January 16, 2005
The Impact of Search Engines on Private Citizen Litigation
Andrew Zangrilli calls attention to the impact web communication of court filings has on private parties in an editorial published in Findlaw's Modern Practice (January 2005). The author advises that due to electronic access to court records and the prominent placement of such listings in search results from Google, Yahoo, etc. that "...attorneys must make clear to their clients that submission to the judicial process will bring a certain amount of exposure." Zangrilli concludes:
The prominent placement of judicial information in an individual's online search results is a steadily increasing phenomenon that causes subtle yet actual harms. Unfortunately, when trying to remedy the damaging placement of information, affected individuals encounter virtually insurmountable First Amendment and commercial hurdles. As a result, some may view this phenomenon as one of life's irremediable annoyances that must be silently endured. Because there are no concrete remedies available to combat this phenomenon, the filing of certain types of lawsuits may be chilled by fear that the published litigation will become the fountainhead of one's online existence.
Finally, until this particular problem is adequately addressed by a company or a court, private citizens should take it upon themselves to control their online identities by becoming publishers of their own information.
Sounds like that is exactly what Ken Lay is doing.
Source: Andrew Zangrilli,"The Impact of Search Engines on Private Citizen Litigation.
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