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Federal Judge Allows Chevron to Track Environmental Advocates

SustainableBusiness.com News 07/15/2013


After a 20-year battle, Ecuador’s court ruled against Chevron in the world’s biggest environmental lawsuit, but the company isn’t giving up and has indeed settled on a new strategy to avoid paying $18.2 billion in damages for 30 years of pollution in the Amazon.

Chevron is attempting to fight back by claiming it is a victim of conspiracy and incredibly, a US federal judge has given the company access to email and internet use by environmental advocates in order to build its case.

A federal judge ruling enforces Chevron’s subpoena for Microsoft to provide IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by over 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys. Chevron has also subpoenaed Yahoo! and Google.

The subpoena requires personal information on each account holder and IP addresses for every log-in over a nine year period, which could be used to map individuals’ locations and associations over nearly a decade, note the Electronic Frontier Foundation and EarthRights International, which are fighting the decision.

“Environmental advocates have the right to speak anonymously and travel without their every move and association being exposed to Chevron,” says Marcia Hofmann, Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “These sweeping subpoenas create a chilling effect among those who have spoken out against the oil giant’s activities in Ecuador.”

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