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  1. 9 Posts.
    Chatters take it on the chin

    Internet chatters skulking behind their pseudonyms will be saddened to hear that they can now be identified. Exposed.

    For those of you not acquainted with the likes of Commsec and Hot Copper - racy forums where speculators trade gossip about various stocks - the correspondents communicate via noms-de-plume.

    It's all a bit of fun. There are some great calls, some shockers, sometimes the transmission of complete rubbish designed to ramp a stock price, other times the dissemination of sensitive information which would appear to come straight from the company promoter.

    Though this year, assorted threats, wild allegations of criminal conduct and stock-ramping among the chatters has been on the rise. It has attracted the attention of the regulators and left the odd chatter evicted from the odd site.

    They usually just change their pseudonym and keep on posting.

    Anyway, there was some nasty stuff on Commsec recently posted about WA tech group Eastland Medical Systems and one of its directors, John Picton-Warlow.

    The culprit, on Commsec, went by the name of Super Doogal. Disturbed by the libellous postings of Super Doogal, Picton-Warlow asked Commsec to reveal the chatter's identity and get him to apologise.

    Commsec declined, citing the Privacy Act. Warlow then sought orders in the WA Supreme Court - having made the case that Super Doogal's postings were clearly defamatory - that the chatter's identity be revealed.

    The court then gave orders that Super Doogal be outed under third party discovery provisions. And that he was.

    The Federal Court has similar provisions. We have a precedent.

    The moral of the story? The chat sites are being cleaned up. Had an action proceeded it's unclear whether the chatter or the chatroom would be liable.

    The next move, to stop associates of speculative companies from ramping their stock prices, should come from ASIC.

    Why not a determination that chatters be required to post under their own names - on registered sites?

 
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