Cyber harassment - my view - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by Preston on 02 December 2007 - 04:12

Here is a paragraph excerpt regarding the new US Federal cyber stalking/harassment law. It is my understanding that there are some interesting but little known facts (known only to certain specialized law enforcement):             1) every computer chip emits a owner specific code number in each email, and this code number is registered on a central id list available to a certain LE group only.  2)this group hasn't been publizing this an apparently like folks to proceed and set themselves up so they can be loaded up with charges easier (this makes at least one charge easier to make stick and provides much better leverage for plea bargaining which is the original intent anyhow for offenders, to prevent the needless cost of trials.  This code number is embedded in two different ways in emails and keyboard typed writings and even anonymous scrubbing through an annonymizer site is easy for them to quickly track (by formal procedural agreements with these entities).  All printers leave a microscopic of light shaded code visible under special filters or lenses, allowing law enforcement to id that printer's output.   The key element in cyber harassment (technically a type of "bullying" behavior--google search bullying for good definition and euro criminal statutes for the work place) is the attempt for the poster to remain "anonymous", that is hide his true identity from the person he repeatedly harasses. However any true network security expert at a national level knows that no posting is ever really anonymous and takes the average "agent" about 30 minutes during working hours to trace back to the poster.  Multiple spoof identities are no protection and just provide evidence of intent.   Multiple spoofs are easily identifieable in many cases by a quick syntax and content analysis. And of course if someone knowing flames (on a continuing basis) what he believes is a "vulnerable adult" (evidence provided of his belief by the label used such as you moron, you mongoloid, etc.), he may be in violation of state "vulnerable adult protection laws" in certain states which have fairly aggressive laws regarding this.  It's always best just to treat each other with respectwhen posting on a board such as this and follow Oli's terms of service which include no flaming, no insults and follow the golden rule.        The paragraph below refers to a rider to the bill signs that most folks don't know about and it was done this way for the reason stated above.                                                               

January 10, 2006

President Bush signed legislation last Thursday that disallows the posting or e-mailing of messages intended to annoy people without having included your true identity. The law, Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, contained this as a rider. The relevant portion of the law is as follows:
"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to ann

by Preston on 02 December 2007 - 04:12

(cont-part 2): 


and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

by Do right and fear no one on 02 December 2007 - 06:12

hmmm  In that case I have a case against several people on this site, but they do not have a case against me, because of the disclosure of my identity.

Don't worry though.  I would never do that sort of thing.  This stuff doesn't even faze me.

ON a more practicle side.  I spent 9 years as a undercover narcotics detective and the last two of that time period, I was the "tech man" of the unit.  That meant that I ran the audio and video surveillance aspect of our unit.  The bugs, phone taps, etc.  My point is, that I was sent to various schools to learn what I needed to know in order to do this type of job.  I attended classes on various things pertaining to this, both at the school in London, Ohio run by the DEA and the National Intelligence Academy in Ft; Lauderdale, Fla.  These included training in:  breaking in (meaning lock picking, etc., to plant bugs (wires) in people homes and vehicles, phone taps, video cameras everywhere (could be in the button of a jacket, on a telephone pole, in a wall socket, and a thousand other places you would never suspect), wiring up informants and undercover people, listening to cell phones and cordless home phones, operation of our "nighthawk" undercover vehicle which was filled to the brim with surveillance equipment, making it very uncomfortable to be in for hours at a time.  And a host of other things that I will not mention here, that few know can and is being done everyday.

My point is, that during my training for this job as the Technical Operative of our unit, I also was informed and shown the things that the government can do that I could not, in my capacity of that job.  Believe me folks.  It goes much farther than what Preston has indicated.

When I was at the NIA in Florida, we were told that the government is about twenty years ahead of the private sector, in technical surveillance.  Now, whether thiat was true or not, I can not say for certain.  But what they did show me, blows away anything you have ever seen on the TV show "24", CSI or any other show.  It is unbelievable stuff.  Also, if it is true, then just think about what you know the private sector is capable of and imagine what they will be able to do in twenty years.  Technology doubles in just two or three years now, and is accelerating.  Identifying someone who is doing anything on the internet anonymously is childs play.  How do you think they come up with the ID's of those that they really want to get?  The only one that I have ever seen beat the government is Bin Laden.  He went low tech to beat them.  He is one smart guy, I'll give him that.  Any other route and he would have already been hanged.  Reminds me of the old story about Houdini being given a challenge by a small town Sheriff that Houdini could not excape from his jail cell.  Supposedly Houdini took him up on the challenge and was locked in a jail cell and worked for whatever time period that had been agreed upon, and was unable to pick the cell door lock and gave up.  Turned out that the cell door had not been locked by the Sheriff, but was just rusty and hard to open.  Don't know if that story is true or not, but it reminds me of beating high tech with low tech.

by EchoMeadows on 02 December 2007 - 09:12

Preston,  Where have you been ???

Your sensibility has been sorely missed !!

Welcome back,  and don't be such a stranger   :-)    Thank You for the information you have provided here.


by TIG on 02 December 2007 - 10:12

I enjoyed your post and I'm sure some people will find the information interesting and new since the vast majority of computer users seem to have no concept of the level with which their online activities are monitored and viewed by a varity of entitles both commercial and governmental . Many professionals do not realize they can breach their ethical obligation of confidentiality simply by doing a web search.

I guess given the fact that you are ex or current LEO I can somewhat understand your desire to be the web police(tho the web community has consistently rebuffed the idea that we need such a thing)  but I would hope as a LEO that you understand that you don't get to be judge and jury as well. I am surprised by your constant harping suggesting people be charged for crimes. Most people I know who have a working relationship with our justice system while appreciating the beauty of it also come to understand in short order that it is NOT the best way to approach or solve problems - that most of the time it really should be a last resort not a first one.

I have one problem with the post and a second problem with the whole world of designer laws for every kind of imagined "victimhood".   Re the post - lets call a spade a spade. While you framed it in an interesting and erudite message you gave away your real intent w/ this line -  "And of course if someone knowing flames (on a continuing basis) what he believes is a "vulnerable adult" (evidence provided of his belief by the label used such as you moron, you mongoloid, etc.), he may be in violation of state "vulnerable adult protection laws" in certain states which have fairly aggressive laws regarding this."   While I truly appreciate that you started a new thread rather than continuing to hijack someone else's we both know that this conversation is really directed at funkman given your postings on the other thread about an advetisement on the board which strangely strangely seems to have gone away - I wonder who could have cried to Oli to get that to happen. It's sad because BEFORE the thread was hijacked by the Brittany , the person you seem hell bent on "protecting"  , there was some good questions posed.


by TIG on 02 December 2007 - 10:12

I would normally presume a LEO or former LEO due to their training had some capacity for organized logical thinking and the ability to critically look at and sort out the facts.  These are the facts that you seem to be ignoring in your desire to "protect"  Brittany.

1. There is absolutely no evidence that Brittany is a "vulnerable adult" by any measure.

2. There is evidence that she is an adult. An adult who CHOOSES to come to an unmoderated board and who should be held responsible for understanding what that means and can entail.

3. We are not talking about "unwelcome" conduct that is neither sought or desired. On the thread I referred to Brittany came and SHE is the one that INITIATED contact and essentially a fight with funkman.  She CHOSE to do that THREE separate times on that one thread alone. Talk about annoying ( tho how ridiculous is that that we have a law about annoying), abusing and harrassing. This is NOT someone who doesn't want contact. She actively intiates it. Fine that is her choice BUT THEN DON"T COMPLAIN ABOUT IT and for you to suggest to her that she go and get funkman arrested for his replies - give me a break!

4. Tho the chances appear small - what if she were not an adult? Once again she is initiating contact and I guess my question would then be where the heck are her "keepers" - parents, grandparents and why do they not have any responsibility to oversee what this person does on line?

There is a very simple solution to what you perceive as a serious situation and it is not a criminal prosecution. The solution is this. Brittany can CHOOSE not to post a question to funkman or EM him ( which she ackowledged doing). She can CHOOSE not to respond to anything he says. If she wishes to post on a thread that he has started or joined in on she can simply direct her comments to someone else. She can CHOOSE not to bait him or challenge him. I do not think it is too much to ask her to act as a mature responsible adult IF she wishes to be treated that way.

by ProudShepherdPoppa on 02 December 2007 - 11:12

It is illegal to be annoying?  I am going to have to turn in half the people I work with.


by TIG on 02 December 2007 - 11:12

Re my view on designer laws and political correctness.  I am tired of having our legal system hijacked by politcal correctness and legislatures desires to look like they are actually doing something.  They take the incident of the day and decide to create a new "crime' with a new label. Well you know murder is murder. Doesn't much matter who is doing the killing or getting killed or why they do it - it's still murder. Same is true about A & B, maiming whatever you have it. We already have sufficient and adequate laws on the books to deal with these situations. So all these new "hate" laws are totally unnecessary and they risk undermining our constitutional protection of double jeopardy. Here is a short sweet but good piece on the subject -

I am especially irked by the whole "hate speech" - Pardon me but that's a crock of  BS. Moreover it undermines our first amendment rights and the protection the first amendment (1A) brings to our society. But wait you say the 1A protects individuals not society as a whole. Actually it does protect society. By allowing a venue where the most outrageous and often horrible ideas can be presented it does two things. It opens society up to new ideas allowing it to evolve over time and it also defuses a lot of the horrible notions and brings stability to society. If you study the history of the world, revolutions and anarchy are the children of thought and speech repression. It is the darkness of forced secrecy that gives validity to ideas that the brightness of openess dispels easily. Perhaps we need to all remember the in old nursery rhyme - sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.

2 quick examples on the related PC angle. 1. Law school professor is challenged and chastised because in class he made an historical analogy that used the concept of a chastity belt. ( He compared a court to the husband who would lock his wife into one) Some of the shrinking violets in his classes were just done in by having to deal with an image of such cruelty to woman - obviously they don't both to read history  or news reports from other countries.  2. the Ca bar exam was challenged several yrs ago because one of the questions was on sexual harrassment and described a harrasser who among other things would use a large zucchini to make gross and suggestive actions in front of and at the women in the workplace. Some of the women taking the exam were "so overwhelmed by the description" they were unable to answer the question and wanted it tossed from the exam. Good grief - what will happen if they take a prosecutors job and actually have to talk to a victim who has been raped and sodomized? 

The long and short of all this - 1. if you don't like the language and confrontation of an open and unmoderated board you can go elsewhere - there are plenty of moderated forums and lists often w/ very good little Hitler clones. 2. if you start the confrontation then don't complain about it. 3. Being a web user does not have to be synomous with being a cry baby or idiot.


by Bob-O on 02 December 2007 - 15:12

Preston is correct about the federal cyberstalking rules. That many are not aware of it is no surprise, as this was done with much secrecy in order to thwart a preparation of defense against this type of surveillance. Computer processors have for so many years been encoded with the unique identity of that computer, but of course not the user. This was done to give each PC, server, router, modem, etc. a unique signature so it could be identified and mapped in a network.

Many people think that they can visit a website just to look, wipe the browser cache clean, and that absolutely no history exists of their visit to that site. That is a very wrong assumption. Deep inside the hard drive of the PC this information is stored, and while its retrieval comes not from just the mere stroke of three (3) keys, it can be found. I will not describe here how this is done. The activity was also stored on the web server that was used.

The judicial definition of harrassment is always subject to interpretation and can be difficult to prove, as one must be able to prove beyond doubt that they were threatened and they themselves were not a contributing party to this behaviour. The fact that they "felt threatened" or were made "uncomfortable" is not by definition harrassment. In other words, "you" say something and "I" counter it to the end we are both using obscenities towards each other would not be harrassment. Rather, that would be an example of childish behaviour by adults.

But, if "you" were to make a true threat towards "me" then I might have a case. One must prove this threat is "real" and substanciated, not just the usual "I'll find out who you are and punch you in the nose" type of diatribe. The federal cyberstalking rules were not created for this type of action, moreso they were created to provide ongoing legal surviellance of internet activity without the need to obtain a court order each time it was needed.

Is this anything new? Absolutely not. Those of use who regularly called overseas in years past were subject to this type of surveillance long before Al Gore invented the internet. Once the transmission passed the legal definition of the United States and its waters, the conversation was subject to international police agencies.

Here is a play on English grammar as sentence construction rules relate to the use of double negatives. "Remember, just because one is paranoid does not mean people are not out to get him."

In short, switch on your PC, tap the keyboard, and take your chances. A virus or cyberbot is really the least of your worries.




by AgarPhranicniStraze1 on 02 December 2007 - 16:12

What Preston stated is 100% correct BUT I assure you that if you called your local police to report "someone harrassing" you on a public unmoderated message board they are not gonna do much other than file a report then make fun of you on their way back to the station.  Now if this person was making threats to do bodily harm to you, sending you personal emails or such things that would constitute "stalking" and this was being done repeatedly over a long period of time after you have told the person to refrain from contacting you then they MIGHT pursue it a bit further, but unlikely.

I believe there are only 3 states that do not have "stalking" laws and in some states the crime and punishment can be pretty serious but believe me it almost takes someone damn near getting raped, mamed and killed before anyone steps in. 

I think the simplest way to avoid "cyber harassment" is to not dish it out if you can't take it and just avoid certain people you know you don't see eye to eye with.  If they take a cheap shot at you it's up to you if you decide to respond or if you just ignore them- chances are if you ignore the comment they will go away as they are probably just trying to get a rise out of you anyways rather than trying to portray some sort of "threat".


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