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Entries in Social Media (6)

Thursday
Dec272012

California First to Endorse Comprehensive Social Media Privacy Law

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Starting Jan. 1, 2013, California will be the first state to enact comprehensive social media privacy legislation, officials say.

As he signed the measure known as the Social Media Privacy Act on Sept. 27, California Gov. Jerry Brown posted on his Google+ page: “Today I am signing Assembly Bill 1844 and Senate Bill 1349, which prohibit universities and employers from demanding your email and social media passwords. California pioneered the social media revolution. These laws protect Californians from unwarranted invasions of their social media accounts.”

Bill number SB 1349, authored by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco-San Mateo, provides protections for students and applicants at colleges and universities throughout California. And bill number AB 1844, authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, gives the same protections to employees and job applicants.

“Violation of online privacy has become a trend nationally, we wanted to put an immediate stop to it and stop it from reaching to California,” Adam J. Keigwin, state Capitol-based chief of staff of Yee’s office, told ABCNews.com.

In May 2012, Maryland became the first state to pass social media legislation that protects employees’ digital privacy. In July 2012, Delaware enacted a similar legislation that protects college students and post-secondary schools. In August 2012, Illinois passed social media legislation similar to Maryland’s.

Bradley Shear, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney practicing social media and technology law, served as an adviser on California’s bills. He told ABCNews.com on Thursday that the states of New Jersey and Michigan will follow suit next year.

“This means that a total of six states will enact the social media privacy acts, with Michigan being the second after California to enact a comprehensive one,” said Shear.

“The practice of employers or colleges demanding social media passwords is entirely unnecessary and completely unrelated to someone’s performance or abilities,” said Yee in a news release issued by his office. “Today, California has declared that this is an unacceptable invasion of personal privacy.”

But Shear thought that there was more to these bills than issues of privacy.

“This is a win-win situation for all parties. People should understand that it is pro-privacy and pro-business because with access comes responsibility,” said Shear, adding that employers deciding to keep profit-generating employees while aware of their legally questionable acts can get in legal trouble.

“I would tell such employers, careful what you wish for,” Shear said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct022012

New York's Kelly Plans 'Crew Cut' for Gang Members

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly, a former Marine, plans to use social media to give the city's emerging street gangs a buzz cut with an aggressive new anti-gang initiative called Operation Crew Cut.

Kelly will announce the strategy today at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual conference in San Diego.

New York's loosely affiliated gangs, or "street crews," "[are] responsible for much of the violence in and around public housing," Kelly said. "Under a program we've named operation Crew Cut, the department intends to double the size of its Gang Division from approximately 150 detectives to 300."

While other cities with entrenched gangs, like Los Angeles and Chicago, have identified as many as 100,000 gang members who belong to powerful national groups, New York's experience has so far run counter to that trend, and Kelly's plan aims to cut the emerging gangs down at their roots -- turning crew members' rising use of social media against them.

Crew Cut is, Kelly said, an initiative that will target "[not] large, established gangs such as the Bloods and Crips, but [the] looser associations of younger men who identify themselves by the block they live on, or on which side of a housing development they reside. Their loyalty is to their friends living in a relatively small area and their rivalries are based not on narcotics trafficking or some other entrepreneurial interest, but simply on local turf."

Kelly's plan comes against a backdrop of what he says is a small reduction in shootings, a slightly larger reduction in shooting victims, and an 18 percent reduction in murders in New York.

"We're hoping that by focusing more resources in a coordinated thoughtful way on these crews that we'll reduce violent crime in New York City even further," Kelly said. "That's because crews are responsible for no less than 30 percent of shootings in New York City."

Crew Cut is also launching, however, at a time when police agencies nationwide are shrinking. The IACP's own estimate, Kelly noted, indicated that between 10,000 and 15,000 positions have been lost.

Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Foundation Forum, said law enforcement professionals would be monitoring Kelly's effort to get ahead of an emerging problem.

"One of the most interesting stories in policing is why New York has not experienced gang problems to the extent that other cities like Chicago and L.A. have," Wexler said. "Kelly's recognition of this emerging issue of gang activity in New York and his comprehensive approach using social media will be watched closely."

Kelly tied his anti-gang initiative to the rise in social media usage and the overall impact of technology on the police mission, a topic under discussion this week in San Diego at workshops attended by many of the nation's police chiefs from jurisdictions as large as New York, as small as Hayward, Calif., and as poor as New Haven, Conn.

"Social media is [a] new ingredient, often used to add fuel to the fire. For example, one gang member will post a photograph of himself in front of a rival's apartment building or post surveillance photographs of rivals who they threatened to kill next," Kelly said. "Members also used social media to intimidate informants. They would post copies on Facebook of orders of protection that identified complainants."

In Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood, Kelly said, his detectives used social media to track members of warring gangs called "the Very Crispy Gangsters" and the "Rockstarz" until they amassed enough evidence to arrest 49 gang members two weeks ago.

"By capitalizing on the irresistible urge of these suspects to brag about their murderous exploits on Facebook, detectives used social media to draw a virtual map of their criminal activity over the last three years," Kelly said

However, Kelly acknowledges, "Despite the successes in this takedown and others, the department did not have any coordinated, consistent approach to street crews."

Operation Crew Cut is meant to correct that, and the Gang Unit's members will be supported by NYPD lawyers assigned to gang divisions in New York's five boroughs, as well as by uniformed and plainclothes officers.

"Our Juvenile Justice Division will be the clearinghouse to support social media-driven investigations," Kelly said. "In addition to tracking the admissions of criminal conduct and plans of future crimes by crew members on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere, the division will be responsible for maintaining a dictionary of sorts with [the] continually updated lexicon employed by crews as a kind of code."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug072012

NYPD to Subpoena Twitter for 'Just Like in Aurora' Tweet

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The New York Police Department has demanded that Twitter release the name of a user who threatened an attack "just like in Aurora" on the Broadway theater where Mike Tyson's one-man show is playing.

The NYPD plans to subpoena Twitter today for the user's identity after the social media giant refused authorities' emergency request for the information.

"This s**t ain't no joke yo I'm serious people are gonna die just like in aurora," the user tweeted Aug. 1.

A few days earlier, the unidentified person tweeted that he or she knew that the theater left its exit doors unlocked and was going to plan the shooting "step by step."

The NYPD Intelligence Division learned of the threat late Aug. 3 and used Twitter's system for emergencies to request the identity of the account holder, according to police officials.

"Twitter turned us down, so we dispatched police to cover the theater while we sought a subpoena to force Twitter to disclose the identity of the account holder," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said in an emailed statement.

Police officers were dispatched to New York's Longacre Theater where Mike Tyson's one-man show, Undisputed Truth, is playing.

"We take the threat seriously, especially in light of recent attacks in Wisconsin and Colorado," Browne said.

Alleged shooter Wade Michael Page killed six people Sunday at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. Page, an Army veteran, was shot dead by police. Two weeks earlier, on July 20, suspected shooter James Holmes opened fire in a packed midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and injuring 58.

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Following email requests for comment from ABC News, a spokeswoman for Twitter wrote, "We don't have a comment on this." She also sent a link to Twitter's guidelines for law enforcement.

"Twitter evaluates emergency disclosure requests on a case-by-case basis," the guidelines say. "If we receive information that gives us a good faith belief that there is an emergency involving the death or serious physical injury to a person, we may provide information necessary to prevent that harm, if we have it."

The guidelines also say that the release of private information "requires a subpoena or court order."

If Twitter were to turn over the user's identity at the first request, it could be liable for any mistake or potential invasion of privacy, according to Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties for Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.

"The law prohibits providers from turning certain information over voluntarily and, if they do, they can be sued," Granick said. "But the government can compel the information from the provider with varying degrees of legal process depending on what the information is. When it's the name associated with the account, the government can get that with just the subpoena."

The federal law is part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, passed in 1986. There are exceptions to the law, Granick said. Exceptions can be made if there's a threat of serious bodily injury or death. But that first decision is up to the provider.

When another Twitter user asked the threatening tweeter on Aug. 3 whether he or she had undergone a change of heart about the prospective shooting at the Midtown Manhattan theater, the person replied, "no I had last minute plans and I'm in Florida rite now but it'll happen I promise I'm just finishing up my hit list."

The Twitter user makes frequent references to his or her "hit list," making threats against many celebrities, including Ellen Page, Perez Hilton, Wendy Williams and several members of the Kardashian family.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul142011

Twelve-Year-Old Sentenced for Cyberstalking Classmate

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- A 12-year-old Washington girl was sentenced on Wednesday to probation and community service for a cyberstalking incident in which she and another 11-year-old girl doctored the Facebook account of a classmate, also 12 years old, with explicit photos and solicitations for sex.

But the mother of the victim said she has "mixed feelings" about the sentencing of the girls who hacked her daughter's Facebook page. She isn't satisfied with the judge's ruling.

"We wrote a letter to the judge and we requested that she have no access to social media for the full term of her probation. The judge felt that it would be fine for her to be on with parental supervision," said Tara Cote of Issaquah, Wash.

The 12-year-old, who pleaded guilty and whose name has not been released, was charged with cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing. She was sentenced to six months of probation and 20 hours of community service, along with mandatory adult supervision of all computer usage, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Cote said she wants the tween to have cyberbullying-specific therapy.

"Both girls went online and used social media to do damage and used it as a weapon. Regular therapy will not tell you how to not abuse the Internet," said Cote.

The King County attorney's office did not return a call from ABC News requesting comment.

The girl issued an apology in court.

"I just feel really bad because I know how it feels to be bullied and it's not a good feeling and she didn't deserve to be treated that way at all," the girl said through sniffles, according to ABC News affiliate KOMO.

If the conditions of the sentence are met, the charges will be dismissed. An 11-year-old girl was also charged earlier this month in connection with the case and ordered to do community service. If she completes the hours, the charges against her will also be dismissed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul052011

Casey Anthony Verdict: Public Irate, Social Media Explodes with Opinion

ABC News(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- "She can kill her child and get away with it ... but I can't get married to my partner and adopt a child," Mark Walker wrote on his Facebook wall Tuesday mere seconds after Casey Anthony was found not guilty of first degree murder, manslaughter and child abuse.

"This is O.J. Number 2," one woman said outside the courtroom, where hundreds of people gathered to protest the jury's decision.

In New York's Times Square, a woman reacted tearfully to the trial's verdict: "She killed a little girl. So she gets off and, you know, and she goes home and maybe has another baby that she can abuse and hurt."

Even celebrities joined in the discussion, airing their own opinions of the verdict.

Kim Kardashian, whose father represented O.J. Simpson during his 1995 murder trial, wrote on Twitter, "WHAT!!!!???!!!! CASEY ANTHONY FOUND NOT GUILTY!!!! I am speechless!!!"

Sharon Osbourne was appalled: "Casey Anthony not guilty?? ... it's a disgrace. She'll probably get her own reality show now."

Such was the reaction from the public after jurors cleared Casey Anthony of the most serious charges against her in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Anthony was found guilty only on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement. For those who felt the verdict was a miscarriage of justice, the anger quickly erupted onto Facebook and the Twittersphere.

As for why so many with no direct personal stake in the case expressed themselves so boldly after the verdict, some psychological experts say it is the media's fault.

"The main reason that people are reacting so strongly is that the media convicted Casey before the jury decided on the verdict," said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a forensic psychiatrist in the department of psychiatry at UCLA. "The public has been whipped up into this frenzy wanting revenge for this poor little adorable child. And because of the desire for revenge, they've been whipped up into a lynch mob."

While the jury decided that there was too much reasonable doubt to convict Anthony, Lieberman said nobody likes a liar, and Anthony was a habitual liar.

"And nobody liked the fact that she was partying after Caylee's death," said Lieberman. "Casey obviously has a lot of psychological problems. Whether she murdered her daughter or not is another thing."

Still, Lieberman said she is not aware of one news story that questioned whether Anthony could be innocent.

"In general, the public had the story made up in their minds, and it's hard for people to accept an outcome that is different than what they already decided, even though there wasn't enough evidence brought up to show that," said Lieberman.

Despite the evidence, or lack thereof, many were open about their feelings on the outcome of the case. Peg Streep, author of Mean Mothers, said she was personally shocked by the verdict.

"Ultimately the myths of motherhood -- combined with the descriptions of Casey as a good mother and the photos of a smiling baby with her mom -- apparently proved more convincing than the evidence the prosecution presented," said Streep.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec042010

Friends with Mickey? Latest Facebook Trend Has Users Looking Back

Photo Courtesy - The Walt Disney Company(NEW YORK) -- If cartoon characters are starting to replace your Facebook friends, take comfort. You're not alone. The latest fad to go viral on the social networking site has users changing their profile pictures to images of their favorite childhood cartoon characters.

On Facebook, images of the Flintstones, Thundercats, the Smurfs and other classic cartoon characters are taking over users' news feeds.

Previous Facebook memes have asked users to replace their profile pictures with images of their celebrity doppelgangers and had women post the color of their bras to raise awareness about breast cancer. Another recent viral campaign asked women to post suggestive status updates, such as "I like it on the floor" and "I like it on the kitchen counter." The messages referred to where women like to leave their purses and were intended to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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