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The case of Prof. Ewa Łętowska’s avatar – identify theft on Facebook

Prof. Ewa Łętowska does not have to be introduced in detail. The first Polish Ombudsman, a judge on the Supreme Administrative Court and the Constitutional Tribunal. A few months ago Facebook saw the emergence of profiles of Prof. Łętowska that presented her, as an enthusiast of music by Zdzisława Sośnicka, organizer of galas and concerts (inter alia a gala with Ewa Demarczyk, “Gala Anny Dymnej”). Moreover, the “false” Prof. Łętowska did not limit her activity only to Facebook profiles. At the same time, mail bearing the name and surname of Prof. Łętowska were used to book hotel rooms and concert halls. The “avatar” of Prof. Łętowska, supported by active profiles on Facebook, was so credible that it persuaded one local teacher and social activist to participate in the organization of one gala. Pestered by the “avatar” that took advantage of the authority of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Polish: Polska Akademia Nauk) (by sending a letter allegedly signed by the committee members of the Polish Academy of Sciences), the teacher concluded a loan agreement and set up an account to which funds from this agreement were deposited. The case – its criminal aspect – is currently being investigated by the prosecutor. You can read more about the details of the case here.

False profiles have been reported to Facebook many times, according to the procedures provided by the portal. Originally, Facebook maintained that false profiles were not contrary to its policy and only after 3 weeks of the first report did it delete the profiles. In this period Facebook, as an administrator, allowed the existence of “false identities” (avatars) of Prof. Łętowska that facilitated criminal activities and deprived Prof. Łętowska of control over her “identity”.

For this reason, Prof. Łętowska has decided to take legal action against Facebook. What’s important, by deciding to pursue such action, Prof. Łętowska hopes her case will become an instrument in the discussion over the liability of internet giants and dangers to identity protection in the internet, all the more since the “identify theft” problem is the bane of thousands of people who don’t always have the opportunity to have their cases publicized.

We are honored to represent Prof. Łętowska in this case pro bono.

#facebook #identity theft #internet #litigation #social networking services

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