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4384Fw: [infoguys-list] Something of interest to all

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  • PeopleTracers
    Feb 28, 2003
      As a beginning " Information Broker " I concur that Information Brokers
      should most definately be held accountable for their actions, as crazy as
      this may sound I know many brokers who operate WITHOUT ANY LIABILITY
      INSURANCE, even crazier is that one of these individuals is an Attorney
      based in Florida. When I ask my client the reason for wanting to find
      someone I expect a legitimate purpose and document that purpose for future
      reference, I have turned down many clients who REFUSE to give me a valid
      reason for finding someone. If there are any other Brokers out there like
      myself, I would be interested in trading perspective on the Amy Boyer case
      as well as the Broker business.

      Ed Kaminski
      The People Tracers Inc.

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      <tracer@yahoogroups.com>; <investigativepsych@yahoogroups.com>;
      <infoguys-list@yahoogroups.com>; "IVEY, NIKKI" <nikki_ivey@...>
      Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 5:06 PM
      Subject: [infoguys-list] Something of interest to all

      Something I read in the American Bar Association Journal

      ©2003 ABA Journal

      Friday, February 28, 2003

      Court Says Information Brokers Can Be Held Liable for Foreseeable Harm


      Amy Lynn Boyer hardly knew Liam Youens. They met in an eighth-grade
      youth group but didn't become friends. In 10th grade they shared a class,
      and he became obsessed with her. After high school, Youens paid more than
      $200 to an Internet company for information about her, including her Social
      Security number and work address. In October 1999, Youens waited for
      20-year-old Boyer after work. He fatally shot her, and then Youens, 21,
      committed suicide.

      Boyer's mother, Helen Remsburg of Nashua, New Hampshire, sued the
      Florida-based company that sold Boyer's personal information to her killer.
      Remsburg won a major victory this month when the state supreme court ruled
      that information brokers and private investigators who provide information
      to stalkers and identity thieves can be held liable for their actions.

      "This decision really says there has to be some responsibility in
      handling personal information," says Chris Hoofnagle, senior counsel at the
      Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, which wrote an
      amicus brief in the case.

      Remsburg claims Docusearch Inc. violated Boyer's privacy. She is
      seeking a jury trial. But Docusearch, which works primarily for commercial
      clients, including law firms, argues it provided only public information.
      The company asked U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro to dismiss the suit on
      a proximate cause claim, because Youens already had Boyer's home address
      when he contacted Docusearch for more information.

      Barbadoro passed the case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court to
      clarify state law on five points. On Feb. 18, the court issued an opinion
      siding with Remsburg on three of the five points. Boyer v. Docusearch Inc.,
      No. 2002-255.

      The court found first that private investigators and information
      brokers are obligated to those about whom they provide information if there
      is foreseeable harm, as in cases of stalking and identity theft.

      The court also found there is a reasonable expectation of privacy
      regarding Social Security numbers, but that work addresses are public.

      The court said it is a fact question, though, whether revealing a
      Social Security number is "offensive to a person of ordinary sensibilities"
      so as to support the tort of intrusion upon seclusion.

      The court recognized a cause of action for invasion of privacy by
      appropriation of a person's name or likeness, but did not find appropriation
      in this case. Docusearch obtained Boyer's Social Security number from a
      credit-reporting agency without her permission, but only sold it to Youens
      for the value of the information. Appropriation requires proof of taking
      advantage of someone's reputation or prestige, the court said. It occurs
      most often when a defendant uses a person's name or likeness to advertise a
      product or when the defendant impersonates a person for gain.

      Finally, the court found that pretextual calls used to obtain and sell
      information violate the state's consumer protection laws. Docusearch had
      hired an investigator, Michelle Gambino, who called and lied to Boyer to get
      her work address. Docusearch had argued pretext was a legitimate
      investigative tool.

      Gambino's New York City attorney Steve Ross says his client is happy
      the court dismissed two of the counts that could have negatively impacted
      Gambino: commercial appropriation and intrusion upon seclusion. As for the
      issue of pretext, Ross says that as a matter of law Miss Gambino could not
      have foreseen the danger that faced Boyer. "We don't believe under the
      remaining counts that she is liable in any way," Ross says.

      Bedford lawyer Andrew Schulman, who represents Docusearch and other
      defendants, declined comment.

      Youens created a Web site to keep meticulous logs of his plans to
      murder Boyer and possibly her family. He also posted his efforts to locate
      additional information about Boyer.

      "I found an internet site to do that, and to my surprize everything
      else under the Sun. Most importantly: her current employment. It's accually
      obsene what you can find out about a person on the internet [sic]," Youens
      writes on his Web site, which Boyer's family has maintained at
      www.amyboyer.org as part of a memorial and a call to action to fight similar

      Youens praises Docusearch on the site for pulling through "amazingly.
      ... It's like a dream."

      The New Hampshire court found that stalking and identity theft are
      foreseeable risks that warrant a duty by investigators "to exercise
      reasonable care in disclosing" information to a client, especially when "the
      investigator does not know the client or the client's purpose in seeking the

      Private investigators, who filed their own amicus brief in the case,
      are not as upset by the ruling as some expected. Most of a private
      investigator's business wouldn't fall into actionable categories.

      "The decision didn't say anything that our professional association
      doesn't already hold true and dear," says John M. Healy, president of the
      New Hampshire League of Investigators. Healy, however, is concerned with how
      the decision will be seen and used by the public to promulgate more
      restrictive laws. He points out that if private investigators lose the
      ability to work effectively, then the legal, insurance and business
      communities also will suffer.

      "There has to be a balancing act in terms of access to information,"
      says Healy, who adds that 90 percent of his business comes from law firms.
      "We need privacy, but we have to make sure we don't throw out the baby with
      the bathwater."

      Healy also distinguished between regulated investigative work and
      reselling information. He says legitimate investigators ordinarily wouldn't
      disclose a person's whereabouts to a client. "It's legal to do it, but [to
      me] that's overstepping the bounds of propriety." Healy says the industry
      standard is to give the found person the choice to contact the client.


      P. I.
      NOSEY P. I.
      6800 HWY 161 #135
      WALLS, MS.

      NIKKI IVEY nikki@...
      JOHN IVEY john@...

      LICENSE # 562-000
      member: American Bar Association

      MEMPHIS & N. MISSISSIPPI: (662) 781.3446

      WEBSITE: http://www.noseypi.com


      P. I.
      NOSEY P. I.
      6800 HWY 161 #135
      WALLS, MS.

      NIKKI IVEY nikki@...
      JOHN IVEY john@...

      LICENSE # 562-000
      member: American Bar Association

      MEMPHIS & N. MISSISSIPPI: (662) 781.3446

      WEBSITE: http://www.noseypi.com

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