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Justice, vigilantism, anonymous and internet

Internet Facebook Anonymous 2012 Vigilantism

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#1 Godeskian


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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:40 AM



Anonymous has named a man it claims posted topless pictures of a 15-year-old girl online and harassed her so relentlessly that she killed herself.

Amanda Todd, from Vancouver, Canada, was found hanged in her home on October 10, just weeks after she uploaded a video to YouTube detailing her horrific treatment at the hands of cyber bullies.

Now in a vigilante move, Anonymous, the world's largest hacking group, has named the man allegedly responsible for taking the pictures of Todd and plastering them across Facebook.

Vigilantism happens, when faith in law and justice breaks down.

I don't know if he did it. I honestly don't, but I do know that if this former Facebook employee did due his utmost to devastate this teenager, then I genuinely believe he never would have been punished for the actions that lead to her death.

But on the other hand I genuinely don't know if Anonymous got the right person. If they've fingered the wrong man, and that is very possible, then they're going to compound the tragedy of Amanda Todd's death with the harrasment and abuse, quite possibly leading to his death, of another man.

Innocent until proven guilty is the ideal, but what happens when no one is willing or capable of trying to prove someone guilty. Where does joe average have recourse, when the powers that be are silent.

Here is what I know. A 15 year old girl was bullied, so badly she felt no option left to here but death.

I've been bullied, when I was the same sort of age, and I have a deep, bone deep loathing for the kind of monstrous scum that bullies others.

But I don't trust Anonymous. Vigilantism without oversight is ultimately nothing more than mob rule, and mobs cannot be trusted to make fair or even decent decisions.

Anonymous will get it wrong. No one is perfect, and an umbrella organisation such as Anonymous which per definition contains hundreds, if not thousands of individuals will get it wrong as often as not.

As importantly, I don't have faith in Anonymous' motives. One day they are outing bullies, the next they are the bullies.

Vigilantism happens when people lose faith in justice. In a world where Amanda Todd was bullied to death, and only Anonymous seems to be hunting the perpetrator, who does a person choose to support.

The right to privacy, which a bully can hide a crime behind? Vigilante justice, with all of it's terrying consequences. The law, which often seems to be both incompetent and impotent in actually punishing criminals?

Defy Gravity!

The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.

#2 Nikcara


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Posted 16 October 2012 - 02:58 PM

I largely agree with you.  I don't care for an organization like Anonymous deciding that they don't like someone so they publicize everything about them an their alleged crimes online.  I would have more respect for them if they looked into Amanda Todd's death, figured out who did it, and then gave that information to the cops instead of the public.  In fact, I would commend them for it.  It may not be useful in a trial (I don't know if it would be allowed or not) but it could certainly give police grounds for a search warrant or to start investigating that guy.

Sometimes I don't mind as much.  In the other thread (which I assume is part of what prompted this one) not only was it clear that the guy had done what he was accused of, but making it public could also be used for victims to be able to identify who abused them and allow them to take legal action.  Police often do the same thing when they know a person is a serial offender, they just aren't typically able to get the message out as wide.

Sometimes with government stuff, I really like that there are people who will dig around and call powerful people/corporations/politicians out on lies or how they are endangering or hurting people.  Too much bad stuff is allowed to happen when people in power aren't accountable, and sometimes the best way to keep them honest is for anyone to be able to know about the shady stuff.  

One thing I am never for is mob violence.  That's why when it comes to thing like Todd's alleged bully I want a criminal investigation, not a public pile-on.  Police should be plenty interested in blackmail, sexual harassment of a minor, and distribution of what is arguably child porn.  Anonymous may point the finger at the wrong person, and then some innocent person receives hate mail, death threats, and possibly even break-ins and physical violence.  Even if this guy IS guilty, that's not the punishment I would want for him.  I would want him to go to jail and pay some form of restitution.
We have fourty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse  -- Rudyard Kipling

Develop compassion for your enemies, that is genuine compassion.  Limited compassion cannot produce this altruism.  -- H. H. the Dalai Lama

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