True Crime Online Newsletter - April 6, 2015

I couldn't make this up if I tried. . .Michigan stranger fixes van door from viral photo for free
A Michigan woman whose van with a missing driver-side door was made famous by viral photos said the door was fixed by a stranger for free. Amanda Maxfield of Muskegon said her van was photographed and turned into a meme on Facebook while it was being driven by her friend, Devin Beeman, but the photo that went viral recently was only the latest in a series of pictures and videos taken by strangers during the past year. Maxfield said the van's door was destroyed by a collision more than a year ago and it has been without a door ever since because her family couldn't afford to replace it and her fiancé was unable to repair it on his own. She said the most recent viral photo led to a flood of negative comments and bullying online, but it was one comment in particular that caught her attention -- an offer of help. James Barber said he wanted to counteract all the negativity with his offer to repair the van door. "Of course, the public comments were insults and being mean, and I got on there an offered to help," Barber told WXMI-TV. Barber fitted a replacement door to the van Saturday. "I could not believe that somebody out of the kindness of their heart would help someone like that they don't even know," Maxfield said. She said Barber has inspired her to commit her own acts of kindness. "I actually can't wait to pay it forward. I can't wait to help somebody like he has helped," Maxfield said.

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(DISCLAIMER: The following news items were found on the web and were not written or endorsed by WHO@; they are for informational purposes only)

What lurks in the shadowy corners of the Internet - 04/06/15
Ever heard of "doxxing" or "revenge porn"? How about the names Violentacrez or Craig Brittain? If not, you're hardly alone. But if the terms wife, sister or daughter are familiar, keep reading.Violentacrez was the online screen name for a 49-year-old Texas computer programmer named Michael Brutsch who became one of Reddit's most popular forum moderators in part by posting "creepshots" taken of unsuspecting women in various forms of undress. He also posted photos of dead children designed to shock viewers and traumatize the victims' families. Mr. Brutsch even claimed online to have had sex with his step-daughter.

Monitoring Employee Social Media Activity - 04/06/15
Last year, the Pew Center released its demographic data on social media usage. The data revealed that­regardless of age, race, sex, education, or income­nearly 75 percent of all adults in the United States who use the Internet use social media. It is therefore foreseeable that employers would want to regulate and monitor their employees' on- and off-duty social media usage. The time is ripe to examine the pros, cons and pitfalls of monitoring employee social media postings from a legal perspective.

Man accused of stalking NY woman - 04/06/15
A local man is facing a felony charge after police said he had been stalking a member of the U.S. Navy for over a year. Police said he met her through an Internet dating service. Thomas A. Bonfiglioli, 46, of Bennington, pleaded innocent Friday in Bennington criminal court to a felony charge of aggravated stalking in violation of a court order that specifically included a “no stalking” order. Bonfiglioli was also charged with violation of an abuse prevention order.
Reimagine the problem - 04/05/15
Free speech is an extremely difficult subject in Pakistan. And things do not become any easier with the speed at which modern communications technology, including social media, has grown. We now live in the digital age and this forces us to re-examine our conventional view of things. The digital age takes a life of its own and raises serious concerns about privacy, online speech and associated state action. Let me make something very clear at the outset: I am not calling for a repeal of any legislation in Pakistan. I also think that it is extremely unfair, as well as naïve, on the part of human rights groups to call upon politicians to repeal legislation that NGOs deem unfair ­ such as the law on blasphemy.

Woman arrested for 'Facebook thugging' - 04/05/15
It sounds like a comedy skit, but 'Facebook thugging' is actually a crime and 26-year-old Kristin Holmes found out the hard way. Holmes of Chesterfield, Virginia, was arrested after she allegedly posted a controversial selfie of her posing with a gun to Facebook after she was mistaken for another woman.

Freedom of speech is a responsibility, not just a right - 04/05/15
These words echoed from the TED Talk stage last month, where Monica Lewinsky spoke publicly for the first time in a decade. There arguably isn’t any speaker better equipped to talk about the freedom of speech and where it can all go wrong, when at 24, Lewinsky became the Internet’s first case of cyber bullying (though there was no name for it at the time).

Negative online comments about female MPs often sexualized, say political veterans - 04/06/15
Social media platforms like Twitter have made Members of Parliament more accessible to the public than ever before, but that exposure is not all positive. MPs are subject to online harassment and some say they’ve noticed a gender difference when it comes to the nature of the commentary. “Trolling happens to most MPs, but I think there is a gendered aspect when it applies to women,” said NDP MP Laurin Liu (Rivière-des-Milles-Îles, Que.) in an interview with The Hill Times.

Real life 'Burn Book' encourages cyberbullying among students - 04/04/15
In the movie Mean Girls, the popular and powerful Regina George causes a school-wide frenzy when her “Burn Book” of hurtful comments is photocopied and displayed for all to see. But this fictional controversy has become a reality for many high schoolers using the app Burnbook. The free app Burnbook allows users ­ who are supposed to be a minimum of 18 years old ­ to search for school communities within 10 miles of their location and then anonymously share text and photos for other users to view.

App Lets Gun Enthusiasts Track Down Gun Control Advocates’ Home Addresses - 04/03/15
Ladd Everitt didn’t panic when friends and colleagues told him coordinates to his home address and details about where he worked had been leaked on an app that targeted anti-gun violence activists. An app in the Google Play Store called “Gunfree Geo Marker” listed the first and last names, social media handles, work phone numbers or addresses, home addresses or name of living complex, as well as location coordinates for activists or people who promoted gun safety regulations, first reported by Fast Company last week.

Is there any recourse for victims of online photo memes? - 04/03/15
Those pilfered, captioned and shared photos that make us either cringe, rage or laugh out loud are as old as the Internet itself, but in these wild online times, is there any recourse for their victims? Memes, by definition viral little beasties, are everywhere, sometimes building over several years. And they have many heads ­ shaming wrongdoers, bullying innocents and poking fun at an awkward facial expression, twerk attempt, family portrait or school photo.

Man faces harassment and credit card fraud charges - 04/03/15
On March 31, a complaint was filed against Dustin Tyler Burnette for harassment against the mother of his child, an educator in the Dyer County School System. Burnette reportedly sent threatening messages and photos to the teacher that included harming the teacher and inquiring when children would be outside on the playground.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the undulating bottom in front of me. The woman ahead was sporting a pair of PVC leggings; her super-sized bottom looked like a bag of desperately trying to escape ferrets. She wore sky-scraping heels and a top displaying acres of cleavage.

CPD calls in SWAT for cyberstalking arrest - 04/03/15
Columbus police called in reinforcements on Wednesday to arrest a felony cyberstalking suspect.
Officers were searching for 34-year-old Damion Hampton, of 2112 14th Ave. N., Apt. B, on the cyberstalking warrant. They located him at about 3 p.m., but a department press release said Hampton ran into his apartment and refused to come out. The CPD SWAT team, with assistance from Lowndes County sheriff's deputies, eventually arrested him.

Web posts incite attack on Bowman - 04/02/15
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and his family have been targeted by racist posts on a self-styled gossip website that offered a $25,000 reward to anyone who would "throw or slam" a pie into the mayor's face. A spokesperson for that site now claimed on Wednesday the incident was an April Fool's Day joke.

Periscope Is Already Being Overrun With Sexual Harassment Of Women Because No, We Cannot Have Nice Things - 04/02/15
Periscope, Twitter’s new live video streaming platform, launched just a week ago but is already seeing an onslaught of sexual harassment against women. Can we officially declare a new law of the internet? “Put anything online and the creeps will come.” At least, that seems like how it works these days. It’s exactly what’s happening with Periscope. As a writer for the Internet and a Twitter user, I’m no stranger to sexually aggressive commenters. From “admirers” to horrible trolls, gendered @ responses and Tweets range from the innocuous “you’re hot” to the threatening “get raped” and far worse. Being a woman on the Internet is tough, mostly because, like being a woman anywhere, the simple fact that you are present seems to be a tacit approval of entitling men to sexually abuse you. Fun!

Parents of Heather Elvis warn of dangers of cyber bullying - 04/02/15
Thursday, Heather Elvis's parents held a private press conference to talk about the danger of cyber bullying. The Elvis's say over the last year and a half, social media has played a large part in spreading the word of the Elvis case, but now things like Facebook have become a way for people to harass and even stalk the family and many others. "This is progressing to the point that it's dangerous and we need the community to be aware of who they are dealing with,” said Debbi Elvis

Internet troll given warning for harassing parliamentary candidate - 04/01/15
AN internet troll who posted comments about Thurrock parliamentary candidate Jackie Doyle-Price has been given a harassment warning. Ms Doyle-Price, who is currently campaigning to keep her seat for a second term, reported the abuse to police earlier this year after going out with officers in a bid to tackle car cruising around Lakeside.

Judge rules harassing emails not tantamount to cyber stalking in Haywood GOP drama - 04/01/15
A Haywood County political operative and local government critic was cleared of alleged cyberstalking charges in court last week. Monroe Miller, 67, was accused of cyberstalking by Savannah Tedesco, 24, who claimed Miller would not stop sending her intimidating and embarrassing emails after she asked him to quit. A judge dismissed the misdemeanor cyberstalking charge. However, a civil restraining against Miller remains in place.

Former Sparland clerk posts bail on cyberstalking charges and is released from custody - 03/31/15
Former Sparland Village Clerk Margaret M. “Marg” Murry was taken into custody Monday night on two felony counts of cyberstalking. Murry, 55, posted $2,500 cash bail and was released pending an April 29 court appearance, according to court records. Murry had previously stoked considerable public controversy in Sparland through actions taken by her and former Acting Mayor Bob Lockhart, with whom she lives. But they resigned their positions in September 2012.


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