Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More on Fake Internet IDs, Smear Campaigns, and Bullying...

When I read this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer I knew I had to post something about it because it's a good example of what so many are dealing with these days. In short, it's about a disgruntled man who allegedly stalked and bullied people online with anonymous e-mails and fake accounts.

Udinski sent anonymous emails to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, first claiming Algeo sexually solicited a player, and then accusing the new lacrosse coach, Nick Pison, of sexually assaulting students, officials said.

What happened in this case supports my point about the Internet being a breeding ground for stalkers and bullies who like to hide behind fake accounts and identities. But it's not going to continue. I predict we'll be seeing more of this:

Tim Udinski was arrested on stalking and harassment charges, stemming from what prosecutors say were false accusations he made against against officials associated with Lansdale Catholic High School. Between October 19, 2011 and May 31, 2012.

This is important, too.

"The current publicity, it raises awareness and that is a wonderful thing," said Ferman. "But the downside is that when accusations like this are made, they do so much damage. How do you undo that? How do you unring that bell?"

It is a wonderful thing to raise awareness that there are, indeed, online stalkers and bullies who are only out to ruin the reputations of others. In fact, I plan to help raise this awareness as much as possible in the future. It's also very sad that reputations are ruined as a result.

But what a lot of these online stalkers and bullies don't realize is that there are legal ways to find out who they are and where they come from. You can't hide behind that library computer anymore.

No identity is completely anonymous on the Internet these days. It would be foolish to think otherwise. And I'm hearing a lot more people talk about taking action against them. I also believe this sort of legal action is going to increase in time as more and more people start to use the Internet.

So those doing the online stalking and bullying right now should take heed to what happened to the man in the article to which I just linked. You might be taking a chance and getting results you didn't expect.


Jon Michaelsen said...

Ryan - thanks for this post; I've also been thinking of ways to highlight the problem as I've a victim of both online stalking and in-person stalking from three years ago...You are right, how does anyone undo the damage done? In my case, it caused me to cancel public appearances and take more caution in my day-to-day activites. Frankly, the situation impacted my writing, forced me to stop social networking for a time and also caused me to quit writing. Online stalking/bullying is something that needs to be brought into the forefront so everyone can identify it and we can cull together to stand against it. Thanks again for spotlighting this issue...!

ryan field said...

I knew it was only a matter of time for the problem to trickle into the mainstream. I've been seeing signs of it for a while. I'm predicting more of this and more national attention.

I'm sorry you had to go through all that.