EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

February 18, 2014

Woman charged with using Pinterest to violate restraining order, harass daughter


“This is not only, ‘I’m watching you,’ but ‘I’m telling you I’m watching you,’” prosecutor Alex Grimes said during a hearing last week. “This is a method for her to skirt the restraining order, to play with and taunt the victim.”

Judge Robert Brennan questioned whether the situation is akin to a person who is the subject of a 100-foot restraining order standing 120 feet away.

Grimes suggested that if that scenario happened more than once, then it might just be a violation.

The judge then compared the situation to a star athlete being hounded by an obsessed fan until the celebrity obtains a restraining order. Is the fan now barred from even reading about the athlete on the sports page of the newspaper?

But Grimes argued that social media is different from traditional media because there is a way to communicate directly with someone.

Costa says her client didn’t. She also argued that without “authentication” of the page attributed to her client, there is no case.

Grimes said he believes that the daughter can authenticate the page through testimony.

The judge said he would like to know what process, if any, Pinterest uses to confirm a user’s identity, comparing it to his use of a Google mail account to set up a court calendar and the limited information he needed to provide for that.

Brennan said he would hold another hearing on the issue before the new trial date of April 22.

Shaw, of 3 Access Road, Beverly, has had prior charges of restraining order violations lodged against her, something Grimes suggested would give credence to her daughter’s allegation of a new violation.

Meanwhile, Gagnon’s attorney, Neil Hourihan, says his client has no idea how the invitation got sent but believes it was done automatically by Google.

Gagnon’s case received national coverage after computer privacy advocates cited it as an example of a worst-case scenario of how information gathered by companies like Google can be used in ways no user expects — in Gagnon’s case, to allegedly generate an invitation to his ex.

That case is still pending.

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