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Teenager Abraham K. Biggs Commits Suicide on Live Webcam November 22, 2008

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Associated Content, 21 November 2008

He said he would do it. And he did. Abraham K. Biggs, a 19-year-old Florida bodybuilder, took some sleeping pills on live webcam, lay down and went to sleep. Just like he said he would.

But the teenager never intended to wake up. And he didn’t.

While others watched. And others turned away. And still others encouraged and taunted him.

Abraham K. Biggs, known online as “CandyJunkie” and “Mr. Biggs,” told fellow users in an online bodybuilding forum on Justin.tv – a lifecasting website, where users share via webcam their everyday lives – that he would be committing suicide and invited them to tune in.

Some users saw Biggs take what looked like sleeping pills, lay down on his bed with his back to the camera, and stop moving. After a few hours, some worried that he may have actually went through with his threat because of the stillness of his body. Authorities were notified and police entered the room — live on webcam. After checking for a pulse, they covered the webcam.

Abraham K. Biggs has been reportedly pronounced dead by a Broward Country medical examiner.

Biggs posted on MySpace that he was going to commit suicide three days before he actually went through with it. A post from a week before related how he had closed a chapter in his life and was apologetic to friends for his recent behavior.

It is alleged that some users have deleted their posts from the forum. In light of the ongoing court case involving the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier as a result of alleged cyberbullying from neighbor Lori Drew, users fear that they may in some way be held responsible are well grounded.

Testimony in the Meier case began Wednesday (November 19) in Los Angeles, although the suicide took place in Missouri. The alleged bullying took place on MySpace, where 49-year-old Lori Drew created the MySpace account of “Josh Evans” to allegedly ridicule and harass teenager Megan Meier. MySpace’s corporate offices are located in Los Angeles.

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MySpace Suicide Case Begins November 19, 2008

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MyFox Los Angeles, 19 November 2008

Los Angeles — A federal prosecutor says a Missouri mother hatched a plot with her daughter and an employee to stage an Internet hoax to prey on a 13-year-old girl who later committed suicide.

U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien has told jurors during opening statements Wednesday that 49-year-old Lori Drew helped create a false identity account on the social networking site MySpace.

Drew is accused of harassing her young neighbor, Megan Meier, with cruel messages in what prosecutors say is the nation’s first cyber-bullying case.

Meier hanged herself in 2006 after allegedly receiving a message saying the world would be better off without her.

Drew has pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing computers without authorization. Each count carries a potential sentence of five years in prison.

Sarah Palin’s e-mail hacker refutes ‘hacker’ term November 15, 2008

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Straight.com, 14 November 2008

David Kernell, the 20-year-old University of Tennessee student who accessed Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account, insists that what he did should not be considered “hacking”.

According to Wired.com, Kernell’s lawyer has filed a motion that would prevent prosecutors and witnesses from classifying what Kernell’s actions as “hacking” and from calling Kernell a “hacker”.

Apparently, the only thing that Kernell did was correctly guess Palin’s security questions by using Google searches to guide him.

All Kernell needed was Palin’s date of birth, ZIP code, and the knowledge of where she met her husband—information that’s available online for anyone to view.

After resetting Palin’s password to “popcorn”, Kernell posted the Alaskan governor’s e-mail and password on the 4chan forums—a large Internet discussion board that ranges in topics from Japanese culture to video games and sports.

Kernell’s lawyer is arguing that hacking usually involves some sort of advanced computer skills to get past security codes and that guessing a password shouldn’t be counted as such.

In MySpace Suicide Case, Judge May Exclude Suicide from Trial November 11, 2008

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Wall Street Journal – Law Blog, 11 Nov 2008

n the case we’ve come to call the ‘MySpace suicide’ case, how important is the ’suicide’ part? It appears that U.S. District Judge George Wu believes it’s not critical, and is leaning toward excluding the evidence of how 13 year-old Megan Meier hanged herself.

“I don’t necessarily think the suicide is relevant to the crime charged,” Wu said, according to the AP, adding he thought details of Meier’s death would unfairly prejudice the jury. He said he planned to announce his final decision Friday. The trial is set to kick off next Tuesday.

(For past LB coverage of the case, click here.)

Exclusion of the suicide would, of course, be a setback to the government. It would also highlight the divergence between the facts and the law. As Dean Steward, the lawyer for defendant Lori Drew, told us last week, the trial will be in two parts: the legal side, such as what the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act means and whether it can be triggered by violating the MySpace terms of service; and the factual side, the tragic death of a 13 year-old girl and the question of who caused it.

In what strikes us as another interesting twist to the upcoming trial, Steward attempted to waive Drew’s right to a jury trial, but prosecutors refused to assent to the waiver, resulting automatically, according to the AP report, in a jury trial. The prosecutors’ refusal to accept the jury waiver likely came as a surprise to Steward. Last week, he told the Law Blog he suspected the prosecutors would not oppose the jury waiver for fear of offending Judge Wu.

#@*!!! Anonymous anger rampant on Internet November 4, 2008

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CNN, 3 November 2008

There’s a whole world of people out there, and boy, are they pissed off.

On political blogs, the invective flies. Posters respond to the latest celebrity gossip with mockery or worse. Sports fans set up Web sites with names that begin with “fire,” hoping coaches, athletic directors and sportscasters lose their jobs.

And though there are any number of bloggers and commenters who attempt to keep their postings and responses on a civil level, all too often interactive Web sites descend into ad hominem attacks, insults and plain old name-calling. Indeed, there are even whole sites devoted to venting, such as justrage.com (one screed there was titled, “I don’t give a flying f***, so f*** you”) and mybiggestcomplaint.com.

This is not a world Emily Post would want to be caught in after dark.

“The Internet can be a great tool,” said Sara Black, a professor of health studies at St. Joseph’s University who takes a particular interest in online bullying. “Like any tool, it can also be misused.” (more)

Los Angeles Court: Restraining Order For Member Of Anonymous October 27, 2008

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Best Syndication, 27 October 2008

LOS ANGELES: A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Friday issued a restraining order against Donald Myers, a member of a cyber-terrorist group known as Anonymous. The order requires Myers to stay at least 50 yards away from a female Scientologist he stalked and harassed. The order also requires Myers to stay away from the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition at the Church of Scientology International building in Hollywood where the victim works, and stay 50 yards away from the woman’s home. The restraining order lasts for 3 years unless renewed.

Myers was found to have engaged in acts of harassment against the young woman, after video evidence was submitted to the court showing Myers stalking her, taunting her with sexual slurs, and refusing repeated requests to leave her alone. Myers was also ordered by the court to turn over any firearms in his possession to the police.

This is the second restraining order issued against a member of Anonymous this week. On October 21, a Boston Court ordered self-styled Anonymous leader Gregg Housh to stay 100 yards away from the Boston Church of Scientology. Housh was placed on probation for one year with the threat from the Court that if he violates the restraining order or any other law, he faces a year in prison.

Anonymous has been implicated in numerous criminal acts, including bomb threats, death threats, vandalism and computer crimes which are being investigated by law enforcement.

On October 17, The U.S. Department of Justice filed federal criminal charges against New Jersey Anonymous member Dmitriy Guzner related to the January 2008 attempted destruction of websites owned by the Church of Scientology. Guzner has agreed to plead guilty to felony charges that could send him to prison for ten years.

In November 2007, Anonymous member Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed seven students, a nurse and a teacher at Jokela High School in Finland before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Prior to these acts Auvinen stated on a website used by Anonymous that he would do this all “in the name of Anonymous.” He was immediately encouraged to carry out his threats by other members of the group, who afterwards called him a “hero.”

“Law enforcement and the courts are seeing through the false image that the cyber-terrorist group Anonymous tries to portray to the media and are sending a clear message to everyone – if Anonymous breaks the law, Anonymous will suffer the legal consequences” said Karin Pouw of the Church of Scientology International. She also said that “the Church will never be intimidated by the criminal acts committed by Anonymous members and will continue to work with law enforcement to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the protection of the Church and all groups targeted by these terrorists.”

“Battling Scientology” Follow-Up October 25, 2008

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The Phoenix, 24 October 2008

Depending on whom you ask, Massachusetts-based protest organizer Gregg Housh had a major victory – or a significant loss – in Boston Municipal Court this Wednesday. As reported in The Phoenix this past week in the feature “Battling Scientology,” Housh faced charges of harassment, disturbing the peace, and disturbing religious worship for his involvement with the picket group Anonymous and his actions against the Boston Church of Scientology.

According to an Anonymous press statement that circulated earlier this afternoon: “On October 22nd Boston Municipal Court dismissed the charge of criminal harassment against ‘Anonymous’ anti-Scientology activist Gregg Housh, pending an order for the two parties to not approach each other.”

Boston Church of Scientology attorney Marc LaCasse was quick to comment that Housh did not get off so easily. “Gregg Housh – under oath – admitted that the [evidence presented against him] was true. The document he signed is called ‘admission to sufficient facts.’ If it doesn’t get any clearer than that…”

Legally speaking, charges against Housh were not technically dismissed. Instead he agreed to a Continuance without a Finding (CWOF), which the Massachusetts Criminal Defense Resource Page explains as: “Under Massachusetts Criminal Laws, agreeing to a Continuance without a Finding is not the same as pleading guilty. Technically, it is an admission that “there are sufficient facts to find you guilty” of the charges. Pleading to a CWOF will happen at a pre-trial conference as part of a plea agreement, if your attorney can get the prosecutor to agree.” (For more about the legal side see this article from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly).

The good news is that all parties seem to be happy with the outcome. At least for now, it appears that Housh – who was placed on one year probation and who faces one year in prison if he enters within 100 yards of the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street – avoided what promised to be a lengthy trial. On the other side, LaCasse says the outcome works for him: “My client simply wanted to be left alone.”

SCIENTOLOGY PROTESTER’S CASE CONTINUED WITHOUT FINDING October 23, 2008

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Suffolk District Attorney, 22 Oct 2008

A Boston Municipal Court judge today continued for one year the case against a Woburn man alleged to have disturbed proceedings at the Back Bay Church of Scientology earlier this year, and will dismiss the case if the defendant abides by certain conditions during that time.

Judge Thomas C. Horgan imposed a one-year continuance without a finding in the case against GREGG HOUSH (D.O.B. 10/17/76), who had been charged with disturbing an assembly of worship and disturbing the peace. If Housh stays away from the Back Bay headquarters of the Church of Scientology and its expected new headquarters in Boston’s South End, and if he does not re-offend in any other manner, those charges will be dismissed. If he does not abide by those terms, Housh’s case could be put back on track for trial.

Also in today’s proceedings, Suffolk prosecutors affirmatively moved to dismiss an additional charge of criminal harassment against Housh. After a review of the evidence, prosecutors determined they could not meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on this charge and could not in good faith move forward with it. Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors would have introduced evidence and testimony to show that Housh and others entered the Church of Scientology’s Beacon Street building in a boisterous manner during a March 1 protest, disturbing the proceedings and alarming those inside. Attorney Michael Dlott represented Housh.

Teen admits to Scientology attack October 23, 2008

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Legalbrief Today, 22 Oct 2008

A teenager hacker has admitted carrying out a cyber attack that crashed Church of Scientology Web sites as part of a campaign by a mysterious underground group.

According to a report on the News24 site, Dmitriy Guzner, of New Jersey, will plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in launching a distributed denial of service attack against Scientology sites earlier this year, the Justice Department said. According to information filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles, Guzner described himself as a member of a shadowy Internet-based group known as ‘Anonymous’ that has carried out a series of protests against Scientology.

Lori Drew’s lawyers seek to toss cyber-bully case October 22, 2008

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TradingMarkets.com, 21 Oct 2008

Lawyers representing Lori Drew, the mother who is accused of using the social networking site MySpace to help cyber-bully a teen who then killed herself, filed a motion Monday seeking to throw out the indictment against her.

Prosecutors said Drew and others schemed in 2006 to humiliate Megan Meier, 13, a neighbor in Dardenne Prairie, using a fake teenage boy’s identity on MySpace.

Megan was first a friend, then a “rival” of Drew’s daughter, prosecutors have said.

Federal and state prosecutors in the St. Louis area said they found no charge to apply against Drew, but the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, where MySpace is based, obtained indictments accusing her of one count of conspiracy and three counts of illegally accessing protected computers.

Prosecutors say Drew violated MySpace’s terms of service, which prohibit lying when registering, soliciting information from someone under 18 and harassing other users.

In the motion filed Monday, her attorneys argue that the government must do more than simply allege that the terms of service were violated.

“The fatal flaw in the government’s case is that MySpace knew perfectly well at all time exactly what it was doing,” the motion says. “MySpace knew that it was providing an account to users who might or might not comply with the Terms of Service. Most users violate Terms of Service frequently, as MySpace is surely aware.”

Drew’s attorneys also argue that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which Drew is accused of violating, should not be used to punish “everything bad that happens on the Internet.” They also contend the indictment should be tossed because no theft was committed and the law Drew is being charged under requires a theft, as well as that recent legislation implies the law does not apply when the defendant and victim are in the same state.

It was not clear late Monday when a judge could rule on the motion.

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’ October 18, 2008

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United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

Thom Mrozek
Public Affairs Officer

October 17, 2008

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’

LOS ANGELES – A New Jersey man was charged today for his role in an attack on Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 that rendered the websites unavailable.

Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, has agreed to plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against the Scientology websites. A DDOS attack occurs where a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at a website or a set of websites. The target websites are unable to handle the high volume of Internet traffic and therefore become unavailable to legitimate users trying to reach the sites.

According to the criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Guzner participated in the attack because he considered himself a member of an underground group called “Anonymous.”  “Anonymous” has led protests against the Church of Scientology at various locations across the country, and in January 2008 posted a video on YouTube which announced a new offensive against Scientology.

Once he pleads guilty, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks in federal court in New Jersey, Guzner faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles. The agencies involved in the investigation were the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.

#####

Release No. 08-140 – original here: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2008/140.html

‘Anonymous’ Member Unmasked, Charged With Web Attack on Scientology October 18, 2008

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Wired Blog, 17 Oct 2008

An 18-year-old New Jersey man agreed to plead guilty to federal computer hacking charges Friday for participating in a denial-of-service attack against Church of Scientology websites, as part of collective of online troublemakers known as “Anonymous.”

Dmitriy Guzner is charged with a single felony count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer for the January distributed denial-of-service attack. He faces a likely sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison based on stipulations in his plea agreement, which also obliges him to pay $37,500 in restitution. (more)

Wikipedia (watch for accuracy…) on Stevenson High School Terrorist Threat October 18, 2008

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adlai_E._Stevenson_High_School_District_125

Bombing threat

On October 30, 2007, two students, Jeremie Dalin, 17 and Dennis Oh, 17, posted a threat against Stevenson High School on the 4chan website.[7][8][9][10] Oh made a screenshot or photograph of the threat and then created a web page dedicated to the threat.[11][12] The FBI traced the message, Dalin’s home address, when contacted by the authorities he claimed it was a bad joke and did not intend on harming anyone.[13] The threat caused approximately 500 students to miss a school day, which happened to be Halloween. Dalin was due back in court in February.[14]

In an article published in the Daily Herald on June 12, 2008, Jeremie Dalin was convicted “for falsely making a terrorist threat” and faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in mid-July.[15]

Lawyer: 2nd teenager may be linked to MySpace hoax October 16, 2008

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Huffington Post, 20 Oct 2008

The teenager who committed suicide after an Internet hoax was not the only girl exchanging messages with a fake MySpace address allegedly operated by a woman now charged in the girl’s death, the woman’s lawyer said.

Attorney Dean Steward filed a request in federal court for the phone records of a second teenage girl identified by the initials “S.D.”

His client, Lori Drew, of O’Fallon, Mo., is accused of helping to create a false-identity account on the social networking site, posing as a teenage boy and befriending her 13-year-old neighbor, Megan Meier.

Prosecutors say Megan hanged herself in 2006 after receiving messages from Drew on the fake account saying the world would be better off without her. Megan was being treated for attention deficit disorder and depression.

In his motion, Steward seeks the phone records to prove that prosecutors mistakenly linked Megan to a message that S.D. actually sent to the fake account.

Prosecutors have said the message _ listed in the Drew indictment as “Overt Act 9” _ was sent by Megan because she was induced by Drew to flirt with the fictitious boy.

Steward criticized the government for poor research and said S.D.’s e-mail address was on the message.

(more)

Tennessee College Students Indicted In Palin Hacking October 11, 2008

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eCanada now

Washington (ECN) – 20-year old David Kernell has been indicted for hacking into the e-mail account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The U.S. Justice Department announced on Wednesday that the 20-year old has been indicted, and has since turned himself into authorities.

He is now set to appear before a U.S. judge, where he faces a $250,000 fine, as well as 5 years in prison if convicted.

The indictment states that Kernell hacked into the e-mail account of Palin back on September 16th.

He used the password reset feature to gain access to the Yahoo e-mail account.

He then posted some of the contents of the account, along with the password on an online message board.

The information was published on the site 4chan.org, according to the indictment.

The 20-year old is the son of Democratic state legislator Mike Kernell, and went by the online name rubico.