A posse of cyber freedom groups and law professors have waded into the case of Lori Drew, the US woman charged over the My-Space promoted suicide of a teenager.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Public Citizen and the legal egg-heads have filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief. They argue that if Drew is convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), usually used to pursue hackers, the case will have serious ramifications for everyone using the internet.
Drew pleaded not guilty when she was charged in May.
The suicide Drew is alleged to have triggered occurred in 2006. Her daughter fell out with a neighbour, 13-year old Megan Meier. By way of revenge, Drew signed up for MySpace in the name of Josh Evans, a fictitious 16-year old boy who then befriended Meier.
Evans then fell out with Meier, slagged her off publicly online and, after a row with her mother over MySpace, Meier hanged herself.
Drew was charged under the CFAA because the Feds said she had fraudulently obtained access to the MySpace servers by not signing up according to MySpace terms and conditions of service.
The Amicus Curiae band protest that breaking MySpace Ts & Cs is an unusually broad interpretation of the CFAA and could be applied, for example, to a married person who signs up for dating site Match.com, where the Ts & Cs categorically state single only.
While the group sympathises with the desire to bring Drew to account for Meier’s suicide, they say the CFAA is not the legal vehicle with which to bring charges.
Cyber lawyers fall out over MySpace suicide
By Andrew Charlesworth on Aug 7, 2008 7:39AM