'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts'

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts'

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 12:54 am

'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts': my online abuse: In the early days, the internet was seen as egalitarian and open. So how did the web become a world of bullies and trolls? Five tales from the frontline of online shaming
by Homa Khaleeli
April 15, 2016

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Lindsy Van Gelder: ‘The online world seemed like a utopia.’ Photograph: Brad Torchia for the Guardian

Lindsy Van Gelder, journalist, San Diego, 1985

When I bought a computer, in the 1980s, it was a different world. I joined Compuserve, the first major commercial online service in the US, in 1982. It was like Facebook, but all text. Now we would complain it was slow and expensive, but at the time it was radical to be able to sit in your house and talk to people all over the world.

The online world seemed like a utopia; you had no idea of the race or gender of the person you were talking to, yet it was intimate. Compuserve was quite intellectual, but we had silly chats. It was mostly men using it. If you got on with someone you could go into a little corner of the site to text privately. That’s where the “compusex”, the sexting of its time, happened. I never did it myself, because my partner at the time was not keen.

It certainly taught us the online world was not all rainbows and unicorns


Joan was a kind of celebrity on Compuserve; a brilliant neuroscientist in her late 20s who was disabled and disfigured after a terrible car accident. She could no longer talk, but she could type, and she was surrounded by admirers. She formed close friendships with many female users, although she often tried to talk them into having Compusex. For one woman in particular, Janis, Joan was a real support. Janis had ongoing health problems and was mourning the death of her brother. The two became very close. A year later Joan enthusiastically introduced Janis to another Compuserve user called Alex. Janis and Alex, an able-bodied, male, New York psychiatrist in his 50s, met up offline and started a relationship.

Meanwhile Joan wrote about her own whirlwind romance, meeting and marrying a police officer. But other Compuserve users became suspicious of Joan’s dazzling romance and success. Months later Joan was confronted by one distrustful user and admitted she was not just friends with Alex -– she was Alex. Traumatised and angry, Janis said at the time she “wanted to jump off a bridge”. To me that was everyone’s nightmare of betrayal by a lover.

When I contacted him as a journalist, Alex refused to return my call. He continued to be a prominent psychiatrist who won major honours for his work, until his death a few years ago. I wrote about the story for Ms magazine, in a piece called The Strange Case of the Electronic Lover. Although I knew his real identity, Ms wouldn’t publish it because they were in a financially precarious position and a lawsuit –- even if they won -- would have finished them. Alex claimed he wanted to try communicating as a woman. Some people on Compuserve felt sorry for him. Me? I think he was despicable.

It certainly taught us the online world was not all rainbows and unicorns -– that creepy people could take advantage of the most entrancing things about the medium. Now everyone knows what the online and offline worlds are. It’s not a rarefied, weird corner of life. It’s certainly not an escape anymore.

***

Ellen Spertus, professor of computer science, California, 1996

This was part of the beginning of the fall -– the realisation this was not a safe place


I first used the computer network Usenet as an undergraduate in the late 1980s. There was no commercialism -– no spam, if you can imagine that - and it was mostly used by students or people who worked in technology. It seemed like a pretty safe place. I used my own name, and so did many other people. There were discussion groups divided into sections. Some were high minded, about science or maths, but others were more lowbrow.

There was a kerfuffle around a group called rec.humour.funny, for instance, because the moderator accepted racist and sexist jokes. People argued that there shouldn’t be censorship online. Back then we all thought that the online world would be more egalitarian because we weren’t judging people on race or sex. Instead there has been a dehumanising effect because we don’t see people face to face.

In 1996, a man called Robert Toups started a site called Babes on the Web, displaying the names and photographs of women who had home pages (which had just begun), along with ratings based on the attractiveness of their photographs. When they asked him to remove them, he refused. He claimed he was being satirical.

I was one of the women listed. I can’t say I was shocked, but it was unexpected and unpleasant. It was part of the beginning of the fall –- the realisation this was not a safe place, that it was not true that the online world would be sexism-free. Some women responded by changing their image to that of a “beefcake” picture. Someone else created a site to get people to rate Toups.

I was a graduate student and wrote a paper called Social and Technical Means for Fighting On-Line Harassment, including this as one of the first major incidents of sexism that occurred on the web. I wanted to try to improve the situation for others. I thought social pressure would solve issues like this; because Toups would be lowering his reputation in front of women who would go on to be in positions of power.

To some extent it’s true -– I went on to become a professor and an engineer at Google. But my prediction that social pressures would solve the problem was wrong. Today I would say the situation for women online is just horrific.

I advise my female students to use a pseudonym if they are writing about something like Gamergate. If you write about sexism or racism, people who have a powerful social media following can harass you. Take the case of Adria Richards; she tweeted about two men making sexist jokes at a tech conference, and one of them was fired. She received death threats and rape threats for speaking up. She had to leave her home because it was so terrible. I have offered a place to stay to women who can’t stay in their homes because of threats they receive. I am glad I am no longer on the frontline.


***

Jill Filipovic, lawyer and writer, 2006

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Jill Filipovic: ‘I stopped going to class. When I did go, I would wear a hooded sweatshirt or hide my face.’ Photograph: Siegfried Modola for the Guardian

Towards the end of my first semester of law school, a classmate mentioned a website where my name came up a lot. When another acquaintance mentioned the same thing I Googled around and found a message board for law school students called AutoAdmit. I read a couple of the threads, and they just seemed a little weird and creepy. If something came up about my law school, they would mention me. For instance, when someone wrote “Someone barfed in the law school library” the first comment would be “Was it JillF?”

Suddenly I realised those same people writing rape fantasies about me could be sitting next to me in contract law class

I don’t know why they started on me, but I think it was because I was a feminist blogger, who wrote for Feministe. I was used to nasty comments from the blog, but then I found a post called “The official Jill Filipovic rape thread”. Elsewhere there were long discussions about whether posters would like to “hate-fuck” me. One post read “I want to brutally rape that Jill slut.” Another: “I’m 98% sure that she should be raped.” There were a bunch of photos of me, my Facebook profile had been copied and pasted, my email address was on there.

The psychological turning point was reading comments like, “I saw her in class today and she said this… ” Suddenly I realised those same people writing rape fantasies about me could be sitting next to me in contract law class. It wasn’t just a nasty comment on the internet anymore. It felt very intimidating.

I corresponded privately with the people who ran the website, but they wouldn’t do anything about the posts. The university was very sympathetic, but said there wasn’t anything they could do. I stopped going to class for some time. When I did go, I would wear a hooded sweatshirt or hide my face. I felt very suspicious and isolated. My friends didn’t understand blogs or message boards so it was hard to explain it to them. In the end I went to therapy, which really helped.

There were two episodes when it crossed over into my real life. Once a man sent me an email saying he had been to New York University and spoken to my professors about what a “dumb cunt” I was. The second was when I was studying in the law school office with a friend. A man came to the door and asked me if I was Jill, then started screaming at me.


Finally two other women who had been posted about on AutoAdmit sued the men who ran it. One of the men was a law student, and when the case made the papers his law firm rescinded their offer of a contract. The forum had a lot of users, many who said they were practising lawyers, and the legal industry is small. I felt like my identity was being filtered through this one site. I worked in a law firm for four years, but at networking events whenever someone stared at my name tag I worried they recognised me from those threads. Had they seen the pictures of me in a bikini that were posted?

It had a huge impact on me. I spent years in fight or flight mode. Now I am very quick to be defensive online. I think having people who can support you (bloggers, or friends) is key. If I write something controversial, I give a friend my Twitter login so they can block abusive messages before I see them. I’m glad that harassment against women online is talked about properly now. I am so hardened to it, I don’t get upset about much anymore.

Natalie Farzaneh, 19, retail assistant, London, 2009

As a lonely teenager you will try anything and go anywhere to make friends so I tried another site


I was bullied at school, but being bullied online was even worse. Growing up I lived in a very white, middle class village outside York. My father is Iranian and that was always an issue. I was also bigger than the other children -– taller and overweight too. At school I was called Paki, Terrorist or Taliban and the children would make fun of my weight and my thick, curly hair. I was pushed down the stairs, and kids would throw chewing gum in my hair.

Because I was lonely, I joined Facebook. I got lots of friend requests. I didn’t realise they were just being sarcastic, taking screenshots of my page and laughing about it with their friends. Sometimes people would do weird Photoshopped pictures of my head on a pig’s body. One of the worst points was when someone wrote on the school’s Facebook page “That awkward moment when you realise you are Natalie Farzaneh”. I felt like I was being attacked from all sides.

As a lonely teenager you will try anything and go anywhere to make friends so I tried another site, Ask.fm. On it people can ask you questions anonymously -– I thought it would help show people I was a nice person. Instead I got horrible messages, saying “Why are you so ugly?” Or “Why are you so fat?”


I didn’t really tell my parents how bad things were. My mother and teachers knew I was picked on at school, and I had a youth worker who was great. But online things got worse. People would post things like, “Kill yourself tonight or someone will do it tomorrow” or “Watch your back” or “I hope your parents get cancer”. Because they were anonymous it made me paranoid. I would be sitting in a class full of people, worrying who was sending them. I started self harming and felt suicidal.

People who haven’t been bullied online will say “Why didn’t you just turn off your computer?” But they don’t understand. You want to know what people are writing, even if it hurts. One day reading my Ask.fm inbox I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My heart was racing. I went to my mum and said “I think I am dying.” She took me to the hospital, and said it was just a panic attack. Later I was diagnosed with anxiety -– I was about 12. When I was 16 I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

What helped was finding an online bullying charity when I was 14. I applied to be one of their ambassadors and I started doing media interviews. Although my parents were heartbroken when they heard how bad things had got, telling other people that help was available made me feel stronger. Other victims would say I made them feel less alone and had stopped them doing something stupid. I felt like I was turning a negative into a positive.

When the kids in school saw me on TV and in newspapers some of them also started realising the effect they’d had. Some would say “I hope you realise it was just banter.” Some of my teachers also said they hadn’t known how hard it had been.

Today I am very happy, living in London with my boyfriend, and being a body positive blogger. I might get the odd nasty comment online but now I am older I don’t obsess over hateful things. I still work as an anti-bullying ambassador and wish people would take online bullying more seriously. Bruises and cuts heal but you don’t forget the names people call you.

***

Darsh Singh, portfolio manager at an alternative investment company, Texas, 2015

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Darsh Singh: ‘Becoming the subject of a racist meme can be incredibly toxic.’ Photograph: Ben Sklar for the Guardian

I first realised I had become a viral meme in 2011. As a student I was the first American Sikh to play for the National Collegiate Athletic Association in a turban. I was captain of the team in my final year, and my jersey was put on display in the Smithsonian. Because of this, there was a picture of me playing online, and someone thought it would be funny to put Islamophobic captions on it.

There were different versions but one read: “Nobody wants to guard Muhammed, he’s too explosive”. To be honest I just thought, “Here is another way people are expressing their hatred.” When you play sports at collegiate level, you get used to people yelling nasty things. It’s the usual names, which of course shouldn’t be “usual”; things like “towelhead”, “fucking terrorist” and lots of references to Osama bin Laden.

The internet is the worst place to argue with people –- it’s a wasteland in terms of logic and thoughtfulness


So when I saw the meme on the web I thought, “This is not a personal attack, it’s a stupid picture and an expression of ignorance.” I just wrote something like, “It doesn’t matter what you say, haha.”

My wife replied on Twitter saying something like, “That’s my husband and he’s a nice person,” which helped. If you put people in context –- someone’s husband or son -– the conversation changes. Without it you are just a concept, and people are more comfortable yelling at a concept.

The meme popped up again from time to time over the next few years, but I just ignored it. The internet is the worst place to argue with people -– it’s a wasteland in terms of logic and thoughtfulness. Would it have helped if I pointed out I was Sikh, not Muslim? Maybe, but saying, “I’m the wrong brown guy -– go catch those other ones!” is not in line with my beliefs. Sikhs stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Last year the meme flared up again, and one of my friend’s brothers, Greg Worthington, wrote a long message on Facebook. He explained who I was and why my jersey was in the Smithsonian. The post was really, really kind. It got a huge reaction. Then the Smithsonian group created a new meme to share with Greg’s post, and a hashtag #BelikeDarsh, which went viral.

I was shocked. It showed me the power of online advocacy. I was interviewed by media outlets and TV stations and got so many messages and calls from sympathetic people. I found it very weird, but I realised that I had this megaphone so I should try and re-direct the love and attention.

I wrote a post asking people to take care of others, in line with Sikhism’s golden traditions; offer love to the people around you, be a voice for those who need it the most. Becoming the subject of a racist meme can be incredibly toxic. It is challenging to be in a world where people are anonymous and don’t show compassion. You need a level of support in real life that many people don’t have.

***

Cyberbullying: a brief and partial history

1973 The Community Memory digital service in Berkeley, California, charges 25 cents per post to reduce abuse.

1998 In the first successful US prosecution of a hate crime on the internet, a former California university student is convicted for emailing death threats to Asian students.

2003 Film of Canadian schoolboy Ghyslain Raza with a ‘light sabre’ is uploaded and the ‘Star Wars kid’ goes viral. Raza becomes a victim of a cyberbullying attack, and later speaks publicly about its impact.

2005 A student on the Seoul subway refuses to clean up after her dog and is vilified as ‘dog poo girl’ after a photo goes viral.

2008 First US cyber-bullying trial in US, the United States vs Lori Drew, follows death of 13-year-old Megan Meier. Drew, the mother of Meier’s friend (who posed as Josh Evans online), is acquitted but the case leads to the introduction of a Missouri state law. Unofficially known as Megan’s law, this takes a tougher stance on cyberbullying.

2009 A teenager becomes the first British person to be jailed for bullying on social media.

2010 Paul Chambers is convicted (overturned on appeal) for tweeting a joke about blowing up an airport in the UK.

2011 A man is jailed in Manchester for harassing his ex-girlfriend online via a series of blogposts ‘warning’ men about her.

2012 Lord McAlpine is defamed in tweets by Sally Bercow, who later agrees to pay undisclosed damages.

2013 Caroline Criado-Perez receives death threats after winning her battle to reinstate a woman on English banknotes. This leads to three arrests; Twitter announces a new one-click action to report abuse.

2014 Supporters of a disparaging blogpost about games developer Zoë Quinn, written by her ex-boyfriend, start a misogynistic campaign under the hashtag #gamergate, seen as a backlash against equality in gaming.

2014 Nude pictures of more than 100 celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence are published on 4chan.

2015 Luke King, 21, is thought to be the first man convicted of revenge porn in the UK; he is sentenced after pleading guilty to harassment after posting photographs of his ex-girlfriend on WhatsApp.

September 2015 A survey carried out by Vodafone and YouGov reveals one in five young people has been cyberbullied, according to research across 11 countries, making it a more common problem than drug abuse.

March 2016 NSPCC condemns ‘baiting out’ videos, where teenagers shame friends as promiscuous or disloyal.

• Are you a victim of online abuse? Go to stoponlineabuse.org.uk for help and advice.

Because of the personal and sensitive nature of this piece comments will be pre-moderated.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 3:34 am

Anti-Asian E-Mail Was Hate Crime, Jury Finds: Internet: Ex-UCI student Richard Machado is found to have violated civil rights with threatening messages.
by Davan Maharaj
February 11, 1998

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SANTA ANA — In the nation's first successful prosecution of a hate crime on the Internet, an expelled university student was found guilty Tuesday of violating the civil rights of Asian students at UC Irvine by sending e-mail threats to kill them if they didn't leave the school.

Prosecutors hailed the verdict in the retrial of 20-year-old Richard J. Machado as a victory for federal authorities seeking to police the Internet to deter hatemongers and racist groups.

"This verdict shows that high-tech hate is not going to be tolerated," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Michael J. Gennaco, who prosecuted the case. "A line does have to be drawn in the world of cyberspace. If you cross that line and threaten people, you are going to be subject to criminal penalties."

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for less than a day before finding Machado guilty of interfering with students' rights to attend a public university. Jurors deadlocked 9 to 3 in favor of conviction on a second, identical count.

Machado displayed no emotion when the verdict was read Tuesday afternoon. His first trial ended in a mistrial in November with jurors deadlocked 9 to 3 in favor of acquittal.

Because his conviction carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and he has already served more time than that in custody, Machado could be set free as early as Friday, when he appears for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler.

Gennaco, who heads the civil rights division of the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, downplayed Machado's sentence.

"What we've taken from this case is a deterrent value that people can't get on the Internet and send threats to folks," Gennaco said.

Gennaco hinted that prosecutors would now be more likely to step in and prosecute computer users who stalk or threaten others in cyberspace.

"We have a number of ongoing investigations regarding allegations of threats on the Internet," Gennaco said. "Now we have some guidance from 12 people that the government can step in and enforce laws on the Internet."

Machado's trial--and retrial--had been seen as a test case.

To prosecute Machado, prosecutors turned to civil rights laws enacted in the 1960s that were designed to prevent Southerners from standing in the way of school desegregation.

Machado violated students' civil rights, prosecutors contended, when he hunched over a computer in UCI's engineering building on Sept. 20, 1996, and sent an anonymous e-mail message to about 60 mainly Asian students.

The message, signed "Asian Hater," warned that all Asians should leave UC Irvine or the sender would "hunt all of you down and kill your stupid asses."

"I personally will make it my [life's work] to find and kill every one of you personally. OK? That's how determined I am. Do you hear me?"


Apparently thinking the first one didn't get transmitted, Machado sent the same message twice, and school officials quickly traced the messages to him after they received complaints.

The e-mail incensed and upset some students, especially those of Asian descent, who constitute nearly half of UC Irvine's 17,000 students, the highest percentage of any UC school.

Several students testified that they were petrified by the e-mail. They armed themselves with pepper spray, refused to go out alone at night and became suspicious of strangers.

The defense called other students who testified that they became angry over the message but later shrugged it off as a bad joke.

During the trial, defense lawyers depicted Machado as a disturbed teenager who became distraught and flunked out of UCI after his eldest brother was murdered in Los Angeles.

When he sent the threatening e-mail, Machado was no longer a UCI student, but he was too ashamed to tell his immigrant parents, according to Deputy Federal Public Defender Sylvia Torres-Guillen.


Machado testified at both trials that one of his brothers would drive him to UCI each day even after he had been expelled. There, he passed his days in the computer laboratory, sending and receiving e-mail and surfing the Internet until it was time to go home.

On the day he sent the e-mail, Machado testified, he was bored and wanted to start a "dialogue" with people who were signed on to the school's computer network.

Some attorneys, including Machado's defense team, questioned whether charges should have been filed against the former student.

Torres-Guillen even called an expert witness in Internet etiquette, who described Machado's e-mail as "a classic flame" -- online lingo for an angry message that, while annoying, is not meant to be harmful.


But Gennaco contended that Machado hated Asians because they got better grades than he did.

In his rebuttal case, the prosecutor called a University of South Carolina freshman and another computer user in Denver who testified that Machado referred to Asians as "chinks" when he chatted with them in cyberspace.

The witnesses contradicted Machado's testimony that he never used derogatory terms for Asians.

Gennaco said prosecutors may suggest that Machado attend a racial awareness program as part of his sentence.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 3:49 am

Subway Fracas Escalates Into Test of the Internet's Power to Shame
by Jonathan Krim
Thursday, July 7, 2005

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If you no longer marvel at the Internet's power to connect and transform the world, you need to hear the story of a woman known to many around the globe as, loosely translated, Dog Poop Girl.

Recently, the woman was on the subway in her native South Korea when her dog decided that this was a good place to do its business.

The woman made no move to clean up the mess, and several fellow travelers got agitated. The woman allegedly grew belligerent in response.

What happened next was a remarkable show of Internet force, and a peek into an unsettling corner of the future.

One of the train riders took pictures of the incident with a camera phone and posted them on a popular Web site. Net dwellers soon began to call her by the unflattering nickname, and issued a call to arms for more information about her.

According to one blog that has covered the story, "within days, her identity and her past were revealed. Requests for information about her parents and relatives started popping up and people started to recognize her by the dog and the bag she was carrying," because her face was partially obscured by her hair.

Online discussion groups crackled with chatter about every shred of the woman's life that could be found, and with debate over whether the Internet mob had gone too far. The incident became national news in South Korea and even was discussed in Sunday sermons in Korean churches in the Washington area.

Humiliated in public and indelibly marked, the woman reportedly quit her university.


Using the Internet as a tool to settle scores is hardly new. Search for any major retailer and you'll probably also find some kind of http://www.that-store-stinks.com Web site, with complaints about products or service.

Increasingly, the Internet also is a venue of so-called citizen journalism, in which swarms of surfers mobilize to gather information on what the traditional media isn't covering, or is covering in a way that dissatisfies some people.

But what happens when the two converge, and the Internet populace is stirred to action against individuals?

The Dog Poop Girl case "involves a norm that most people would seemingly agree to -- clean up after your dog," wrote Daniel J. Solove, a George Washington University law professor who specializes in privacy issues, on one blog. "But having a permanent record of one's norm violations is upping the sanction to a whole new level . . . allowing bloggers to act as a cyber-posse, tracking down norm violators and branding them with digital scarlet letters."

Howard Rheingold, who studies and writes about the impact of technology on the behavior of groups, said the debate should begin with an understanding that the rules of privacy have changed.

"The shadow side of the empowerment that comes with a billion and a half people being online is the surveillance aspect," he said. "We used to worry about big brother -- the state -- but now of course it's our neighbors, or people on the subway."

With society awash in personal data that is bought and sold daily, those who would use it as a weapon have few barriers.

When hackers get mad at each other they sometimes strike back by making public online the personal information of their adversary, a practice known as "dropping docs."


At the same time, it is easy to imagine the benefits of coordinated Internet posses to help track down those wanted for crimes, or to help solve mysteries.

It was the clarion call of one well-known blogger, for example, that led to answers about the dubious press credentials of Jeff Gannon, who attended White House news conferences and asked questions that favored President Bush and attacked Democrats.

But the mob went further, reporting and speculating on aspects of Gannon's private life.

"Where the line is between doing what the media or the legal system won't do is a pretty interesting question, and I don't have the answer," said Dan Gillmor, a former newspaper columnist who now is organizing citizen-journalism projects. "People have to think about consequences."

In discussions with dozens of people about this story, and in reading comments on blogs, I found an intriguing common thread. The instinct of most was to accept using the Internet as a new social-enforcement tool, but to search for that point on the continuum where enough was too much.

Putting Dog Poop Girl's picture on the Web was OK, some said, but not the clamoring for more information that followed. Others said the woman's face and other identifying features should have been obscured more. Still others said she was entitled to no privacy at all.

But there was also this, on the blog of Don Park:

"What would I have done if I was at the scene? I would have just cleaned up the mess without saying anything. . . . [The] mess is cleaned up and the girl, embarrassed at the right level."

Jonathan Krim can be reached atkrimj@washpost.com.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 3:51 am

The Tale of Dog Poop Girl Is Not So Funny After All
by Samatha Henig
July 7, 2005

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Congressional efforts to create a federal shield law for journalists have raised, not for the first time, the question of just who is a journalist. If we give “journalists” the right to refuse to testify to protect anonymous sources, does that right apply to everyone with an Internet connection and some Web space? Or any guy with a mimeograph machine in the basement? How about someone whose only tools are a fax machine and a mailing list?

While lawyers and lawmakers wrestle with these issues, another cyber-issue has bubbled to the surface in South Korea: the rights of bloggers to enforce the law.

As described in an article in today’s Washington Post, it all started when a woman recently refused to clean up her dog’s excrement on a subway in South Korea. Fellow travelers, obviously bothered by the new addition to the train, expressed their irritation. She did not yield. In the old days, that would have been the end of it. But today, when face-to-face persuasion fails, there’s a fallback plan: anonymous Internet humiliation.

The Post notes, “One of the train riders took pictures of the incident with a camera phone and posted them on a popular Web site. Net dwellers soon began to call her by the unflattering nickname [loosely translated to ‘Dog Poop Girl’], and issued a call to arms for more information about her.”

And information they received. “According to one blog that has covered the story, ‘within days, her identity and her past were revealed.’” But that wasn’t enough: blogs and online discussion groups buzzed with dirt about Dog Poop Girl’s parents and relatives, and cries for more invasions of her privacy.

As George Washington University law professor Daniel J. Solove wrote on one blog, this was a demonstration of bloggers acting “as a cyber-posse, tracking down norm violators and branding them with digital scarlet letters.”

We’ve seen blogs act as media or political watchdogs, but not as aggressive watchdogs of individual violations of social norms. So this seems like a notable step. And, as with the emergence of “citizen” journalism, it is an undefined and unregulated step in a cyberworld that lacks boundaries and standards. As one online response to the Post article points out: “If the Internet was around in the late 1930’s in Germany, would it be OK for someone to post names and addresses of all the Jewish families in the country. Would it be OK to post their pictures, their kids’ pictures and list their kids’ school addresses and their places of work. If the Internet was around, would it be OK for the KKK to publish a list of the Blacks that needed attention from the lynch mob. I would argue that this question is a lot more complex than just dog poop.”

No doubt about it, the rise of citizen cyber-police such as those who tracked down and shamed the hapless Korean dog owner is a development with multiple ramifications. And trying to patrol these Internet lynch mobs may turn out to be just as impossible as trying to keep the world free of dog poop.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:04 am

Suicide and “Dog Poop Girl” Lead to Clash Between Google and South Korean Government
by Vivian Kim
April 21, 2009

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Cyber-bullying that led to the suicide of an actress and the fleeing of “dog poop girl” from her hometown provided impetus for a new Cyber Defamation Law in South Korea requiring that the real name of a user be published with any of the user’s uploads or posts. This has led to tension between Google and the South Korean government over Google’s evasion of the country’s new Internet regulations. Google claims that the South Korean law violates its own policy of freedom of expression and the right to remain anonymous.

Actress Choi Jin-sil committed suicide on October 2, 2008. Reportedly, she was depressed over online rumors that claimed she had hassled actor Ahn Jae-hwan over a loan she had made to him, leading to his suicide less than a month before Choi’s. The rumors suggested she was partially to blame in the actor’s suicide.
In another case of cyber-bullying, a picture and the story of a young woman who had refused to clean up her dog’s droppings on the subway were posted online. The story spread quickly. She was soon identified and her personal information was released on the Internet, causing her to drop out of school and change residence.

Google has opted to discontinue South Korea’s YouTube uploads and comments, rather than change its registration system to verify its users’ identities in compliance with the law. In addition, Google triggered alarm by informing South Koreans how they can circumvent the law, and post and upload anonymously by switching their country setting on YouTube accounts.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:05 am

Google Disables Uploads, Comments on YouTube Korea
by Martyn Williams
IDG News Service
Apr 13, 2009

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Google has disabled user uploads and comments on the Korean version of its YouTube video portal in reaction to a new law that requires the real name of a contributor be listed along with each contribution they make.

The rules, part of a Cyber Defamation Law, came into effect on April 1 for all sites with over 100,000 unique visitors per day. It requires that users provide their real name and national ID card number.

In response to the requirements Google has stopped users from uploading via its Korean portal rather than start a new registration system.

"We have a bias in favor of freedom of expression and are committed to openness," said Lucinda Barlow, a spokeswoman for YouTube in Asia. "It's very important that if users want to be anonymous that they have that chance."

But while the move obeys the letter of the law it skirts around the spirit of it by allowing users based in South Korea to continue uploading and commenting on YouTube by switching their preference setting to a country other than Korea.


YouTube noted this workaround on its Korean Web site, and any videos and comments contributed this way will still be seen by Internet users in the country.

The decision was taken after close consultation and debate between Google Korea and its headquarters, Barlow said.

The new law was rushed into force after the suicide of a popular actress in October focused attention on the problem of online bullying in the highly-connected country.

Choi Jin Sil was apparently driven to suicide after a series of online rumors had her pressuring a fellow actor to repay a loan she had made to him. The actor, Ahn Jae Hwan, had killed himself a month earlier.

The suicide was the latest in a string of so-called cyber-bullying incidents in the country and helped generate support for the stricter law.

The first high-profile case occurred in 2005 and involved a woman who quickly became known as "dog poop girl." After her dog defecated on the Seoul subway and she failed to clean it up, a fellow traveller posted a picture of her online with an account of the incident. The story spread fast and within days a campaign had identified her, where she lived, and the university she attended. In the end, she reportedly dropped out of school and fled her home because of the controversy.

Already many major Korean portals and Web sites require users to provide their national ID card number when registering accounts but Google, which has a much smaller profile in South Korea than it enjoys in the west, does not ask for this information so the law would have also required it to build a new verification system.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:12 am

Google refuses South Korean government’s real-name system: Google bypasses internet regulations regarding user protections by limiting YouTube Korea’s Web site functionality
by englishhani@hani.co.kr
April 10, 2009

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Google’s Korea Unit has decided to refuse South Korean government’s Internet regulations. Based on the Law on Internet Address Management, South Korea implements a “real-name” system, which requires a Web site to confirm users’ personal information such as their real names and resident registration numbers when they want to post comments or upload content.

An amendment to the law, South Korea’s Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and User Protection, went into effect on April 1 expanding the scope of sites subject to the real name registration system from requiring those with 300,000 users per day to websites who have at least 100,000 to comply. Analysts indicate that this would mean that Google, the world’s largest internet company, would be required to comply by restricting South Korean users from uploading video clips or leaving comments on its Korean version of its video-sharing Web site YouTube Korea (kr.youtube.com) unless they use real names.

Google’s Korea unit, however, has found a way around being subjected to the country’s Internet real-name system, voluntarily shutting down some of the Web site’s functions. A notice was available on YouTube Korea Web site’s on April 9 saying, “YouTube has decided to restrict its video upload and comment functions in South Korea.” It also stated, “Because there is no upload function, users won’t be required to confirm their identification.” South Korea is currently the only country that enforces the Internet real-name system. This act by Google is the first time that a company operating in South Korea has refused the real-name system by shutting down its online bulletin board-type functions.

On the same day, Rachel Whetstone, vice president of Global Communications & Public Affairs at Google, offered in a statement posted on Google Korea’s Website the reason why the company has refused to comply to the real-name system. In a statement titled, “Freedom of Expression on the Internet,” Whetstone said, “Google thinks the freedom of expression is most important value to uphold on the internet.” Whetstone continued to say, “We concluded in the end that it is impossible to provide benefits to internet users while observing this country’s law because the law does not fall in line with Google’s principles.”

Analysts suggest even though it has limited some of YouTube Korea’s Web site functionality, Google had no choice but to find a way to refuse compliance with the real-name system in order to maintain its mission. Google maintains a corporate mission of providing universal access to information for all users, and has attempted to apply this to the services it provides worldwide.

Globally, YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing Web site, allows users to create accounts by simply by giving an ID, password and an E-mail address, and Google gmail users are allowed to use YouTube with their Google IDs. As Google refuses to conform its position on user’s rights to South Korea’s real-name system’s requirements, South Koreans can access YouTube Korea’s site, but cannot post video clips or comments. Google has not restricted South Koreans accessing the site outside of South Korea or foreigners living in South Korea from posting their contents on the YouTube site.

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:15 am

S. Korea may clash with Google over Internet regulation differences: KCC investigates Google hoping to turn up other illegalities, not for real name system evasion, while netizens criticize Internet laws
by englishhani@hani.co.kr
April 17, 2009

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The South Korean government is considering legal action against Google following the refusal of Google-owned Web site YouTube to implement the “real name system,” which requires any Web site that has more than 100,000 users per day to confirm users’ personal information such as their real names and resident registration numbers when they want to post comments or upload content.

The situation is showing signs of developing into a clash between the South Korean government, which is seeking to extend the application of its internet regulations to all Internet businesses, and the world’s largest Internet company, which is trying to maintain its principle of “freedom of expression” based on the option of exercising the “freedom of anonymous expression” on the Internet that it maintains elsewhere throughout the world.

An official at the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), who wished to remain nameless, said Thursday that the KCC was “in an uproar” over Google’s April 9 decision. “The people higher up said that they could not just leave Google alone and told us to find something to punish them with, so the related team is researching possible illegalities,” the official said.

On April 9, Google announced that it would be blocking users with South Korean nationality from uploading content and posting comments on YouTube Korea’s Web site, effectively rejecting the implementation of the real name system. Initially, the KCC reacted tepidly, calling the case “not something to take administrative measures over,” but in just a few days, it has taken a 180-degree turn. According to sources, the KCC has apparently made the determination that Google’s decisions have represented an evasion of regulations and that it is not a situation that they can leave alone as a regulatory authority.

KCC network policy official Hwang Cheol-jeung says that the commission will be examining whether or not Google has engaged in illegal activities in any of the various services it operates in South Korea. Since Google’s Korea Unit is conducting many activities in South Korea besides operating the YouTube Korea video site, including search and keyword-based advertising, observers are concerned that this investigation could potentially turn up illegal practices in areas such as internet obscenity, unwholesome advertising, and copyright infringements.

Choi See-joong, chairman of KCC, expressed strong dissatisfaction with Google at a Wednesday meeting of the National Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting & Communications (CCSTB&C). At the CCSTB&C meeting, Grand National Party lawmaker Na Kyung-won said that with Google’s measure, “They are speaking as though Korea is a backwards Internet nation that is intensifying its Internet censorship. Why are you just standing around doing nothing?” Choi responded that plans were underway to “send a message of severe dismay to Google about their terribly commercial approach with which it has tried to deceive people by a transparent guile.” He also said that he planned to meet with the head of Google Korea to determine the company’s true motives, and that the KCC was currently conducting legality investigations.

Meanwhile, Google Korea Unit head Lee Won-jin appeared on the MBC show “Son Seok-hee’s Focused View” Thursday and said, “There are no ‘true motives’ behind the shutdown of upload functions. What you see is everything.” Lee added that it was “a difficult decision, made after extensive discussions with the head office, and with a long-term view on the significance of the South Korean market.” Analysts are interpreting that this means the decision came from Google’s headquarters, and as such is not liable to be influenced by the South Korean government’s will. Lee also said, “In refusing to accept this regulation, we support opportunities for freedom of expression in South Korea’s Internet culture.”

South Korean companies are concerned about issues of “reverse discrimination” in Internet regulations. “When I saw Google’s decision, I was jealous and at the same time deeply distressed,” said an official at one portal site. “South Korean businesses will have to endure criticism from users while following unwanted regulations,” the official added.

Han Chang-min, Korea Internet Corporations Association secretary-general, expressed the frustration experienced by several Internet companies, “The fair thing to do would be to apply the real name system to all foreign sites accessible to users in South Korea, or else remove the regulation for South Korean businesses.”

Industry experts suggest that the differences between the South Korean government and Google over how to apply the new Internet regulations reveals the fallacy of creating regulation that applies to only specific geographical regions on the Internet, which is a “network of networks.” According to the government, the difficulty it faces is that it is impossible to regulate Internet policy if it leaves cases like Google’s alone. Jeon Byeong-guk, director of the Internet consulting company SearchMaster.co.kr, says that the government and Google “have come face-to-face in a situation where there are no points of agreement.” Jeon added, “Since Google does not have a large share of the South Korean market, the question is what is to be gained from the government simply cracking its whip.”

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:23 am

Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers wins high court appeal against conviction: Accountant says he feels 'relieved and vindicated' as court rules his joke tweet about blowing up an airport was not menacing
by Owen Bowcott
legal affairs correspondent
27 July 2012

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Paul Chambers, who was found guilty of sending a menacing tweet, has won his high court challenge against his conviction. Outside the court, Chambers, 27, said he felt "relieved and vindicated", adding: "It's ridiculous it ever got so far."

He had tweeted in frustration when he discovered that Robin Hood airport in South Yorkshire was closed because of snow. Eager to see his girlfriend, he sent out a tweet on the publicly accessible site declaring: "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"

He has always maintained that he did not believe anyone would take his "silly joke" seriously.

The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Griffith Williams, said: "We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the crown court that this 'tweet' constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it.

"On this basis, the appeal against conviction must be allowed."

Chambers said outside court: "It was a long, hard road. I would like to thank everyone on Twitter." He had lost two jobs because of his conviction, he said, but "it was now time to move on".

After the judgment Chambers's supporters accused the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of wasting public funds in pursuing its action against the trainee accountant.

Louise Mensch, who is Chambers's constituency MP, was in court to hear him cleared. "The CPS owe the whole country an enormous apology," she said, "for having wasted public money and put him through two and a half years of serious stress for what was a joke.

"When parliament returns we will be asking searching questions about why freedom of speech was trashed. There was nothing menacing about this message. It was completely obvious."


Chambers had arrived at the snow-bound airport on 6 January 2010 hoping to fly to Belfast to meet Sarah Tonner, whom he had met on Twitter where she was known as @CrazyColours.

A week later he was arrested by four officers from South Yorkshire police who visited his office at a car distribution firm in Doncaster. Chambers subsequently lost his job as a financial supervisor.

He was prosecuted under section 127(1) of the Communications Act 2003, which prohibits sending "by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character".

In May 2010 Chambers was convicted by the district judge Jonathan Bennett sitting at Doncaster magistrates court and fined £1,000. In November 2010 the crown court judge Jacqueline Davies, sitting with two magistrates, dismissed his appeal, saying that the electronic communication was "clearly menacing" and that airport staff were sufficiently concerned to report it.

John Cooper QC, who represented Chambers, said: "It's an important decision for social networks. It means that in future not only does a message have to be of a truly menacing character but the person who sends it has to intend it to be menacing.

"Now people can have a joke even if it's a bad joke … this case should never have been prosecuted and it may be that the CPS will have questions to answer about this."

David Allen Green, Chambers's solicitor, said: "This shameful prosecution should never have been brought. For two and a half years the CPS have adopted a ridiculous position. There are very serious questions for the director of public prosecutions to answer in this case. We welcome this very clear judgment that sets out a high threshold for what constitutes a menacing character."

After the lord chief justice left the high court there was celebration and applause. The comedian Al Murray was one of those in court to support Chambers. "It's a victory for common sense," he said. "It's extraordinary this ever came to court. The judges saw there was no menacing message. It's a really important victory."

Asked outside the Royal Courts of Justice whether he would employ Chambers as a gag writer, Murray replied: "No."

Chambers swung his arm in mock defeat.

Index on Censorship, the free speech campaign, welcomed the court ruling. "Today's judgment is an advance in the justice system's handling of free speech on the web," said Kirsty Hughes, the organisation's chief executive. "As more and more of us use social media, it is important that the law understands how people communicate online. This ruling is a step in the right direction."

But Chris Watson, a social media expert and head of telecoms at the law firm CMS Cameron McKenna, said: "This verdict will be seen as a victory for freedom of speech campaigners, but I can see why the CPS pursued this case.

"The police have a duty to take all terrorism threats seriously, but specifically on the question of what people can say on social media, the public seems very unaware that the same rules apply to social media as any other public forum.

"While the ruling today suggests the threat to Robin Hood airport should not have been considered credible, the public would be very wrong to take this as a green light to say whatever they want on social media, without consequence. I expect to see the police and CPS to bring similar cases to court in an attempt to correct public misconceptions on where the law stands."
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:36 am

Lord McAlpine libel row with Sally Bercow formally settled in high court: Sally Bercow has apologised for 'irresponsible use of Twitter' and agreed to pay undisclosed damages to peer, court told
by theguardian.com
October 22, 2013

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Image

Lord McAlpine's libel action against Sally Bercow has been formally settled at the high court.

Sally Bercow, who is married to the Commons Speaker John Bercow, was not at Tuesday's brief hearing before Mr Justice Tugendhat in London.

Sir Edward Garnier QC told the judge that she had apologised for her "irresponsible use of Twitter", which caused the peer great distress and embarrassment, and had agreed to pay him undisclosed damages -– which had been given to charity -– and his costs.

She had also undertaken never to repeat the allegations about him and had withdrawn them unreservedly.

Bercow accepted an earlier offer to settle the matter after Tugendhat's ruling in May that a tweet posted by her was highly defamatory.


Her posting appeared two days after a Newsnight report last November wrongly implicated the former Conservative Party treasurer in allegations of sex abuse at Bryn Estyn children's home in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bercow denied that the tweet -– "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*" –- was defamatory, but McAlpine, who has already received six-figure payouts from the BBC and ITV, said it pointed the finger of blame during a media frenzy.

The judge agreed with McAlpine.

Bercow's QC, William McCormick, said: "Mrs Bercow wishes and hopes that as a result of this matter other Twitter users will behave more responsibly in how they use that platform. She certainly intends to do so herself."

Garnier said that, at the time of her tweet, Bercow had more than 56,000 followers and, as was foreseeable, a substantial number of them re-tweeted her "unsubtle message".

Afterwards, McAlpine's lawyer, Andrew Reid, said: "Today has seen closure of a piece of litigation which has now become the leading case in terms of internet responsibility.

"Our client had never wanted the situation to get to this stage. It was always his intention to avoid litigation if at all possible, just as it was always Mrs Bercow's intention, until today, not to provide an apology satisfactory to our client.

"It is to be hoped that lessons will be learned: This litigation could so easily have been avoided if common sense had prevailed over political positioning.

"In January of this year, Lord McAlpine made a 'without prejudice' offer to Mrs Bercow to settle at a substantially lower sum than his leading counsel, Sir Edward Garnier QC, advised that he was likely to obtain if the matter went to full trial.

"He made the offer in an attempt to avoid the detrimental effect of litigation on his health, but sadly, Mrs Bercow was not prepared at the relevant time to avail herself of this reasonable offer."

He added that it was now a legal requirement that, if Bercow were to re-activate her Twitter account, she must formally issue on it her apology.
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