There was a swatting incident on December 30, 2017 in Wichita, Kansas. I’ve been reporting on it on my other blog. Some of you might already know that my other blog deals solely with cyber abuse, whether harassment, stalking, swatting, threats, spoofing, or combinations.
Today after reading some articles and comments on Twitter about the most recent swatting incident, I asked myself if there is anything I could have done to make information more available; to inform the public that spill-over of internet harassment into the personal lives of target victims is dangerous. However, as with other issues, people don’t seem to take an interest unless major media reports it first or unless it happens to them. Then too, I’m only a drop of water in a vast ocean.
Swatting is a prank where someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of a happening crime involving killing or hostages and guns. Police arrive and at times, SWAT is dispatched.
In order to pull-off the prank, an address is needed and that is generally obtained by doxing targets. Doxing is the seeking and gathering of personal information of others to use to harass, cause them fear and distress, post publicly on the internet, and yes — to swat or encourage others to do so.
On November 23, 2014, I blogged about a civil case filed in Northern Illinois that involved swatting. The plaintiff in that case was awarded $50,000 by a jury.
On February 9. 2015, I blogged about a case where a Nevada man swatted a resident of Naperville, IL and was extradited to Illinois for prosecution. The State’s Attorney stated that he would seek legislation to make swatting a felony.
On May 20, 2015, I recapped those two cases in another blog post about a couple arrested for harassment by eletronic media.
In August 2017, I wrote a post about a Bill introduced by Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA). The Bill is H.R. 3067 and is titled the Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017. If passed, it will make swatting and doxing federal crimes.
Now that the father of a 2-year old and 7-year old is dead because of a swatting prank, Kansas.com, the Post Gazette, and the New York Times among other news sources, are reporting on the introduced Bill and asking the question, who is at blame for Andrew Finch’s death? Read the rest of this entry