TG Daily Top-10: Tech lawsuits of 2006

8 - Teenage girl sues MySpace after alleged sexual assault

A 14-year-old girl and her mother sued MySpace earlier this year after the girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Pete Solis, a 19-year-old man she met on through the popular social networking site. The girl says she was sexually assaulted by Solis and claims that MySpace should have had better protections in place for children, but Solis says the encounter was consensual and adds that the girl lied about her age.

Now I know that most of you are thinking this is an open and shut case of a pervert who meets underage girls and in fact Solis was arrested after the encounter and now faces up to 20 years in prison for the supposed assault. But Solis and MySpace could be vindicated because the girl shouldn't have had an account to begin with and possibly lied about her age. MySpace members must be at least 14-years-old to make an account, but some news sources say the girl was 13-years-old when she created her account.

This lawsuit is significant, not only because of insane potential $30 million payoff, but because the case is being used as an example of the supposed dangers of MySpace. Many parent groups, politicians and even news media outlets are using this case as a warning that the service is full of sexual predators waiting to pounce on children. Sure, MySpace and sexual predators are a hot topic right now and those predators are out there. Solis is, at the very least (and hopefully only) stupid for meeting the girl, but we think some common sense could have avoided this mess.

Article coverage:
Teen sues MySpace
(External) Austin's CBS 42 interviews Pete Solis

7 - Employee sues IBM for Web addiction

James Pacenza, a former IBM employee for 19 years, sued the company for wrongful termination and claims his Internet addiction wasn't taken seriously. IBM says it terminated Pacenza after he talked about sex acts in a chat room on company time. Pacenza doesn't deny that he was on the chat room, but claims that he told his superiors of his addiction and that other punishment could have been handed out. Oh and let's not forget the cool $5 million Dollars in damages Pacenza is seeking.

Should a company have to babysit its employees during work hours? If you don't trust your employees to take personal responsibility, why hire them in the first place. We do admit that many workers probably do a little extra web surfing, but are smart enough to still get their work done.

Many large companies already have acceptable Internet use policies that limit what types of websites an employee can view, but if Pacenza wins his lawsuit all hell could break loose with companies adopting Gestapo-like tactics to monitor and curb web surfing. I sure as heck don't want my boss breathing down my neck as I sneak in some quality World of Warcraft time.

Article coverage:
(External) Employee sues IBM for Web addiction