Friday, April 12, 2013

Crime of the Century - Cyberharrassment

No Name yet created for cyberstalking

Internet - Stalking, Mobbing, Bullying, Harrasment...

The Newest Trend of the 21st Century came so fast, that there hasn't even a Name created yet. No Dictionary or Thesaurus has definitions yet.
Psychologist, Police, Lawmakers are all trying
to catch up with this wave of Internet criminality.
Not only after the suicide death of several Teenagers
such as the widely broadcast one of Amanda Todd the
public and the Police organs scream for sharper and stricter laws fighting this menace.
They may get them sooner and stricter as they wished for. Already now in the Philippines, in spite of widespread protests, a new law called "Cybercrime Prevention Act" Republic Act No. 10175 threatens offenders with jail sentences of up to 15 years.

Although the phenomenon isn't something really new, since centuries malicious individuals used the Postal and Telecommunication System to harass their fellow citizens. Anonymous letters, the sick Phone Call, it has all been there since ages.

And so have the laws and punishment against those who abuse it. In the USA it the use of the mail or phone system for crimes was always even a federal offence which causes the FBI to investigate and harsher punishments for the culprits.

The only difference now is that sometimes the Crimes are committed from across borders and that regular Police officers are sometimes not trained to investigate the culprits.
But in reality it has become easier to find those committing the crimes, the internet meticulously records every trace back to its origin. Proxies, re-routing and other can slow down investigation, but ultimately the culprit will be caught.

But then what ? Convictions across borders are very difficult to obtain, and even if, how can this affect the Cyber Criminal ? After all, it is just a relatively small offence of defamation or insulting contents in the Internet and not murder.
Although victims may disagree and the real number of suicides caused by those criminals can only be guessed, as most victims remain silent about their real reasons.
However, the percentage of criminals which operate cross borders is insignificant, most Stalker, Mobber, Bullies etc. are within the neighbourhood or at least the same country. And therefore can be found and prosecuted.

And then there is also some cooperation of the Internet Service Providers such as Google, Facebook and others, which more and more become aware, that the liberty of the freedom of speech is becoming endangered through those reckless individuals.
Yes, the right of free speech, which was fought for by our forefathers under great loss of life comes more and more under attack due to those Cyber criminals and if not stopped will eventually, at least in the Internet, lead to a new age of censorship.
In a sad context this reminds one of terrorism, which also may have not achieved anything in their Terror attacks except stricter laws and the dismantlement of more and more freedoms of the citizens.
But it would give far too much credit to stalkers and internet harrassers to even suggest that they have an (Terrorist) Agenda. Stalker, Mobber, and other Internet Troll are all psychologically challenged people.

The Police and Prosecution organs classify them simply in two categories :
Psychopathic Personality and Psychotic Personality (Vernon Geberth, 1996)

Psychopathic Personality StalkerPsychotic Personality Stalker

Generally maleMay be male or female
Absence of mental disorderDelusions or delusional fixation
Targets familiar victimsUsually targets strangers
Harassment may be anonymousAttempt to contact the victim
Usually some precipitating stressorAbsence of precipitating stressor

The above may very much resemble the profiling of a serial killer, which isn't coincidental. 
Cyber Stalking, Mobbing, Bullying isn't to be taken "easy" or "forget about it".
For the victims it very much feels like Murder or Rape.
Not for nothing the German word for defamations is "Rufmord" which means "Reputation murder".
For Amanda Todd it was. 

English: the picture consist of articles on bu...
Published also here:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fear of the Internet

Some People still fear the Internet!

It is undeniable, the "Revolution" of the Internet, in particular the rise of Social Platform has already reached a stage beyond any expectations and predictions.
Only a decade ago, platforms like Facebook were not even invented, while  some People just got used to typed communication in a rudimentary chatroom.
Their Privacy was mainly the concern of People, many of the former Generations still feared that a totalitarian State as predicted by George Orwell in his Novel "1984" could one day use data of their citizens to suppress them. The Totalitarian regimes of the former Eastern Bloc nations back then were a living example of "What could be".
While this is true in real Dictatorships or totalitarian regimes, also the opposite has happened, as seen on the "twitter revolution" in Iran and the late  "Arab revolt".

And in practical reality the governments now rather fear the Power of the Internet and not its "Internetizens" the governments.
P.R.China, North Korea, Iran and many other States still ban many platforms for probable fear that their citizens can organize and up rise due to the Influence of this new media.

Maybe those Governments should think again.
Because a similar argument is used by absolute Internet enemies, People which rather do not use or participate in any of those new Online Media. They fear, when they publish something about themselves, others could use the data to harm them.
But in reality they do not protect, but rather isolate and harm themselves.
The fear of Governments abusing self-published data coming out of the Internet is rather neglect-able, as we can assume strongly, that Governments already have enough data of each citizen.
The governments know where we live, how much we earn, how we earn it and how we spend it. They could monitor our in- and outbound communication, just as they could before the Telephone was invented.
yes, one could maybe downsize to an absolute minimum, but that would rather be exactly what makes an individual suspicious.
Meaning- to have no data on the WWW available.
Isn't it rather smarter to participate in this new media and publish controlled data ?
Data which one wants others to know? Or at least does not mind that others would know about one?
Certainly some People have done things which they rather regret, such as a conviction for driving under the influence during their college days, or an arrest for a participation in a prohibited Anti Government demonstration. They now fear repressions from future Employers and rather hide.
The problem is, that the dark spots of the past maybe still remain in the Internet.
So it is better and more wise to publish and bury them under a flood of "good" data which one can control.
Such as opening a Facebook account and show your affiliation with a former High School Theatre or Science Group. Or use the LinkedIn or other Professional accounts to show ones professional achievements. No HR department would ever search hours through endless Facebook Timelines or MySpace pages when they have at hand, what really matters.

Yes, certainly some People such as envying work colleagues,  jealous ex lovers, neighbours with an axe to grind, mentally sick and deranged Cyberstalkers could also read what one publishes and most probably would twist and abuse the data they have gathered. But they would do this anyway.
Except that in those cases suddenly one has NO other data then the BAD one published. In fact, Cyber Stalker and other sick elements of the society often target  those, which are vulnerable and where an abuse attack would bear fruits. Those would be individuals with little or no Internet presence, as the search results of their defamatory Campaign would be on Top of the "google". But usually Stalkers and Cybertrolls would refrain to attack one Person which has plenty of positive Information and entries, as their libellous articles would disappear in the flood of other real information.

Just think first WHAT you publish and "Like". And if one of your Facebook "Friends" is behaving kind of "erratic", you may be better advised to remove him.
Combined with serious and good data, some nice Photos, if one wants, those social media platforms can rather be a positive for good character representation than harmful. But please do not post the funny pictures of yourself being drunk and disorderly in a Strip Club on the great college party back in the eighties ! Or at least hide them by limiting the access to certain groups only.
Used carefully, the "new" Internet can be a great tool for "Advertising" oneself. If one looks around in the web he will find, that all successful people do the same. Actually they employ people to do that, but still, they do control the data.

And it can be fun too.

Published also April 3rd in the Manila Herald

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