View Full Version : Any lawyers here?

Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:07 PM
Hi all,

a member who has been put on moderation for having posted links to a site than contains pro-ALF material has sent me the following message (exerpt):

"Can I please made a request under the "Privacy Policy: Data Protection Act 1998 and The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003" all my data and any posts I have made on your forum http://www.veganforum.com/forums/index.php are removed from the site in 10 days please".

Does anyone here know if I, as an admin of this site, really have to do this?

This will destroy a lot of trheads, for two reasons: if I delete the first post in a thread that person has started, that whoe thread will disappear. Also, if I delete posts inside a discussion where this member and others have discussed with each other, the thread will stop making sense, because of the missing posts.


Board rule # 7: " Do not promote sites that support/promote illegal activities of any kind - or promotes sites, books or videos that do."

Board rule # 15) We reserve the right to delete/moderate accounts and posts - and disable features - for any reason - without further explanation.

Spud Addict
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:12 PM
I'm not a lawyer but as far as I can understand it, law trumps the rules of online discussion boards, regardless of whether or not they have been broken.

Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:25 PM
Of course we can't make our own rules that we can be expect to be considered of higher value than national laws - but still: if someone writes something in public media, of his free will, can he really demand that we shall remove these writings later, when they are part of a discussion with other people?

After all these years, this is the first time a member has demnaded that all his posts shall be removed from our site. I really wonder what he wants to achieve with this, but most of all, I can't see that it's reasonable, except for himself...in that it may give a short term, satisfying feeling of revenge for not being allowed to break the rules here / for having been put on moderation.

Mr Flibble
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:38 PM
Not I.

I'd be surprised if you did have to though, especially given that both laws quoted are UK laws and neither this site nor its operator are UK based (correct me if mistaken).

Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:43 PM
That's true. Neither the server or the site owner (myself) is located in UK.

Mr Flibble
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:59 PM
Sounds like a classic case of toys thrown out of pram syndrome :)

Out of interest, can you not delete all posts by a user using sql? I don't know this software well enough, but I can't imagine it's too complicated.

Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:39 PM
I am not a lawyer, however I deal with legal contracts a lot as an underwriter and I am somewhat familiar with the UK Data Protection Act and EC Communications Regulations.

Those documents refer to protection of an individuals personal information, which can be storage of such data as their name, address, telephone number, job, actual records of items they have purchased, place they went to school etc.

This legislation does not refer to general information that an individual wilfully put onto a public forum, I would conjecture that his information doesn't fall under the above headings and as Mr Flibble points out you are not subject to UK law.

Something that also suggests that this individual doesn't actually know the law and are indeed exercising the "toys out of the pram syndrome" is that they didn't point you to the actual sections of the documents they are referring you to.

It's purely an idle scare tactic in my opinion.

Mar 23rd, 2010, 08:17 PM
Could you just change their user name?

I have no legal knowledge but I don't see how the Data Protection Act can be relevant if the information and posts on this forum is not linked to them in any way - ie there is no link to their real name or address and no real information about their real-life identity in their user profile or the posts they have made (apart from their date of birth if they chose to provide it but maybe deleting that would also help?)

Buddha Belly
Mar 23rd, 2010, 09:42 PM
Norway does implement some EU laws under a EEA agreement. Be worth checking out with a local anti-EU group (if you have one) if the data protection act is enforcable in Norway.

Hope you don't have to delete posts due to hussy fits.

Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:46 PM
I am fairly sure tha Zero is right here. I have also done some research and read (in full!!) the following document:


I have also read a lot on the ICO site and as far as I am aware this relates to personal data that would identify a person. However, part of the directive also covers the fact that permission was given. As far as I can understand (and I am not a lawyer) it does not cover data posted by the person on a public site. I am not positive, but that would make sense to me. The act was more to cover things like illegal cookies or spyware, or firms keeping details such as name and address beyond when necessary, or selling this data on etc. I do not think it applies to a forum, where the data is not even personal.

Mar 24th, 2010, 01:06 AM
About the only law that could be used in this circumstance is copyright laws, but since they've given implied permission for you to use their posts they really don't have a leg to stand on.