from the never-gets-any-less-weird dept
Several years ago you might recall that a bunch of eBay executives were busted waging a bizarre harassment campaign against a blogging couple who had been critical of the company.
David and Ina Steiner, the folks behind Ecommerce Bytes, had occasionally (and fairly tamely) criticized some eBay business practices. Instead of addressing those practices, numerous high level eBay executives launched a several year harassments campaign that included sending the couple death threats, live spiders, bloody pig masks, cockroaches, and even (though it wasn’t ultimately received) a dead pig fetus.
These weren’t nobodies at the company, either. They included eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence, a manager of eBay’s global intelligence center (GIC), a contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst within the GIC, and a senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team — and former cop.
The final executive involved in the batshit harassment campaign, David Harville, eBay’s former director of global resiliency, this week pleaded guilty to crimes of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years’ supervised release, and fines of $250,000.
Again, the stuff these executives somehow thought was a healthy and responsible response to some light blogger criticism never stops being weird:
The harassment also included a doxxing campaign in which the Steiner’s home was posted online inviting visitors to knock on the door, and an unpaid pizza delivery order of $70 to the couple’s house at 4:30 in the morning.
Harville also flew from California to Massachusetts with the intent to break into the Steiner’s home to install a GPS tracker on their car, and even concocted a false story for the local police, according to the complaint.
eBay previously stated law enforcement informed it of the scheme in August 2019. The company launched an internal investigation, then fired the executives (including Harville) in September. But the Steiners filed a lawsuit against the executives last year accusing the highest levels of eBay management (most of which have since departed but avoided prosecution) of sanctioning the campaign.