Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cyber Murderer Wants Case Dismissed

Lori Drew, the Missouri woman who was indicted in May on charges related to MySpace cyberbullying activities that led a 13-year-old girl to commit suicide, has filed three motions to dismiss the charges on grounds that they're vague and misuse a computer crime law.

With all that has gone on with regard to this, I imagine Lori's life is not likely going to be normal again anytime soon. She's been harassed and threatened, and her daughter gets the same.


What she did was way beyond reprehension. Truly pathetic for an adult to act this way.

Drew was indicted in Los Angeles County, where MySpace is based, in the wake of public outrage that stemmed from the failure of authorities in Missouri to charge her with a crime. Authorities in that state had said their hands were tied since there were no laws prohibiting cyberbullying.

Drew was charged with one count of conspiracy and three violations of the anti-hacking Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, on grounds that she obtained unauthorized access to MySpace servers by allegedly violating MySpace's terms of service.

Drew and two co-conspirators allegedly provided fake information to MySpace to set up and maintain a phony MySpace account in 2006 under the identity of a nonexistent 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans. The Evans account was used to flirt with and befriend 13-year-old Megan Meier, who'd had a falling-out with Drew's daughter.

The fake "Josh" ultimately turned on Meier and told the girl that the world would be a better place without her. Meier already suffered from clinical depression, and shortly after that final message she hanged herself in her bedroom.

What a low life. Her daughter has some falling out with a girl and Lori goes through all the time and trouble to create a fake person to befriend then betray the girl who winds up killing herself over it.

That's sick. That's twisted. That's f*cked up.

I know the girl who killed herself had problems, and may have committed suicide at some point anyway. But, she didn't need a PUSH in that direction. NORMAL people would seek help for someone like that.

MySpace's user agreement requires registrants, among other things, to provide factual information about themselves and to refrain from soliciting personal information from minors or using information obtained from MySpace services to harass or harm other people. By allegedly violating that click-to-agree contract, Drew committed the same crime as any hacker, prosecutors maintain.

The use of the anti-hacking law to charge Drew was roundly criticized by experts who said it set a dangerous precedent that could potentially make a felon out of anyone who violated the terms of service of any website -- a prospect that is particularly troubling, they said, because terms-of-service agreements sometimes contain onerous provisions, are often arbitrarily and unilaterally changed by companies, and are rarely read by users.

Drew's lawyer, H. Dean Steward, who would not respond to any questions from Threat Level, filed three motions to dismiss on grounds that prosecutors were too vague in their charges, failed to state facts in support of allegations that Drew intended to violate the terms of service, and have improperly delegated prosecutorial powers.

This is what's really troubling. Fact is, Lori may not have committed any real crime. The case is a slippery slope. But, maybe it points to the seriousness of disclosing information on the net. Sure, as we've seen, publicity can be good and bad . . . true or not. One does have to be careful. One should be able to remain anonymous. But, is it too much to ask that people be truthful when initially joining commercial sites? I think it's reasonable. With all the crap that's out there, full disclosure might be a good idea.

I had a person waste my time with an eBay sale once. Pissed me off. I went after his ISP and got him kicked off as it violated the terms of agreement. And that's just an eBay sale. Lori lied to PURPOSEFULLY cyber-bully a person . . . who wound up killing herself. I think that's worth some charges.

Life may not be quite the same for Lori. But, at least, she's alive.

No comments: