Author Topic: Anonymous Employer Reviews  (Read 524 times)

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Offline Friendly Angel

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Anonymous Employer Reviews
« on: July 25, 2017, 01:06:44 PM »
Glassdoor is both a job finder and employer/company review site.  People leave anonymous reviews of current and past employers.

Gov wants to unmask the reviewers for a legal case in which reviewers apparently described fraudulent practices of a certain company which is now under investigation.

https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2017/07/24/glassdoor-pushes-back-against-moves-to-identify-anonymous-reviewers/

Quote
The subpoena was initially demanding identifying information on anybody who reviewed the company from September 1 2008 to the present, including, but not limited to, IP address; logs associated with all posts, including date and time of post; username; email address; resume; billing information such as name, credit card information, billing address, and payment history; and any other available contact information.

No can do, said Glassdoor: that would infringe reviewers’ First Amendment right to anonymous expression and would have a chilling effect on users’ inclination to use the service.




Amend and resubmit.

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2017, 01:22:59 PM »
It is not clear to me that either side is obviously correct, here. There are competing public interests, and I think that reasonable people can disagree on how to balance them.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2017, 01:32:07 PM »
It is not clear to me that either side is obviously correct, here. There are competing public interests, and I think that reasonable people can disagree on how to balance them.

The reviewers assumed they were anonymous though, Glassdoor implies they are anyway - and now they're going to court for it.

So I guess the lesson is that you're never anonymous.

Seems like the government is really stretching for evidence though, going after people who make anonymous posts  -  must not have found what they needed in the conventional way... going through employment records and questioning everybody.
Amend and resubmit.

Offline moj

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2017, 01:37:12 PM »
I'm with glassdoor on this and think the government is over reaching. I think GD provides a valuable service and glad that are fighting for it. That said, would be OK with very limited scope information sharing with the government, that was not made public.

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2017, 01:54:59 PM »
It is not clear to me that either side is obviously correct, here. There are competing public interests, and I think that reasonable people can disagree on how to balance them.

The reviewers assumed they were anonymous though, Glassdoor implies they are anyway - and now they're going to court for it.

So I guess the lesson is that you're never anonymous.

It is not clear to me that one has an expectation of privacy when posting in a public forum any more than when writing an E-mail (which I hope we all know are subpoena-able).  Nor do I think Glassdoor's promise to keep them anonymous has any legal effect on their subpoena-ability.  If I'm subpoenaed to testify against you, I can't decline on the grounds that you told me about your crimes in confidence.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2017, 02:35:18 PM »
It is not clear to me that one has an expectation of privacy when posting in a public forum any more than when writing an E-mail (which I hope we all know are subpoena-able).  Nor do I think Glassdoor's promise to keep them anonymous has any legal effect on their subpoena-ability.  If I'm subpoenaed to testify against you, I can't decline on the grounds that you told me about your crimes in confidence.

There are some differences here though -
1.  None of the reviewers (AFAIK) is actually being accused of any crime; it is presumed they are witnesses.
2.  Glassdoor is more like a journalist protecting their sources.
3.  The anonymity of the reviews makes the credibility of the statements questionable - nothing like a confession, more like shop talk over a beer.

Maybe the reality is more clear cut than I'm imagining - maybe some of the reviews actually do indicate knowledge of crimes and actionable information.  Maybe somebody did confess anonymously... that would change my opinion; but otherwise, I think Big Brother is out of line.
Amend and resubmit.

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2017, 06:07:58 PM »
1) The government has the power to compel you to testify against another person.
2) No, they are not at all like a journalist; they are providing a public forum, just like SGU Forums is.
3) It is in general a jury's job to determine the reliability of a witness' testimony.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2017, 06:11:09 PM »
To be clear, I'm not saying I'm convinced it should be allowed, I just think your arguments against it are not relevant or are invalid.  Have you read the decision, by the way?
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2017, 06:51:17 PM »
I can see Glassdoor making a system where they don't keep such information at all in the future
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Anonymous Employer Reviews
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2017, 07:15:01 PM »

3) It is in general a jury's job to determine the reliability of a witness' testimony.

Right, I was thinking the credibility of the review was sufficiently unreliable that it might not merit a subpoena in the first place, not that a subpoenaed witness might be questionable. Glassdoor is claiming that there should be a high bar for unmasking users.

Do you think this would have played out the same way if it were YELP instead of Glassdoor?


To be clear, I'm not saying I'm convinced it should be allowed, I just think your arguments against it are not relevant or are invalid.  Have you read the decision, by the way?

I read that the court decided this wasn't political speech, and the 9th agreed, and the case law GD cited didn't apply.  Was there something else?

There's also this:

Quote
Prosecutors originally sought to identify 125 reviewers, but later narrowed their request to just eight after Glassdoor pushed back. The name of the contractor subject to the investigation is redacted in court documents, but The Wall Street Journal in a report Friday identified the company as TriWest Healthcare Alliance, a Phoenix-based company that administers federal veteran benefits.

I wonder if the feds signed up with a fraudulent user name just to read the reviews.
Amend and resubmit.

 

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