• November 12, 2010

UPDATE:  Unfortunately for those that might have found interesting a lawsuit regarding corporate cyber-attacks (see the original post, below), BidClerk and Reed Elsevier apparently resolved their differences fairly quickly and quietly.

While “no news is no news” and a quick dismissal gives the public no information (and certainly no admission of wrong-doing), given the detail of the allegations (complaint linked below), one might infer the absence of a formal denial of the allegations by the defendant to closely approximate an admission.  (If that is the case, however, one wonders why the pre-litigation settlement discussions did not fully avoid the black-eye of the unanswered public allegations?)

[Original Post (10/4/2010:]  Internet advertising is often paid for “per click” or “per impression.”  So if you see a product (or, these days, a political candidate?) advertised on-line for which you harbor particular antipathy, you might consider clicking the ad to trigger a charge.   Mind you, the charge for your single click might be a fraction of a penny, so don’t consider a vindictive click if you value your time as worth more than, say, $0.0022/minute.

Literally, your act could be alleged to have been a willful infliction of a monetary harm, although the chances of being sued for $0.0022 are obviously vanishingly close to absolutely zero (but, then again, who needs damages to claim entitlement to them?).

One willful and malicious click does not a lawsuit make but how about clicking a business competitor’s on-line advertisement tens of thousands (or millions) of times?  Sound like prudent competitive business practice?  Maybe not?  (Incidentally, if you are interested in the intersection between law and the internet/computer technology, try PinHawk Law Technology Daily Digest Sample edited by Curt Meltzer – a free online daily digest.)

Another way to harm a competitor would be to set up computers to swamp its servers with bogus internet traffic — so-called denial-of-service (DOS) attacks because the spike in internet traffic can essentially jam the competitors website, denying service to legitimate customers .

U.S. District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz (D. Minn.) [would have presided] over such allegations in the BidClerk complaint.

The allegations make it seem like the case is “open and shut.”  Is it possible that the “IP address” (the internet protocol unique identifier of the transmitting computer) to which BidClerk traced the alleged attacks was falsified or “spoofed”?  (Apparently, there may not be a consensus that such information is always reliable. (HT: to Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest for the tip!)

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