Dying of Exposure

Published June 21, 2013

In the sort of lawsuit that probably even the late Robert Bork could not have envisioned while staying up late nights writing Slouching Towards Gomorrah, a certain “John Doe” in Chicago has made a federal case out of exposing himself over the Internet to one “Jane Doe” of Canada, who despite having the same last name is apparently not related. (We guess “Roe” already was taken.) He’s claiming invasion of privacy.

According to Mr. Doe’s complaint, he engaged in “video communications” with his namesake through Skype, which allows worldwide communications using cameras connected to computers.

Because boys will be boys, Mr. Doe says, he used his Skype account in March 2013 to communicate with Ms. Doe, posing as “Ashley Collins,” on the Web site hehechat and–quoting from his complaint–“engaged in sexual conduct” that Ms. Doe/Collins could view through her Skype connection. (Privacy Tip 1: Do not check this link from your office computer or–given recent revelations concerning U.S. surveillance policies–any other computer than can be traced to you.)

Audaciously and allegedly, “without authorization, consent, or knowledge of the Plaintiff,” the complaint continues, “‘Ashley Collins recorded audio and video aspects of the Skype Communication, particularly Plaintiff’s sexual conduct,” then demanded the outrageous amount of $200.00 from Mr. Doe not to post the video on the World Wide Web. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Doe then became “scared, shocked and embarrassed,” terminated the Skype connection, and failed to pay Ms. Doe (or Ms. Collins) the requested $200.00. Whereupon Ms. Doe/Collins (who may not even be a “Ms.”), posted the embarrassing recording on the Internet at xvideos. (Privacy Tip 2: Best not to check this link either.)

The resulting case for invasion of privacy is Doe v. Doe, No. 13-cv-2790, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Chicago. Privacy Tip 3: If you don’t want to publicize putting your private parts on the Internet, don’t put it in a public court record either, even under an assumed name.

For what it’s worth, the plaintiff’s attorney’s name is “Mudd.”

Source: Doe v. Doe, No. 13-cv-2790 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, available through https://ecf.ilnd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl for those with a PACER account.