PORT COQUITLAM (NEWS1130) – Death threats are being made against a man a group of hackers is accusing of tormenting 15-year-old Amanda Todd before she took her own life last week.
In a YouTube video which has been viewed by millions of people, Todd outlined how an Internet stalker sent out nude pictures of her online. Now “hacktivists” claim they know who the stalker is and have released his personal information on the web.
“Part of the problem is we don’t have any laws that necessarily cover the type of conduct of simply posting things online,” says News1130 legal analyst Michael Shapray. “The issue may be if someone is harassing someone. We do have laws about criminal harassment, which is repeated contact, but the problem is this type of conduct in terms of posting things online doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is contacting someone repeatedly, they’re just posting things.”
Shapray says, however, there could still be a criminal investigation.
“Anybody who utters threats, whether to cause bodily harm or to cause death, that does fit within the scope of the criminal law,” Shapray says. “If people make threats, than they can be prosecuted.”
Social media expert and SFU professor Peter Chow-White says the tragedy of Todd’s death showcases the good and bad of websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
“On one hand it was an avenue for a young woman who was going through some trouble to reach out and look for some help from some people who would understand what she was going through,” Chow-White says. “On the other hand, once this has passed, we’re also seeing that people are taking to social media to find the people who may or may not be involved with tormenting her.”
Premier Christy Clark is planning an anti-bullying summit for Vancouver parents, teachers and experts on November 13th.
The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre is available to help province-wide.
Stop A Bully is a national anti-bullying reporting system.
Kids Help Phone is available anytime for youth of all ages. Call toll-free 1-800-668-6868.