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User Charged With Felony For Using Fake Name On MySpace

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the understand-before-you-prosecute dept.

The Courts 931

Recently a user, Lori Drew, was charged with a felony for the heinous crime of pretending to be someone else on the Internet. Using the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Lori was charged for signing up for MySpace using a fake name. "The access to MySpace was unauthorized because using a fake name violated the terms of service. The information from a "protected computer" was the profiles of other MySpace users. If this is found to be a valid interpretation of the law, it's really quite frightening. If you violate the Terms of Service of a website, you can be charged with hacking. That's an astounding concept. Does this mean that everyone who uses Bugmenot could be prosecuted? Also, this isn't a minor crime, it's a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment per count. In Drew's case she was charged with three counts for accessing MySpace on three different occasions."

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931 comments

I'm George Bush (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088149)

first post

Re:I'm George Bush (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088169)

No, you are a terrist pretending to be Bush, and we must invade your country.

dicks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088167)

wtf dicks rape lol asshole cunt fuck

Re:dicks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088419)

You forgot cocksucker and tits.

What the.... (5, Insightful)

dahitokiri (1113461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088183)

FUCK?! Do the people that make laws have absolutely ANY idea how the internet works and is used? Are they even living on the same planet as the rest of us? Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

Fudgepackers. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088255)

Suck my balls, attorneys. Lick them, courts.

What else can you say to something like this?

Re:What the.... (1, Insightful)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088267)

What, because a site's policy states something you think it's ok to not pay any attention to it? To blow-by the sign-up form with false data that just meets the field validation?

Christ indeed. IMO, who cares how people "use" sign-up forms, the provider expects valid information to be entered. What, because there is finally a consequence to providing false information just to sign-up to a site you're getting pissy? Please. Now if they only start to go after all the spammers with yahoo/google/hotmail account we'll have some progress.

Re:What the.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088409)

You appear to be using an alias, would like to come with us for a little while. -TLA(Three Letter Agency)

Re:What the.... (0, Offtopic)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088591)

Haha, TLA are my initials!

On a side note, i've revealed more information about my real self, damnit.
-Taylor

Re:What the.... (4, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088415)

You will also have to give out all of your personal information to every 2 bit site on the internet to spam you with. Also, god help you if you visit microsoft's website with firefox, violating their terms of use and getting 5 years of prison time for that.

Because, you know, signing up to a website under a fake name is entirely justified with 15 years of prison time. Maybe you'd like the death penalty to anyone who steals a snickers bar or crank calls you as "I P Freely".

Re:What the.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088377)

Make a fake account on Myspace and spend time with the most notorious gangbangers and murderers.

Amerikkka! FUCK YEAH!!!

Re:What the.... (3, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088437)

Do the people that make laws have absolutely ANY idea how the internet works and is used? Are they even living on the same planet as the rest of us?

I realize that this was likely a rhetorical question, but IMO, the rulemakers do not live in the same world as us slashdotters. I would bet that many of the lawmakers still have VCRs hooked up, and the clock has been blinking 12:00 for 10 years. The lawmakers are just like every other "old" person. They call thier son/nephew/grandson for technical support when thier computer isn't working. They do not have a myspace profile, instant messanger account, or any account for that matter beyond email.

I'm a Canadian, for the record, and bill C-61 (Canada's DMCA) has all the marks of someone that wants to make a difference, but really does not understand the technology that the laws are supposed to cover.

Re:What the.... (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088475)

Do the people that make laws have absolutely ANY idea how the internet works and is used?

Yes, they do. They're not interested in enforcing this in general, but if you pull a stupid, nasty stunt that turns out worse than you'd imagined and they're under public pressure to do something to you (as is the case here), they have something in their pockets with which to charge you.

Tubes (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088499)

FUCK?! Do the people that make laws have absolutely ANY idea how the internet works and is used?

That's a big fat negative [wikipedia.org] there Red Rider.

Of course most lawmakers, lawyers, judges, politicians, and law enforcement officers have little to no clue how the internet or even most technology works. There are exceptions of course but for the most part technology isn't inherently interesting to them. Likewise, despite what many slashdotters think, most readers of this forum don't know much about the law or law enforcement. Ignorance results in bad judgments which is why it's important to have good policy and educate as much as possible both on the technology and the law.

Re:What the.... (4, Insightful)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088553)

Agree.

Does MySpace actually take any action to verify any of the personal details entered during account creation? Most sites required account activation based upon your e-mail address, and that is all. They send an activation e-mail to verify an identity. I personally have never received snail mail or even a phone call from MySpace asking me to prove any of the identity information that I entered was accurate. If MySpace takes absolutely no action whatsoever to verify a persons actual identity for their hundreds of thousands (millions?) of users then this seems like extraordinarily selective enforcement of the TOS.

MySpace TOS also states:

This Agreement is accepted upon your use of the MySpace Website

Seemingly they want to hold you to an agreement that you didn't even necessarily agree to. If your server keeps sending me pages upon request I'd like to know how that is not authorized use? You can revoke that authorization only if I actually agree to your TOS, IMO.

BTW, does using a proxy or anonymizer count as impersonating another person or using a false identity? Is it a felony? What if a friend is logged into MySpace and I browse the site using their computer? Is that a felony? Is it two separate felonies because one of us broke the TOS by letting someone else use their account and the other used an account that wasn't theirs to browse a few pages? What if I type a funny message on their messenger? What if I enter accurate account information but mistype my address or phone number? That's also in breach of the TOS. Is that a felony?

Re:What the.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088593)

This scared me at first that it was just another case of "Sheriff Joe Bob" not understanding what these internets are all about but, its not as bad as it sounds.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is not as overbroad as the poster makes it out to be. As others have mentioned, this is the case where a mother created a fake online profile with the specific intent of harassing a girl (that ended up committing suicide). I haven't seen the court papers but she's most likely charged under the law NOT JUST for merely creating a fake profile, but for "intentionally accessing a computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, causes damage that results in" "Physical injury to any person" or "A threat to public health or safety". She can't be convicted just for faking a MySpace account. Tin foil hats off.

And yes, IAAAL.

Facebook Alts (1)

dragonfire5287 (1213386) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088185)

Does NotJackie Chan count as a fake name?

What about email? (2, Funny)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088281)

Jeez. I can't remember how many times I entered in BillGates@Microsoft.com as an email address on some random site.

Guess that makes me a felon? Or am I only a felon if I get caught?

Re:What about email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088355)

Guess that makes me a felon? Or am I only a felon if I get caught?

You wont be caught, because his actual email ID is billg@microsoft.com

Re:Facebook Alts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088515)

Only if you are Jackie Chan.

The Fake Username: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088189)

Hugh G. Rection

Re:The Fake Username: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088401)

Hugh G. Reckschen actually looks like a real name.

Sounds to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088191)

...like this government and justice system is doing everything it can to get people *off* the internet. Maybe we should thank them for their efforts to save us from IAD [wikipedia.org]?

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088195)

nachos!

The end of anonymity (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088199)

Won't matter for most of us, only the ones who want to change history.

Just remember to pay off the right people, if you can.

Cool (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088203)

How about taking down those dating (and other) sites which generate fake members?

I'm in a country somewhere in Asia and it's "surprising" to see so many blondes in my city when you go look at those sites ;).

Hacking? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088211)

OMG I just hacked slashdot, bow before my amazing hacking skillz

Listen up (1, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088217)

Before y'all begin hootin' and hollerin', note that the person being charged is this Lori Drew who -- instead of talking to other parents and handling a problem as a mature responsible parent should -- helped drive a vulnerable little girl to suicide. As messed up as the American legal system is becoming with regard to computer and internet law, I hope that they stick it to her and give her the maximum punishment.

Keep in mind that this is much a much different situation than, say, that dumb kid who was facing years in prison for changing grades(people usually get off with community service and/or fines in such cases).

Re:Listen up (5, Funny)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088275)

Well as I doubt that 'Ethanol-fueled' is really your real name you have just commited a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment

Re:Listen up (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088445)

It isn't the use of screen names that's the angle to the prosecution: it's the violation of the site's terms of use. slashdot permits users to use screen names so their use on slashdot is not a violation of its terms of use.

Re:Listen up (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088619)

geeeetttttttt hiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!

(I would have used all caps, but stupid slashdot filter)

Re:Listen up (5, Insightful)

dahitokiri (1113461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088285)

Bad laws often use a scapegoat to justify their existence. Another example would be the recent laws that violate the privacy of Americans to fight against "Pedophiles and Terrorists". A bad law is a bad law is a bad law.

Re:Listen up (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088341)

Yes, her actions were despicable, but that doesn't mean we should be misinterpreting laws in order to find some way to punish her.

Re:Listen up (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088403)

I hope that they stick it to her and give her the maximum punishment.

Force her to read ALL the MySpace pages...
[Just thinking of that made me ill. :-) ]

But the charges are still crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088405)

Suicide or not, the precedent that this sets is still outrageous. If driving someone to suicide is the offence, then she should be charged with that offence...NOT with something that is and should remain perfectly legal.

I would also say there are important differences between:

1) Registering under someone else's name, specifically intending to impersonate that other (real) person.

and

2) Registering under the name "Silly Salad" or something obviously fictitious, just to retain your anonymity.

I could see pressing charges for 1 if you were the person being impersonated (or an authorized representative thereof). However, option 2 should be perfectly legal for any online activities that don't require a lot of federal regulation (e.g., online investing which is taxable).

I have several email accounts registered under one-letter names. I use them when other web sites require an email address...so all the SPAM goes to accounts that I don't often read. Do I deserve to do jail time for that?

Re:But the charges are still crazy (2, Insightful)

Darkon (206829) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088559)

I would also say there are important differences between:

1) Registering under someone else's name, specifically intending to impersonate that other (real) person.

and

2) Registering under the name "Silly Salad" or something obviously fictitious, just to retain your anonymity.

And you don't trust a judge and jury to appreciate the difference?

Re:Listen up (4, Interesting)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088507)

If you abuse this law (meant to deter actual computer crime) to criminally enforce the TOS of any random website, it sets such a bad precedent that we can basically jail anyone that uses the web, a phone, or any device with a computer in it such as a car or a washing machine.

The biggest problem, besides the overreaching law, is that any idiot can -- and does -- write his own TOS.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088527)

In other news, 24 billion out of 6 billion users claiming to be "Anonymous Coward" charged with a felony for computer fraud. So I guess they're going to have to jail all of us. May just be that it's high time to install a new OS, here.

Re:Listen up (2, Interesting)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088533)

Before y'all begin hootin' and hollerin', note that the person being charged is this Lori Drew who -- instead of talking to other parents and handling a problem as a mature responsible parent should -- helped drive a vulnerable little girl to suicide. As messed up as the American legal system is becoming with regard to computer and internet law, I hope that they stick it to her and give her the maximum punishment.

Exactly -- this is not somebody using a fake Hotmail account to sign up for newsletters -- this is a grown adult woman who created a false identity with the specific intent of mentally and emotionally harassing a minor child. While I worry as much as everyone on here about overly-broad laws being used well beyond their intended purpose, I have *NO* qualms about this law being used against this piece of shit. Clearly, if they were to arrest everybody who has ever used a fake name on the Internet, the whole fucking country would be in jail. This is exactly the sort of thing a law like this was intended for -- not just creating a false Net persona for role playing, spam protection, or just plain privacy, but using that fake identity in the commitment of a much greater evil.

Re:Listen up (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088627)

I hope that they stick it to her

I hope your favorite conservative politician entered an alias one time instead of providing his real email address and my favorite liberal politician uses this as a way to get your favorite conservative politician tossed in jail. That would be sweet!

Translation for the sarcastically challenged: laws like this can be abused for political ends.

Re:Listen up (5, Insightful)

FSWKU (551325) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088641)

As messed up as the American legal system is becoming with regard to computer and internet law, I hope that they stick it to her and give her the maximum punishment.

There are SEVERAL things they could get her on: criminal child abuse, coercion of a minor, etc. But no, that would be too much work. Instead, they want to give her felony charges for violating the TOS of a website. I'm all for making sure she's punished, but this is not the way. Have the DA actually DO HIS JOB and not hoist her on something that can set a precedent which can be later used to fuck all of us at will...

Anti-Pedophile Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088221)

I'm not sure if this is an Anti-pedophile law or not, but that's what they should've charged Lori Drew under. I'll never understand why Slashdot seems to love this evil woman so much.

Re:Anti-Pedophile Law? (3, Insightful)

Arimus (198136) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088381)

Correction please: Why some of /. love her so much.

Personally: If this law is the only one they can find to get her under then so be it. Personally I'd rather it was something like manslaughter but this is better than nowt.

Re:Anti-Pedophile Law? (5, Insightful)

w32jon (1317789) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088547)

I'd rather not chisel away the foundations of internet freedom just to punish a pathetic woman. While what she did was pretty morally reprehensible, this "solution" would have a far greater impact on society than anything she did.

Re:Anti-Pedophile Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088621)

If this law is the only one they can find to get her under then so be it. No, because it sets a horrifying legal precedent! And isn't sending someone love letters under somebody else's name already covered by fraud statues? I believe laws were passed criminalizing misidentifying the sender of a telegram about 100 years ago... don't they still apply?

Well, drive a girl to suicide... (4, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088223)

Drive a girl to commit suicide, and get prosecuted for loggin in under a fake name...

I don't know whats worse, the ACTUAL crime that isn't criminal, or the prosecution under criminal statutes for something which shouldn't be considered a crime?

Re:Well, drive a girl to suicide... (3, Interesting)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088447)

I'm not as familiar with US law as I am with UK and NZ law (and IANAL, yada yada) but isn't this how prosecutions in the US usually work? She's being charged with anything and everything (three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress, and one count of criminal conspiracy [wikipedia.org]) in the hope that at least one charge will stick. To me at least, Criminal Conspiracy seems fair enough and I'd imagine that that would be the charge that stuck. Have faith in the defense, the jury and the judge...

Re:Well, drive a girl to suicide... (5, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088451)

Our society has gotten lazy with law enforcement. Proving that somebody commented THE crime is hard, and making all really bad behavior is hard. So, we just make it a crime to do silly normal things and selectively enforce the laws. EVERYBODY in America is a criminal - do you think you go through a single day without violating SOMETHING in the Code of Federal Regulations, or any aw passed by any legislature in the last 200 years that hasn't been repealed, or anything contrary to common law? Plus, those laws make a convenient excuse for performing searches/etc (your honor, the grass looked taller than 2.3 inches so I knocked on the front door, and in plain sight it looked like there might have been an illegally-copied CD sitting on the table, and when I walked in to grab it I noticed some cigarette packages on the table in the other room so I went over to check their seals and then I noticed the lamp that could also be used to grow weed and so I called in SWAT to bust open every wall in the place...).

The job of the cops is to figure out who the bad guy is, and the job of the prosecutor is to figure out something in those aforementioned library-filling tomes to pin them with. Gotta love it!

Precedent... (1)

GradiusCVK (1017360) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088487)

This bitch deserves to fry for what she did... but if this is the only charge being brought against her I hope to God that she walks. This could set a precedent infinitely more hostile to progress and dangerous to liberty than a nutjob who drives a girl to kill herself ever did. There's got to be a law about intentionally fucking with a young child's mind, especially in a case as extreme as this... why do they have to prosecute her on the basis of using a fake name? Note to the assholes who are inevitably going to bring this up: I'm not trying to equate a young girl's life to my freedom to create a bogus myspace account, I'm saying that a dissident or reporter or whoever may find their own life and liberty in peril should this shit go down.

I'd say the latter, this proves a police state. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088557)

Drive a girl to commit suicide, and get prosecuted for loggin in under a fake name...

I don't know whats worse, the ACTUAL crime that isn't criminal, or the prosecution under criminal statutes for something which shouldn't be considered a crime?

If you think it's heinous, but not illegal, you lobby to make it illegal.

This incident just proves we live in a police state where any politician who doesn't like you can open some obscure law books, scrutinize your everyday life, and pick an everyday activity to prosecute you out of the picture.

Re:Well, drive a girl to suicide... (4, Funny)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088603)

Drive a girl to commit suicide, and get prosecuted for loggin in under a fake name...

Yeah, what's the deal with that? That's like "Orchestrate the St. Valentine's Massacre, and get prosecuted for tax evasion." Just so friggin' wrong....

Sincerely,
A. Capone

Circumstances? (3, Interesting)

CXI (46706) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088237)

Is this the same Lori Drew that drove a teenager to suicide by pretending to be a teen aged boy that intentionally was scorning the teen girl? So there might be a little more to this story...

Re:Circumstances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088575)

I don't know if saying over the internet 'drop dead' to someone means they have to do it. The very artful indictment really is a way to charge someone who is hated for supposedly having "driven" someone to suicide but its hard to consider the taunts as 'driving a troubled girl to suicide'.

Re:Circumstances? (1)

Dallas Caley (1262692) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088583)

Yes there are of course other circumstances here, the thing is the ruling here has wide implications that will affect other cases which do not necessarily have the same circumstances. This woman should clearly be punished, but not for the act of using a fake name. She should be punished because she influenced someone else to commit a crime (suicide is a criminal offense, i think) that's it. and even that is questionable.

You know what this means? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088239)

I'll only visit websites where I can invoke the Anonymous Coward!

Re:You know what this means? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088423)

Sup /b/?

just respect the Terms of Service (0, Redundant)

crazybit (918023) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088253)

and you will be fine. If you don't like the conditions, just don't use the service.

Re:just respect the Terms of Service (5, Insightful)

japhering (564929) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088317)

And just how many people have a) the time to read 20 pages of small print and b) the education to understand all the legalese ?

Simply put, NO one but lawyers or lawyer wannabes reads the terms of service because the average man on the street can't understand it

Re:just respect the Terms of Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088385)

Sure, no problem. I visit use a few thousand webpages per day, each agreement is only a few hundred pages long...

Slashdot quality journalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088263)

I love how the /. editors decided to omit the background information:

Google news [google.com]

Re:Slashdot quality journalism. (2, Insightful)

trickonion (943942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088361)

You make it seem as though they are being deceptive. How is what she did important to if this law is valid or not?
"You can't wiretap phones without a warrent!"
"Well, this person is a terrorist"
The ends never justify the means. The ends is bullshit, the means is what you have to live with.

She caused a 13 year old girl to commit suicide (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088265)

You're not telling the whole truth. Lori Drew used a fake ID to harass a 13 year old girl, who later committed suicide. Lori should be on trial for murder, for all I care.

Who uses their real name? (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088279)

Really... pseudonyms are an internet tradition... in fact, with all the marketing hoo-ha and identity theft, only a fool uses their real name on the net

I don't think I have used my real name for anything on the net...

Sounds like just a cash grab to me

Re:Who uses their real name? (2, Funny)

French Mailman (773320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088323)

If we are no longer allowed to use pseudonyms on the Internet without getting sued, I'm getting my name legally changed to "Anonymous Coward."

Re:Who uses their real name? (1)

William Baric (256345) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088549)

So I guess I'm a fool then...

Just out of curiosity, could you give me an example of how using my real name to post on slashdot, instead of hiding behind a pseudonym, can help someone steal my identity? I agree it does hurt my reputation, but I'm not ashamed of who I am and of my ideas.

Personally, I think that if people were forced to use their real name then the Internet would be a much better place.

Example: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088287)

My name is not Anonymous Coward. It's false. Can I be sued now?

Gotta love these Sheriff Buford types (0, Troll)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088295)

Bringing law and order at the point of a god-given revolver to the wild west Internet.

Guilty of Extremely Bad Behavior (5, Insightful)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088307)

This is, of course, the Lori Drew who worked hard online to bully and demoralize a teenage girl to the point where she committed suicide.

The question is, since no laws exist which would allow her successful prosecution for her actual offense, why prosecute her for a violation of a site's TOS, which would establish a dangerous precedent for many users who simply don't want a site to have their private information?

This case belongs in civil court, not criminal. Let the dead girl's parents sue Lori Drew, prove their case, if possible, and collect monetary damages.

Re:Guilty of Extremely Bad Behavior (4, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088565)

This case belongs in civil court, not criminal. Let the dead girl's parents sue Lori Drew, prove their case, if possible, and collect monetary damages.

What monetary damages? Millions from a woman who probably has more debt than assets? While I agree the setting of precedent is kinda scary, I think the woman should be punished as a criminal in every way possible to punish her for directly driving a girl to suicide. Then again, I think what she did should be criminal - psychological harassment - but, I don't write the laws...

Re:Guilty of Extremely Bad Behavior (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088569)

"This case belongs in civil court, not criminal. Let the dead girl's parents sue Lori Drew, prove their case, if possible, and collect monetary damages."

Oh, it's going to wind up in criminal court one way or another - either the bitch gets charged for what she did, or one of the girl's relatives will get charged for killing the bitch.

Not that it makes it any better... (5, Informative)

ohcrapitssteve (1185821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088319)

...but the subject fails to mention, for whatever it's worth, that this is the same Lori Drew that's been all over the news for helping her daughter create a fake Myspace to lead a neighborhood 13 year old girl into thinking a boy liked her. Drew and her same-aged daughter (and apparently one other teen) perpetrated this farce and then pulled the rug out, making this teen girl think the boy no longer liked her. The girl subsequently committed suicide.

It seems that because of that, IMO, the feds are out to nail her on whatever they can, not because of a site's terms of use policy. Though this would set a terrifying precedent.

Sounds fair (0, Redundant)

Gandalf (787) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088343)

It doesn't frighten me at all, really. The whole point is that using a false name isn't just violating the terms of service in this context, but that using a false name is an attempt (deliberate or not) to bypass an authorisation scheme (user privacy options), allowing access to data otherwise not available.

The alternative is us bitching about doubtful privacy guarantees from social networking sites.

Our fake Steve Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088347)

I guess that means that our favorite fake Steve Jobs is going to be spending some time in an iJail?

Seriously. One cannot write fiction comparable to the quality of reality now a days.

selective enforcement (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088357)

is best when served chilled, much like revenge. Especially when the selective enforcement is revenge.

It's even better when done by a capricious government, but we don't know any of those, do we?

I for one, wish there was a page limit on the U.S. code and the Federal Register. I see the inability to know all the laws one is responsible for (and their various interpretations) as the number one threat to freedom and justice. Funny thing is: many laws come from a desire to make society better. Kind of a Gandalfian "I would use this ring from a desire to do good, but through me it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine."

The police state (1)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088363)

The police state we so fear is already here. They have passed so many laws and now have so many rules that all of us likely break laws every day by simply going through our day-to-day routine! This means that THEY can bust us whenever they want!

The sad thing is that WE are THEY-and if we took back the power that we've given them, THEY would go away!

Re:The police state (1)

dirkbaztard (1297993) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088645)

"The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast is so mind-bogglingly stupid that it thinks that if you can't see it, it can't see you. Therefore, the best defense against a Bugblatter Beast is to wrap a towel around your head."
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Overreaching prosecutor? (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088379)

For those that don't read other news sites, there's actually more to this than mentioned in the summary (shocking, I know). This woman is accused of bullying a minor to the point where she (the minor) committed suicide, using this 'hacked' account pretending to be friend or peer of the girl. Absolutely disgusting case, if the allegations are true. Since she didn't actually physically murder the girl, it seems the prosecutors had trouble figuring out which crime(s) to charge her with. Of course there's more details, but I'm just summarizing. I couldn't load TFA, but it seems this is the best the DA could come up with- hopefully this won't set bad precedent.

I'd like to say this is stupid... (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088391)

But this is frankly one of those cases where I have no sympathy for the woman. With some luck, she'll have huge court costs, have her name thoroughly trashed in the public eye, and generally have her life ruined, but she'll be found innocent.

I admit it, I'm not Michael Jackson! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088411)

I hope the grocery store doesn't crack down on me for calling myself Michael Jackson when I signed up for the "preferred" customer card.

Can I get my email server classified that way? (2, Interesting)

mmell (832646) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088429)

I'd love to see some spammers get a vacation at a federal PITA accomodation for using fraudulent credentials to fool mail servers into relaying their spam.

Then again, most spammers just want to make sure I can get a hard-on and have plenty of busty babes and a Canadian pharmacy connection to work with - they're not performing a near-textbook case of manslaughter by depraved indifference.

Oh, I see now.. (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088435)

..so I have to choose between protecting myself from the kinds of predators (identity thieves, spammers, etc) that abound on the internet, and being a felon? Bull-fucking-shit. I can't see where this'll stand up in court. I also can't see how they'd expect to enforce such a thing, since I'd estimate that at least half of the people on MySpace don't use their real name. How about dating sites, in particular the few free dating sites out there? NOBODY uses their real name up-front on a dating site! Do lawmakers expect all these people to expose themselves to the kinds of threats you're faced with on dating sites, too? Stuff and nonsense!

Happy and Disturbed (1)

Eoika (1123009) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088513)

I'm a bit disturbed and at the same time, a little happy. I'm happy on the one end that justice has the possibility of being served and the user in this case (Lori Drew) will get some for of punishment instead of getting away scott free. I'm also happy that this could apply to other circumstances (Child Predators and the such). However, the fact that they have to go about this ruling in this manner bothers me. I only wish there was a way they could have linked the result to the ruling so some line can be drawn, instead we go from a very vague interpretation to a now strict understanding. Only a matter of time until some innocent person is screwed and we're back to square one.

oh no not again (3, Insightful)

gothzilla (676407) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088535)

Slashdot needs to change it's slogan from "News for nerds" to "Editorials for nerds."

This type of legal action is nothing new and has been happening for decades and there's nothing wrong with it. If you commit a heinous crime, they will charge you with every single criminal act they can find no matter how small.
Slashdot would love for you to believe that this is something new that's never been done before that will have incredibly powerful effects in the future when the opposite is true. It's been happening for a very long time.

I should keep count of how many "articles" here aren't actually news but heavily biased editorials designed to feed the paranoid.

A good start (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088585)

she was charged with three counts for accessing MySpace on three different occasions."

I think if we locked up more people for accessing MySpace, the world would be a better place.

listen dumbasses.... (0, Troll)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088597)

this isn't about someone using a fake name on myspace for chuckles getting busted. this about an adult woman... a parent.... signing onto myspace, pretending to be a teenage boy to gain the trust of, and then ruin the life of an innocent teenage girl. who then hung herself. unfortunately there's no law against driving someone to commit suicide.... so the only thing she *could* be charged with was this BS myspace fraud thing. hopefully she'll get raped to death in prison by big bertha.... we can only hope...

Not that bad... (4, Interesting)

lixee (863589) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088611)

In Morocco, a 26 years old was kidnapped, tortured and sentenced to three years in prison for creating a Facebook profile with the name of a prince (the king's brother). The case [wikipedia.org] showed that there have been little change in the country (and its institutions) since the end of Hassan II's tyrannical regime.

Wont stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24088613)

These charges were layed merely because what this woman did was so fucking heinous, and she is so hated for it, that people are clamoring for her to be punished.

Of course, the only punishment that exists in our society is legal consequences. Shame means nothing to westerners. Being a pariah is a badge of honor.

So, the DA's scoured for something to charge her with, if for no reason to tell the registered voters out there "yeah, we hate this cunt too.. vote for us.."

She won't be punished, the charges will disappear. As much as we don't like it, she broke no written laws, only philosophical and moral ones (ie; don't pick on kids).

Her punishment should not be legal, it should be social. Nobody should ever hire, speak to, serve, or help this woman for the rest of her life. Anyone outraged by this should remember her name, and if they ever have the misfortune to meet her, tell her to rot and die in a hole before turning their back. Shitty people should have shitty lives, and ensuring that they do should be everyone's responsibility.

Of course, that's not the American way. She'll get a book deal and hit the talk show circuit. Hell, the goofy lefty crowd (you guys) are already painting her as a victim.

Patriot Act, Telco Immunity, now this. (4, Insightful)

gorehog (534288) | more than 5 years ago | (#24088629)

I should post this as AC...

Lori Drew is reprehensible. But we HAVE laws for harassment and disorderly conduct and libel. These can all be applied. There are even laws regarding prank phone calls (which might be best used as reference here). We DO NOT need new precedents that reduce the ability of the individual to access information anonymously.

See...we have the first amendment that guarantees the freedom of speech, press, and religion. What we don't have is a guarantee of unfettered access to information. Using fake accounts for access to some websites is de riguer on the internet. Everyone does it for a WIDE variety of reasons (dont want to get caught fucking someone else, dont want to get caught looking up c4 recipies, dont want to get spam).

Damn...imagine the implications for 10minutemail.com

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