Can the Internet Kill? Holding Web Investigators Liable for Their Criminal Customers

By: Mark Sweet

As the wealth of online information grows, private investigation websites are becoming more powerful and popular. Their client lists include attorneys, insurance agencies, banks, neighbors, employers, and, oh yes, stalkers and identity thieves. When a stalker used information from a web investigator to track down and kill his victim, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held the investigator liable for its customer’s criminal acts. This iBrief considers how far liability should extend for a web investigator, distinguishes web investigators from handgun and bullet retailers, and explains how this decision realizes a policy against privacy invasions.

Cite: 2003 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0011