The Internet is the new crime space. The MySpace suicide case is in the headlines once again as it is feared it might lead to many more controversial cases. Internet laws have never been known to be so stringent. Lori Drew did violate the terms and conditions on MySpace but this may lead to dire consequences for Internet users.
“I don’t think it’s overstating it a bit to say that unless this case is overturned, it is time to get off the internet completely, because it will have become too risky to use a computer,” writes Groklaw’s Pamela Jones. “At a minimum, I’d feel I’d need to avoid signing up for membership at any website, particularly MySpace.”
So finally Lori has been accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the federal anti-hacking law. She has been accused of violating the MySpace terms and conditions by acquiring unauthorized access to the site. It has also been alleged that Drew created a false account for a nonexistent 16-year-old boy.
This is fearful news for internet users for this could mean that anyone who violates provider’s terms of service could now face criminal prosecution for what earlier would have been, at worst, a civil breach of contract.
“Most individuals who use the Internet violate terms of service,” says Orin Kerr, a former federal prosecutor who joined Drew’s defense team pro bono, “and the government’s theory is that — at its discretion — it can bring prosecution … for any terms-of-service violation.”