Slashdot has covered the case of Megan Meier, a teenager who was stricken with clinical depression who hung herself after a grown woman, Lori Drew, created a MySpace account and pretended to be a teenaged boy, then after gaining the teenager's affection, wrote to her "The world would be a better place without you".
What I hadn't seen here or elsewhere until this morning when I looked at the St Louis Post Dispatch is that the adult, Lori Drew. is going on trial for "conspiracy" and even more disturbing, "illegally accessing MySpace computers."
How is it that a law designed to outlaw "cracking" can be used against someone whose technical "expertise" is limited to creating a MySpace account?
How can someone be charged with "conspiracy" when the activity they are conspiring to do is not illegal? Clearly, I am no more "sm62704" than Lori Drew is "Josh Evans". Am I breaking the laws against "illegally accessing slashdot computers" by not using my real name? If I used my real name I would likely be sued by a disk jockey/comedian in Colorado whose parents unwisely gave him the same moniker as mine when I was about ten.
The Post Dispatch says
The indictments were handed down after months of rumors that the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles was taking a look at a case that had been rejected by local and federal prosecutors here.
O'Brien filed charges there because MySpace and its computer servers are located in the Los Angeles area.
Dean Steward, one of Drew's attorneys, has vowed to try to get the case thrown out by challenging both the venue and prosecutors' interpretation of the statutes used to charge Drew.
Steward has called the charges "creative." He's also said that Drew didn't type any of the messages, although she knew about Josh's MySpace page.
If convicted, Drew could face five years in prison for each charge. Steward has said that more than a year total would be unlikely, however.
Are the people in LA (home of the RIAA, MPAA and DMCA) all insane? Are they all evil? What's wrong with these bozos?
Why haven't Missouri's child protection agencies gone after Megan's parents for not getting her depression treated? There are a lot of effective drugs and other therapies these days, after all.
Are all these people heartless, stupid grandstanders or am I the one lacking in common sense here?
Could you be the next one to face prison for something that is clearly not against the law?