Megan Meier Case Update — Drew Indicted

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5 Responses

  1. tessieroo says:

    You haven’t read the original police reports…Drew DID admit she created the account to “find out what Megan was saying about her daughter” so she was trying to obtain information.

  2. tessieroo says:

    You are correct…in the original police reports, Drew DID state that she created the account for the purpose of “finding out what Megan was saying about her daughter” so she was attempting to gather information.

  3. Dan,

    Sorry to be gone a while from this site. This post came across my radar.

    Indeed, it is troubling that the Justice Department may set the precedent of making a breach of ToS a crime. But people wanted some remedy, and it’s not clear whether a proactive remedy will exist in the future (beyond the low probability of it; there are 1.3 suicides per 100,000 people aged 10 to 14 in the U.S., while 32% of teens have experienced cyberbullying).

    One of the outcomes of the incident was the formation of the Internet Safety Task Force last January, which the Berkman Center has begun coordinating.

    I’ve been asking whether the ISTF will cover the governance issues about injurious speech in general, but I haven’t heard.


  4. B.Frank says:

    In order for this alleged incohate offence (conspiracy) to qualify as criminal behaviour, must not the prosecutor prove beyond reasonable doubt to a jury the defendant’s contemporaneous morally culpable mental state (Mens Rea) consisted of an actual deliberate intention to commit the substantive tort alleged … namely, ‘Breach of ToS’?

    i.e. To succeed in this, they must prove

    1. that ‘Breach of ToS’ is a recognised/recognisable tort for which damages or other reliefs can be secured in civil law.

    [As a ‘Breach of ToS’ was only ever envisioned as a legal safeguard to enable the termination of a contract for a (in this case, free) service to an unwanted user, not to recover damages, etc. – this would seem an impossible threshhold to cross.]

    2. that accused actually knew the ToS and willfully breached them, which, unless she implicates herself, should again be impossible to prove.


    Having said that, I think there is a preponderant risk this unfortunate lady will be unjustly convicted through legalistic contortions setting a new precedent in arbitrariness, and that this is more a symptom of the crisis/hysteria gripping the US public and the apparently boundless determination of the USGovernment to terrorise the citizenry into abject submission in their shiny, happy-clappy, born-again Police State by and for Oil-Pirates.

    Good luck with that in any case.

  5. Eric says:

    Just about any website that accepts user input (not just MySpace but many forums, blogs and news sites that allow comments) has some kind of Terms of Use or Terms of Service. Hardly anyone reads these things, and even fewer people care (what’s the worst that could happen if I post a nasty comment? It gets deleted and maybe I’m banned from posting again.) What if I went to a discussion forum about China and posted a “Free Tibet” comment? If the site included in its Terms of Use a clause prohibiting pro-Tibet comments, would I be guilty of “unauthorized access to a protected computer”? There must be millions of ToS violations like this every day, but only in extraordinary circumstances would someone be prosecuted for it. (I hope there aren’t any prosecutors out there who own stock in companies sponsoring the Beijing Olympics and are out to get me because of my penchant for criticizing China and thereby hurting their stock returns!)

    If violating a ToS agreement is in itself enough to constitute a federal crime, it would turn the Internet into a minefield. Any blog owner could respond to objectionable comments not by deleting them, but by calling the police! The law could now be applied on the whim of anyone who alleges a ToS violation. Clearly, a recipe for disaster!