The most recent of the federal court cases brought up under charges of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is Lori Drew v. United States. This law was the last line of defense in relation to wicked acts of cyberbullying. The Wild West frontier of the Internet is quickly coming to a head because parents demand that their children are protected from cyber-crime and cyberbullying.
In all likelihood, this recent federal court case will pave the way for new legislation. In May 2009, President Barack Obama announced the position of Federal Cybersecurity to be put under scrutiny and more directly in the hands of the White House. Although most of the immediate attention is due to the recent security breach in U.S. government computers thought to be related to North Korea, this movement could also mean better protection domestically.
This couldn’t come at a better time when on July 2, 2009, Lori Drew had all charges dropped in her federal court case because the CFAA wasn’t designed to prosecute those that made up false profiles on social networking sites. If this were the case, we’d have a lot of federal court cases…
What really happened in this case? Lori Drew’s daughter and Megan Meier didn’t get along. Lori Drew was a somewhat deranged mother who thought that making a false profile online would get back at Megan Meier. She took on the personality of “Josh Evans” and started a romantic online relationship with Megan, only to break up with her later and tell her that the world would be better off without her. Megan Meier hanged herself in October, 2006.
It just goes to show you really have no idea who is going to decide to make prey of your child online. Lori Drew, a 50-year-old woman, decided to mentally torture a 13-year-old girl because of hard feelings. All three charges of a misdemeanor were dropped in one of the most important federal cases because the law simply didn’t state anything about cyberbullying. Missouri courts wouldn’t even touch the case.
Until the government enacts laws protecting our children, the task of monitoring our children online is up to us. This could mean installing spyware to track your child’s online activity or putting parental blocks on your computer. However, no soundproof insurance policies are offered. It is up to you to do your own investigative work and research any and all potential threats to your child. While stiffer penalties for cyberbullying are imminent, protect your children and pay close attention to their friendships and relations in the meantime.