Josh Dzieza's deeply reported story on the dirty tricks used by Amazon's third-party sellers to beat their rivals is an outstanding read, and an important contribution to the debate about how automated systems that police user conduct fail at scale.
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Tyler Barriss, a serial hoaxer whose SWATting calls to 911 we've covered before, is off to jail. He'll serve at least 20 years, according to his plea deal, but won't be sentenced until January.
A California man has admitted making a hoax call that ultimately led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man following a dispute between online gamers over $1.50 bet in a Call of Duty WWII video game.
Twenty-six-year-old Tyler R. Barriss pleaded guilty to making a false report resulting in a death, cyberstalking and conspiracy related to the deadly swatting case in the Kansas. The deal with prosecutors will send him to prison for at least 20 years, if the judge accepts it. He had previously pleaded not guilty in Kansas.
28-year-old Wichita, Kansas father of two, Andrew Finch, was killed by local police in 2017 after Barriss apparently took a $1.50 in-game bet to call them on him.
Vile as he is, Barriss is just a trigger: the bomb is police enthusiasm for deadly violence on the slightest pretext. Prosecutors refused to charge Justin Rapp, the cop who actually killed Finch, though his department faces a lawsuit from his family. Read the rest
The Seattle Police Department, having coped with two (thankfully) nonlethal swatting incidents since June, has announced a registry where people worried they might be swatted (previously) can sign up; the registry is a modification of the existing, third-party, private-sector Smart911 system, and the SPD says that if your name is on it, they will tread extra-carefully in evaluating SWAT-like reports of hostage-taking, active shooters and other high-risk crimes at your home or office. (via /.)
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When a serial bomb-report hoaxer reported a fake hostage-taking on behalf of a gamer upset at a $1.50 wager, he set in motion a string of events that ended with a Wichita police officer murdering an innocent bystander on his own doorstep, without warning.
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Swatting is the practice of tricking police SWAT teams into storming your victim's home by phoning in fake hostage situations; it's especially prominent among cybercriminals, gamers and was a favored tactic of Gamergater trolls.
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Adrienne Lafrance reports on largely futile efforts to make the Internet "safe for women". It's not just that law enforcement doesn't take it seriously, even after "real world" consequences such as swatting, violence and bomb threats. They're so ignorant of the Internet they don't even know what they're looking at when you show it to them. Even when you're a member of congress... Read the rest
Late last year, Katherine Clark [D-MA] introduced a bill that specifically criminalized swatting (tricking the police into thinking that there's an armed standoff in your victim's home in order to get them to swarm it with guns blazing); late Sunday night, someone tried to swat her. Read the rest
If you're a woman on the Internet, harassment comes with the territory. There have been jerky dudes since time immemorial, after all. But with the advent of America's militarized cops, sociopathic misogynists have a new, deadly force-multiplier in their war on women. Read the rest
When I set out to research the out-of-control harassment problem in gamer culture, I never dreamed my mother would be caught up in the middle of it all.
The Offworld staff had a lot to say about nostalgia last week, particularly around the announcement that a remake of the fan-favorite 1997 game Final Fantasy VII is on the way.
Message to drones: watch where you're going.
Activist and intel/security journalist Barrett Brown criticizes the government that wants to put him in jail for eight-and-a-half more years in his sentencing speech, while also expressing "sincere regret" for threatening an FBI agent and his family. Read the rest
Internet harassment doesn’t just stay on the internet any more. Banned from 4chan, the 'net's worst trolls are making life hell for "social justice warriors."
Meet the professional victimizer.