Thursday, April 11, 2013

Should Anonymous Identify Rehtaeh Parsons' Tormentors?

WK ignited a crap storm yesterday when he tasked the hackivist group Anonymous with finding the identity of  four male teens who allegedly assaulted Miss. Parsons. Anon now claims to have done just that.  Furthermore, they have threatened to name names should it become apparent that the Nova Scotia authorities intend to do nothing further in what appears on the face of it to have been a case of gang-rape and subsequent cyber-bullying of the rape victim.

Some writers, like Chris Selley, have suggested that Kinsella and others are engaged in dangerous vigilantism.  I don't think so.

One thing that seems to have been overlooked is that much of the bullying took place over Facebook and other on-line forums.  Presumably Anon has IDed the four by digging through their on-line traces, and presumably, should they reveal their identities, they will do this on the basis of the material they have found, perhaps by re-publishing it.  If so, they will merely be regurgitating public statements made by the four suspects. I see nothing wrong with that.  I certainly don't see how it qualifies as vigilantism.

In fact, I think Selley and co. are ignoring the free speech angle in all of this.  They are essentially telling Anonymous (or whoever might identity the four males, as apparently there is more that one group looking for them) to self-censor the results of their on-line investigative work.  This is particularly hypocritical in Selley's case; he has always ready to go to the wall for the right to spew hate speech.  He is now asking that folks who may be in a position to forward the cause of Justice to keep their mouths shut.  That's hypocrisy of the worst sort.

PS. Dawg has a good post on this.


deb Scott said...

I totally agree with you and Dawg. I think anon is doing a service and Im glad WK called them to do so,someone had to. We have to end this era of victimizing the victims. There has been enough rape, cyberbullying and harassment in the last few years, time for justice to evolve and catch up, esp since the digital footprints lead to the smoking gun:P

Warren K said...


As a couple Anonymous correspondents advised me: NYPA.

That's one of their core principles: Not Your Personal Army. They didn't do what they've done at my bidding.
They were working on it before I even wrote about it, they told me.

deb Scott said...

ahhh...I had wondered about the timeline with anon...I saw after that the tweeting had been prepost.
well it was definitely very close in time...good for all trying to make a difference.