Juniper Battles “Defamers And Libelers”

    December 21, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Comments made by as many as ten people using the message boards at the Light Reading website have the networking company ticked off and filing suit against “defamers and libelers.”

If Juniper Networks hoped to silence criticism of its business and executives by filing a lawsuit against unnamed parties posting questionable comments about the company, they may be quite mistaken. Popular telecom news site Light Reading reported how Juniper has begun seeking legal redress against as many as ten people who posted negative comments about the firm.

The article quoted TCU professor of criminal justice Jeff Farrell as saying: “It seems sure to backfire if the intention was to silence their critics.” Those critics, unnamed except for a pair of usernames, “infranet_rulz” and “exJuniper981,” seem to think Juniper’s upper management may have missed a class or two on ethics while in school:

The company’s complaint cites an April 20 message that stated, “the man at the helm seems to be paying (off) attorneys all over the bay area to cover up the scandal which resulted in the terminations of many at the top including the VP of HR. 1) Board of director 2) CFO 3) GM 4) VP of engineering 5) VP of HR and more.”

Another message cited in the complaint came a day later. According to the complaint, it said the “top management” at Juniper bribes attorneys, and that “the man at the top should join his buddy Bernie [Ebers (sic)]… ”

Another message singled out in the complaint says: “This is a very unethical company.”

Companies have had to learn to respect, and even fear, the voice of the common man as Internet usage grows and blogs crop up every day. Many have turned to services or software products that track what is said about them on message boards as well as in blogs or on web sites.

Neither Juniper nor Light Reading have commented about the suit yet. But the complaint cited by the story gives the reason why they are taking legal action: Juniper’s complaint says the still nameless defendents must be stopped because these statements could lead to a “material decline” in Juniper’s “profits and could cause permanent harm to Plaintiff’s good reputation.”

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.