back to article FTC's Jerk ruling against ex-Napster boss upheld by court

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is claiming victory after the US Court of Appeals upheld a verdict it won over reputation site Jerk.com. The court ruled that John Fanning, the former Napster CEO and chairman, deceived customers about data collection and membership benefits of Jerk.com, a social networking/smear website …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's amazing how many problems not having any social network profiles solves.

    All of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Online problems perhaps but I had plenty of problems in the late 1980s before I even had an email address.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bravo!

      Now if we can get >95% of drone-phone users to get "smarter" we just might get back to reality.

      (or not)

  2. Grease Monkey

    I'm sorry, but can somebody explain exactly how this business model differs from extortion?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Exactly.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @Grease Monkey - The difference is the source of the information; it is publicly available. Extortion is difficult to prove when someone can find the information with a little from Facebook and Google. What the FTC nailed him on was fraud and false advertising; serious enough to make him very damaged goods. He now has a permanent record of a serious enforcement action against him. In some industries, this could lead to no job offer or a firing if found out.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        In some industries, this could lead to no job offer or a firing if found out.

        True except in the tech/web world. How about "peeple.com"? Or the history of certain companies twisting and extorting suppliers... MS and the OEM's several decades comes to mind. Maybe he could work for Google to establish a "non-tracking" scheme...

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Extortion is difficult to prove when someone can find the information with a little from Facebook and Google. "

        If someone's offering to make personal information go away for money, then it's extortion, _even if_ they can't actually do as they claim.

        1. Grease Monkey

          Don't know about the US but the point about extortion is not down to whether the information was publicly available. Imagine you found out something publicly available (if not necessarily widely known) about a person and then told them you would take that information top the tabloid press unless they were to pay up.

          That would be extortion. This is no different.

  3. Anonymous Vulture
    Megaphone

    Why privacy is still important

    As others have said - no social media footprint, no problem. What is interesting to me is I thought the horror that is/was Peeple was original. Apparently Mr. Fanning had the idea first.

    I truly believe that there needs to be some basic required education in schools that covers social networking and the permanence of actions taken on the internet. Or some people will find themselves paying a 'subscription' to keep their mildly embarrassing antics under cover. How long before Zuckerberg or Twitter see this as an alternative revenue stream? I can see the e-mail now "Do not forget to pay your Erasure(tm) subscription fee this month to continue hiding those posts you made under the influence five years ago."

    1. Palpy Silver badge

      Re: Peeple. My thoughts exactly.

      Fanning's Folly differs from the Peeple app mostly in terms of the blackmail amount, apparently.

      From El Reg's story: "...the company says that it will soon introduce a 'Truth Licence' which, for a buck a day, will let you see whatever people have written about you, regardless of whether you have disallowed it and even, it seems, if you have 'deleted' it."

      But Peeple's founders are also asking for donations ...

      "Hey Peeps, we would love if you could support the funding of the Peeple app’s Android version! We are giving away Stuffed Animal Parrots for your kids, pets, and co-workers. We are also giving away 125 tickets to our launch party during Stampede 2016 and 325 tickets to see the exclusive viewing of our Documentary for Netflix: People vs Peeple. You can spend as little as $5 to as much as $50. Thanks for your support!"

      ... how does this play, exactly? Enabling character assassination and blackmail, and they want crowdfunding for it? That is so special!

  4. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    But why was the article headed by a photograph of a third stage guild navigator?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another good scam

    I was watching Scam City "Hong Kong" on Rad X, and the scam was a similar extortion scheme.

    The "lady" was actually a transvestite who sat down at a foreigner's table, invited "herself" to some food & drink at the gentleman's expense, invited "herself" along to a shopping expedition, and generally went out of "her" way to suck all the money out of this guy.

    When the guy asked what it would take for "her" to go away, "she" coolly demanded $1,000,000 Hong Kong dollars, or else "she" would go to his hotel and tell them "she" was his boy, or whatever.

    The moment he pointed out the cameras that had been filming them the whole time, which was a very precious moment, the transvestite scattered.

    1. James O'Shea

      Re: Another good scam

      Was the young "lady's" name "Lola", by any chance?

      Exit, singing:

      'Girls will be boys and boys will be girls

      It's a mixed up muddled up, shook up world

      Except for Lola, L-L-Lola'

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