Internet issues about what people experience negatively from their use of the Internet occurs too frequently. Internet claims span from invasion of privacy, defamation, to misappropriating someone’s identity online and follow up marketing ads targeting someone after they have visited a site. The Internet gives users a freedom that is immeasurable. It gives users more flexibility to express ideas and conduct activities. Its use generates data about what the user’s access, shares, comments on, and what the user buys and sells.
Such communications and the characteristic data establish a profile of the users that far exceeds that of the day-to-day physical life of the cyberspace active individual or business. The realm of tort law comes to play. Tort law addresses the duty to not harm others or the duty to conduct activities and behaviors in such a way that would be reasonable.
Internet issues tend to cover the issues of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. They may even cross the line of economic torts and commercial interference, along with defamation. This may result in the harming of someone’s reputation socially and professionally. The variant pertaining to privacy is related to the causes from unreasonable intrusion into someone seclusion, misusing someone’s name or image, publishing someone’s private information, and placing someone in a false light in the public eye. Not all states adhere to the latter of the four, the State of Florida being one that deems it related to defamation as a whole. See Agency for Health Care Admin. v. Associated Indus. of Fla., Inc., 678 So.2d 1239, 1252 (Fla. 1996).
There are frequent calls about people being concerned about their personal information being online. For the online availability of information about someone to arise to the level of breaching someone’s seclusion it would have to meet several criteria. The criteria for seclusion to be intruded requires intent to do so; the subject is one that the subject person has right to keep private; and the intrusion would be objected to by reasonable standards. The expectation of privacy is about the intrusion into some area of life that it is objectively deemed to be private. The online issues occur when someone’s photo is taken in a public place and posted on the Internet. The protections for facial recognition is currently being debated among the courts. It is all too concerning for some.
The Misuse or misappropriation of a subject’s name or image arises when the subject has a right to control the commercial use of image or name. The issue giving cause for suit is when the violation of using someone’s image was done without consent or beyond the score of that was consented to by the subject person. This brings together the invasion of privacy tort and right of publicity, coupled with the defendant’s advantage.
Publishing someone’s private information on the Internet runs a foul when the information is private, and it is of the nature that would be offensive to the reasonable person if published. The only exception to this if the information is of a public concern. The information that is published must be true to be effectively construed as committing the tort of public disclosure of private facts. Social media interaction could present exposure to the person who make public someone else’s private information.
The false light issue is related to invasion of privacy and as well related to defamation. False light claims are not actionable in Florida, as stated above, but is, such as in California. The tort is about the defendant publishing on the Internet information that would attribute views, characteristics, and behaviors to the subject person that characterizes the subject person falsely and such characteristics would be deemed offensive.
The intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by the Internet tort requires that there was intent to do so or it was done recklessly otherwise knowing the truth and not appreciating the consequences. There is also the element of an outrageous conduct by the publisher. Where the subject person runs into difficulty under this claim is to prove the suffering of emotional distress and that the publishing by the defendant caused the emotional distress.
The last point is the one related to economic torts that arise from Internet fraud, misrepresentation, interference with commercial contracts, and interference with business opportunities. These activities involve misrepresentation of information, concealment of facts that are material, with intent to deceive. In addition, the interference of contracts requires that there is a contractual relationship, and that the defendant knows about the contract, along with a demonstration that the subject person of entity incurred damages from the commercial interference.
While internet issues bring up possible varied Internet torts, the subject entity or person has the burden to demonstrate the requirements for establishing claims. Defenses can be raised for Internet torts, by impinging on matters that cloud the subject person’s claims of privacy, personality of information, damages, and public import of what was published. Any strict liability that a publisher may have will depend on the essential contacts for jurisdiction and the lack of adequate disclosures of potential harms and known harms for what was represented or sold online. Overall, the Internet realm is litigation filled as is the physical business and social aspects of communications in life in general.