16 May 2008

US 'cyber-bully' mother indicted

A Missouri woman who allegedly used a fake MySpace profile to bully a girl who later committed suicide has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury. Lori Drew, 49, allegedly posed as a boy on the website to befriend Megan Meier, 13, who hanged herself after he broke off the virtual relationship. Ms Drew denies creating the profile on the social networking website and sending messages to Meier. Lori Drew Indicted in MySpace Suicide Case. The indictment (.pdf) alleges that Drew and her co-conspirators violated MySpace's terms of service, which require registrants to provide truthful registration information and refrain from soliciting personal information from anyone under 18 or using information obtained from MySpace services to harass or harm other people, among other terms. See also Experts Say MySpace Suicide Indictment Sets 'Scary' Legal Precedent (Wired). Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are resorting to a novel and dangerous interpretation of a decades-old computer crime law - potentially making a felon out of anybody who violates the terms of service of any website.