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Journal sm62704's Journal: The Evil MySpace "Hacker" 5

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?

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The Evil MySpace "Hacker"

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  • The illegal access charges are obviously absurd.

    The conspiracy charges, though, aren't that far-fetched, considering the woman actually created the fake online persona with the help of others. But as you say, conspiracy usually requires a crime to have been committed.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      IANAL but it seems to me if the "illegal access" doesn't stick, the conspiracy would automatically be thrown out as well.

      My friend's brother spent five years in Federal prison for conspiracy after loaning money to a drug dealer. The dealer had gotten busted, and nearly his whole high school graduating class went to prison when he cooperated with the Feds. The Feds' scam went like this: "Man, I need a thousand dollars, I got busted for cocaine. I'll pay you two thousand next Friday." Most everyone he knew's
  • by Gogo0 ( 877020 )
    its sad that prosecutors think they can get away with stuff like this these days -sad because it is the people's fault.
    what do you want to bet that there will be a unanimous guilty verdict? she killed that girl! she's guilty of whatever she is charged!

    iv been on juries before and its ridiculous how easily people are swayed just because theyre told to. it doesnt matter if there isnt enough evidence to convict a person, or the charges even make sense, so many people are ready to be told what to do. if the
  • by Marcion ( 876801 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @03:04PM (#23843305) Homepage Journal
    Well if this was in Britain, causing someone to top themselves would probably get you in jail for other reasons, however, here we have a thing called the "computer misuse act", and if it is part of Myspace's Terms of Service that you don't pretend to be someone you are not, then it would be illegal here. I'm assuming that is the reasoning by the officials on your side of the pond.

    As for Slashdot, it is part of the service to give yourself a funny name, I bet the admins are not really called CmdrTaco or CowboyNeal. So by using sm62704 or marcion or whatever it is pretty clear that you are not pretending to be some one you are not.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun