Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nation & World | Frontier justice in an online world? | Seattle Times Newspaper

Megan Meier's suicide, and a very well done set of facts. What wasn't noted, though, is that Megan's parents used a keystroke logger and monitoring software and captured all communications to Megan.Nation & World | Frontier justice in an online world? | Seattle Times Newspaper

Saturday, November 24, 2007

In MySpace suicide case, community fights back - Los Angeles Times

The mayor in this town gets it, and cares. But we need more than local misdemeanors to stop this kind of behavior. When are we going to say "enough is enough"? When will start holding people accountable for t5heir actions online?
In MySpace suicide case, community fights back - Los Angeles Times

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cyberbullying Suicide Stokes the Internet Fury Machine

"outing" cyberstyle. When people online seek justice.Cyberbullying Suicide Stokes the Internet Fury Machine

» Web safety pork: House offers $25m to Hollywood-linked group | ZDNet Government |

I have never been able to understand how i-safe manages ot get all the money when better programs are out there, doing a better job, for far less money.» Web safety pork: House offers $25m to Hollywood-linked group | ZDNet Government | - the online edition of South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's premier English-language newspaper

mean words can - the online edition of South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's premier English-language newspaper

CRM News: Privacy: UK Taxman Loses 25 Million Citizen Records

what were they thinking? 25 million people exposed through careless loss of data. CRM News: Privacy: UK Taxman Loses 25 Million Citizen Records

Teens Learn Lesson In Online Vulnerability, Predators Prey On Kids With Personal Information In Their Online Profiles - CBS News

Katie shows a great student project designed ot keep the students safer online.Teens Learn Lesson In Online Vulnerability, Predators Prey On Kids With Personal Information In Their Online Profiles - CBS News

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How to punish a cyber-bully - Los Angeles Times

The "poorly written" law referenced in this article was blogged below. I disagree about whether it applies. I think it does. Hopefully the US Attorney agrees.How to punish a cyber-bully - Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

communicate with someone online anonymously, with an intent to annoy and go to jail.

I have been doing a great deal of media recently on the harassment of a thirteen yr old girl by an adult neighbor. The adult posed as a cute boy and used this mask to harass an emotionally fragile girl. The young teen hanged herself.

Many have asked about the law I have referenced that IMHO can be used ot charge this adult.

It was signed into law in early 2006 with little hoopla. It is an amendment to the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Those convicted can face up to two years in prison and heavy fines.

Anonymous communications are key to triggering this law.

"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

The new Sec. 113 within this law is called "Preventing Cyberstalking." It amends the existing federal telephone harassment and stalking law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet "without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy."


Monday, November 19, 2007

13 year olds and their friend's moms. When meanmessages can kill.

I have been doing non-stop TV, magazines and newspaper stories on cyberbullying this past week. Why? Because parents in St. Louis just discovered that the teen they thought was romancing and then harassing their thirteen year old last year, driving her to suicide, was really one of their neighbors. Not another teen. But the mother of another teen, assisted by an 18 year old "employed" by the family.

My most copied sound bite on this is "When adults act like children, there are grown-up consequences."

A recent federal law covers anonymous communications designed to annoy someone. At first we didn't know that this other mom had sent e-mails and IMs to the bullied teen. We thought that we had to turn to other, less powerful, laws to get criminal redress. This law doesn't cover posts on MySpace, just direct communications to the target.

Once we learned that the victim's mother had used a monitoring software and had copies of the communications, I was convinced that the federal law would apply.

The FBI is charged with its investigation, as well.

Even if, for some reason, the law won't work in this case, the victim's parents can sue the other parent. There are a laundry list of things she could be sued for. But something needs to be done.

We have a big enough problem with kids cyberbullying each other and adults cyberharassing one another, but when adults decide to use the Internet as a weapon against someone a third of their age, we have to do something.

And it's also time to amend the federal law to cover posts made anonymously with an intent to annoy. we need all the help we can get. And fewer parents like the one who launched this attack. I don't know how she sleeps at night.

my 2 cents.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Net hoax turns deadly, turns town against neighbors --

When adults act like children, there should be criminal consequences. This article failed ot mention the state cyberharassment laws which should cover this situation. I also think it's time to amend the federal law to cover postings, not just direct communications.Net hoax turns deadly, turns town against neighbors --

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bob Sullivan talks about a hidden risk of P2P.

We have been trying to warn parents and teens about these kinds of hidden risks, where your private files are exposed for the world on P2P networks. There's more ot piracy than copyright infringement. There's ID theft and embarassment.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Trench Coat wanna-bes and troubled youth.

While most cybersafety media is focussed on sexual predators, few have paid enough attention to sites that encourage dangerous behaviors. Misinformation and hype, gang recruitments, terrorism sympathizers, cutting, suicide, eating disorders...there is so much more that the media misses. We have bored and connected teens, little supervision and many many disenfranchised, lonely and bullied young people looking for a place to feel accepted.

Expect to see more, not less of this.

Attorney: Finnish school shooter had chatted with US teen online about Columbine massacre

The Associated Press
Published: November 12, 2007
PHILADELPHIA: A teenager who admitted plotting a school attack near Philadelphia had chatted online about the famous Columbine massacre with a teenage outcast who killed eight people and himself in a high school shooting in Finland, the American boy's attorney said Monday.
But the U.S. teen was "horrified" when he found out about the Finnish attack and said he never would have suspected him of following through on a violent act, the attorney said.
Finnish police said material seized from the computer of Pekka-Eric Auvinen suggests the 18-year-old had communicated online with Dillon Cossey, 14, who was arrested in October for allegedly preparing a attack at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in suburban Philadelphia.
Cossey's attorney, J. David Farrell, said he showed Auvinen's online screen name to his client Monday, and Cossey remembered communicating with him about video games and the 1999 Columbine massacre in Colorado and exchanging videos they found on the Internet.
"They had discussed certain video games and shared videos with each other," Farrell said. "Obviously, Columbine was a shared topic of interest."
Auvinen killed six students, a nurse and the principal Wednesday in Tuusula, about 30 miles (48.28 kilometers) north of the Finnish capital, Helsinki. He then shot himself in the head, and died hours later at a hospital.
Police in Finland said they had not yet been in contact with their U.S. colleagues about a possible link between the two teens.
In Pennsylvania, detectives were running the name of the Finnish shooter through the computer seized from Cossey, who admitted in juvenile court to planning an attack.
"We had heard when we first got this guy that he had contacted other people through Web sites," Plymouth Township Deputy Chief Joe Lawrence said. "We wouldn't be shocked by it."
Tipped off by a boy Cossey tried to recruit, Pennsylvania authorities searched his home last month. They found a rifle, about 30 air-powered guns modeled to look like higher-powered weapons, swords, knives, a bomb-making book, videos of the 1999 Columbine attack and violence-filled notebooks.
Finnish investigators have said Auvinen left a suicide note for his family and foreshadowed the attack in YouTube postings. On Monday, Rabbe von Hertzen, a detective in the case, said Auvinen is believed to have written the suicide note on Nov. 5, suggesting he had planned the attacks for at least two days.
Police have described Auvinen as a bullied teenage outcast consumed with anger against society.
Cossey told a friend that he wanted to pull off an attack similar to Columbine. Prosecutors and Farrell have said he felt bullied.
Two weeks after his arrest, Cossey admitted to three felonies — criminal solicitation, risking a catastrophe and possession of an instrument of crime — in juvenile court. He is now in juvenile custody, where he could remain for up to six-and-a-half years.
The attack on the Pennsylvania school never took place.
Authorities have accused Cossey's mother, Michele, of helping him build his weapons stash. She is charged with illegally buying her son a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and the 9 mm semiautomatic rifle, which had a laser scope. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.
Farrell said he does not know whether Dillon Cossey had contact with other people who could pose similar threats, but planned to explore that possibility with investigators and his client.
Associated Press Writer Jari Tanner contributed to this report from Helsinki, Finland.

copycats in Finland

Finnish police arrest youth after YouTube massacre threat
21 hours ago
HELSINKI (AFP) — Finnish police have detained a teenage boy who allegedly posted a video on YouTube threatening a massacre similar to the one that occurred last week at a high school in Finland.
The 16-year-old was arrested on Friday in Maaninka, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Helsinki, and questioned the following day, a police spokesman said. Authorities also seized his computer.
Titled "Maaninka massacre", the video is about 30 seconds long and shows the teenager's "school and a person with a weapon in hand", the spokesman said.
He said the teen had told police "it was a joke, that he had no intention" of carrying out the massacre. The suspect remains under investigation, although police have not said whether he was still in custody.
Eight people, including five teenage boys, the headmistress, a female nurse and a single mother, were killed in Wednesday's shooting at Jokela high school in southern Finland.
The shooter, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen, also shot himself and later died of his injuries.
Finns paid tribute to the victims in church services nationwide Sunday. A mass at a church in Tuusula, the city of 35,000 where the tragedy occurred, was broadcast live on public television.
Police said Auvinen had posted a video threat on YouTube, a video-sharing website, two days before the shooting spree.
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen called Sunday for greater international cooperation to monitor information on the Internet in the wake of the tragedy.
"We need to solve the question (of cooperation), see if there's something that can be done on an international scale, how officials can find messages for example on the basis of a password," he told the Finnish Yle radio.
"The most important thing is the balance between control and freedom."
The shooting left Finland on edge, with police on Friday briefly surrounding two other schools after Internet threats of further attacks.
Vanhanen described the Jokela killings as "an extreme case" of a problem that was not unique to Finland, and appeared skeptical about stepping up security in Finnish schools.
"The idea of armed guards is very strange for Finland," he said.
Finnish investigators have been looking into an Internet page that Auvinen subscribed to, thought to belong to a youth arrested in the United States for allegedly planning a school massacre.
Auvinen also posted videos under a pseudonym paying tribute to, among others, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed 12 schoolmates at Columbine High School in the United States in 1999.

The cyber school for killers - Times Online

First article breaking possibility of connection between wanna-be shooter Dillon Cossey in the US and shooter in Finland.The cyber school for killers - Times Online

Dillon Cossey...and online networking

Recent reports disclose that Dillon told his lawyer he had been in touch with the Finnish attacker.

This isn't surprising, given that many troubled young people are finding their heroes and ways to communicate with like-minded troubled youth online. Networking is networking. Whether we do it for dates, to promote our cause or products, to learn about others and other places, to share our opinions or ranks, all of us are networking and communicating with others online.

I testified before Congress last week, on Homeland Security and radicalization. We are seeing a small but growing trend of young people being recruited by radical and terrorist groups and becoming sympathetic based on misinformation and flashy YouTube videos.

Many young people are looking for a place where they are understood and accepted. And these kinds of places provide that. Some are bored and looking for thrills and risk. These do that too. Some are victims of bullying or cyberbullying and looking for revenge. The Internet, as wonderful as it can be, is an "equal opportunity offender." And law enforcement agencies are already trakcing traffic to certain sites and, I suspect, will do more of this on large social networks and video networks.

I would have been surprised had Dillon not tried to reach out to other like-minded people. What surprises me, though, is that his lawyer could have allegedly shared this information with the media. I would have thought these facts would have been privileged.

from one puzzled lawyer...


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Craigslist murder case....

Tonight I appeared on CNN to discuss the recent arrest of the defendant in the Craigslist-related murder case. A young college graduate found a babysitting job offer on Criagslist and arranged to mee the person posting the job. It is still not known where the meeting took place, but her purse and a bloody cloth were found in a trash can in a local park. Her body was found later in the trunk of her car.

This is a tragedy. My deepest sympathies are extended to her family and loved ones.

But this is not the first murder of its kind. Just the first one associated with Craigslist.

The job offer ploy has been used since jobs were first invented. They are commonplace offline and growingly commonplace online. Offline you may be able to use your senses to find some obvious scammers (such as a nineteen-year-old seeking a babysitter) or someone who is drinking, or otherwise a bit creepy. But online everyone is who they want you to think they are.

I do TV over and over on these things. But they keep occuring. According to early reports, her family warned her not to meet this person alone. But she ignored their advice.

For what it's worth:

Never meet anyone from the Internet in real life unless you are accompanied by friends, preferably sumo-wrestlers.
Always meet in a public place where there are lots of people and someone will notice any distress.
Get offline references (he could easily be anyone else online, as well as himself), and check them.
Get a phone number that works, and test it.
Do a reverse name search online to see if it's a listed number.
If in doubt, pass on it.
If you suspect anything, leave at once and drive to a police station, not stright home.
Report it to help save the next person who may not be as careful.

Bottomline, when it comes to adults, your safety is in your hands!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

WRCB TV - Channel 3 - Chattanooga, Tennessee

Newscast of Teenangels sharing their expertise on game safety....WRCB TV - Channel 3 - Chattanooga, Tennessee

WRCB TV - Channel 3 - Chattanooga, Tennessee

A couple of our Nashville Teenangels advise on game safety. ( TV - Channel 3 - Chattanooga, Tennessee

Experts urge assault against terrorists' Web efforts (11/6/07) --

There's more ot my testimony than not shutting down the Internet to protect against terrorism activity and recruitment online. Many of our young people are more vulnerable to extremist recruitment than any of us could conceive. We need ot add the risks of radicalization to the other risks our young people are exposed to online. There's more to this than sexual predators.Experts urge assault against terrorists' Web efforts (11/6/07) --