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Lori Drew and Daughter

What Happened? What law was violated?Edit

United States v. Lori Drew is the criminal case against Lori Drew for her violations against the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Drew was accused of creating a false MySpace profile under the name “Josh Evans” in 2006. Drew, posing at Josh Evans, contacted Meier via MySpace and began an online conversation in a flirtatious nature. The relationship turned when Evans told Meier that the world would be a better place without her in it. Meier committed suicide shortly after this conversation.

            Drew was indicted on four different counts of violating the CFAA. The first count stated that Drew knowingly violated the CFAA by accessing a computer to without authorization and used interstate communication to inflict emotional distress. The other three counts are in regards to accessing MySpace servers to receive information about Meier, which is a violation of MySpace’s Terms of Service. Drew was found not guilty of the aforementioned three counts and the jury was deadlocked for a verdict for the first count. Drew was found guilty of a misdemeanor violation of the CFAA, but that verdict was later overturned by a judge.

           The Computer Fraud and Abuse act is a very broad law that covers many activities performed through a computer or website.  Some violations it covers are: acts performed against computers dedicated to government usage, malicious code or password trafficking, extortion of money or goods of value performed over a computer, and many more. (Cornell Law)

How did this impact internet law?Edit

            In regards to United States v. Lori Drew, her indictments in regards to the violations of the CFAA were considered too broad. The judge ruled that if the law were to include violations of a site’s Terms of Service, the law would be too overbroad and everyone who ever violated a TOS agreement would have to be prosecuted. (Lexology)

            There was something positive that came out of the case. Many states created laws to define cyberbullying and impose punishments for those guilty of bullying someone over the internet. In Missouri, where Drew and Meier resided, legislators amended harassment laws to include bullying thru computers or any other electronic means. (LA Times) The case brought national attention to cyberbulling and implored citizens to find ways to prevent and end it. A bill was presented to Congress in 2009 to set a federal standard for the definition of cyberbullying. Unfortunately, the bill didn’t advance because it was considered too broad. This didn’t stop the government from creating the “Stop Bullying” campaign. The campaign addresses the topic of cyberbullying and gives parents and kids resources to prevent and report cases of cyberbullying. (Stopbullying.gov)Edit