Facebook Cyberstalkers Arrested

 

facebook-cyber-bullying-ends-with-two-teens-arrested-on-felony-charges

This makes us absolutely ill. Completely disgusting.

Two girls from Florida are currently facing cyberstalking charges after allegedly creating a Facebook profile for a girl from their high school, and uploading photoshopped, pornographic images of her onto the page!

According to investigators, Taylor Wynn, 16, and McKenzie Barker, 15, created the two pages “as a joke because she thought it would be funny. Because nobody liked her.”

Their idea of 'funny' was to crop the girl's head on top of a “nude prepubescent girl’s body,” with an erect penis “by the victim’s face.” In the 'About Me' section of the page, they wrote about the victim “As you may know, I am a huge whore. I love dick so much.”

Since the page's creation in late-April of last year – which, most disturbing of all, reportedly garnered up to 181 friends – the victim has been subject to “numerous incidents of teasing and ridicule” at her High School.

Investigators learned about the hoax last year and used search warrants and subpoenas to link Wynn to the crime via an IP address in her mother's name.

The girls were arrested this week and charged with a felony count of aggravated stalking of a minor under 16.

As they should be. We don't know how some people can look at this kind of outright malicious cruelty and think it's not only acceptable, but FUNNY.

We sincerely hope that these girls realize how serious their actions are, as well as anyone else who considers victimizing any of their peers in a similar fashion.

So sad.

Federal Criminal Charges Against Cyber Bully

E-retailer charged with cyber-bullying and fraud

The owner of DecorMyEyes.com was arrested Monday.

Don Davis

Editor

Lead Photo

 

Vitaly Borker, the owner and operator of online luxury eyewear retail site DecorMyEyes.com, was arrested today in Brooklyn, NY, and charged with four counts of defrauding customers and threatening them when they complained, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has announced.

Borker was the subject of a long article in the New York Times Nov. 28 in which he was depicted as bragging that he goaded unhappy customers into posting complaints on online review sites, believing that would raise his ranking in Google search results. Google responded a few days later by announcing it was taking steps to lower the rankings of merchants that consistently provided poor service, including Borker’s.

According to a complaint filed Friday in federal court in New York City, Borker since January 2007 has sold counterfeit or damaged goods from DecorMyEyes.com, made unauthorized charges to customers’ credit cards and that, when customers tried to return or exchange merchandise “a campaign of aggressive, obscene and intimidating conduct followed from a representative of DecorMyEyes.com.”

The complaint, filed by postal inspector Douglas G. Veatch of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, details several instances in which Borker allegedly threatened customers and their family members by telephone and e-mail. In one case, Borker told a customer “I know where you work” and “I can hurt you,” and then sent an e-mail to the customer’s workmates accusing him of dealing in drugs and homosexual practices.

"Millions of people shop online and rightfully assume they are dealing with legitimate and honest vendors, Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara said in announcing the arrest. “Online consumers should never be in fear for their safety simply because they have chosen the convenience of Internet shopping. But that is what allegedly occurred in this case. Vitaly Borker, an alleged cyberbully and fraudster, cheated his customers, and when they complained, tried to intimidate them with obscenity and threats of serious violence. Especially during this holiday shopping season, today's arrest should send a message that we will protect online consumers and that victims of people like Borker are not alone.”

The complain charges Borker with one count each of cyberstalking, making interstate threats, mail fraud and wire fraud. The cyberstalking and interstate threats charges each carry  a maximum penalty of five years in prison; the mail fraud and wire fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

DecorMyEyes.com did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The federal complaint says Borker was sued in federal court in 2006 for allegedly selling counterfeit goods and settled the case in September 2007, agreeing to pay a $300,000 judgment and to stop infringing on the trademarks of luxury brands. The current complaint also says there have been over 200 complaints made against DecorMyEyes with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

In the New York Times article, Borker is quoting as saying that the complaints made against him on various web sites improved his standing in Google. That prompted a broad discussion among search engine optimization specialists about whether such complaints in fact helped DecorMyEyes.com earn front-page positions in Google natural search results.

But close examination by SEO experts suggest that the postings to complaint sites did not boost the search results of DecorMyEyes.com. In most cases, the sites hosting those consumer comment took action to prevent poor retailers from benefiting from complaints, such as by adding no-follow tags to links to DecorMyEyes.com that tell search engines that the site does not vouch for the linked site.

Ironically, one of the links that did help DecorMyEyes.com was from a New York Times article that mentioned a particular model of Versace eyeglasses and linked to a page at DecorMyEyes.com that had a photo of those glasses, says Byrne Hobart, a marketing consultant at online marketing firm Blue Fountain Media. Hobart says DecorMyEyes.com also used so-called “black hat” methods, such as creating web pages with random text containing links to the retailer’s site and perhaps paying other sites for links.

“The DecorMyEyes story is entertaining, but it’s really two stories in parallel,” Hobart wrote in a  blog post last week. “One is the story of Vitaly Borker, jerk par excellence, who browbeats his customers into accepting ripoffs. The other is the story of DecorMyEyes, a typical low-quality e-commerce site that used a combination of black-hat techniques and dumb luck to rank well.”

Six Months For Cyber Bully + Order of Protection

Dead Sea Scrolls 'Cyber-Bully' Sentenced to Six Months in Jail For Impersonating Scholars

November 18, 2010 4:26pm1commentshareprint

Raphael Golb, 50, was handcuffed and sent to jail on Thursday.

Dead Sea Scrolls 'Cyber-Bully' Sentenced to Six Months in Jail For Impersonating ScholarsRaphael Golb, 50, reading a statement in court at his sentencing Thursday. (DNAinfo/Yepoka Yeebo)

By Shayna Jacobs

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A cyber-bully convicted of stealing the identities of several Dead Sea Scrolls scholars was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail but is expected to be released Friday due to an appeals court ruling.

Raphael Golb, 50, was found guilty in September on more than 30 counts of identity theft, forgery, aggravated harassment and other charges. He used the identities to damage the names and reputations of rivals of his father, who is a respected scholar on the ancient Hebrew texts.

Although he was handcuffed and led away at his Manhattan Supreme Court sentencing Thursday morning, his lawyers said an appeals judge ruled Thursday afternoon that Golb can remain free on $25,000 bail pending his appeal, which could take years.

Golb was at Rikers Island Thursday evening and was expected to remain there until Friday after his family wires the bail money, his lawyer Ron Kuby said. 

At his sentencing Thursday, Golb claimed his impersonation efforts, which involved creating dozens of e-mail accounts and occurred between July and December 2008, were not criminal but akin to a pranks "commonly engaged in" by entertainers.

"Before this case, I did not know that satirical hoaxes of the sort were treated as crimes in the United States of America, but as this court said, ignorance of the law is not an excuse," added Golb, who has several advanced degrees.

Golb had claimed at trial that his goal was to expose a purported plagiarism claim against NYU Prof. Lawrence Schiffman, an academic rival of his father, Norman.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Carol Berkman ordered Golb to stay away from the experts he victimized and barred him from ever using an alias online again.

He is only allowed to author online posts under his own name or "anonymous," Berkman ruled.

In sentencing him to jail plus five years probation, Berkman said the punishment was meant to "send a clear message" that his behavior deserved consequences.

Lawyers for Golb said are appealing the verdict. They said the charges against him deprived Golb of his Freedom of Speech rights. 

Prosecutors only succeeded "in making the Internet safe for elite scholars to avoid being criticized

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20101118/greenwich-village-soho/dead-sea-scrolls-cyberbully-sentenced-six-months-jail-for-impersonating-scholars#ixzz165Ed43Kl

Internet Defamation Blog

Letter From Harvey S Mars

 
Dear Blog Visitor,

 I have recently discovered that there are several web sites and blogs posted on the Internet that contain disparaging opinions about me professionally, as well as several of my clients.  These opinions have been posted by or on behalf of Stephen Guy Polis a/k/a Guy Polis, a pro se litigant in a suit I had initiated against him in New York State Supreme Court on behalf of his former employer.  The suit involved several tort claims, including breach of a confidentiality agreement he had entered into with this employer. I have  previosuly published two articles addressing some of the provocative legal issues that these opinion postings have raised. These articles are set forth in their entirety below:

Allegro
Volume CVIII  No. 5 
May,  2008

Some Blogger Called Me a Jerk!

…but can I sue him for libel?

by Harvey Mars, Esq.

They say the Internet is the great equalizer. Anyone with a computer, regardless of who they are, may access and post information on it and potentially reach a worldwide audience. It is in a sense the greatest democratic platform we have ever known. Nonetheless, unlike more traditional public forums, such as newspapers and TV, there are absolutely no filters or thresholds to what may be posted. Thus, unwittingly, the Internet has become the permanent home for both fact and fiction. For this reason it has become a haven for litigation, especially defamation litigation. 

A “defamation claim” exists where litigants can prove that they have been subjected to a false statement (written or spoken) by another which is not protected by some form of immunity and which has caused them damage, either financial or to their reputation (or both). False statements that tend to injure an individual in the course of their profession are considered “libel per se,” meaning that damages do not have to be proven. For instance, if someone contends that their doctor has committed malpractice when she has competently performed her professional responsibilities, this content is potentially “defamatory per se.”

There are several defenses to a defamation claim. One, of course, is that the factual contention is actually true. Another is that the contention is not fact, but is actually opinion. Whether an assertion is factual or not is one that is developed from the content and the context of the communication as a whole. If no reasonable reader would construe the statement in question as being an assertion of fact, then it is not actionable.

These common law principles are applied to the Internet. However, a whole new dimension is added when the communications are posted anonymously, as many postings are. Without knowing who the poster is, suit is often difficult if not impossible. Furthermore, pursuant to section 230 of the Communication Decency Act of 1996, 47 USC § 230, providers and users of an interactive computer service are not deemed liable for information provided by another information content provider. This law immunizes Internet service providers from liability from suit for false or misleading information placed upon their blog or through their web service. Therefore, if anonymous Internet users write something that is libelous, their ISP could not be sued.

Within this jurisdiction, there are two recent interesting decisions that demonstrate the limitations on suits involving Internet defamation. In Versaci v. Richie, 30 A.D. 3d 648 (1st. Dept., 2006), an attorney had sued a blogger for referring to him as a “so-called attorney.” The court dismissed the suit because the statement was deemed an opinion given the context of the communication: a gripe blog where individuals complained just about anything that they wanted to, since no reasonable person would construe the phrase as meaning that this individual was not an attorney in that context.

In Greenbaum v. Google, Inc., 18 Misc. 3d 185 (Sup. Ct., 2006), an elected school board member brought an action against an anonymous blogger and the Internet service provider that published allegedly defamatory comments. The plaintiff first sought discovery of the blogger’s identity. The court held that the ISP was immune from suit under section 230 and therefore could not be joined as a party. The court went on to examine the content of the communications at issue and found that they were not actionable because contextually they were opinion.

Due to the specific complexities of Internet defamation, it is easy to fathom that most claims will not be successful. Another factor militating against suit of course is the great expense involved. Before initiating suit, one most examine the net benefits versus the net costs involved. An individual with a credibly established fine reputation has little to gain from commencing suit against a malicious anonymous blogger or Web site owner. Very few reasonable people would give credence to negative comments in that circumstance. 

In the final analysis, anyone distressed by Internet commentary should take comfort in the fact that while everyone may have access to the Internet, not everyone believes everything they read!

Most newspapers check facts and sources and allow editorials presenting differing points of view. If a blog or a Web site does not adhere to these standards, it simply speaks volumes about their credibility. 

 

 

Competent or Not?

By Harvey Mars, Esq.

My column this month may seem a little unrelated to the day-to-day art of music, but there is a chance it may relate to the business or legal angle of your career. It’s about mental competency. If you’ve ever been involved legally with someone who may be mentally ill, you have been affected by the legal definition of competency. To explore this issue further, we have to look at where law and psychiatry come together. It’s a fascinating field known as forensic psychiatry. Forensic psychiatry is a sub-specialty of psychiatry involving physicians who are practicing psychiatrists. They’ve either earned law degrees or completed a specialized certification to qualify them to offer legal opinions. These psychiatrists apply their legal expertise to render opinions involving an individual’s mental status and capacity. Most often they are employed as expert witnesses to educate and persuade either a judge or jury.

Quite recently, I retained one of the most well-respected members of this field, Dr. Robert L. Goldstein, M.D., J.D., to offer an expert opinion in litigation I was handling involving a psychiatric hospital’s improper disclosure of confidential patient information. Dr. Goldstein is presently a clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical School and was the former medical director of the Forensic Psychiatry Clinic of the New York City Criminal Court. As a result of my experience with Dr. Goldstein, I thought it might be beneficial for union members to learn more about this field. One area where a forensic psychiatrist’s expertise is necessary is where a criminal defendant’s counsel asserts that their client is not competent to stand trial. If a criminal defendant is found not to be competent to stand trial, then he or she is immune from prosecution. Often the determination whether a criminal defendant is competent involves conflicting expert opinions concerning the issue. The trial judge is the final arbiter of this issue. Of the total amount of criminal deendants who will contest their competency to stand trial, roughly 75 percent will be found to be competent.

In the law, there are many levels of competency, each requiring a varying degree of mental capacity. It is possible that an individual may be deemed competent for one purpose but not another. For instance, to execute a will, you must have “testamentary capacity.” That is, you must be able to understand the nature of your property and be able to understand the relationships among the people to whom you are bequeathing your estate. During the will writing process, it is imperative that there be witnesses present who can observe whether or not the person writing the will has testamentary capacity.

Another area where mental status determinations are required is where an individual is determined to be“non compos mentis,” or, in other words, not having the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. This often becomes an issue for elderly individuals who may suffer from senility or dementia. It is also an issue with individuals who suffer from severe mental illness. The determination whether an individual is legally incompetent and requires a legal guardian depends upon the individual’s functional capacity and often requires a factual hearing. It is not uncommon for a forensic psychiatrist to offer an expert opinion on whether a guardian is necessary at such hearings. It is a well-established legal precept that individuals are presumed to be competent unless and until there is a formal judicial declaration that they are incompetent. Weed v. Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co., 70 N.Y. 561 (1877). This concept is in accord with the great value our democracy places upon individual’s constitutionally protected right to liberty. Before an individual’s liberty is impaired, there must be due process.

Likewise, it is well established that a person who suffers from mental illness but who is not declared judicially incompetent may sue or be sued and obtain the assistance of counsel in the same manner as any other person. Sengstack v. Stengstack, 4 N.Y. 2d 502, 151 N.E. 2d 887, 176 N.Y.S. 2d 337 (1956); Bryant v. Riddle, 259 A.D. 2d 399, 687 N.Y.S. 2d 108 (1st Dept. 1999). See also “Litigious Paranoids and the Legal System: The Role of the Forensic Psychiatrist”, Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 32 No. 4, July 1987, Robert Lloyd Goldstein, M.D., J.D. (“The mere existence of a paranoid illness without more should not bar an individual from bringing a claim, leveling an accusation, or proceeding with his legal case.”) Denying a mentally ill, or any other handicapped individual, access to court when they have a arguable legal claim to assert is antithetical to the idea that all individuals may seek relief through legal proceedings.

However, once a guardian is appointed, the individual will lose all his or her rights to act independently, including the right to bring suit in his own name. Prior to such a determination, it is thus essential that a forensic psychiatrist be consulted with to formulate an expert opinion regarding whether a guardian is actually legally necessary.

Harvey Mars is one of Local 802’s lawyers. Legal questions are welcome from 802 members. E-mail them here. Past columns are available at http://www.Local802afm.org; click on“Local 802 News,” then “Publications and Press Releases,” then use the drop-down search menu to look up “Legal Column.” Nothing in this article should be construed as formal legal advice given in the context of an attorney-client relationship.

 

 
 This same individual or someone on his behalf has also posted to various blog sites using my name.  I disclaim any of the contents of these blog entries and note that my professional opinions are solely expressed in these blogs as well as my web site.
 
        For those who are actually interested in learning the facts concerning the claims asserted in the suit and how the suit was ultimately disposed of, the court file is available in the clerk's office in the New York State Supreme Court, 60 Centre Street, case file White Diamond, et al.  v. Stephen Guy Polis, 111930/05.

Cyberbully Guilty

Cyberbully Is Found Guilty on Multiple Counts in Dead Sea Scrolls Case

By Peter Schmidt

A professor's adult son was convicted in a New York State court of 30 criminal charges on Thursday for using online aliases to try to harass and discredit scholars whom his father opposed in a bitter debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The jury found Raphael H. Golb, the 50-year-old son of the prominent religious-studies scholar Norman Golb of the University of Chicago, guilty all but one of the 31 counts against him, according to an Associated Press report. It convicted him of forgery, harassment, and identity theft in connection with a sustained electronic campaign in which he impersonated five people and used about 70 phony e-mail accounts to harass and try to damage the reputations of scholars.

Of particular note to academics who were following the case, the jurors rejected a defense lawyer's argument that the damaging statements that Raphael Golb had made about others under assumed names amounted to parody or irony intended to expose what he saw as scholarly lies, and thus were protected under the First Amendment.

"This is an important case for scholars because so much today is done online, and the laws are just now catching up with the technology," said Robert R. Cargill, an adjunct assistant professor of Near Eastern languages and cultures at the University of California at Los Angeles, who was anonymously attacked by Raphael Golb and played a central role in exposing him.

"The verdict," Mr. Cargill said, "should be a reminder that you simply cannot just say whatever you want behind a supposed veil of anonymity and get away with it. There is always someone watching online."

Parody vs. Crime

Mr. Golb's lawyer, David Breitbart, did not return calls seeking comment.

During the trial, in Manhattan, Mr. Breitbart had argued that his client had essentially engaged in an elaborate intellectual prank, and had done nothing criminal, in sending out e-mails under fake names and under an e-mail address falsely attached to Lawrence H. Schiffman, a professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University whom Raphael Golb had accused of plagiarizing his father's work.

While Mr. Golb, himself a lawyer, sought to use his trial to air the various accusations he had brought against scholars he saw as his father's detractors, the prosecution focused on hammering home the message that Mr. Golb, who was arrested last year, had carried out criminal acts that did real damage to his victims.

"This case is not about whether Dr. Schiffman plagiarized Dr. Golb. It is about how you can't impersonate anyone," John Bandler, an assistant district attorney, told jurors on Thursday during his closing arguments.

A New York University spokesman issued a statement Thursday in which Mr. Schiffman expressed gratitude for the verdict and said, "It is tragic that academic debate was replaced by cybercrime and identity theft as a means of advancing a particular scholarly point of view."

"Let us hope," Mr. Schiffman's statement said, "that the field of Dead Sea Scrolls research can get back to its real business—interpreting the ancient scrolls and explaining their significance for the history of Judaism and the background of early Christianity."

Jodi Magness, a professor of early Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was also among Raphael Golb's victims, said on Thursday, "I think that justice has been served, and I think the decision sends a signal that this kind of cyberbullying will not be tolerated."

Mr. Golb, she said, had conducted "smear campaigns" using "vicious anonymous attacks on scholars' academic reputations," and "it is almost impossible to assess how much damage was done."

"I am a relatively well-established scholar," Ms. Magness said, "but these attacks were also conducted against more junior scholars who were more vulnerable."

Sarah Palin’s E-Mail Hacker Convicted

While I strongly disagree with Palin's politics, hacking into her (or anyone else's)  e-mail was a crime.

You've Got Jail! Sarah Palin's E-Mail Hacker Sentenced to One Year in Custody

Updated: 14 hours 50 minutes ago
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David Knowles

David Knowles Writer

AOL News Surge Desk

(Nov. 12) — Guessing another person's password may not be as hard as it sounds, but the punishment for doing so is anything but easy.

Former University of Tennessee economics major David Kernell was sentenced to one year in federal custody and three years' probation after being found guilty of hacking into Sarah Palin's private e-mail account in 2008.

Kernell told the court that he had guessed Palin's password to her gov.palin@yahoo.com e-mail account using publicly available information, WBIR News reported, and characterized the entire episode as a prank.

Palin, who testified in the case this past spring, did not agree. "I don't think an illegal action like this is a prank," Palin told reporters. "Not when you consider how impacting it was on a presidential election."

Judge Thomas W. Phillips recommended that Kernell get counseling for depression, which the hacker is said to have experienced since the age of 11.

The Tennessee Bureau of Prisons must now decide whether Kernell will serve his time in a jail or a halfway house, The Associated Press said.

     

http://www.aolnews.com/surge-desk/article/youve-got-jail-sarah-palins-e-mail-hacker-sentenced-to-one-year-in-custody/19714594

Fight Fire With Fire

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