Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stalker Sending Men to My House for Sex ...was my Ex!


(U.K.) Amy Lees answered a knock at her front door and a man burst in, grabbed her by the throat and threatened to rape her. The sicko fantasist had been led to believe she was keen to take part in a sordid sex game. She fought him off — but he was just one of hundreds of strangers who kept turning up on her doorstep for months demanding that she had sex with them.

Traumatised Amy was the victim of a vicious internet stalker who had plastered her name, photos and home address on websites offering her up for weird role-play fantasies. And, shockingly, the stalker was her ex-boyfriend Khalid Hussain — who she had turned to for help when she felt besieged, scared and vulnerable in her home.

Amy has bravely waived her anonymity to tell her horrifying story to The Sun. She said: "For nine months I was stalked. It was the worst time of my life. I was trapped and frightened. I wouldn't wish that terror on my worst enemy. It was a truly horrifying experience."

Amy, a 31-year-old barmaid, first met care worker Hussain, 30, via a dating website in October 2009.

She said: "I had just come out of a relationship and wanted to have fun so I joined the site. I got chatting to Khalid. He seemed very kind and sweet. After a couple of weeks chatting on MSN and Facebook I invited him round for dinner. We chatted for hours and by the end of the evening we were a couple. He was very attentive and sent me bouquets of flowers every week."

But they began having arguments and split up quite regularly. Three months after their meeting, Amy ended the relationship. She said: "While we were apart I went on Facebook and noticed a friend request from a man called Simon. Although I didn't know him, I replied because I was flattered to get male attention. We started emailing and texting. He wanted a sexy picture so, stupidly, I sent him a picture of myself in underwear. As soon as I hit send, I regretted it."

The next day Simon put the picture on Amy's Facebook wall under the caption: "Here's my new girlfriend I'm going to f*** the a*** off her." Her voice shaking, Amy said: "I was shocked, took the photo down and texted Simon telling him to leave me alone. He texted back saying, 'I'm going to have my fun, you f***ing bitch, wait and see.' Seeking emotional support, I got back with Khalid and he was really supportive. I felt safer knowing he was there."

Days later Amy started getting texts from Simon calling her disgusting names. Amy said: "Things were terrible and I felt as if I needed somebody to be there for me — but Khalid was becoming very controlling. I knew I had to end things with him for good. "We parted as friends and stayed in touch. Every time I was contacted by Simon I'd tell Khalid, desperate for support."

Amy called the police about the harassment and they shut down her Facebook account while they investigated. But in February 2010 things took a menacing turn when men — often up to 20 a day — started arriving at her house wanting to have sex with her. Amy said: "When the first person came to the door asking me for sex I was so gobsmacked I just closed it in his face. But the second and third time it happened I knew it was probably down to Simon. I was so confused and vulnerable. I became petrified and would always check from my upstairs window who was at the door before I opened it. I kept a frying pan at hand, so I felt protected, and friends would stay over so I felt safer. The police were still involved but there seemed to be little they could do. I became a quivering wreck as the men knocked at the door and shouted obscenities through my letterbox. I hardly slept and every day became a battle. I became too weak and frightened to leave the house.

"About four months after the men started arriving, there was a knock on the door. I opened it a crack and saw a respectable-looking man in his forties. He grabbed me by the throat, said he was going to rape me and pushed me inside the house. I tried to fight him off and my friend, who was in my house at the time, ran to help me. The man realised his mistake and stepped away, whispering, 'I'm sorry. I thought I was talking to you on the internet. I thought this is what you wanted'.

"He ran out of the house and I managed to get his registration number and call the police. I put panic alarms supplied by the police all over the house and added a chain to the door. They also put a sign up on my door explaining that any internet directions to my house were a hoax."

The man was arrested but not charged because he had been talking to someone online who had set up a fake profile. That someone turned out to be Hussain — and he had set up many other profiles in her name. He had used photos from her Facebook account and given out her home address.

He was jailed for two years nine months in September last year after admitting harassment.

There were 53,000 cyber-stalking allegations recorded in 2009 and experts believe the actual number could be ten times this. New laws are set to be introduced to combat the crime.

Amy said: "The shock of knowing my ex-boyfriend was behind all of this left me feeling physically sick. He had written that I was into rape re-enactment along with numerous sordid sexual acts. It made me feel disgusted. He had seemed kind but all along he was evil and dangerous. I'm glad he is in jail and can't do that to anyone else — but if I had been the judge I would have given him life. I still find it very difficult to trust anyone. I sleep in the room with my four Staffordshire bull terriers and don't like going out on my own."

Amy is now making a fresh start, having found a new man. But she warned: "It is so important that cyber stalking is taken seriously because we are all at risk."

If you think you are being stalked, it is vital to act now.

For more information and to get help in the U.K. contact the Suzy Lamplugh Trust at suzylamplugh.org or 020 7091 0014

Monday, January 30, 2012


Experts fear rise in cybersex obsession

By Linda Carroll

With the explosion of pornographic sites on the Internet, some experts on sex and addiction are concerned that increasing numbers of unsuspecting users will become victims of an obsession that can ruin lives and relationships. While many people may be able to dabble in Net porn with no ill effects, some run the risk of developing a serious, and potentially dangerous, addiction to online erotica.

"MY SPECULATION, based on my work with other addictions, is that those with vulnerabilities may be swept into the Net - pun-intended - of compulsive sexual behavior," said Anna Rose Childress, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Treatment Research Center in Philadelphia.
"There may be a hapless subgroup here who would not have managed to develop a compulsive pursuit of... sexual behavior because of [societal] constraints and inconveniences. The Internet erases most of these, and the vulnerable subgroup is then at the mercy of their hardwiring."
A recent MSNBC.com survey found that as many as 80 percent of visitors to sex sites were spending so much time tracking down erotica on the computer that they were putting their real-life relationships and/or jobs at risk. Until they discovered cybersex, most of these people had no problems with sexual addition, according to the survey’s author, Al Cooper, a sex therapist at the San Jose Marital Services and Sexuality Center in San Jose, Calif.

Sex researchers are beginning to see people who have lost control.
"I've seen enough individuals in my clinic who have gotten hooked [on sex] on the Web to know that this is a significant development," said Dr. John Bancroft, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University. "I think this needs to be taken very seriously."
Bancroft and his colleagues plan a study to determine which people are most at risk of developing problems with online pornography.

But adult Web site owners play down the notion that there’s a problem.

Mark Kreloff, president and CEO of New Frontier Media, a Boulder, Colo., company that delivers adult content via the Internet, satellite and cable TV, defends Web pornography as educational, and says he doesn’t buy the concept of porn addiction.
"I think that aspect of our business is grossly blown out of proportion by people that don't like the business that we're in," Kreloff said. "I generally think that our programming leads to healthier sexual relationships. It certainly provides an educational base to people who are interested in their sexuality and the sexuality of people. I just really don’t find that it’s a real issue that we're facing."
Dr. Robert Hsiung agrees that there are healthy ways to use cybersex.
"I don't think that any involvement is bad," said Hsiung, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago. "If a couple surfs together and it turns them on and helps their sex life, I don't see any problem with that."
So how can simple pornography become addictive?
"Sexual stimuli can be very powerful," Childress said. "There's a strong, imperative 'must look!' quality to them, the byproduct of an evolutionary premium on reproduction. And humans are great lookers, by nature."
Add in the special features of the Web and you've got a problem, according to Childress. "Usually looking, and the pleasurable arousal that accompanies it, has some constraints," she explained. Laws against peeping through people's windows and the social discomfort felt by buyers of porn magazines and renters of hard-core videos constrain many people.

But the Internet reduces these constraints considerably, Childress said. “There are few external regulations,” she said. "[People think] 'Who am I hurting?' And there are limitless, intense, overwhelming images to match any fantasy, and, with interactive programs, [there are] cyber-people who wish to be looked upon, talked to or aroused. This up-front sexuality can be novel, seductive and euphorogenic.
"As with other addictions, there is likely a vulnerable subgroup who now find themselves having trouble putting on the brakes, and cybersex begins to take up more and more of their time. They crave it. They find it beginning to interfere with other activities and relationships and that it resists attempts to stop or cut down. These are the hallmarks of addiction."
While it's not clear who the vulnerable people are, Bancroft suspects that the people most likely to be sucked into an unhealthy relationship with cybersex have some other underlying psychological problem. They are using the Web to self-medicate negative feelings such as anxiety, stress or depression, he suggests. "This is a quick and easy way to feel better," Bancroft said. "But it's a rather transient treatment."

What should you do if you think someone has an unhealthy involvement with Net sex? “Try to be open and discuss it with him or her,” Bancroft suggests. “Get it out on the table so it becomes a shared issue and not something that's hidden away.”

Linda Carroll is a health and medical writer based in New Jersey whose work has appeared in Newsday, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit Free Press and the Los Angeles Times.MSNBC’s Mike Brunker contributed to this report.

Original article here

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How NOT to Apologize When You Have Seriously Messed Up

FOR ANY CYBERPATHS & PREDATORS READING THIS SITE - THIS ARTICLE IS FOR YOU. (Everyone else, enjoy seeing how yours fits the profile!) - EOPC

Cyberpaths/Online Predators - RARELY, if ever, apologize
once they are caught and the entire truth is out. Its always the 'fault' of the person who turns them in, exposes them. Some Predators have even turned to law enforcement to take out restraining orders on those who are exposing them - in order to make the PREDATOR look like the victim and turn attention away from themselves & their misdeeds. They have been 'set up' and the person who told the truth about them is called 'a liar.' It's already happened a couple times with this board - and its a fact of life on exposure sites. If you expose one & have told the truth, don't feel you need to defend yourself against their smear campaign.

Here is a great essay on how to NOT apologize - we think you will find it amusing & truthful - EOPC


by Annesthesia

1.) Apologize in email.
Hey, why should you actually have to FACE the person you harmed and DEAL with the real consequences of your actions - like the fact that they might still be hurt and upset?
It's so much easier to do it from a distance - that way you can go around telling everyone how you made all this EFFORT to rectify things. If questioned on this, you can fall back on your old excuses about how the other person is just too scary to face in person. (People you have betrayed aren't usually very compliant).

Ignore the fact that this avoidance is completely contradicting any statements you might make about "taking responsibility" for your behavior (Ed Hicks and Beckstead did this one. YidwithLid even used the excuse that he had "been advised to stay away from" his victims until he "was stronger & could deal with them." As well, that communicating with his victims would 'hurt his wife & family' more. It was merely a ploy to run away)

2.) Make sure the "confession", er, apology comes MONTHS or years after the incident.
It's just too much work to actually own up immediately afterwards. Let's face it, you're not after any real resolution, and you are not offering any kind of restitution -
you are looking to assuage your guilty conscience and buy absolution, and, if you play your cards right, you can get attention for your act of "bravery" in coming forward. If it's absolution you are looking for, why not join the Catholic church instead?
"Powerful and sneaky people use apologies as 'end runs' around repentance. They betray a trust; and, when they have been found out, they say they are sorry for "mistakes in judgement". They smile through their oily apologies when their crime calls for quakes of repentance. They get by only because we have lost our sense of the difference between repentance for wrong and apologies for bungling.... We should not let each other get away with it. A deep and unfair hurt is more than a mere faux pas. We cannot put up with everything from everyone; some things are intolerable. When someone hurts us deeply and unfairly [deliberately], an apology will not do the job; it only trivializes a wrong that should not be trifled with."
-- Lewis B. Smedes, "Forgive and Forget"

3.) Use generic sweeping statements, so that you don't have to own up to, or deal with any specifics.
This is a great way to avoid any REAL acknowledgement for the stunts you have pulled, while giving the appearance of sincerity. As Dr. Phil (C. McGraw) says:

"Acknowledgement is a no-kidding, unvarnished, bottom-line, truthful confrontation with yourself about what you are doing or not doing, or what you are putting up with in your life that is destructive. It's not some pious, phoney-baloney, half-hearted rendition of what you think they want to hear. Nor is it a watered-down, politically correct 'confession' that you think will buy you closure at the expense of truth. I mean brutal reality: slapping yourself in the face and admitting what you are doing to screw up your life. This also means admitting that you are getting payoffs for what you're doing, however sick or subtle those payoffs are."

And God knows, real acknowledgement and acceptance of responsibility is not what you were after or you wouldn't have apologized in email in the first place.

4.) Try to evoke sympathy for yourself as part of the apology.
Use worn-out lines like "It may not mean much to you now...". Thank the person for their past "support" of you in your (largely self-inflicted) trials and tribulations as a not-so-subtle reminder of how "rough" things have been for you.

You can also use this as a way to look magnanimous and introspective while avoiding taking any real action
. Whine about how you are finally working on your issues" (never mind that you have been saying the same thing for years), as if that is supposed to mean something real. Avoid any discussion about what you are doing *specifically* to work on those issues.

After all, (despite your previous litany of lies)
the person you are apologizing to should trust that you really mean what you say this time, right? Talk about how you are finally accepting responsibility for the consequences of your behavior, and then avoid making any effort to talk to the other person face to face. Talk about how you miss the fun you had with the other person (carefully avoiding any mention of the fun you had at that person's expense at the same time). See if there is still a chain left to be yanked.

this is all about assuaging your conscience and repairing your damaged image - not about doing real work or genuine caring for the other person, but nobody else needs to know that. With a little careful manipulation, you can use this apology to get sympathy and attention from other people as well. (Beckstead, Ed Hicks and even Julia Bish-whatever-her-name-is-now have tried this one)

5.) Don't give any reasons about why you have suddenly decided to extend this tremendous effort (writing an email) after so much time has passed.
It is equally important that you avoid replying to any questions they might ask about specifics. Remember,
this isn't really about making amends, it's about making yourself feel better.

6.) Expect instant redemption and forgiveness.
Remember, no matter what you have done, a few words are supposed to magically wipe away all the pain of the past with no further work required by you. Now that you have made a token gesture, the other person should just "forgive and forget" so that you find it easier to sleep at night. (Brad Dorsky, Ed Hicks, YidwithLid, Beckstead, Gareth Rodger and Nathan E.B. Thomas, Jr - ALL expected their victims to be as emotionless as they are - and just move on. No respect for the trauma they caused or the pain they inflicted.
Except for their immediate families [wives, girlfriends, children, parents] - because these predators have to LIVE with [and leech off] those people, right?)

7.) Get upset when your trite "olive branch" isn't received with warmth and acceptance.
Go whining to whomever will listen, about how you made all this *EFFORT*, and how *HARD* it was for you to take that step (what with all your issues, and all), and how it was REJECTED because that awful person actually expected you to DO SOMETHING REAL. After all, you have ISSUES and such, and that means you should be exempted from behaving in a manner congruent to your words,and everyone should coddle you and praise even the smallest effort on your part.

(as we say - DO NOT LISTEN TO THEIR WORDS - WATCH THEIR ACTIONS!! Words are meaningless to an online predator - merely a means to an end. Their ACTIONS however or lack of them are everything!)

8.) Take no further action.
Use pat phrases like, "I'm doing my best to take responsiblity for the consequences of my behaviour", but don't actually DO anything beyond sending the email. It plays well, and you can always use that "doing my best" as your cop-out when you don't actually follow-through - it wasn't a REAL commitment to change, it was a "best-effort", and your emailed apology was a fine demonstration of how good THAT is.

I can't stress enough how important it is that you
don't reply to any questions the other person might have about your email, especially ones that ask "why now?", "what specifically do you acknowledge was inappropriate?" and "what specifically you are doing to take responsibility?". After all, you don't owe them any explanation. Like I said, this isn't about doing anything for *them*, it's all about YOU. Indicate in your original apology that you still have some of the other person's belongings, but don't actually make any effort to RETURN them, or contact the other person in any way.

After all, once you've made your apology, you can wash your hands of the whole messy affair and wipe your conscience clean without having to dirty yourself with uncomfortable things like integrity, sincerity, action or actually facing the person you harmed.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crackdown on Facebook "Burn" Pages

By Pamela Owen

(U.K.) Schoolchildren have been setting up special Facebook 'burn' pages to post vile and abusive messages about their peers.

Police have now said they are cracking down on the phenomenon and have warned pupils to start removing their names and comments - many of them sexual - off the pages.

Officers estimate as many as 700 students are involved in the sites - which are inspired by the cult film Mean Girls - in which students write hurtful and often fabricated gossip in a 'burn book'. So far eight of the pages in the Portsmouth area of Hampshire have been shut down after police and schools contacted Facebook.

However many, including Portsmouth Burn which has 712 friends, are still being used.

Police have warned pupils who continue to post messages on the pages that they could face investigation and prosecution.

At Park Community School in Leigh Park, near Havant, Hampshire, 50 students were members of a 'Hampshire burn' page.

Three students - a former male pupil, a year 11 boy and a year 10 girl - were victims of particularly depraved sexual comments.

Sue Walker, deputy head, said: 'Last week it came to my attention there were a number of 'burn' sites - 'Hampshire Burn', 'Leigh Park Burn' and others. I had 178 pages of the Hampshire Burn site downloaded and it was deeply unpleasant stuff. I knew immediately this was something that could get out of control and that we had to act quickly.'

Miss Walker called on schools officer PC Justine Lewis, who has since been talking to pupils about the consequences of being involved in such sites.

In particular, students could face charges of harassment and assault that could result in up to two years' imprisonment. PC Lewis said students had been given a short amnesty over the weekend to withdraw their names and comments.

'We don't want to criminalise children but if they don't take themselves off we will be calling them in individually, talking to their parents and considering criminal charges,' she said. 'This is a very difficult area to police but I'm really pleased schools have taken positive action and safer neighbourhood teams are working closely with them.'

A 'Purbrook Burn' site was taken down after the headteacher of Purbrook Park School, in Waterlooville, Hampshire, called a meeting with all 40 pupils who were members of the group.

Paul Foxley said a year 11 girl admitted to creating the page and took it down the same day. 'I made it very clear to the students that their online safety was extremely important to me - I will not tolerate any rude comments online or in person,' he said. 'As a result, a girl owned up to setting it up and it was gone in a day. She was very remorseful but we did give her a five-day internal exclusion as it was a very serious mistake on her part.'

A Facebook spokeswoman said anyone concerned about online bullying should contact the site immediately so their dedicated team can investigate and take down any offending sites immediately.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Irish Student Crucified on the Internet

By Warren Swords and Debbie Mccann

(U.K.) An innocent student who had his name blackened on the internet has comprehensively cleared his name – thanks to the Irish Mail on Sunday.

Dublin student Eoin McKeogh, accused of dodging a €50 taxi fare, has laid bare how the internet can destroy a blameless person's reputation in seconds and put people in the horrifying position of either leaving vile allegations in the public domain or pursuing a difficult and costly legal battle through the courts that will attract more attention from the media.

The entire episode has proven how social media such as Facebook and Twitter constitute something of a Wild West when it comes to laws of defamation, where anonymous users can accuse innocent people of crimes without any proof, in a spiralling nightmare of libel and slander.

Mr McKeogh's ordeal began in December when a taxi driver posted a video taken inside his cab on YouTube of a young man running from his taxi without paying the fare.

The video – dated November 13 – clearly shows the man's face and a friend can be heard calling him 'Eoin'.

Within hours, the video had spread to Facebook, Twitter and other internet forums. One anonymous viewer commented on YouTube – wrongly – that the culprit was Eoin McKeogh.

Soon, his name spread across the internet and social media sites and people began sending vitriolic messages to Mr McKeogh's Facebook page calling him a 'scumbag', a 'thief' and worse.

In January, he went to the gardaí twice to see what could be done, before taking legal advice. The matter came before the courts for the first time on January 10. During that hearing, Mr McKeogh provided the judge with his passport, which showed he had entered Japan on November 11 and left the Far East on November 22.

The video was filmed on November 13, while Mr McKeogh was studying in Japan.

'I was not and could not have been the person in the video,' he said in his affidavit to the court, where he is seeking an injunction to have the video permanently removed from the web.

Since the case was reported and he was named in certain newspapers, he is now also seeking an injunction to stop them naming him again.

His senior counsel, Pauline Whalley, told the court that on January 13, the taxi driver appeared in court and gave evidence that the taxi fare evader was not Eoin McKeogh and that he didn't even look like the culprit.

The driver apologised to Mr McKeogh for the trouble the video had caused, saying it was a 'terrible thing' to happen to him. 'He shook my hand and apologised,' said Mr McKeogh in his affidavit. The High Court granted him a temporary injunction on Tuesday against Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo and Google from hosting the video online for a week. A subsequent full hearing into his effort to gain injunctions against six newspapers began yesterday but was adjourned last night until today.

Mr McKeogh said he thought his nightmare was over but that he was still being accused online following court reports of the case.

'I was shocked to see all the postings [on the internet]. They all presumed I was guilty… and attempting to gag the media. I also had a fake Facebook page created.'

In a desperate attempt to clear his name, he even replied to tormentors online, sending them a photograph of himself and his boarding pass from his flight from Tokyo with his travel dates clearly visible.

One website, Broadsheet.ie, reproduced the photograph and a link to the video and told readers: 'You decide.'

According to his legal team, internet commentators continued to accuse Mr McKeogh and posted: 'Why the f*** do injunctions exist? I hope the f*** it blights his career.'

Yesterday afternoon in Court 45, Mr McKeogh asked for an injunction against several newspapers to stop them from printing his name in relation to the case and the video.

Barrister Miss Whalley was critical of the media for not reporting his innocence in the stories and argued against newspapers naming him again due to the public perception that there is no smoke without fire.

She said: 'People believe on a massive scale that he's guilty.'

In response, Mr Justice Michael Peart said: 'The smoke will remain thick – perhaps diluted, as it could not be and was not him.'

Mr Justice Peart said he would consider his decision overnight and make a ruling today at 2.30pm.

Despite offering incontrovertible proof in court that it wasn't him and successfully getting an injunction against YouTube showing the video, the footage was back on the website last night with users identifying him as the culprit, calling him a 'scumbag' and other highly derogatory comments.

The 22-year-old told the packed court yesterday how malicious allegations has ruined his life and could irreversibly damage his promising academic prospects.

Following the successful injunction, 95 per cent of the material posted online about Mr McKeogh was removed.

However, the following day, media organisations reported the court case and according to Miss Whalley 'it went viral again' with people 'saying he was guilty, he can pay high wages of lawyers but not a taxi fare.'

She said her client was not a Seán Quinn or a Seán FitzPatrick but 'an ordinary kid going through college and getting on with his life.

'With a few key strokes, you can destroy a person's reputation,' the barrister said.

Judge Peart described it as 'strange' that newspaper did not include the proof of his innocence in their reports.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Shadow of Fear

fear:'( Pictures, Images and Photos

The shadow of fear that stalkers leave on their victims

by Grace Hammond

Jennifer Aniston recently had a restraining order issued against 24-year-old Jayson Peyton, who staked out her home for eight days and was found to have duct tape, dvds of her films and a sharp object in his car.

The story made the headlines and saw the former Friends star join the likes of Halle Berry, Mel Gibson and Gwyneth Paltrow, who have all been victims of stalkers.

But it is not just Hollywood A-listers who suffer what can be a terrifying experience. More than 1.2 million women and 900,000 men are stalked in the UK every year and in the worst instances, stalking can lead to violence, criminal damage, rape or even murder.

One of the most chilling cases in recent years involved German office worker David Heiss who murdered British student Matthew Pyke in a sustained and savage stabbing attack after becoming obsessed with his Yorkshire girlfriend, who he had met in the chatroom of a war game website.

Thankfully, such horrific cases are rare but for anyone who has been the victim of stalking it can be a traumatic ordeal. "People think stalkers are strangers lurking in the bushes, but research shows 50 per cent of stalking cases involve ex-partners," says Jane Harvey, from the charity Network for Surviving Stalking. "Anybody who deals with the public is more at risk – I was speaking to a teacher recently who was being stalked by the mother of a pupil."

Ms Harvey says stalking can have a huge impact on lives – making people feel panicked, depressed and lonely.

"It affects your relationships, your ability to trust people and to function as a normal human being."

At present, the only law against stalking is The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and although the law in the UK doesn't define what stalking is, Harvey says it "could be someone phoning you repeatedly, emailing you, following you, sending you presents or other 'gifts'."

Experts believe the rise in reported stalking incidents over the last decade is, in part, down to the development of the internet and mobile phones which have made it easier for stalkers to prey on their victims. But while celebrity figures like Jennifer Aniston are quick to contact the police, research in the UK has shown that 77 per cent of victims didn't report they were being stalked until more than 100 incidents had happened.

The story of Jemma, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, makes for unsettling reading. She met a man on a dating website who shared her interests. She was excited but wary. "He was my first internet date and I'd arranged to meet him in a public place – just as you're supposed to do," she says.

After a couple of dates, she decided to end their relationship which is when the emails started. "They pleaded for another chance, saying we'd both regret it if we didn't try again, but the emails continued, becoming stranger and darker. It frightened me."

He kept phoning in the middle of the night and threatened to come round if she wouldn't meet him. It left her feeling vulnerable and frightened. "I was finding it impossible to concentrate on work."

She called the police and her stalker was finally arrested and given a restraining order. But the stalker posted a fake profile on the same dating site and got in touch with Jemma asking to meet. "I was horrified he'd invented a new identity to harass me again."

He was finally caught by police again and they fitted a panic alarm in her home. But the experience has left her shaken. "How many more people are out there, creating false identities and stalking their victims under the cover of websites?"

Jane Harvey says if someone is making you feel uncomfortable then you should trust your instincts and go to the police. "Victims themselves don't take stalking seriously. If someone walked up to you and punched you in the face, you'd go to the police. But stalking can happen more slowly, a few texts one day, a few the next week."

There are basic precautions that anyone can follow, such as limiting the amount of personal information they put on the internet and social network sites like Facebook.

But the advice is simple – never confront a stalker, and keep a record of any text messages, emails and letters as evidence to help the police.

For more advice and information in the U.K., visit the Network for Surviving Stalking, http://www.nss.org.uk

original article here

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jailed for Facebook Threats

A Fort Myers man is accused of cyberstalking two former co-workers using Facebook – and threatening their lives. Lee County deputies say the suspect created several fake Facebook accounts to make the threats. One of the victims said she feared for her life.

Jacobe Swanson was arrested and charged with threatening to kill or injure two women. The written threats were made on a popular social networking site Facebook.

"He had been threatening me for a long time," said one of the victims.

She said Swanson began stalking her two years ago.

"We were coworkers and nothing more. He showed interest in me and I rejected him and he decided he would start harassing me because I wouldn't give him the time of day," the victim said.

Swanson allegedly left threatening notes on her car.

Then he allegedly began stalking her and another former female coworker online.

"There were pretty horrific threats made against them like they were going to die. They were afraid to go to work and now he's going to face the consequences for that," said Sergeant Stephanie Eller of the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

According to the arrest report, Swanson threatened to chop off the head of one of the victims with a machete, then kill everyone in her house.

Swanson allegedly threatened the other woman saying "She was going to die either at home or at her job" and that she would die soon.

Detectives subpoenaed Facebook for the I.P. address associated with the threatening messages.

That address came back to the Fort Myers home where Swanson lives with his mom.

No one answered the door at Swanson's home.

Swanson is still in jail, where his victims hope he will stay for a long time.

"I hope he gets time for it and I hope he gets some psychiatric help because I believe he needs it," the victim said.

Swanson has been charged with aggravated stalking, intimidation (write, send threat to kill or injure) and contempt of court (violation injunction).

original article here

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA / PIPA Information

For our U.S. readers:


by Brian Barrett

If you hadn't heard of SOPA before, you probably have by now: Some of the internet's most influential sites—Reddit and Wikipedia among them—are going dark to protest the much-maligned anti-piracy bill. But other than being a very bad thing, what is SOPA? And what will it mean for you if it passes?

SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress...

House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith, along with 12 co-sponsors, introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act on October 26th of last year. Debate on H.R. 3261, as it's formally known, has consisted of one hearing on November 16th and a "mark-up period" on December 15th, which was designed to make the bill more agreeable to both parties. Its counterpart in the Senate is the Protect IP Act (S. 968). Also known by its cuter-but-still-deadly name: PIPA. There will likely be a vote on PIPA next Wednesday; SOPA discussions had been placed on hold but will resume in February of this year.

...that would grant content creators extraordinary power over the internet...

The beating heart of SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners (read: movie studios and record labels) to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site's ISP prevent people from even going there.

...which would go almost comedically unchecked...

Perhaps the most galling thing about SOPA in its original construction is that it let IP owners take these actions without a single court appearance or judicial sign-off. All it required was a single letter claiming a "good faith belief" that the target site has infringed on its content. Once Google or PayPal or whoever received the quarantine notice, they would have five days to either abide or to challenge the claim in court. Rights holders still have the power to request that kind of blockade, but in the most recent version of the bill the five day window has softened, and companies now would need the court's permission.

The language in SOPA implies that it's aimed squarely at foreign offenders; that's why it focuses on cutting off sources of funding and traffic (generally US-based) rather than directly attacking a targeted site (which is outside of US legal jurisdiction) directly. But that's just part of it.

...to the point of potentially creating an "Internet Blacklist"...

Here's the other thing: Payment processors or content providers like Visa or YouTube don't even need a letter shut off a site's resources. The bill's "vigilante" provision gives broad immunity to any provider who proactively shutters sites it considers to be infringers. Which means the MPAA just needs to publicize one list of infringing sites to get those sites blacklisted from the internet.

Potential for abuse is rampant. As Public Knowledge points out, Google could easily take it upon itself to delist every viral video site on the internet with a "good faith belief" that they're hosting copyrighted material. Leaving YouTube as the only major video portal. Comcast (an ISP) owns NBC (a content provider). Think they might have an interest in shuttering some rival domains? Under SOPA, they can do it without even asking for permission.

...while exacting a huge cost from nearly every site you use daily...

SOPA also includes an "anti-circumvention" clause, which holds that telling people how to work around SOPA is nearly as bad as violating its main provisions. In other words: if your status update links to The Pirate Bay, Facebook would be legally obligated to remove it. Ditto tweets, YouTube videos, Tumblr or WordPress posts, or sites indexed by Google. And if Google, Twitter, Wordpress, Facebook, etc. let it stand? They face a government "enjoinment." They could and would be shut down.

The resources it would take to self-police are monumental for established companies, and unattainable for start-ups. SOPA would censor every online social outlet you have, and prevent new ones from emerging.

...and potentially disappearing your entire digital life...

The party line on SOPA is that it only affects seedy off-shore torrent sites. That's false. As the big legal brains at Bricoleur point out, the potential collateral damage is huge. And it's you. Because while Facebook and Twitter have the financial wherewithal to stave off anti-circumvention shut down notices, the smaller sites you use to store your photos, your videos, and your thoughts may not. If the government decides any part of that site infringes on copyright and proves it in court? Poof. Your digital life is gone, and you can't get it back.

...while still managing to be both unnecessary and ineffective...

What's saddest about SOPA is that it's pointless on two fronts. In the US, the MPAA, and RIAA already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to request that infringing material be taken down. We've all seen enough "video removed" messages to know that it works just fine.

As for the foreign operators, you might as well be throwing darts at a tse-tse fly. The poster child of overseas torrenting, Pirate Bay, has made it perfectly clear that they're not frightened in the least. And why should they be? Its proprietors have successfully evaded any technological attempt to shut them down so far. Its advertising partners aren't US-based, so they can't be choked out. But more important than Pirate Bay itself is the idea of Pirate Bay, and the hundreds or thousands of sites like it, as populous and resilient as mushrooms in a marsh. Forget the question of should SOPA succeed. It's incredibly unlikely that it could. At least at its stated goals.

...but stands a shockingly good chance of passing...

SOPA is, objectively, an unfeasible trainwreck of a bill, one that willfully misunderstands the nature of the internet and portends huge financial and cultural losses. The White House has come out strongly against it. As have hundreds of venture capitalists and dozens of the men and women who helped build the internet in the first place. In spite of all this, companies have already spent a lot of money pushing SOPA, and it remains popular in the House of Representatives.

That mark-up period on December 15th, the one that was supposed to transform the bill into something more manageable? Useless. Twenty sanity-fueled amendments were flat-out rejected. And while the bill's most controversial provision—mandatory DNS filtering—was thankfully taken off the table recently, in practice internet providers would almost certainly still use DNS as a tool to shut an accused site down.
...unless we do something about it.

The momentum behind the anti-SOPA movement has been slow to build, but we're finally at a saturation point. Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress, TwitPic: they'll all be dark on January 18th. An anti-SOPA rally has been planned for tomorrow afternoon in New York. The list of companies supporting SOPA is long but shrinking, thanks in no small part to the emails and phone calls they've received in the last few months.

So keep calling. Keep emailing. Most of all, keep making it known that the internet was built on the same principles of freedom that this country was. It should be afforded to the same rights.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Over 400 Online Bullying Incidents in Wales in 2011

(U.K.) Almost 400 incidents of cyber harassment and bullying were investigated by police in Wales last year, we can reveal.

Victims of abusive, threatening or harassing messages sent via social networks included teenagers as young as 14.

The problem has increasingly hit the headlines in recent months with celebrity victims Katherine Jenkins and former Miss Wales Imogen Thomas complaining publicly about being subjected to vitriolic online attacks.

Away from such high profile cases, in the South Wales Police force area alone 331 harassment-related incidents classed as “e-crime” were investigated, but resulted in just three arrests.

A Freedom of Information request identified 46 cyber crimes in the Dyfed-Powys Police area, resulting in 12 arrests. Offences included 10 hate crimes, one kidnapping and one threat to kill. Eight victims were under the age of 20. In North Wales, where 18 crimes on social networks were recorded, police investigated one offender for harassment while using a false identity.

Two cases were referred to the High Tech Crime Unit in Gwent, involving harassment messages, and e-mails sent to trustees of an organisation alleging homophobic harassment and bullying. However no further action was taken.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) Centre is currently running a programme called Thinkuknow to educate children and young people about the dangers of “trolling” they face online.

A spokesman said: “Trolling is a description given to someone’s online actions that are deliberately inflammatory or abusive. It ranges from posting a nasty comment on a social networking profile, or a football forum to extreme and persistent abuse.

“It could include harassment, bullying or anything that causes distress to another. The effects can be devastating. Too few people realise that in acting this way online you can quickly break the law. People may think they can remain anonymous when they are online, that they can say and do things they wouldn’t dream of doing in real life without consequences.”

A spokesman for eCrime Wales said: “The e-Crime Partnership, which includes the four Welsh police forces, works to raise awareness of e-crimes of all kinds. The fact that these incidents are now being reported by the public reflects the fact that people in Wales are becoming more aware of the issue generally and of the importance of passing details of such attacks to the police.”

Jonathan Bishop, a South Wales-based internet expert who recently ran a Trolling Academy tutorial, said that as the numbers of arrests were low, fixed penalties and Asbos should be used against cyberbullies for less severe offences. It would be more appropriate then if local authorities, particularly where vulnerable persons are affected, used their powers under New Labour’s anti-social behaviour legislation to issue fixed-penalties to those who harass others, he said. “Local authorities also have the powers to apply for Asbos against persons, which could tell the cyberbullies that they can go to jail for up to two years if they continue their abuse.”

Criminal cases involving the malicious use of false identities on social networks are becoming increasingly common.

In August James Edward Dunn, 28, from Middlesbrough, was jailed for seven years for raping a 15-year-old girl he had lured into meeting by lying about his age on Facebook.

At the time the investigating officer, Detective Constable Jolene Morrison, had urged teenagers who use Facebook to “only speak to people that they know” and to be aware that the person they think they are talking to may not actually be that person.

In September Sean Duffy, 25, from Reading, was jailed for 18 weeks for taunting the families of four dead teenagers on online tribute sites.

And in November, police in Mid Wales vowed to crack down on “trolls” after a 14-year-old sex abuse victim was subjected to an online smear campaign after her attackers were brought to justice.

Mr Bishop, a town councillor for Treforest, said the use of false identities – by “Snerts” who post messages to harm others, and “E-Vengers” who are driven to harm others they feel have wronged them – is a serious problem.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Cyber affairs are the ‘flavor of the day’ when it comes to infidelity and extramarital affairs. The internet now ties with the workplace as the leading place for cheaters of both sexes to find willing partners with whom to have extramarital affairs. It has removed most of the risks associated with cheating on your mate.

Gone are the days when a would-be-cheater had to physically leave home to seek out someone with whom to have an affair. Now it can all be done in cyberspace without the risk of running into family members, nosy neighbors, or inquisitive friends and workmates. With a few clicks of the mouse, a potential cheater has instant access to an endless array of willing partners. A cyber affair can be easily initiated and conducted from the privacy of your home, with your unsuspecting spouse or significant other in the same room, oblivious to what is going on.

Is a Cyber Affair Cheating?
Cyber affairs are actually a form of emotional infidelity. Although in the early stages, there’s no sex involved, most emotional infidelity eventually leads to sexual infidelity if left unchecked . But men and women view cyber affairs very differently.

Most men don’t consider cyber affairs as cheating. However women view them quite differently. A survey in Divorce Magazine found that only 46 percent of men considered intense internet relationships to be infidelity, compared to 72 percent of women.

Are Cyber Affairs Serious?
Many people question whether or not cyber affairs should be taken seriously -- especially, if there’s no sex involved. A cyber affair is a VERY serious threat. A cyber affair should be treated as seriously as a sexual affair, because left unchecked, that’s where it will eventually end up.

In the past 10 years, divorce attorneys have reported seeing an increase in divorces and separations resulting from cyber infidelity. According to the Fortino Group, one-third of divorce litigation is caused by online affairs.

It doesn’t take much for a cyber affair to make the transition from cyberspace to the real world. Several studies have found close connections between cyber affairs and subsequent sexual affairs.
• According to statistics, 50% of people who engage in internet chats have made phone contact with someone they chatted with online.

• One study found that 30 % of cyber-affairs escalate from e-mail to telephone calls to personal contact.

• Another study found that 31% of people had an online conversation which eventually led to real-time sex.
So don’t make the mistake of underestimating a cyber affair.

Signs of a Cyber Affair
How can you tell if your partner is having a cyber affair? Telltale signs of a cyber affair include sitting at the computer into the wee hours of the night, heading for the computer first thing in the morning, insisting on privacy when surfing the Net, moving the computer into a a locked office or more private area of the home, constantly changing passwords, and other suspicious behavior.

Regardless of the term you use -- cyber cheating, cyber affairs, online affairs or internet affairs, it’s a variation of emotional infidelity and should never be taken lightly.

A Fool Proof Test
People will often try to justify a cyber affair by calling it a harmless online friendship. If your partner tries to make light of your concern, or accuses you of making a big deal about nothing, there’s one way to find out for sure.

If the internet friendship is as harmless, or as innocent as your partner claims it to be, then he should have no problem with you sitting beside him, observing the exchange of correspondence back and forth. If he’s unwilling to do that, then you have your answer as to whether or not his online friendship is as harmless as he would have you believe. Safeguard your relationship by taking positive action before it’s too late.


Sunday, January 08, 2012

"Find Your Perfect NIGHTMARE Online"

"Find Your Perfect Date at Match.com", reads this online dating service's current banner ad. "Find a Nightmare", reads the banner ad attached to the inside of my skull. Because online dating, at least in my experience, is one of the unfunniest jokes around.

What am I ranting about? Well, the six months that I spent on Match.com, and the 120 dollars I coughed up were complete wastes of time and money.

I first joined Match.com because it seemed to have the biggest database, and its friendly, photo-driven database let me actually look at the people I was sending e-mail to. Unfortunately, the database underwent a complete restructuring shortly after I joined, destoying several evening's worth of work creating an an earnest, heartfelt personal profile. So I had to painstakingly re-enter all this information.

After re-building my personal information, reconstructing my personal search criteria, and uploading a new picture of myself, I waited patiently for some incoming e-mail to arrive. After two weeks had gone by, with nary a response, I went on the offensive, and started to actively search for women matching my criteria (heavy-smoking divorced caucasion atheists).

I quickly found that there were forty-one of these people within a 50 mile radius of my location. Because I don't believe that love is blind, I narrowed my search criteria to the twenty-five who had actually uploaded pictures of themselves, and immediately screened out another seven for being butt-ugly. That left me with eighteen, so I composed one heartfelt, sincere, earnest e-mail, and sent the same message to the group using a "blind copy BCC".
Five women of the eighteen replied, and over the next several weeks, I began trading e-mails with three of them. Here is a brief summary of the resulting encounters.

Date 1: A Candle-Lit Dinner
J*** seemed to have everything going for her. A cute face, a paying job at a prominent New York film institute, a wry way of expressing herself in e-mail, and realistic expectations about the prospects of meeting Mr. Right through an online dating service. She wrote: "I really don't think we'll know if there's a real connection between us until we actually sit down together and make eye contact". She suggested we meet at an intimate Italian restaurant near her workplace on the West Side, and I hung out at the bar until she showed up.

I remember sitting there with a Diet Coke, with my back to the entrance and my mind swirling with fantasies about what we'd talk about - the arts, Giuliani, the Yankees - whatever seemed most conducive to romance. But then, my reverie was broken when an extremely large woman tapped me on the shoulder, I turned around, and it was J*** - about 80 pounds heavier than her picture had indicated. I could hardly even see her eyes peering out from within the folds of fat, much less make contact with them.

Because I consider myself a gentleman, I bought her dinner (Lasagna), and talked exclusively about Giuliani, which seemed to please her to no end. But as soon as I could dump her in the subway, I ran screaming back to the East side, and never sent her e-mail again.
Date 2: Romantic Phone Sex
With the J*** experience safely behind me, I began to more carefully analyze the pictures that my six "hot" prospects had uploaded of themselves, to look for obvious signs of retouching or Loch Ness monster-style fakery. Using software originally developed by the CIA Global Maps Division, I began blowing up and enhancing some of these grainy JPEGs, and sure enough, several contained dead giveways that they were taken many years ago, when the subject was in much better (or at least much younger) shape. These background clues included biplanes flying in the distance, cars with tailfins, and an old Nixon: Now More Than Ever poster.

I was left with two prospects whose pictures seemed honest. One was an exotic belly-dancer, and I had made all the arrangements to meet her when she requested that we talk on the phone first.

There was scratchy Middle Eastern music playing in the background when I called, and what seemed to be a couple of hungry kids screaming. This is in itself wasn't a turnoff - in fact it was almost a turn-on. But when this poor woman began talking, I knew that there was no way on earth that we could ever communicate earnestly and heartfeltly about anything, at least in any extant language. She sounded like just like Brezhnev did after a hard night of drinking, so I told her I was feeling ill (which I was), and I moved our date into the far-distant future (2006).
Date 3: Sexy E-Mail
Older, wiser, but still horny as hell, I was now down to just one prospect, so I sent her another piece of earnest e-mail. By this time, I was becoming increasingly desperate to meet someone under 800 lbs. who actually spoke the English language, but I was also getting gunshy.

So I began asking a few personal questions about her - what kind of food she liked eating, whether she liked music from the Middle East, or had a thing for vodka - innocuous things like that. I had become accustomed to this kind of probing behavior - (one of my correspondents had actually asked for my Social Security Number, and I stupidly complied, and of course never heard from her again).

To this day, I don't think I was being overly intrusive, but my correspondent clearly thought differently. Maybe she got my e-mail at the end of a long day, or her real boyfriend had dumped her - I'll never know. But here's the reply I got back after sending her a simple "request for clarification of one of your earlier points" message:

I cancelled my Match.com subscription, spent the money I saved on two reasonably good subscription porn services, and tried to forget the whole thing. But I can't really forget, because every day, I receive junk mail about some wretched new Match.com event - a wine tasting, or a boat cruise, or a getaway weekend.

Someday, I'm sure I'll meet someone, and maybe, God willing, we'll wind up having grandchildren together. But I'm 100% sure that I'd be better off taking my chances with a random, in-your-face encounter than by flying blind in a world of illusion. And I'll certainly never date online again, until such time as they can screen out the imposters, the losers, the psychos, and the women who sound like Brezhnev.

I actually do know people who have met compatible mates online, but I believe these success stories are vastly outnumbered by the number of empty, unhappy, soul-searing experiences that nobody publicizes - the victims are too ashamed, and the service doesn't want to know either. Match.com and its brethren are, in my opinion, seamy lonely-hearts clubs where deception, trickery, and paranoia run rampant, scarring the gullible and the guileless.

But then again, I guess I'm one of those "ambivalent sons-of-b*tches who can't make up their mind" - at least about throwing myself blindly into the arms of these cyber-weirdos.