Thursday, December 28, 2006

Up Close and Personal - Part 6

One of the most frightening examples of private information being abused is when a New Hampshire resident, Liam Youens, hired an on-line service to obtain personal details about a twenty year old woman he had been stalking for several years. He chronicled his diabolical obsession on a website that had been created in the victim’s name, which featured his stalking activities along with intent to commit murder. Youens shot and killed Amy Lynn Boyer as she left work on October 15, 1999, reserving one bullet to end his own life.
The story can be read HERE.

World Net Daily notes: "Amy Boyer was unique in many ways, but her vulnerability was anything but atypical. There was nothing about her that made her especially easy to track. She had a Social Security number, just like you do. She lived in a society in which private investigation firms advertise over the Internet and perform investigations for customers they never meet, just like you do. Her place of employment and other details of her life were available to anyone who wanted to spend a few dollars, and the same is undoubtedly true of you. Amy was a victim precisely because it has become relatively cheap and easy for anyone to get the information necessary to track a person down. Her stalker found out everything he needed to know without her ever knowing she was the object of his study."

Boyer's parents filed a civil lawsuit against Docusearch, the Internet-based investigation service that sold personal information about Amy Boyer to Youens. In a landmark decision, the New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded that the information broker, Docusearch, could be held responsible under several different legal theories.

The court:

1. Adopted the appropriation tort for the state.
2. Held that info brokers and private investigators can be liable for the foreseeable harms that may occur from the sale of personal information.
3. Held that obtaining a SSN from a CRA could constitute intrusion upon seclusion.
4. Held that pretext calling violates the state's consumer protection laws.
Attorney David Gottesmen was hailed as the "Champion of Civil Justice" for his work on the Amy Boyer case. The court decision gave victims a legal remedy to hold unethical perpetrators accountable through civil suits regardless of whether there is a criminal prosecution.

The Stalking Resource Center offers advice about civil action for stalking victims. They suggest that civil lawsuits offer a powerful (and underutilized) option for stalking victims seeking justice. Such lawsuits give victims their day in court, a chance to tell their stories, and a way to collect damages from perpetrators and third parties who contribute to the crime. Using either (or both) common law causes of action and state civil stalking laws, attorneys can bring successful suits on behalf of stalking victims.

The burden of proof in civil lawsuits is not as demanding as the standards required of criminal cases. Victims who file civil suits need to find an attorney to help them navigate the civil process. The National Crime Victim Bar Association can provide referrals to experienced, knowledgeable civil attorneys in victims' local areas. For a referral, contact the National Center for Victims of Crime's helpline at

All persons have a duty to exercise reasonable care not to subject others to an unreasonable risk of harm.
Walls v. Oxford Management Co., 137 N.H. 653, 656 (1993).

The threats posed by stalking and identity theft lead us to conclude that the risk of criminal misconduct is sufficiently foreseeable so that an investigator has a duty to exercise reasonable care in disclosing a third person’s personal information to a client. And we so hold. This is especially true when, as in this case, the investigator does not know the client or the client’s purpose in seeking the information.
The Supreme Court of New Hampshire
Opinion Issued: February 18, 2003

If a victim has a reasonable belief that her personal information is private, or at least protected from those from whom she wishes to keep it, and the defendant goes "beyond the limits of decency" in obtaining that information, he/she has committed the tort of intrusion upon seclusion. Fisher, 143 590.
EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center)
Statement of Amicus Curiae

Additionally, courts have held that the information uncovered need not be "secret" in the sense that no one other than the plaintiff has access to it; it is enough that the information is not for general dissemination and the conduct of the defendant is objectionable.
Hogin v. Cottingham, 533 So. 2d 525, 531 (Ala. 1988)
EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center)
Statement of Amicus Curiae

The tort of commercial appropriation protects the "inherent right of every human being to control the commercial use of his or her identity." J. Thomas McCarthy, The Rights of Publicity and Privacy, § 1.2, 1-8 (1992). According to the Restatement (Second) of Torts, "[o]ne who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy." § 652C (1977).
EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Up Close and Personal - Part 5

Wikipedia defines Cyberstalking as an extension of traditional stalking using the Internet as a new modus operandi. Cyberstalkers may engage in live chat harassment or flaming or they may send electronic viruses and unsolicited e-mails. More commonly they will post defamatory or derrogatory statements about their stalking target on web pages, message boards and in guest books designed to trigger a reaction or response from their victim, thereby initiating contact.

When prosecuted, many stalkers have unsuccessfully attempted to justify their behavior based on their use of public forums, as opposed to direct contact. Once they get a reaction from the victim, they will typically attempt to track or follow the victim's internet activity. Classic cyberstalking behavior includes the tracing of the victim's IP address in an attempt to verify their home or place of employment.

"I will also have no difficulty finding out where you work and assembling a package of evidence of your activities to mail to your employer. If you are posting on his dime, that may prove a tad awkward; especially if I can demonstrate that your IPs match IPs of people posting vile, slanderous remarks over in the sequels on company time. If you don't work, there is no doubt plenty of incriminating information about you from your very own posts on message boards across cyberspace that can be linked to your new "hats." -Loretta Serrano on 12/19/05.

“They also have their edible panties in a bundle about the e-mails to Katie's bosses, when it was so "impotent." Why be angry if it didn't succeed in doing anything? Hmm? We'll have to see if it did really have an impact or not. I wait with baited [sic] breath KCL's next "column" in the JRag.” -Posted by Loretta Serrano at September 27, 2005.

"Over the last few months, I have tracked down (with the help of a number of people), almost all of the kennel mutts. They have left IPs, nicknames and blog post trails, and all of them have made the mistake of giving someone, somewhere, their real names and email addresses."
-Loretta Serrano

Note: Convincing friends to spy on you or harass you is referred to as "bullying by proxy". One of the most dangerous forms of cyberbullying by proxy involves the bully either pretending to be the victim, or posting the victim's personal information in chatrooms and bulletin boards that pedophiles or offensive people frequent. says, "Because of the Internet's anonymity and relatively low cost, Internet crimes cross all demographic and socioeconomic lines. It is difficult to create an offender profile, because the reasons behind the act vary so greatly. That is what makes these difficult crimes to investigate."

The article also predicts that as technology evolves so will a perpetrator's ability to utilize more tools in making a target's life miserable. This type of crime will only become more complex as a result. Law enforcement officials must remain attentive to constantly changing technology and provide training for officers accordingly.

When does a cyberbully intersect with the depraved occupation of cyberstalking?

When a disturbed, conniving, middle-aged, implacable megalomaniac from Ohio searches for and publishes personal information about people on the WWW. When she and her associates hunt for anything unflattering about family members of the chosen target and posts the information in cyberspace. When she ignores legal warnings at appraisal company sites about lifting copyrighted material and then posts and circulates the prohibited images of private homes along with personal data.

When she broadcasts criminal records of someone related to her quarry. When she offers monetary rewards on the Internet for information about her prey. When she publicizes the identities and location of minor children on Usenet. When she encourages others to construct over a dozen spite blogs and promotes impersonation of selected individuals. When she locates and publishes financial records on message boards and news groups. When she organizes a writing campaign and sends negative emails to her vicitm's employer.

That’s when!

"If the lines between your "anonymous" life and your real life have become blurred, you need to get off the computer and not be socializing on it. If you are worried about your anonymity, you may as well not even post. The point I'm making is - use your name or A NAME that you like. Stick with it. Eggspect people to use it. Expect them to refer to you as that. And in the real world, expect your Internet behavior to be available to others.

Although I have used my real name 99% of the time on the Internet (or a nic everyone knows me by), I realize that there are things that could come back to haunt me. I also don't give a damn. If the anonymous trolls think they have some RIGHT TO PRIVACY and that their names are sacred or some other such horse crap, they are deluded. DELUDED. The only reason they are anonymous is because they wouldn't DARE act that way or say those things in real life if someone could hear them. Character is what you do when no one is looking.

I admit that I have not always been a stellar person. At least I don't hide. Let it be real. Their rants and complaints under the cloak of nics and nameless, faceless people are IMPOTENT. Let me face my accusers. They can't face me."

-Posted by Loretta Serrano (aka: Anonymous, Cedrin, Celestrill, Celestrill II, Celestrill Two, Celestrill Too, Celestrill 2, Celestrill 2x, Celestrill 2U, Celestrill U2, Delphic Oracle, Dora Explora, EF Hutton , Elmariedee, Gnot an NG, Green Earring, Joaquin, Loralei, Merrill Lynch, Misfit 13, Plumpkin Fan, Retzq, Retzy Pepper, Saw Palmetto, Torqchick, Torquette, Vanillacandlelvr, Watch Your Step, WMD.) at September 27, 2005 09:23 AM

"Loretta was working like a madwoman making a new hideout." -Posted by Nadine at October 2, 2005 07:14

"I digress... Did you realize you sent meeeee pictures? Did you realize who you were corresponding with? Did you intend for me to keep your e-mail address when you asked me to send you stuff? When you bugged me at work (where I didn't work and got fired) and bugged me at home (where I neglected my kids and stalked you), did you think I was the frippin post office? Did you send me your phone numbers and tips from Paypal hoping I would close my eyes and not read the mail or the return address?

You blithering morons. Didn't you realize what you were doing?? Ok, enough digression. I am boring myself." -Posted by Loretta Serrano at September 27, 2005.

"The countdown starts NOW. If you live in a glass house (which you certainly do, Sxina - I'd say it's more like a greenhouse), This information has been gathered about Jexnne, Cxthy, Loxa, Kaxie, Gxnna, Lexlie, Suxan, Dexnna, Sxina, and others. As it is, I have a very good friend who is a private investigator and has supplied me with everything I never wanted to know about all of them. Gratis. Justin is in Tennessee, so she can go find Sxina Hxrt. That shouldn't be too hard, since we have both hers and her mother-in-law's addresses." –Loretta Serrano @misfittingdotcom/archives/001113.php

"It is a complete breach of trust to be complicit with fraud. Read, comment and lurk at will, and if you misbehave, I will delete, ignore or ban you at will. I will also expose you if I believe you are a fraud." -Loretta Serrano, 3/3/05


Beneath the window dressing of "the idiot-free zone"
beats the heart of a Cyberbully/Cyberstalker!

On 11/6/06, Truth Teller aka: Anne from Brazil, Anne Curi, Happy Anne, Nanny. said...

"OK. Now I have to go (almost 12AM here). Sxina has till tomorrow to give me her new phone # (yes, Sxina, I don't have it - you keep changing phone #s at the same speed of having new URLs). But I have your siblings, in-laws' and mom's numbers, and I am going to call them tomorrow if I don't get your new one. Own your actions (and lies)!"
The Ghost of Christmas Present visits Bloggers' Hall of Shame!

Comite Gestor Da Internet No Brasil
MSIE 6.0
Windows XP

2nd December 2006 - 07:17:18 AM
9th December 2006 - 01:44:13 PM
11th December 2006 - 08:06:21 PM
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19th December 2006 - 11:04:58 AM
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21st December 2006 - 10:50:09 AM
22nd December 2006 - 02:46:52 PM
Comite Gestor Da Internet No Brasil
MSIE 6.0
Windows XP

28th December 2006 - 09:14:49 AM

Holiday Sing Along
(Cyber Wonderland)

Doorbell rings, I'm not listening,
From my chin, drool is glistening,
I'm happy -- although
My reading is slow,
Obsessively addicted to the Web.

Friends come by; they shake me saying, "Yo, man!"
"Don't you know that stalking's not a game?"
With a shrug, I mutter, I say, "No man."
"Can't tear myself away from Hall of Shame!"

All day long I sit clicking,
Unaware time is ticking.
I'm Anne from Brazil,
And I get a thrill
Pretending to be people on the Web!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Up Close and Personal - Part 4

Serial bullies are described as persons who harbor a lot of internal aggression, which they direct at others. estimates that one person in thirty, male or female, is a serial bully whose behavior pattern fits one of the following types: The Attention Seeker, The Wannabe, The Guru, and The Sociopath.

Selected character traits of the serial bully from bullyonline:

- is a convincing, practiced liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment

- excels at deception and should never be underestimated in their capacity to deceive

- is glib, shallow and superficial with plenty of fine words and lots of form - but there's no substance

- is possessed of an exceptional verbal facility and will outmaneuver most people in verbal interaction, especially at times of conflict

- is a control freak and has a compulsive need to control everyone and everything

- is emotionally immature and emotionally untrustworthy

- displays a compulsive need to criticize

- is self-opinionated and displays arrogance, audacity, a superior sense of entitlement and sense of invulnerability and untouchability

- undermines and destroys anyone who the bully perceives to be an adversary, a potential threat, or who can see through the bully's mask

- is also quick to belittle, undermine, denigrate and discredit anyone who calls, attempts to call, or might call the bully to account

- often fraudulently claims qualifications, experience, titles, entitlements or affiliations which are ambiguous, misleading, or bogus

- refuses to be specific and never gives a straight answer

- may pursue a vindictive vendetta against anyone who dares to held them accountable, perhaps using others' resources and contemptuous of the damage caused to other people and organizations in pursuance of the vendetta

- chooses to remain oblivious to the discrepancy between how they like to be seen and how they are seen by others

- is greedy, selfish, a parasite and an emotional vampire

- lacks a conscience and shows no remorse

- knows the words but not the song


The serial bully appears to lack insight into his or her behavior and seems to be oblivious to the crassness and inappropriateness thereof; however, it is more likely that the bully knows what they are doing but elects to switch off the moral and ethical considerations by which normal people are bound. If the bully knows what they are doing, they are responsible for their behavior and thus liable for its consequences to other people. When called to account for the way they have chosen to behave, the bully instinctively exhibits this recognizable behavioral response:

a) Denial: the bully denies everything. Variations include Trivialization
("This is so trivial it's not worth talking about...") and the Fresh Start tactic ("I don't know why you're so intent on dwelling on the past.")

b) Retaliation: the bully counterattacks.
The bully quickly and seamlessly follows the denial with an aggressive counter-attack of counter-criticism or counter-allegation, often based on distortion or fabrication. Lying, deception, duplicity, hypocrisy and blame are the hallmarks of this stage.

c) Feigning victimhood: in the unlikely event of denial and counter-attack being insufficient, the bully feigns victimhood or feigns persecution by manipulating people through their emotions, especially guilt.

By using this response, the bully is able to avoid answering the question and thus avoid accepting responsibility for what they have said or done. It is a pattern of behavior learnt by about the age of 3; most children learn or are taught to grow out of this, but some are not and by adulthood, this avoidance technique has been practiced to perfection.

Bullies project their inadequacies, shortcomings, behaviors etc. on to other people to avoid facing up to their inadequacy and doing something about it (learning about oneself can be painful), and to distract and divert attention away from themselves and their inadequacies.

Projection is achieved through blame, criticism and allegation; once you realize this, every criticism, allegation etc. that the bully makes about their target is actually an admission or revelation about themselves. When the bully makes allegations of, say, "cowardice" or "negative attitude" it is the bully who is a coward or has a negative attitude.

The objectives of bullies are Power, Control, Domination, Subjugation. They get a kick out of seeing you react. It doesn't matter how you react, the fact they've successfully provoked a reaction is, to the bully, a sign that their attempt at control is effective. After that, it's a question of wearing you down. Bullyonline emphasizes that it is not possible to communicate in a mature manner with bullies that have disordered thinking patterns and therefore recommends the following:

1. Don't respond, don't interact and don't engage.
2. Keep all abusive emails.
3. Understand bullying.
4. Get help. If you're a young person, this is essential.
5. Become alert to provocation.
6. Become an observer. Study the perpetrator and collect evidence.
7. Decide if you want to take action, and if so, prepare carefully and strike hard.


"All cruelty springs from weakness."

(Seneca, 4BC-AD65)


"I know it was wrong, but I did it anyway."

-Loretta Serrano

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Up Close and Personal - Part 3

Loretta Serrano aka Retzq could hardly contain her joy at the prospect of another opportunity to denigrate defense attorney, Mark Geragos during the Cameron Brown trial. The quintessential browbeater took leave from the “idiot free zone” intent on blazing a trail through the rough unrestricted terrain of Usenet. There she teamed up with a convicted burglar, an attorney wannabe and a few other veterans who regard free speech not as a right but as a never-ending obligation.

From: RetzQ - Date: Wed, Aug 3 2005 8:17 am
“I have had a lot of fun over the past two years bashing Mark Geragos, but he is one of my favorite, all-time nemesises. I missed him so much after the Peterson trial ended, when the Brown case looked as though it was going to trial soon, I did a happy little dance. I can't wait for this trial. I predict that Geragos will send his client down the river in his typical collosal arrogance and incompetence. I wouldn't miss this for the world. Bring on the show.“
When a poster issued a proclamation at Usenet concerning Retzq’s disaffection with other crime message boards, Retzq responded by auditioning for the role of victim. Neglecting to cite her source, she initiated a thread dedicated to Cyberbullying where she posted selected excerpts from bullyonline/workplace entwined with fabrications tailor made to stroke her own ego.

From Retzq - Sat, Aug 20 2005 11:51 am
Who do bullies pick on? The talented, popular and competent, of course! Being popular with people (colleagues, customers, clients, pupils, parents, patients, etc) - Never mind having a hugely popular web log and a book about the Peterson case that is selling on 40 online bookstores!
The four-post dissertation about cyberbullying and Retzq’s alleged victimhood hardly raised an eyebrow among regular posters at Usenet. One individual summed it up in a curt, perfunctory reply to…

"Who do bullies pick on? The talented, popular and competent, of course!”

Response: That would sem to let you out.

Not only did Retzq and her allies pronounce the defendant guilty as charged on Usenet, but they also engaged in an absurd smear campaign against the spouse and brother-in-law of the accused.


From: RetzQ - Wed, Feb 15 2006 7:26 pm
So, now, I will reach into the hat of speculation and conclude that if Patty Kaldis Brown and Cameron (alleged child murderer) Brown filed a frivolous suit to obtain shared parenting of a child they hardly knew just to save money on the child support, and they had no shared parenting agreement drafted that spelled out exactly what the arrangements would be and how they would cater to Lauren's interests then and for years to come.... drumroll.... It's possible that the conspiracy here is really among Patty and Cam, and they planned the murder together.

From: RetzQ – Wed, Feb 15 2006 7:28 pm
Which, I might add, would explain why she is continuing to support him after 5 years, over 2 of which he has been behind bars. If she files for divorce, he’s going to implicate her in the murder plot.

From: RetzQ – Wed, Feb 15 2006 7:43 pm
Perhaps Patty wanted to raise a child, considering she was a little too old to reproduce in her late 40s, and that was what inspired the joint custody idea. But, when they found out that wasn't going to happen even in a galaxie far, far away, they picked Curtain Number Two: murder.
I caught the end of a Dr. Phil show Wednesday, which featured an assistant principal from Texas who filed a civil suit against two students for creating a page on a free access site using her name and picture from the school’s Website. The page was filled with lewd, defamatory, and obscene remarks, which was written as though the assistant principal herself had posted the comments. The boy’s parents are also named in the suit and the story can be read here:

Anna Draker was reduced to tears at the end of the Dr. Phil segment. She emphasized that her primary goal is accountability and that neither the students nor their parents have apologized to her.

Cyberbullies are woefully negligent in the repentant department.

"I know it was wrong, but I did it anyway."
-Loretta Serrano

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Up Close and Personal - Part 2

Bully OnLine at is the most comprehensive anti-bully website on the WWW, which was founded by Tim Field, an international authority on workplace bullying. Field believed that bullying was the single most important social issue of today, and that its study provided an opportunity to understand the behaviors which underlie almost all conflict and violence. Tim Field succumbed to cancer at age 53 on January 15, 2006, but his remarkable legacy will have a lasting effect. The following excerpts from bullyonline defines the pack behavior exhibited by groups that bully under the direction of the principal agitator.

What is mobbing?

The word mobbing is preferred to bullying in continental Europe and in those situations where a target is selected and bullied (mobbed) by a group of people rather than by one individual. However, every group has a ringleader. If this ringleader is an extrovert it will be obvious who is coercing group members into mobbing the selected target. If the ringleader is an introvert type, he or she is likely to be in the background coercing and manipulating group members into mobbing the selected target; introvert ringleaders are much more dangerous than extrovert ringleaders.

In a mobbing situation, the ringleader incites supporters, cohorts, copycats and unenlightened, inexperienced, immature or emotionally needy individuals with poor values to engage in adversarial interaction with the selected target. The ringleader, or chief bully, gains gratification from encouraging others to engage in adversarial interaction with the target. Many people use the word "mobbing" to describe this pack attack by many on one individual. Once mobbing is underway the chief bully foments the mobbing into mutually assured destruction, from which the chief bully gains intense gratification - this is a feature of people with psychopathic personality.

One aspect of psychopathic bullies is that they home in on Wannabe types - non-psychopathic lesser bullies - and then empower these individuals to gain the positions of power and authority they crave. Once installed, the Wannabe's lack of competence makes them dependent on the chief psychopath, which means they become unwitting but willing compliant puppets.

"Judyetta is considering putting Miss L in traction, and I assured you we would bail her out of jail. I'll let her describe her plans when she comes in." -Posted by loretta at August 21, 2005 10:12 PM

"Good evening misfits. Had to slink out of Lurkinville to vent. I've been doing a slow burn all day over Ms. L's treatment of little L. Now I am absolutely furious. Been seeing red all day. How dare she raise a hand to my little sweetie. (sorry Lo but I love that kid). I've been devising ways to get the "C" under control and I've a few ideas.

1. I could just ambush C and beat the sh!t out of her til she repents. However, I'd need bail money and probly a lawyer.

2. We could all take turns staking out her house, snapping photos of her, tailing her,etc. until she has a complete breakdown. (this idea is very appealing to me).

3. I could stake out her house, tail her on her daily errands, snapping photos and just drive her batty wondering who I am and why I'm following her til she melts down. This coupled with regular phone calls from all of us could get her under control.

You all just let me know what you think. All I need is for Lo to unleash me! I would never do these things without her blessing. Any other ideas? I'm willing to take all options into consideration." -Posted by Judyetta at August 21, 2005 10:26 PM
The main reason a psychopathic chief bully gets away with his (or her) behaviour repeatedly is that no-one wants to believe that s/he could be the monster s/he is. They appear so charming and plausible to naive, unenlightened and inexperienced people - usually those who haven't experienced bullying themselves.

"We have nothing to lose. We can organize a jihad on the BSers and invade with sensible, reasonable, factual logic, truth and light. It will make them nuts. Totally crazy. They'll start frothing and spinning. Especially if there are six or seven or eight of us (including some who are already there on a regular basis and are known by me to be readers) and there are only a few of them. That's the best. Take particular care to debunk that nasty, lying fraud, Injustice4All, and if you can stomach it (which i can't) do your best to point out Tara's witless, drunken stupors." -Posted by loretta at September 11, 2004 01:53 PM
The golden rule when tackling a mobbing situation is, I believe, to identify and focus exclusively on the chief bully, and concentrate on holding this ringleader accountable. Expect an immediate increase in mobbing activities, and a rapidly-expanding web of deceit to be concocted against you. Alternatively, the best solution may be to make a positive decision to leave and refuse to allow these people to continue to ruin your life. In the unlikely event that the psychopathic chief leader is exposed and then leaves, the dysfunction, aggression and negative feelings fostered by him or her are likely to linger for years.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Up Close and Personal - Part 1

Experts at Kansas State University say, "Cyberbullying consists of a person who uses the anonymity of the Internet to ridicule, make fun of or put down another person on an Internet conversation site, such as a chat room, a bulletin board, Myspace or Facebook."

The vast majority of online resources that probe this topic are mostly compiled with the adolescent age group in mind. But the one common theme that resonates throughout various articles related to cyberbullying, regardless of age, is defined in an article published by

"At the heart of any bully is actually a coward who uses their advantage to humiliate, demean or embarrass. Instead of working on their own issues, bullies pick on others to feel better about themselves," said Tony Jurich, Kansas State professor of family studies and human services. "The difference is the cyberbully gets more coverage and a wider exposure. One catty remark can hit thousands of people in a very short amount of time."

The newswise article concludes with the following inference by Mike Ribble, instructor in the department of educational leadership and instructional services coordinator/Web coordinator in the College of Education.

"As a society, we can't push technology aside and say these problems don't exist. We have to recognize the potential danger that could lie in the future if we do not prepare for the next generation. Technology has the potential to bring people together, but it also has the ability to divide."

Those who have been targets of cyberbullies will most likely agree with Mike Ribble’s judgment, but how does society as a whole take steps to eliminate offensive Internet behavior? An article on addresses the legal issues surrounding The Newest Breed of Bully, the Cyberbully.

Charting new legal territory

“Because cyberbullying is such a new phenomenon, school and law enforcement officials in the United States and other countries are still sorting out the legal technicalities. "Most of what is done online is protected as free speech," says Frannie Wellings, policy fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, DC.

In contrast to print publications, where individual stories are checked for libel and accuracy, the atmosphere surrounding websites is freer. "An editor of a newspaper or magazine has to make a conscious decision about what happens in his pages," observes Wellings. "There is a lot of history on what has happened to publishers who were sued," she adds. Because of the vastness of cyberspace, few screening mechanisms exist. "Imagine the bureaucracy of policing everything online," says Wellings. "An Internet Service Provider [ISP] would have to go to great lengths and spend a lot of money." As a result, most ISPs maintain that they are merely a conduit for individuals who want to post information online. Most ISPs have policies telling people not to post offensive material, but that warning is often ignored.

While some of what is published online may seem libelous (i.e., intended to harm the reputation of another), proving that point can be difficult and expensive. In order to prove libel, you have to prove malicious intent, something that might prove difficult if the offending Web page was put up by an adolescent. And many times, freedom of speech wins out.

Unless an actual crime has taken place, law enforcement officials often are unable to arrest anyone, even if they can identify the culprit. According to Lt. John Otero, commanding officer of the computer crime squad for the New York City Police Department, individuals would actually have to post a direct threat in order for the police to act. "For example, if they say, 'tomorrow I am going to hurt, kill, or injure an individual,' that would constitute a crime," he explains. A person posting such a threat could be arrested and charged with aggravated harassment. Although Otero says his department has seen some arrests, anyone under the age of 18 would not be dealt with harshly: "If the kid is too young, he would get a scolding and the incident would be brought to the parents' attention; if they are under 16, they are considered minors."

Most of what police departments see, however, does not constitute an actual crime. "What we get is a lot of 'he said, she said,' not unlike what you would find in the boys' room, only now they are doing it using electronics," says Otero.”

A recent study of 1,500 students in fourth through eighth grades was conducted by 1-Safe America, an organization that promotes Web safety. Forty-two percent of respondents said they had experienced malicious bullying online.
And 58 percent of them hadn't told their parents.

Alarming statistics that adult bullies should heed!
How would they feel if someone targeted people they care about?
Will they condone the type of behavior they themselves engaged in?

i-SAFE America Inc. is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to educate and empower youth to safely and responsibly take control of their Internet experiences. The goal is to provide awareness and knowledge that enables students to recognize and avoid dangerous, destructive, inappropriate or unlawful online behavior and to respond appropriately.
The Brazilian psychopath won't give up!
IP Address:
Country: Brazil
Returning visits: 46

2nd December 2006 - 07:17:18 AM