by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 17th 2008 2:33pm
We have some serious problems with the implications of the ruling in the Lori Drew case, where Drew was found guilty of computer hacking, because a fake MySpace profile (which she did not sign up for) was blamed for the suicide of a young girl. However, Bennett Haselton, over at Slashdot takes on another problematic aspect of the case: how the ruling creates perverse incentives that could lead more kids to harm themselves. That's because Drew was punished not because of her own actions, but the actions of Megan Meier, possibly due to what Drew (or others) said to her. As such, the ruling effectively says that if a kid does something bad enough or dangerous enough, it's fine to blame someone else for saying something to them. That means if there's a kid who wants to punish someone for saying something mean to them, they can try to kill themselves, and then blame whoever said something mean to them, recognizing they're likely to get punished. It creates dangerous incentives when your punishing someone based on the actions of the actions of someone else.
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