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Man Hunts and Beats Teen for Mocking Him Online

For anyone who's participated in forums, online games, or any other system where you can communicate with random strangers, you've probably encountered people who make you angry. Some are just people who you don't get along with legitimately, and some are "trolls"; people who toy with others for their amusement.

What makes people trolls is generally the anonymous nature of the Internet. Sadly, this is often a perceived anonymity only. Just yesterday, I found a post I didn't agree with and wanted to comment on it. Since the author had locked comments, I did a little web research and found her real name, school, e-mail address, and other sites she posted to. I was only looking for some means to contact her, but the information was fully filled out on these sites with no protection at all.

Imagine her shock to find out how easily she was found (and to be honest she called me quite a few names at first though we did have a good conversation after that).

Sadly, most people don't realize how difficult it is to be truly anonymous. The only things keeping you safe in many cases is that you've never given anyone enough reason to look you up. And now we get to the real story.

Online games can be tense and frustrating. For example, the first time I played an online competitive game, I was completely crushed in seconds and insulted repeatedly for my efforts. I chose to stick with offline gaming but others weather the storm and build their skills to the point they can keep up and even be good enough to win.

However, there are just going to be times that someone is better than you. That's frustrating enough, but when they're rude and insulting, it can be maddening. And for context, understand that the people who are the rudest are often younger males who believe they don't have to "pull any punches" since they don't have to face the consequences of their actions (an idea that was excellently portrayed in Disney's Pinocchio).

My point is, this kid was being an ass with abandon. What was his opponent going to do? Hunt him down and hurt him? Turns out the answer was yes.

And believe it or not, there's a lot of support for the attacker online. The sad fact is that there are still consequences for what we do, even if we're online. Similar to the adive every parent must give to their children of how posts last forever, we must also teach our kids not to draw undue agression. After all, how do you know whether the person you're "Teabagging" has the ability and desire to come after you in person?

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FBI Using Fuzzy Math to Promote DNA Accuracy?

DNA might not be as strong evidence as you've been led to believe. Of course, if you can understand the math in this article, you're probably too smart to survive the jury selection process anyway. (H/T to schneier for the link) Tags: , , ,

Beware Dirty Tricks This Election

I've talked about this before, but there are some dirty tricks that people will pull to encourage you to vote their way or not vote at all. It bears repeating so here is a recent CNN article on the subject as a refresher. (H/T to privacyorg for the link) Tags: ,

Informercials Posing as News

Wow. Talk about scum! These informercials are pretending to be news so you’ll give them far more credibility that you would if you knew it was an informercial. That’s pretty low, but not unexpected from this type of company. Tags: ,

Never Talk To The Police

Schneier covers two videos explaining why it’s a bad idea to say anything to police when arrested or investigated. The first video is a law school professor explaining why he’s proud to say he will never talk to a police officer under any circumstances. Here are some highlights:
  • There are tens of thousands of federal crimes. Many of which are so broad, you could be convicted under completely bogus circumstances.
  • Example: If the IRS just wants to “Ask you a few questions” you say no unless they grant you immunity
  • There is NO way it can help you. But even if you tell the absolute truth and are totally innocent, there are many ways it can hurt you.
The neat thing is that he gave up half his time to an expert law-enforcement interviewer. The second video is of that expert interviewer explaining some of the tips and tricks he uses to get people to talk. Highlights include:
  • Any cop can follow you for a time and find a legitimate violation to pull you over for
  • He’ll come into the room with a stack of papers with a videotape on top (so they think there’s a video) and just start doing paperwork. Because people hate silence, eventually the suspect will start talking
  • He brings in a tape recorder and eventually says, “I want to talk to you off the record” and he turns it off. The thing is there’s no such thing as “off the record” and every word in an interrogation room is recorded.
  • While you may technically be innocent until proven guilty, a jury assumes that if you’re sitting next to a defense attorney, you have a reason to be there.
  • If you didn’t know already, police are allowed to lie in interviews
The last thing he stressed which seemed supported by the rest of his talk was that he never tries to send an innocent person to jail. Which so long as the interviewer your talking to has that same viewpoint is very comforting. Since you can’t know their intentions, I think it’s safer to take the first guy’s advice and not talk to the police without representation. Tags: , ,

Online Dating Services Can Lead to Fraud

I have always said that the more someone knows about you the easier it is to destroy you. Hence we have an example of people defrauding lonely love seekers through e-dating sites. It’s easy to manipulate if you know a few personal details about someone. Salespeople have been doing it for as long as there’s been salespeople. Tags: ,

Why Congress Won’t Prosecute Bush

Here's a take that I'm ashamed to admit I hadn't considered: Members of Congress may be protecting Bush because of votes they made previously that might seem to have supported his illegal activities. While it might not end in prosecution, it could end their lucrative Congressional careers.
So, of course key Congressional Democrats who were made aware of these illegal torture and surveillance programs are going to protect the Bush administration and other lawbreakers. If you were Jay Rockfeller or Nancy Pelosi, would you want there to be investigations and prosecutions for torture programs that, to one degree or another, you knew about? If you were Jane Harman, wouldn't you be extremely eager to put a stop to judicial proceedings that were likely to result in a finding that surveillance programs that you knew about, approved of, and helped to conceal were illegal and unconstitutional?
(H/T to digg for the link) Tags: , ,

Allstate’s “Good Hands” Aren’t So Good

If you’ve been listening to the commercials by the smooth talking Dennis Haysbert to be in “good hands” with Allstate, you might need to reconsider.
[Allstate ranked first] among 10 companies that do everything possible to avoid paying claims, employ hardball tactics against policyholders, reward executives with extravagant salaries, and raise premiums to maximize profits
State Farm also made the list, but Geico is absent. Tags: ,

Ugly Shoes Also Dangerous?

Child gets foot stuck in escalator due to the Croc brand shoes she was wearing. Most disturbing is this:
CPSC is aware of 77 entrapment incidents since January 2006, with about half resulting in injury. All but two of the incidents involved popular soft-sided flexible clogs and slides.
What the hell is the Consumer Product and Safety Commission doing if they know about this problem and aren’t doing anything about it? Of course, if the current head of the CPSC is as bad as the one Bush nominated last time, this is hardly a shock. Tags: , ,

Red Light Cameras Scandal

Of course, this has been suspected/known for a long time, but Ars Technica covers the story of cities that seem to be changing the timing of traffic lights to ever shorter durations in order to increase revenues from red light cameras. Tags: , , ,
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