Gossip site founder: If subpoenaed, will identify users

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    Matt Ivester, the founder of JuicyCampus.com, told the Skiff on Tuesday that he would comply with a lawful subpoena seeking user information. The site stores user IP addresses, which could be used to track user identities, but it doesn’t hold user identity information.

    The founder of college gossip Web site JuicyCampus.com said Tuesday that he would turn over users’ identities if lawfully subpoenaed.

    JuicyCampus is currently under investigation by the attorneys general of New Jersey and Connecticut for not enforcing its terms of use by deleting offensive content, but the site’s founder, Matt Ivester, said policing the content is not his legal responsibility.

    Ivester said the Web site makes no claim to police itself, citing sections six and seven of JuicyCampus’ terms and conditions.

    Section six of JuicyCampus’ terms and conditions states that the Web site has the right, but not the obligation, to remove or modify any content at its discretion.

    Section seven advises users of the Web site not to post content that is “unlawful, threatening, abusive, tortuous, defamatory, obscene, libelous or invasive of another’s privacy.”

    “We say very clearly in our terms and conditions that we do comply with lawful subpoenas,” Ivester said. “If someone has broken the law and we have the information that a court wants, we’d have to.”

    Ivester reiterated, though, that all posts made within the parameters of the law will remain anonymous.

    Ivester said the investigation into his business practices by the New Jersey and Connecticut attorneys general has caught him off guard.

    “JuicyCampus is confident that it hasn’t violated any laws,” Ivester said. “We’ve just been very surprised by the entire investigation.”

    Ivester defended himself against accusations from New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, whose office is investigating JuicyCampus for consumer fraud, arguing that the Web site doesn’t enforce its terms and conditions.

    In a press release from the New Jersey attorney general’s office, Milgram said JuicyCampus’ decision not to remove controversial postings constitutes misrepresentation to the public and violates New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

    Ivester said he disagrees with the claim.

    “If you were to follow her argument to a logical end, if we were to get in trouble for not enforcing our terms and conditions that the state and federal governments deem necessary, we’d be better off not having terms and conditions at all,” Ivester said.

    In a press release, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office is investigating whether JuicyCampus “adheres to its promised bar on abusive, libelous and defamatory postings.”

    Blumenthal sent a letter to JuicyCampus requesting that the Web site provide requested documents and information by April 11.

    Ivester declined to comment on JuicyCampus’ compliance with the investigations.

    Neither the Connecticut nor the New Jersey attorney general’s offices returned phone calls seeking comment about their investigations.