Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chatroulette Plans Recognition Algorithm to Block Pervy Users

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There's something exhilarating about meeting someone new, whether it's in a coffee shop or online. That is, until your new pal pulls a Lyndon Johnson and gets really friendly.

That sort of behavior is pretty common on Chatroulette, where users can "meet" and chat with random people with a click of a mouse. But to cut down on the parade of penises, penis recognition software is being added,TechCrunch reports.

Changes could also include a system that flags users who are consistently "nexted" -- skipped past -- presumably because they are exposing themselves or otherwise being disgusting.

TechCrunch also reports that Napster founder Shawn Fanning is working with Chatroulette's founder, Andrey Ternovskiy, in an uncompensated advisory role. It's not clear what Fanning is doing, but his credibility among social media users and investors couldn't hurt.

The story also quotes unnamed "interested investors" who advise that Ternovskiy needs to clean up his site before it is forever linked to creepiness. Only recently has it become easier to cut off offensive users; a New Yorker profile last month noted that Ternovskiy made some changes after Ashton Kutcher berated him about what his stepdaughter had seen on the site.

Chatroulette has long featured the rawest side of humanity -- copulating couples, men taking their pants off, and so on. But it also allows for a potentially rewarding (and potentially lucrative) random human connection, and that's what interests investors.

Although, come to think of it, there might also be a market for software that can quickly scan for penises and not filter them out.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Warning: Online Predator will be BACK Soon!

from our friends at FightBigamy:

Serial Bigamist, Charles "Ed" Hicks to be Released July 17

Serial bigamist, Charles 'Ed' Hicks is scheduled to be released from the Chesapeake, VA jail on July 17, 2010. Hicks was incarcerated a second time for parole violation.

Be careful ladies because once he is out, he will be on the prowl very soon. He may have to stay in Virginia, but in my opinion, he will break parole again and will go anywhere. He was last found in the Florida Keys where he was living on a sailboat in Key Largo.

He likes to meet women via the Internet and has been known to have at least five online ads, while dating at least that many women. Hicks has had at least seven marriages of which four overlap.

Remember, when you meet anyone online, first do a Google search of their name.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Social Networking Used to Sexually Entice Minors & Adults

Nevada — Law enforcement officials are reminding residents that while social networking sites can be fun, they also present potential dangers in the form of sexual harassment.

Washoe County Sheriffs Office deputies recently arrested Jared Smith, 25, of Sparks, after he allegedly sent messages through a Facebook.com account of a sexual nature to a 14-year-old girl, according to a press release from sheriff's spokesman Armando Avina.

According to the release, the following events transpired on the evening of June 12, 2010:
• WCSO deputies arrived and met with the victim, who showed the officers the illicit content. The adult male logged on as someone else and pretended to be a friend of the female victim. The female victim then identified the alleged suspect to officers.

• The following morning, officers made contact with the male subject accused of sending the female victim messages that were sexual in nature. During the subsequent investigation process, deputies determined the male subject did send the messages.

• Smith was booked into the Washoe County Detention Facility for using technology to lure children, violation of a protection order and stalking – use of the Internet. His bail was set at $18,000.

An underreported crime

Detective Dennis Carry of the Washoe County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force said incidents where adults use emerging social media websites to entice children are often not reported to the proper authorities.

“It's a huge problem,” Carry said. “Online enticement of children is far underreported. The reports are extremely low in comparison with how many times the crime occurs.”

Carry said open communication lines between parents and children is an important strategy to combat Internet predators.

“Families must communicate about the potential dangers,” he said. “Also, it's critically important the authorities find out when someone is victimized.”

Carry said [people] should not reveal personal information on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Soldier's Online Dating Con Costs Woman ALL Her Life Savings

An elderly widow has been left seriously out of pocket by an internet dating site scam.

The woman has lost almost all her life savings after being duped into sending hundreds of thousands of pounds to a supposed American soldier.

The trickster befriended the lady on an online chatroom, claiming to be a lieutenant in the US Army stationed in Afghanistan.

And after gaining her trust over a period of months he began to ask to borrow money – saying he could not access his American bank account and that he needed to buy himself out of the army.

Northumbria Police are aware of similar incidents happening all over the country. Enquiries have revealed it to be a scam involving tricksters from the UK, North America and Nigeria.

Northumbria Police is now working with forces across the UK in a bid to trace the scammers. Det Cons Steph Heaney said: “Research carried out during the investigation shows this is quite a well used internet scam with many variations on a similar theme.

“We’re working closely with other forces to find out if they are investigating any similar incidents and we’re doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this – including checking activity on a variety of bank accounts and phone numbers.

“The offenders have taken advantage of a vulnerable woman who trusted the man claiming to be at the other end of the e-mail and believed he was true to his word and would pay her back.

“He promised to take her on holiday and to come and stay with her once he’d left the army.

“It’s disgusting that people could do this to anyone and it’s imperative we do all we can to find the people behind this.

“I’d urge anyone who has fallen victim to a similar scam or knows of anyone who has to get on touch with their local force as they may have vital information.

“And I’d like to raise awareness of this scam to prevent other people from falling victim. The offenders will try to make contact through social and dating websites and it’s imperative that people do not hand over any money to someone they don’t know or have only met online.

“I’d also encourage friends and relatives to make sure they keep an eye on the elderly or vulnerable and listen out for any warning signs so they can make sure they don’t give money to people they don’t know.”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Attorneys Catching Cheaters on Facebook

by Stephanie Chen - CNN

Before the explosion of social media, Ken Altshuler, a divorce lawyer in Maine, dug up dirt on his client’s spouses the old-fashioned way: with private investigators and subpoenas. Now the first place his team checks for evidence is Facebook.

Consider a recent story of a female client in her 30s, who came to Altshuler seeking a divorce from husband. She claimed her husband, an alcoholic, was drinking again. The husband denied it. It was her word against his word, Altshuler says, until a mutual friend of the couple stumbled across Facebook photos of the husband drinking beer at a party a few weeks earlier.

It was the kind of “gotcha moment” Altshuler knew would undermine the husband’s credibility in court. His firm presented the photos to the judge, and the wife won the case in April, he said.

“Facebook is a great source of evidence,” Altshuler said. “It’s absolutely solid evidence because he’s the author of it. How do you deny that you put that on?”

Social media stalking skills have become invaluable to the legal world for divorce cases in particular. Online photo albums, profile pages, wall comments, status updates and tweets have become gold mines for evidence and leads. Today, divorce and family law firms routinely cull information posted on social media sites — the flirty exchanges with a paramour, unsavory self-revelations and compromising photographs — to buttress their case.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Secret New Software Allows BT and Other Firms to Trawl Internet

How 'BT Sarah' spies on your Facebook account: secret new software allows BT and other firms to trawl internet looking for disgruntled customers

(U.K.)Some of Britain’s biggest firms were last night accused of ‘spying’ on their customers after they admitted ‘listening in’ on disgruntled conversations on the internet.

The companies include BT, which uses specially developed software to scan for negative comments about it on websites including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Budget airline easyJet, mobile-phone retailer Carphone Warehouse and banks including Lloyds TSB are also monitoring social networking sites to see what is being said about them.

The firms claim there is nothing sinister about the practice, with BT insisting it is merely acting as ‘a fly on the wall’ to ‘listen and engage with our customers’.

But privacy campaigners have accused them of ‘outright spying’ while legal experts have suggested that firms making unsolicited approaches to customers could fall foul of data protection laws.

There are also fears the technique could be used to inundate customers with sales pitches and advertising, or be used by political parties.

Research published last year found that a negative review or comment by a frustrated customer on the internet can lose companies as many as 30 other customers.

A negative comment from a celebrity can be even more damaging. Earlier this year, BT was forced to act quickly after singer Lily Allen wrote on her Twitter page:
‘Anyone know who the CEO of BT is? I’d find out myself but my internet connection is so bad I can’t even Google. Such bad service, awful.'

BT is using software called Debatescape, which trawls social networking sites for keywords to identify anyone making negative comments about the company. Angry customers are then contacted by email suggesting ways BT can help to solve the problem.

The move comes as many of BT’s customers turn to the web to air their complaints because of the difficulties in getting through to its call centres.

Ironically, many of the comments on BT’s own Twitter page are written by those complaining they are not able to reach service staff.

Managers overseeing BT’s social networking operation claim ‘most of the feedback we get is positive – customers like it when we pick up on their BT-related issues without them asking directly’.

However, one disgruntled customer said he was stunned to be approached by the firm after he posted angry comments on his personal Facebook page.

The BT business customer, who has asked not be named, wrote that he thought ‘BT are just a bunch of unaccountable, business shafting, useless b*******’.

Within hours he had been contacted by someone calling themselves ‘BT Sarah’, saying: ‘I saw your post about having problems with your BT services. Is there anything I can do to help?’

The customer, who runs an online business, said: ‘I did not expect what I was saying to my friends to be seen. I have since changed my privacy settings so only my friends can access my page. What happened was quite Big Brotherish and sinister.’

It comes just two years after BT was involved in another internet privacy storm over its installation of software called Phorm, which delivers targeted advertising to internet customers. The Information Commissioner’s Office and the European Commission both voiced legal concerns about the system.

But Warren Buckley, BT’s managing director of customer services, defended the practice, saying the system has been used to help around 30,000 people.
‘The key is we are only looking at what people are talking about in public spaces,’ he said. ‘We are not picking up anything private. These are all discussions that can be seen by anyone on the web.

Listening in: Some angry BT customers, unable to get through to its call centres, are turning to the internet to post disgruntled messages

‘I would liken it to someone having a conversation in a pub – it’s just a very big pub. We can’t stop people saying negative things about us. What we can do is identify them and offer to address those concerns.

‘Many people we contact in this way are wowed by it. And for us it is another way to listen to what our customers are saying and to reach out to them.’

A spokesman for easyJet, which uses the internet for 97 per cent of its ticket sales, said using Twitter and Facebook was a natural extension of its online presence.

‘The initial reaction of some is that it is a bit like Big Brother watching them,’ he added. ‘They can be quite upset. But when they realise we are trying to help they are quite surprised and positive.’

A spokesman for Carphone Warehouse said: ‘We can often use this to turn a negative situation into a positive one. People complaining on the internet do it in an instant.

‘They are frustrated and use it to vent that anger. When we identify them we can often offer a solution. People we speak to are often blown away that Carphone Warehouse is listening and are overwhelmingly positive about it.’

There are continuing concerns over the level of protection given to people’s information on Facebook.

The firm came under fire last year after it introduced changes to its default privacy settings which allowed people’s personal details to be viewed by anyone from internet search engines like Google.

Dr Yaman Akdeniz, a legal expert and director of online privacy group Cyber-Rights, also warned that many of the firms could be breaking data protection laws.
‘Just because I am on Facebook or Twitter does not give BT or any other company the right to contact me unsolicited,’ he said. ‘These may be public conversations but firms should not be contacting users without their consent.

'People should refuse to speak to those companies and register a complaint with the Information Commissioner.'

Liberal Democrat MP Alan Reid called for an investigation.

‘This may well be within the law, but I don’t think I would be very pleased if a firm suddenly contacted me out of the blue after I said something on the internet,’ he added.’

original article here

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Woman Terrified by Online Cyberstalker

Tiffany Eisler kicked her boyfriend out of her life last month, or so she thought.

A few weeks ago, a friend told her about a fake Facebook page in her name.

"Someone was pretending to be me, with naked pictures, with my phone number up," she said.

Eisler called 17 News to see if police can do anything to help.

She told reporter Anna Velasquez she met Kyle Walker online. Walker was living in Marin County, but within two months, he moved in with her in Bakersfield in late 2009.

In mid-April, a fight over the laundry turned violent.

"He just started kicking all the laundry everywhere," she said. "And, in the process I got kicked in the arm."

Eisler said Walker began to scare her.

"For the next hour or two he continued to tell me how he should beat the crap out of me and burn down my apartment," she said.

She texted her neighbor to call police, and Walker was arrested for spousal abuse and for fighting with the police who came to make the arrest.

She has not seen him since, but believes he is behind the cyber attack that's turned her life upside down.

The fake Facebook page had pictures she shared only with Walker, and the cell phone number Walker had.

"The number he thought he had," she pointed out. "I changed it last week."

Eisler also found more fake profile pages on other social networking sites, and in every case, it told people where they could find her.

"I'm still afraid to get on most sites on the Internet," she admitted. "I recently had to cancel my account with Café Mom because someone is stalking me on there."

Eisler believes her ex hacked into her email address and posed as her when he requested her electricity to be turned off. She lives in an apartment complex, and did not experience any power loss but the bills were going to her landlord.

Eisler saved everything she could when she found the fakes, including an instant-message dialogue she had with Walker Monday night. She asked him to leave her alone and Walker replied he did not know what she what talking about.

He also wrote, "If you think you are going through hell, get used to it, and get ready to go deeper."

That comment made Eisler fear for her safety and the safety of her kids. She is seeking a restraining order for when Walker returns to Kern County for his next court hearing.

Eisler has filed a report with Bakersfield Police about the online harassment, and now a detective has been assigned to the case.

17 News took Eisler's information to Supervising Deputy District Attorney Terry Pelton, who is well-versed in cyber law.

"If the facts are as presented, and if those facts can be proven, then several code sections have been violated," he said of Eisler's case.

Pelton said they are hacking (Penal Code 502.c.2), cyberstalking (PC 653.2), annoying through computer (PC 653m), and stalking (PC 646.9).

Pelton has successfully prosecuted a cyberstalking case where a Delano man created a fake profile of his ex-wife. Pelton said the man posed as the ex-wife and said she had a fantasy of wanting to be raped. The man also gave out the woman's phone number and address.

"Someone showed up at her door," he said.

What is happening to Eisler is not uncommon, and very dangerous, Pelton said.

"It encourages some real sicko out there to come find the woman."

Both the Bakersfield Police Department and Pelton encourage Eisler to keep saving proof of the online harassment.

Pelton also reminds the public of his rule of thumb for social networking: "If you post something you don't want to show your mother at the dinner table, don't post it."