Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another Myspace hoax leads to tragedy, this time in New York State

CNN today, in a story by Susan Chun, reports on jury deliberations of a manslaughter trial against Riverhead, LI NY man who shot a teenager, a friend of his son, outside his home in August 2006. The man thought that there was a threat. The teenager was there trying to protect a girl from a threat that had been sent as a "joke" by someone who had logged on to the Myspace page of the son of the man on trail and sent the threat as a hoax.

The case raises some of the same issues as the tragic case in Missouri already reported on this blog, generating some angry comments.

Generally, sending a "threat," even as a hoax, is against the law, however; people have been prosecuted for doing this for a number of years, given school incidents that go back into the 1990s (well before 9/11). The same laws that would have applied to physical media and US Mail can generally be applied to the Internet.

Prosecutors maintain that the defendant should have called police before acting. The defendant is African-American, and there are reports that his reaction to the situation is based on KKK experience in the South.

The CNN story is at this link.

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