, complex issues with a resourceful, independent attitude.
• Must be versatile, flexible and have a desire to take on new responsibilities as American Express and its businesses continue to evolve.
• Must have ability to handle multiple deadline-driven tasks, and experience in leading and facilitating change.
• Must be comfortable in and passionate about working in a diverse, fast moving, constantly changing space.
• Familiarity with social media and all major social media platforms and Web 2.0 technologies.
• Familiarity with general rules of electronic contracting, E-Sign.
• Familiarity with the WCAG and WC3 website accessibility guidelines is a plus, but not required.
• A law degree from an accredited law school and member of the New York Bar in good standing.
• At least 5-10 years of relevant experience