Ryanair's legal battle to unmask the pilots behind messages on a website failed to get off the ground yesterday, when their star witness claimed it was 'unethical' to view evidence in the case by accessing the pilots' website. But someone at Ryanair must have accessed the website - ethical or not - for the budget airline to launch the case.
The Irish budget airline has taken its legal action to the High Court to try to unmask the identity of pilots responsible for controversial remarks about the company's working practices that were made on an Internet message board run jointly by the British and Irish pilots' unions. The airline wants to know the identity of the people who go under the codenames 'ihateryanair', 'cantfly-wontfly' and others on the Ryanair European Pilots Association (REPA) website.
The website was set up 2 years ago to give 'an anonymous and secure way for Ryanair pilots throughout Europe to communicate with each other'. According to the website, it 'allows Ryanair pilots to freely express their views on a range of industrial safety and professional issues'.
Since being employed by Ryanair to carry out an independent assessment on the electronic evidence, IT security specialist Eoin Keeley told the court that he never once tried to enter the contentious website. Under cross-examination, he insisted it was morally wrong to analyse data that he was not privy to. 'It is totally unethical, and I believe illegal, to gain access to any site without permission' he said.
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