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Anonymous, Steubenville, & You:
Hacking For a Cause is Still a Crime

Hacker Out For Justice Exposes Assailants By Hacking Police Info,
Gets Himself (Predictably) Arrested & Convicted  

 

On the night of August 11, 2012 at a party in Steubenville, Ohio, several male students – including two respected high school football players – committed acts of violence upon one of their classmates who had been incapacitated due to her ingesting alcohol and possibly drugs.  The assault was filmed and photographed by the students committing the criminal acts.

On August 22, 2012 following the examination of more than 15 digital devices and over 60 interviews with students, school staff, and parents having been conducted by police, two teens were charged with crimes related to the incident.  Initially, these would be the only charges.  By November 2nd that year, the two suspects (the earlier mentioned football players) would be released on house arrest until their trials in March 2013.

The story remained mostly local until December 16, 2012 when a New York times article brought the story to a national spotlight, highlighting two main issues.  First was the matter of the number of male participants in the assault that had gone uncharged despite having witnessed the assault, shared images of it on social media, failed to report it to lawful authorities, and then having attempted to and occasionally succeeded in destroying evidence – including of their own participation.  The second matter was that of the adults in the town, as roughly half of the town held beliefs that the coaches and school administrators in charge of the students involved in the assault were themselves involved in a cover-up.

Around the same time, Deric Lostutter was living in Kentucky and beginning to come into his own as a hacktivist: an online hacker that uses their computer science skills to promote and support political agendas they care about.  Just the night before on December 15 while going by his online alias KYAnonymous, Deric launched an operation with help from members of a hacker group called Anonymous that would result in plain clothes officers and members of the Hell’s Angels biker gang volunteering together to create human barriers around several funerals.  Those barriers were needed to protect the mourners from the shouts and harassment of a hate group called The Westboro Baptist Church, who were planning to harass the mourners of the 20 elementary school children killed in the Sandy Hook active-shooter mass-murder incident of 2012.

Feeling successful and having seen the New York Times article, KYAnonymous turned his eye to Steubenville and created a video asking anyone who considered themselves a member of anonymous to take action.  Over the next 14 days, people would take action, and Deric would be sent a 12 minute video showing Michael Nodianos – one of the uncharged members of the football team involved in the August 2012 Steubenville sexual assault incident – drunk and joking about the incident. To be clear: the footage was taken the same night that the incident occurred.  KY Anonymous was outraged: It was clear some of what the New York Times article had been reporting was true – witnesses to and possible participants in the assault had gone uncharged by the authorities.  He posted the video on January 2, 2013.

On April 17, 2013 less than a month had passed since the two football players originally charged with the assault had been convicted and sentenced to roughly 1 year in prison each.  That was also the day the FBI raided KYAnonymous’ home and arrested him.  Eventually, he would be charged him with violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  This eventually led to his being found guilty and sentenced to two years in jail: twice the length of time as the convicted teenage assault participants.

 

————————–
Questions:

1) Why do you agree or disagree with the cause?

2) Why do you agree or disagree with the action?

3) Why do you agree or disagree with the punishment / consequences?

4) What cause – if any – would make you want to knowingly break the law, and why?

5) What are some better courses of action you can think of besides breaking the law in support of a cause you care about, or if you feel there aren’t any, what obstacles would prevent your from engaging in lawful resistance?


Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/anonymous-vs-steubenville-57875/

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2013/1/3/1176096/-The-Steubenville-Gang-Rape-A-Timeline

https://quemas2.mamaslatinas.com/in_the_news/109278/steubenville_ohio_rape_case_a/7051/august_14_reports/2

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/sports/high-school-football-rape-case-unfolds-online-and-divides-steubenville-ohio.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&

 

Contributed By:  -M. Kamer




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2020-12-11T20:39:35+00:00
Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time. - Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]

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2020-12-16T21:47:04+00:00
My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity. - Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]

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Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you -Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]
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