Latest with Atos

We would like to update CW members, along with our supporters, of the latest exchange with Atos.  (Having trouble with wordpress so cannot link back to other posts which details this situation. Will try later)

Received from Atos

Dear Frances,

Thank you for your email. The posting which we consider to be defamatory against Atos Healthcare and our employees is dated March 23rd, 8:51 pm.

As I said in my previous email, we fully support the right of people to express their opinions and would very much like to work with you to ensure your forum is reinstated as soon as possible.

If you have further questions, please do call me on: *********.

Best regards

Caroline

Our response  below

Dear Caroline

Thank you for supplying the date and time of the post that concerns you.

We have finally traced it. We run a live discussion group and posts are normally only current for a few days. In this case the post is five months old. It did not create any interest at the time and has long since become inactive.

Having seen the post we are even more confused as to why you took this aggressive action against us. We were surprised to see that this post was not written by a member of CarerWatch but is merely a link to an article on another site. We were also surprised when we followed the link to see that the original article is still visible on the site of origin. We cannot understand why you would take this matter up with us when your dispute is with the authors of the linked article. We feel like collateral damage in this.

We would like to point out that we are running a private discussion group for members and we do not know how you saw this link on our site. But if you have some how been watching the posts in our group you will know that members post on an enormous breadth of topics and post links to a wide variety of other sites. Members often post links to material on other sites precisely because they are vehemently opposed to the material.

We repeat – this is a discussion group and posts have to be read in the context of open discussion.

We are concerned that this type of extreme hyper vigilance of discussion groups could seriously damage free and open discussion.

You say that you embarked on this action to protect the reputation of your company. But you can call on unlimited resources to obtain legal advice and you should bear in mind that groups like us have no resources and cannot obtain legal advice. We think you should bear this in mind when making your actions proportionate and appropriate.

We are sure you, like us, wish to bring this situation to a speedy conclusion. As it was your action that resulted in our forum being taken down, we suggest the following. We will remove the post in question (without prejudice), and in turn you will make arrangements to have our forum reinstated, whilst also giving us a guarantee that should you have any concerns in future, you will bring them directly to us and not to the hosting company.

Considering the immense distress caused to our members, and the volume of unnecessary work created for us, we consider these to be extremely reasonable requests.

We await your reply.

Frances

 

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18 Responses to “Latest with Atos”

  1. Concerned Observer Says:

    Given the sledgehammer used , CW appear to be in a conciliatory mode ?

    Now , if I was hit with a sledgehammer , and survived , I would be looking for retribution , not looking to shake hands.

    However , if merely a holding reply , with retribution to follow , fine.

    • Anony Says:

      “Now , if I was hit with a sledgehammer , and survived , I would be looking for retribution , not looking to shake hands.”

      Even if they’re still holding the sledgehammer and you have both hands tied behind your back?

      Seems to me offering to remove that single post is (if somewhat galling) a small price to pay to get the forum people rely on back on its feet.

      You have to choose your battles in this life. I don’t know the set-up of CarerWatch but in the post I see that CW has “no resources”. I think you grossly underestimate what is required to successfully take on a state-sponsored multi-national.

      By all means spread the word about this event and campaign. But any attempt to try and go for the Atos jugular, attacking them head-on is the very definition of futile, in my opinion.

      What do you want to see? Frances et al getting their forum back? Or Frances being dragged through a lengthy court battle that might cost her every asset she owns and along with it her health?

      Years ago a young couple tried to take on McDonalds. Well, I say “tried”. They won… sort of! But they could so easily have been destroyed by that. They underwent incredible stress.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald%27s_Restaurants_v_Morris_%26_Steel

      I’m generally a very pessimistic person. But I actually think that Atos will eventually be defeated and will be removed from the process of performing medicals. Why do I think that? Well, look what happened with superinjunctions. Think of Wikileaks. The internet doesn’t shut up when things go so badly wrong. Attempts to stifle speech tend to have the opposite effect.

      This is a well-observed phenomenon and even has a cute name: “The Streisand effect”.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Streisand_effect

  2. Atos Scandal 2 – Excuses, excuses… | DaveD's Blog Says:

    [...] latest news from Carer Watch, whose forum was taken down following threats of litigation by Atos, is that the allegedly [...]

  3. Paul Says:

    Looks like one for the legal eagle readers ?

    Libel …. original accusation …. said to be posted on a message board on the Internet …. not actual words BUT …. the publication of a link to another Internet site which , the content within is found by the accuser to be libellous to them.

    Is this ” Libel ” under English Law ?

    If not , where do CW stand …. legally …. and bear in mind that CW has no legal identity , merely a name given to an Internet based message board wherein one has to be a member to post on said message board ?

    Sorry folks , no fee involved in this one !

  4. malka Says:

    i think they did because they can………….too powerful and given too much freedom to dictate to others who they believe are vulnerable to attack, a bit like they view the many sick and disabled people they despatch to a life of poverty through their computer programmed abatoir…..

  5. Atos had CarerWatch forum suspended over a five month old link | Tentacles of doom Says:

    [...] have at last received a reply from Atos as to exactly which messages were considered libellous.  You can read the message from Atos and the response on their blog. The reply is baffling. The message in question is dated March 23rd, 8:51 pm – that is, over [...]

  6. Anon Says:

    Hear hear, Frances. I too am utterly baffled by the disproportionate reaction to something that didn’t even originate with yourselves.

    God help us all if other companies react to internet blogs and articles (of which there are millions), the way that Atos Healthcare reacted to something on yours.

    Your own response is perfectly reasonable. If Atos don’t accept it, it will speak volumes about them, not anyone else.

  7. charles47 Says:

    Wow, they had to look hard enough…must have been the Viagra eyedrops.

  8. Anony Says:

    Hi there,

    I think you have worded your message to Atos extremely well. It will be very interesting to see how they respond. Well done on being assertive yet entirely reasonable. I think I would have struggled not to be a bit more verbally violent in your shoes.

    I hope things get resolved to your satisfaction soon. Take care.

  9. Pete Riches (@Pete_Riches) Says:

    Seriously, this shocking story should be taken to Private Eye. They have already picked up on the huge distress caused by ATOS in other items published this year already. I think they would find this David and Goliath story of great interest.

  10. Porthos Aramis Says:

    In terms of PR – which is surely the only concern of Atos – it would appear that they have managed to shoot themselves in the foot; then cunningly strangle themselves; then cleverly arrange for their own drowning.

    Their already somewhat dubious name and reputation have been besmirched further by their own jittery and clumsy hand.

    CarerWatch, of course, now has all the work of clearing up the damage done by a corporation, after it has flailed its arms around and decided, like a toddler in a tantrum, that breaking things is better than fixing itself and mending its own public reputation.

    It will be interesting to see how things stand in, say, five years’ time.

    After all, courting the Murdoch Empire was regarded as essential by all politicians at one time.

    Now, association with the Great Pariah is the kiss of death to a political career.

    This looks like the beginning of a long and destructive period of panic.

  11. onmybiketoo Says:

    Why is this blog needed by us carers ? It is blogs like this that help us carers get help and the support we need. Most of us are isolated , looking after a loved one without adequate support by the authorities. We are left to our own devices by our local GPs, hospitals, loc government, national government. We are so under valued that we are paid below the minimum wage for duties that can span 24hrs a day , day in day out, carrying duties that other saner ppl would run a mile from. Sometimes we get to desperation point and need to be able to ‘talk ‘to someone, some of us can not get out so our computer are our only link with the outside world. This is why closing this blog is so WRONG.

  12. CarerWatch Forum and the risk of potentially libellous hyperlinks | The Creative Crip Says:

    [...] Atos’s resonse raises even more questions than it actually answers and a read of the full CarerWatch post on the matter is highly recommended. Of particular interest to us all, campaigners or not, are the legal implications of links to potentially libellous material. Though one would hope that common sense would prevail it cases like these, research on the subject reveals that unfortunately such a reality is elusive and no thanks to legal eagles and the politicians meant to safeguard our basic human right.of free speech. [...]

  13. Ron Says:

    In none of their allegations of libel – not ignoring the conspicuous absence of court orders – have Atos met their obligations in law. To whit:-

    A claimant in an action for malicious falsehood must show that:

    The statement is false.

    The statement was published maliciously about the individual or his business: negligence is not sufficient (Shapiro v La Morta [1923] 40 TLR 201).

    Special damage has directly and naturally resulted from the publication.

    Source: http://plc.practicallaw.com/8-502-6388 (Corporate libel)

    Atos, no matter what they might think, are not above the law – but they are being allowed to be so by craven hosting services, who should be demanding court orders before taking any action, and even then should give the blog, forum or website owner the opportunity to abate the alleged libel, not trash their entire operation.

  14. malka Says:

    yes, they are getting off light, but maybe it will make them think twice before they try to pull a stunt like that again…….many more people are now aware of how they operate, they are being watched carefully now……….(i hope)

  15. Kevin Says:

    Those interested in reviewing FOI requests and responses submitted to either the DWP/Atos can be found at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/search/atos/newest

    simliar interest http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/forums/atos-origin-complaints-procedure-revealed-wwwbenefitsandworkcouk and http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/forums/benefits-assessment-firm-causing-fear-and-loathing-among-claimants-says-mp-work-pensions-com

  16. Joe Says:

    Atos Won’ they had no right to close your site.

    The fact that you stated you would remove the post says it all really.

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