Wednesday, January 09, 2008

DE-MEANING CYBERSPACE: To lower the ocean using a legal thimble


Just another day in paradise, ca. 2005

"Prosecutors may charge a woman who posed as a boy and sent cruel messages to a teen with defrauding MySpace," reported the Los Angeles Times today. MySpace is located in Beverly Hills, which explains the transfer of interest to a federal operation in Los Angeles. (See here.)

The idea, as it is put forward in the news story, is that it might be possible to prosecute someone for putting up a deceitful page on MySpace, the well know social networking sight for dumb kids, vexing teenagers, gone-public crossdressers, miscellaneous pedophiles and every music group that has ever existed.

Haw! Haw! Except it's not a joke but the sound of grasping at straws.

Plagued by the reality that it's not against the law to be a raging asshole in pursuit of the weak on the Internet, "A federal grand jury has been issuing subpoenas in the case of a Missouri teenager [Megan Meier] who hanged herself after being rejected by the person she thought was a 16-year old boy she met on MySpace..."

The "cyber bully" was "really a neighbor who was the mother of one of the girl's former friends."

Lori Drew, the name of the now infamous nasty person in question, has not been charged because "Prosecutors in Missouri said they were unable to find a statute under which to pursue a criminal case."

If they were able to do so it would mean the Internet would have to be dismantled, since hoaxing and acting from extreme malice are part of the very oxygen to be breathed while delving it.

The Drew/Megan Meier story breaks everyone's faith in humanity simply because there is no solution. Lori Drew deserves for something very bad to happen to her but it is not within the bounds of the law to make that happen. And Megan Meier's parents were far too stupid to have anyone in their family be allowed unattended anywhere near the Internet.

Anyone can attract their special private harpy, or crew of harpies, just for having the temerity to erect a virtual presence. Your personal custom-crafted harpies can follow you around, tearing at your virtual liver under the cover of anonymity. And it can go on for years. Harpies never forget. It's part of their charm and the best that can be done is to shrug and make them a part of yourself.

"Cyber-bullying has become an increasingly creepy reality, with the anonymity of video games, message boards and other on-line forums offering an outlet for cruel taunts," wrote reporters Scott Glover and P.J. Hufstutter. Somewhat stupidly, DD adds.

"Still, it could be difficult to draw the line between constitutionally protected free speech and conduct that is illegal," continued the newspaper.

"Teenagers and furious neighbors have protested [in Dardenne Prairie, MO] ... Virtual vigilantes have posted the Drew's home address ... and photos on websites such as RottenNeighbor.com."



An excerpt from one of DD's many friends in cyberspace, posted after the publication of a recent story at el Reg:

from [sic] George or his Dick. Surely they have a moment to respond to comments here? It would be lovely if the Reg insisted that after publishing this rubbish the author would be held accountable to respond on the forum. Some could argue that a someone with no testicles to respond to arguments could be likened to female genitalia. Speak up and defend your story unless you are a coward.

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