Click to Agree to be Prosecuted for Hacking

On my way to give a lecture about fetishes at the UCSF Annex on Sunday, I regretfully had to stop listening to the incredible discussion on NPR about Terms of Service and the Lori Drew case — and how the woman at the center of the ‘cyberbullying to death’ case was sentenced for hacking ( Drew made a fake profile and ‘friended’ a depressed teen girl on MySpace, then cyberbullied her until she committed suicide. But Drew was essentially convicted of violating MySpace’s TOS, for violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
On a side note, I think this is insane, and that the law needs to catch up ASAP. As someone who has been the recipient of cyberbullying and cyberstalking by two individuals over a period of going on two years, I can see no more glaring, urgent reason that lawmakers analyze this situation and draft laws that reflect real-world stalking and bullying. The questions to ask are:
* Am I being targeted?
* Am I being stalked, followed from site to site, harassed?
* As with real-life stalking, is this person cozying up to my online friends or family?
* Is this person using different online identities to target me?
* Do their actions make me feel threatened, unsafe and/or intimidated?
* Is this ongoing and persistent?
* Are they collecting information about me (personal, targeted surveillance) and using it in their attacks?
* Do their attacks involve gender, race, or sexual orientation?
* Does this person’s actions cause me severe emotional distress?
At this point, there’s nothing IRL that anyone can do to stop this. I’ve tried. Which is why it’s alarming to me the precedent set forth by the Drew conviction. And I’m pleased as punch to see this transcript of the NPR “Click to Agree” discussion between James Grimmelmann and Bob Garfield at On The Media.
Ars Technica has a lot of worthwhile commentary on all of this. Grimmelmann’s blog is pretty awesome, too.

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