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Are you who you say you are?

by JP Bill / December 4, 2008 11:45 AM PST
Cyberbullying verdict turns rule-breakers into criminals

They couldn't convict her of being a terrible person, so they had to nail her for impersonating one.

That was the sorry end of a landmark cyberbullying trial heard in the United States. Lori Drew, the woman whose phony MySpace account may have driven a neighbour's teenaged daughter to suicide, was convicted in a Los Angeles court this week ? but not for cyberbullying. There's no law against that. Instead, Drew was convicted of ?unauthorized access? ? a crime usually reserved for hackers. And that spells trouble for everyone.

That's right: It wasn't the laws of the United States of America that she violated, so much as that fine print that comes up whenever you install a new piece of software or sign up to a website ? the kind that most everybody grumbles at and clicks right past.

In the case of MySpace, the fine print had a clause prohibiting users from signing up under a false identity. According to the prosecution's logic, Lori Drew had flaunted those instructions when ?Josh Evans? was created, and was therefore making unauthorized use of MySpace ? which made her, in a manner of speaking, a hacker. And that's what she was convicted of.
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i don't see how they did it
by jonah jones / December 4, 2008 10:07 PM PST

of the MILLIONS of internet IDs floating around, how many people actually use their REAL names/s??

i wonder if an appeal is in the offing?


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I wonder how many, though
by Angeline Booher / December 4, 2008 10:32 PM PST

.... have TOS that specifically say no false names.

Even before "handles" were allowed in this community, the registration user name was real-sounding, but did not mean it was necessaily the user's real name. The TOS did not demand it. I wish we could dump these handles which serve as shields for some people to hide behind.

I am personally glad that the woman was convicted under a law by which she could be, Maybe other cyber bullies will learn from it.

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