Tag Archives: Cyberbully

The way of cowards

This is not the first message we see in the news and it will not be the last. We see the everlasting rumble of facilitation and the need to sweep under the carpet the actions of others and never holding them to account. Last week many in the UK were given ‘Instagram bans ‘graphic’ self-harm images after Molly Russell’s death‘, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/07/instagram-bans-graphic-self-harm-images-after-molly-russells-death) gives us a scenario that should kick us all into action, yet not in the way that some believe is the right one.

Even as we saw: “After days of growing pressure on Instagram culminated in a meeting with health secretary Matt Hancock, the social network’s head Adam Mosseri admitted that the company had not done enough and said that explicit imagery of self-harm would no longer be allowed on the site“, we should be angered by the words of Adam Mosseri, yet we are not. The image in this is not as simple as it is given, but it should be. 2 days ago we see ‘Instagram urged to crack down on eating disorder images‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/08/instagram-urged-to-crack-down-on-eating-disorder-images) where the quote: “The Guardian has discovered thousands of hashtags and accounts promoting anorexia, including diaries of weight loss, alarming pictures and comments on goal weights“, we get the advice “Please don’t report, just block,” and that is also the first path where the solution is found. It should instantly apply to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and all other forms of social media.

The simple solution

You as the poster are responsible for the content you post, you can be prosecuted and sued if need be, if a case goes to court all data and information of the account, as well as its posting history will be made available to the prosecuting parties. You are responsible for the created account and the content posted through it.

It is this simple; those who are on that path of chaos and anarchy must bear the responsibilities of the impact. No matter your age ‘I did not know’ is not a valid defence in court. Your life over, no tertiary education (the fast food industry always needs fresh blood).

It is time that we stop facilitating to social media to grow their numbers any way they can, even as the death of Molly Russell is out now, we need to realise that the matter is worse than: “But critics said the changes should have already been made and remained skeptical they would be enough to tackle a problem that some said has grown unchecked for 10 years“, political inaction and facilitation are a direct cause here and it is time to stop fretting and apply every brake we can. The measure ‘including the removal of non-graphic images of self-harm‘, the poster needs to be dealt with, In case of self-harm it might have meant that the proper people talked to Molly Russel immediately, which now implies that Molly Russel could have been alive today if action had been taken earlier. Those who posted fake alerts might find themselves prosecuted, their equipment seized and they can revert to spending hours reading, their library card giving a clear “no internet access” part. There needs to be a price for the damage inflicted. The response ‘I thought it was fun!‘ will not hold water, we have given enough leeway for the longest of times and we need to realise that the parents are often not blameless either.

Dangerous message!

So as we are given: “young people also faced being confronted with pro-anorexia images” we need to be extra alarmed. So when we are confronted with that slogan, how can this be seen as “an ascetic Journey“? If we look at ascetic we see “characterized by severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons“, yet most of the younger people will have considered that they meant aesthetic which means “concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty”, what I would call miscommunication through words that sound alike. You see, ”abstention from all forms of indulgence“, does not include do not eat what your body requires to stay healthy, because the message bringer was pretty clear of remaining in the dark to what constitutes indulgence, and whilst we see: the element of “more than is good for you” to be ignored, we see the sliding scale of danger towards that persons health. So even if we agree with “There is a social obligation and whether there is also an industry obligation is an important point that is coming out at the moment as well.” We see that in the end, the poster is not held to account and whilst we look at the statement of images, it is clear that there is every change that the slogan is kept online, which is more dangerous as slogans can become meme’s in the mind of the troubled person hammering second after second until it grabs hold in daily life. The damage is done!

When we set into law the prosecution of the poster, we also see a first step into resolving the state of cyber-bullying, these cowards are hiding in the shadows, feeling that they have fun, yet when the data becomes available for prosecution as they can no longer delete their activities, we see the impact of their fear reversed, we enable the bullied to go after those bullies. These people will now step into the spotlight and they tend to not like it at all.

All elements solved by properly holding the poster to account and that is what most social media fear, because when accountability comes into play posts decline by well over 30% and that is the fear of social media, to be made responsible is also to be made less flammable and social media grows with every online flame, it is a consequence of participation and when there is an emotional flame everyone wants to participate and have their say in it all.

It is Jade (19) who gives us more in the Guardian, who at age 11 engaged in “When my eating disorder and depression were at their worst, I scoured apps like Instagram to find these images which only worsened my self-image. At this time the posts were few and far between. Clearly the amount of images is now vast across almost all social media platforms,” Now we can understand that this is not the fault of social media that people ignore age requirements, yet this is the common issue that has been around for too long, so when we see “It isn’t only Instagram that is riddled with these potentially distressing images, sites or apps like Tumblr, Pinterest and Weheartit are also full of these posts.” we see the stage where the poster needs to be held to account, we see the stage that has been avoided for a decade and all the players know that they have been avoiding the stage. Now there is a new trend, the image of cutting, even as some sources are about the dream, about: “Cutting oneself indicates family problems“, it is now linked in several ways to self-harm and as such the picture becomes less and less transparent to resolve, yet the first option, hold the poster to account is still there and this path has been avoided for close to a decade, the question becomes why?

Age is no longer a valid point, the transgressors had no issues lying about their age, as such they need to directly feel the impact as they throw away their lives, it puts them and their parents in the picture, it needs to become about this as overworked parents all rely on giving their child a tablet or mobile as a toy so that they can be quiet as they are too exhausted, all replacement towards the failure of raising a child (in some cases). In other cases it is the lack of discipline and peer pressure, it has to stop, holding the poster to account has become an essential first step. There is a secondary need to do this, we see in some parts of the world how social media is used to spread extremism (Indonesia), how long until they start looking for tools to do their work for them? How long until we start seeing the impact of “extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS)“, via a fictive 17 year old boy named Kevin living in Springfield (IL) or Richmond (Vi)? He’ll tell you that they gave him a cool video game for promoting and retweeting something he could not read, and his classmates all did the same because Kevin got a really cool video game, that was money in the bank. For the JAD in the end it would have been money in the bank all that visibility for $59 (plus shipping), Google Ads could not have given them a better deal ever. The federal investigation teams will unable to untangle that mess for months, the perpetrators will have moved on weeks before.

That is how I see it!

We need to change gears on all social media fronts and holding the poster to account is a first step. To remove dangers form people like Molly Russell is a first, but it goes beyond that. Even when we see the sceptical foundation of: “Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, the digital minister, Margot James, said the government would “have to keep the situation very closely under review to make sure that these commitments are made real – and as swiftly as possible”” people like Margot James and her various international counter parts need to realise that it is way too late for ‘keep the situation very closely under review‘, it is over half a decade too late already, we need to change gears and make a first step towards holding posters accountable for what they post, when it results in fatalities a freedom of expression will not hold water and even if the court decides to do just that, the people have a right to know who that poster was. It gets to be even worse when we consider the factor that Apple played in all this. Their part is less easy to see because privacy is set and at times privacy is just that nobody’s business, yet when it results in the death of a 14 year old and it was a cyberbully that was behind it all? Should Apple be allowed to protect the identity of the murderer? It is not an easy matter and some drawers should justifiably be kept closed, yet the image still remains and that too is a moment where the poster could have been held accountable and holding them to account might have stopped a worse matter earlier on, it was not to be the case.

I believe that dozens of lives could have been saved if political players had acted a lot earlier and a lot more decisive.

 

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Privacy v parents

Todays event is giving an interesting application of the law. The issue is actually a lot harder and the impact on Facebook could be severe in the near future. The title ‘Parents lose appeal over access to dead girl’s Facebook account‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/31/parents-lose-appeal-access-dead-girl-facebook-account-berlin) is something that will be discussed for some time to come. You see, the issue is not as simple as some are trying to make it out to be and your own point of view regarding the matter will influence your viewpoint too. So let’s get started.

The subtitle gets to one side of the matter: ‘Berlin court rules parents of 15-year-old, who want to know if she was being bullied, cannot see her chat history‘. Here we see the approach of privacy, the 15-year-old can release this to the parents, but guess what, the 15-year-old girl is dead, deceased, no longer able to make active decisions. We can see “the parents of the teenager, who died in 2012 after falling in front of an underground train, had no claim to access her details or chat history.” Yup that’s a period at the end! You see, is this about privacy of the individual, or is this a minor? The interesting side here, especially when considering the so called united EU nations, the age of consent differs and in Germany the age of consent is 14. I am taking this number as we read in German law (in most nations) the term ‘capacity for sexual self-determination‘, it is the ‘self-determination‘ that matters. The application of Jus Cogens is a cardinal principle in international law. Here we see the ‘the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference‘, the application of consent is not exactly the same, but more important shows the clear age definition, and in addition the impact of being ‘an adult’. As such, the adult 15-year-old has the outspoken right to privacy and a parent cannot overrule it. Here is also the issue about digital inheritance. Can death overrule your right to privacy? Let’s take a really rude example, can any perv freely distribute the consensual porn pics of your mum? Where is the right of self determination, the right of privacy (as she never released these photos in life, can the end of that change this?), what if she sets that out in her will for those digital libraries to be released? It is a very slippery slope when we see interference and censoring here beyond the normal scope of the law. and Digital inheritance is not part of the normal scope of the law. The German court took another point of view. They went with “The court said it had made the ruling according to the telecommunications secrecy law which precludes heirs from viewing the communications of a deceased relative with a third party“, is that not an interesting point of view? It is basically another handle on privacy, yet what if that part is defined in her will (if she had one). Technologically speaking, the fact that the parents could not unlock the phone, or try to access her accounts via another path is also a question that is in my mind. I find it pretty normal that a parent wants to learn whether their child was bullied to death. Is it not interesting that the Deutsche Polizei is not all over that? The next part is actually the most disturbing part: “The girl had reportedly given her mother the login details to her account when she was 14 but the company, having been informed of the girl’s death by one of her Facebook friends, froze or “memorialised” her account. The move meant that photos and posts the girl had shared remained visible, and friends could pay tribute to her, but it was no longer possible to log in to the account“. the ‘having been informed of the girl’s death by one of her Facebook friends‘. How was this verified? You see, we see enormous delays on inappropriate and extremist materials, yet death of a social poster seems to have been almost instantaneous. A slight assumption (and exaggeration) on my side, as there is no clear timeline here.

It is the next part that puts Facebook in a proper bad light, one that their marketing division will require months to address, in addition, how many parents will make a move to deny or demand that non-adults between 14 and age of consent will end up having to remove their accounts? The parents can simply state: ‘No Facebook, or you have to pay for your mobile yourself‘, that should change the issue right proper and quick. You see the quote “Facebook has refused to say who applied for the account to be frozen, also citing data protection. The person who lodged the request would have had to provide Facebook with proof that the girl had died

So if there has been an actual lodging, and if that was a school ‘friend‘ we can also speculate in equal ways that it is not impossible that Facebook gave active assistance to a murderer. It is interesting how Facebook skated away from that danger, so with the anti-social-media wave at present, there is a decent chance that Facebook just made matters worse for themselves and for other social media providers. The second blunder we see from the Facebook teams is “They argue that the conversations would have taken place on the understanding that their content remained private“, which is only a correct stance to have when it does not involve criminal activities and cyber bullying is actually a crime. H.R. 1966 (111th congress), gives us “Chapter 41 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:“, and the added part that matters gives us:
(a) 
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behaviour, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both“, so by facilitating this, Facebook has already created an issue in the US, yet it is not in Germany. In EU, only Spain became evolved enough to include cyberbullying in their penal code. Which is interesting as the Facebook actions would differ per nations, which could also now imply that facilitation for cyber bullies is an actual possibility in Europe. From these points alone, we could state that Facebook did not act illegal, or legally wrong, they were however extremely silly in pushing the buttons in court to the extent they did. Björn Retzlaff, the judge who ruled in Berlin did so on the sound foundations as stated in the telecommunications secrecy law, which has elements for phone, email and internet chats. There is a shallow path the judge walked on and it is not shallow by the actions, but shallow by the defining laws that herald the right of privacy above the need to consider the prosecution of criminals. It is a shallow and slippery path to be on and Facebook might have been better off by assigning a specialist team to that request to at least consider the test whether a criminal path had been or had not been walked. By freezing the account, the parents were left in an empty space that large corporations are now slamming shut like the jail cell that could contain the possible murderer. You see, it is more than just privacy versus inheritance. When we start seeing the Facebook accounts and the ‘owner’ of the account has mental health issues, Facebook will find itself in even more deep water. In addition, the legal issues that we see with Doli incapax and Parens patriae. In addition, consider the application of the Hart–Scott–Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, as we see it in 15 U.S.C. § 18a. Now consider the application on it when we go towards “Title III of the Act[8] allows attorney generals of states to sue companies in federal court for monetary damages under antitrust laws. as parens patriae, on behalf of their citizens“. Now, you might think that this is a joke. But it is not. As we see Vlogging and Youtube Channels set to higher and higher values under commercialisation, the incomes and rewards really go through the roof, some Vloggers are now getting amounts that a decent amount of CEO’s would go crazy for. What happens when Facebook suddenly interferes with that? and this is not a local thing, this issue could go global, which is an additional issue Facebook can face. Especially as the timeline for freezing is not known, additional questions are here. We can debate the legality of the parents having the account access, especially as you are not supposed to share login details, but in the larger side of things that one item seems small and could have prevented a few things for Facebook.

the weak response from Facebook: “At the same time we are sympathetic towards the family and respect their wish. We are making every effort to find a solution which helps the family at the same time as protecting the privacy of third parties who are also affected by this.“, it is weak, because the part ‘Facebook has refused to say who applied for the account to be frozen‘, that answer alone could solve a few issues. The most adamant of issues being ‘was there intent to avoid criminal prosecution‘. I got there in the easiest way. If the freezer account is also the account linked to the same IP address of the bully, we have the problem in the open (bad for Facebook).

There are other issues, yet there are too many instances of ridiculous statements from tabloids, yet I have to say that in this instance the Daily Mail used a lewd call link to what is actually a really good article (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4531934/Facebook-lets-teenagers-porn.html). The quote “Facebook has pledged to hire more staff, but politicians and charities said stricter guidelines were needed“, so how charities enter the equation? In addition to a reference to politicians, where I would prefer to see their names. As the past have shown that some of these complaining politicians seem to be ‘talked to’ to by members of the clergy who could be looking for sextertainment in the choir section a few hours later. The reference could be found in John 12, Mark 9 and Luke 11 (source: Jimmy Carr). The question is not just how many more staff members to hire and where to place them, there is an increasing need for non-repudiation. If you are adult enough to slag-bitch-harass a young girl to death, you get to be sentenced as an adult in court. The issue is that the law (on a global scale) have failed victims for the longest time. One of the clearest cases of failure was in Canada, where in November 2011, Rehtaeh Parsons committed suicide after she was gang raped (17 months earlier) and subsequent of the Sexual assault was non stop bullied via social media. The Milton-Pepler paper, which might be laughingly be regarded as an ‘inquiry‘ stated: “One conclusion of the report was that Nova Soctian schools “need to do a better job preventing harassment and sexual aggression”“, I would state that “the Cole Harbour District High School had failed their student in distress and in clear danger, under psychic assault has failed their student in need 100%. By not taking the dangers serious and by not properly acting in regards to the need of criminal prosecution, in addition, according to sources, the RCMP did equally not act to the degree they should have and it was only 3 years later that the first boy involved was conditionally discharged with a one-year probation“. It is the mere existence of these failures that require different steps. The acts are growing more and more, more often than not to create their fame or infamy through recognition on social media. Censoring has not been a viable solution for a few years. It is not just the Canadian Parsons case, it is the fact that for every case that does make it to the light of the beholders, there are hundreds of cases that do not even make it to the visibility of the media or courts. As there are now years of events on a global scale, the need of acceptance that accountholders need to be hold accountable for these transgressions become even more important. When their mobile and mobile number gets barred from social media channels for life, people tend to take better care of the words spoken. Ask yourself, how many people leave their car keys on the bar? How many walk out leaving their doors open (OK, that actually happens on a daily basis in Canada), yet the message should be clear, we need alteration of the rules, not of the freedom of speech, but of the accountability of the media you engage with (both press and people). We will always understand that when you are young, you will state things on the wrong moment, events happen, no one will deny it, yet as we see a growing number of events of clear bullying and cyber harassment a new line can be drawn. One that could lower the events. In equal measure there is an increasing chance that those people will seek other venues to propel their vitriolic thoughts, and it will never go away completely, but as the curve goes down, the resources in use could be used to seek new paths in confronting those transgressors, and perhaps find new ways to protect the victims as well.

Whatever is happening now, is as that German couple feels, that the law has been screwing them over massively and in their case there were other legal issues and those will remain; yet as those events are countered one by one, the amount of extraordinary cases with legal uniqueness will also diminish, making the field cleaner and much more clear.

Have a great day and consider to be nice to one another.

 

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