Verizon vs. RIAA ruling protects privacy of Internet users

Ruling protects privacy of Internet users

December 19, 2003 - The privacy of Internet users was protected in a ruling issued by the DC Circuit Court today. The DC Circuit was unanimous in dismissing the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) subpoenas for user identities, a case known as Verizon vs. RIAA.

Forty organizations, including Consumer Action, signed on to an amicus brief filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation supporting Verizon and Internet users right to privacy.

Consumer and privacy advocates applauded the ruling. Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action, said, "We applaud the court for ruling in support of consumer privacy on the Internet. We are happy to be one of the groups supporting Verizon’s legal battle to keep subscriber information out of the hands of third parties. Consumers need to feel that their personal information is protected when they are online - not shared or compromised without their explicit permission."

The Recording Industry Association of America has filed nearly 3,000 subpoenas in Washington, DC, as a prelude to lawsuits against 382 alleged file sharers. The court today ruled that those subpoenas are not authorized by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and in fact reversed the decision on the Verizon-RIAA case on statutory grounds.

"This decision represents a tremendous win for consumers, ensuring that people can feel more secure in their online activity. Consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of advanced applications and technologies, knowing their personal information cannot be requested by outside entities without due process," said Matt Bennett, public policy director at the Alliance for Public Technology.

 

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