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Questions Arise About Swatting Prank That Ended In Death

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

19-Year Old Arrested For Cyberharassment

Brandon Wilson

Brandon Wilson

Online, he uses the handle “Famed God.” Brandon Wilson now has fame, but not in the manner he wanted.   Thursday, Wilson was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is now behind bars in Nevada waiting extradition to Illinois. In July, Wilson allegedly reported a murder to Naperville’s emergency 911 line. The SWAT team responded and found that the call was a false report.  Illinois prosecutors said there is evidence on Wilson’s computers that the July 10, 2014 “swatting” hoax was not the only time that Wilson made false police reports.

Swatting” is the new form of internet harassment which involves falsely reporting a dangerous situation to send the police to another person’s home. The false report can lead to deployment of a SWAT team.

Wilson is also said to have hacked the gaming consoles of two others and threatened to put someone “in debt for life” by accessing banking information. Illinois prosecutors said charges Wilson faces include two counts of computer tampering, one count of intimidation, computer fraud, identity theft and disorderly conduct. If convicted, Wilson faces up to 5 years in prison.

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