The Smoking Gun today published the results of a seven-week investigative probe into Pranknet, an anonymous, web-organized group of meanies who pulled a bunch of particularly sadistic phone pranks on businesses and residents throughout the US.
A number of American television news networks have been breathlessly covering Pranknet's hijinks of late. These are the jerks who thought it was funny to call low-budget hotel rooms and convince occupants that they had to break open windows to escape imminent deadly gas leaks, or smash televisions to evade impending doom. As one Fark commenter put it, "I'm not sure who sucks more, the prank callers or the idiots that listen to them and destroy their hotel rooms."
Photo inset at left: 25-year old Tariq Malik, Pranknet's founding bully, pictured in a webcam still taken in his Windsor, Ontario bedroom. I think it's fair to debate whether or not calling Malik a "telephone terrorist" (as TSG does in the headline) is inflammatory and over the top, but I will say this: what he and his anonymous coward buds did was cruel, lame, and could have caused physical injury or loss of life, in addition to the substantial property damage reported.
You can hear a female victim panicking and crying on the recording below.
Malik and his fellow Pranknet anons refer to her as a "crazy bitch," then they whine about how many idle logins are in the chat room with only a few participating in the prank. Other recordings reflect the stronger sort of racist and homophobic language one might find in the dregs of chan. I hope Malik and the perps who helped him get the absolute maximum possible sentences, to be accompanied in prison by cellmates who lack a sense of humor.
But guess what? Like so many anonymous internet bullies, tough-guy Tariq "Dex" Malik lives with his mommy. Snip from TSG:
On July 22, a pair of TSG reporters approached "Dex"'s building at 1637 Assumption Street in Windsor, where he lives in the ground-floor 'B' apartment. Calling to his mother, who was standing near an open living room window, a reporter asked her to summon her son. The woman disappeared into "Dex"'s adjoining bedroom, where the pair could be heard whispering. Despite repeated requests to come out and speak with TSG, "Dex" hid with his mother in his bedroom, the windows of which were covered with plastic shopping bags, a towel, and one black trash bag.
As the sun set and his room darkened, "Dex" did not reach to turn on a light. The notorious Internet Tough Guy, who has gleefully used the telephone to cause all kinds of havoc, was now himself panicking. He had been found. And, as a result, was barricaded in Pranknet World Headquarters with his mom, while two reporters loitered outside his window and curious neighbors wondered what was up.
That's when the online outlaw came up with a plan.
Tariq Malik, the 25-year-old founder and leader of Pranknet, decided to call the police.
Telephone Terrorist: Outing An Online Outlaw (smokinggun.com)