Thursday 14 December 2017

Taxi fare clip still on internet, court told

Tim Healy

AN internet video clip falsely accusing a student of taxi fare evasion is still accessible outside the Republic of Ireland, the High Court heard yesterday.

Expert internet users can also access it here and did so as recently as yesterday morning, the court heard.

Eoin McKeogh (22), a DCU student, has obtained temporary High Court orders preventing YouTube, Google, Facebook and a number of websites from republishing the video and accompanying material which wrongly identifies him as a man leaving a taxi without paying the fare. A fake Facebook page claiming to be Mr McKeogh had been put up but removed.

Mr McKeogh wants an injunction permanently removing all the material until the full hearing of his action over the matter.

Yesterday, his barrister, Pauline Walley, told the court the material was still available outside the 26 counties despite the previous court orders. Their own experts had accessed it on laptops outside the court just before yesterday's hearing, she said.

Ms Walley said she wanted the court to order that the material should also not be accessible outside the Republic.

Mr McKeogh also wants Facebook to provide a point of contact within its organisation who he can contact immediately to deal with any breaches of the court order rather than having to go through the firm's solicitor.

This was important because what can be a "small local fire" in internet terms can easily become a bush fire within 24 hours, she said.

Ms Walley did not accept Facebook's contention that it was not possible to implement screening and blocking of new attempts to post the material. It was done in relation to copyright, child porn, incitement to hatred and religious material, she said.

Ms Walley said the person who had originally posted the defamatory material had apologised and taken the video down.

But her client was alarmed to find that the material kept re-appearing "phoenix-like".


Ms Walley said Facebook had agreed to provide a print-off of the impostor profile -- with all its changes -- but had said it would only do so if Mr McKeogh provided an indemnity in relation to third parties. This was an unfair demand by a multi-billion-euro industry, she said.

Mr McKeogh was also seeking costs against Facebook.

The lawyer for Facebook said the social media site maintained there was no reason for this action at all. "We have no liability whatsoever," he said.

The hearing before Mr Justice Michael Peart continues.

Irish Independent

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