Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Myspace case" goes to trial: would it be ex post facto law?

The trial of Lori Drew started in Los Angeles on Nov. 18, technically on a charge of conspiracy and three charges of unauthorized access another party’s computer network, in conjunction the tragedy in 2006 when Megan Meier took her own life after believing she had been rejected by a boy who, in fact, did not exist but was a hoax.

This case is said to be the nation’s first cyberbullying trial. But it is disturbing in that it seems to be a “creative” or ex post facto prosecution. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, USC 1030, was amended in 1996 and in 2001 by the USA Patriot Act but had been intended to prevent hacking, not social impersonation. The link is here.

The AP story Greg Risling is here.

Update: November 26, 2008

Lori Drew was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of "accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress on" a minor (CNN). She could get one year in prison and a fine of $100000 for each count. She was acquitted of the felony conspiracy charge. There are multiple media reports today on this story.

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