Buck Up, Bucko!

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Ok, this one’s gonna be a doosey.

Here’s a link to the article that my mother sent me a couple of days ago. The article, from Portfolio.com describes how “Cyber-bullying has reached a new low—at the highest levels of the professional world. So when anonymous attackers went after two Yale law students, they struck back and filed suit. Their case may help change the rules.”

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This case brings up a lot of questions and should spark serious debate on issues such as internet privacy, free speech, policing the internet and where we draw the line when “boys” behave very, very badly. Here’s Mom’s take on it….

Buck Up! Bucko!

Anthony Ciolli formerly of AutoAdmit lost a job with the prestigious law firm of Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge who cited his association with Auto [[inserted to prevent giving it traffic]] Admit.com.  They wrote that Mr. Ciolli had failed to show “principles of collegiality and respect that members of the legal profession should observe in their dealings with other lawyers.” Well, Mr. Ciolli, Buck Up, Big Boy!

All Matthew Ryan, graduate of the University of Texas, or D as he is better known on the AutoAdmit website, is guilty of is posting, among other items, that Brittan Heller has herpes.  And now he is named in a law suit.  Buck Up, Big D!

And poor, poor AK47 who called for all women named Heide to be raped, well, he’s afraid he might lose his job if this gets out. Bite the bullet and Buck Up, AK47!

Whamo/aka/Joe Traw does seem sorry that he posted that Heide Iravani had the clap. Buck Up, Whamo. I’m sure your stint in the army will help you become “all that you can be”.

Buck Up! was the advice given to women who are cyber-bullied during Tom Ashbrook’s radio program On Point, cyber-harassment. The advice was given when David Margolick, writer for Portfolio Magazine, Anthony Ciolli, Marc Randazza, lawyer for Mr. Ciolli and Danielle Citron, a lawyer who has written extensively on the law and cyber-harassment, were discussing a lawsuit brought in federal court by two former Yale law students,  Brittan Heller and Heide Iravani, against posters on AutoAdmit. Posters who wrote such comments about the women as “Whored around like a feral cat” or “I think I will sodomize her. Repeatedly.” You know, just the “boys will be boys” type of postings. Note, three men and one woman; does it tell you which way the discussion was leaning???  Although to be fair, Mr Margolick did try to stake out a middle position.

AutoAdmit, on their web site, claims to be “the most prestigious law schools admissions discussion” on the web. With contributions from posters using pseudonyms like Farts Chucking Justices and Honk if You Are N****r, you just got to think that Shakespeare was right, “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

The brain child of Jarret Cohen, he and sidekick Anthony Ciolli were the driving forces behind AutoAdmit. Heck, they were the forces of AutoAdmit.  Both Heller and Iravani were, as David Margolick so aptly described in his March 2009 article in Portfolio Magazine, Slimed Online. The piece is excellent and does give both sides of the story.  His article, I think, is well researched and even handed.  He does give both points of view and after reading the article, first in March in my copy of Portfolio Magazine and several times on the internet, I believe he remained very objective in his writing.

Both Heller and Iravani had ugly, vile, nasty and, most of all, untrue lies posted about them on AutoAdmit. Then the “trolls” of the internet had them “bombed” so that all the mean and nasty postings about Heller and Iravani came up on the first page when their names were Googled. They turned to Jarret Cohen and Anthony Ciolli for help in getting the threads taken off line. Not only were Cohen and Ciolli not helpful, Ciolli wrote back telling them in so many words that things could get a lot worse.

What happened then was something that I don’t think Cohen, Ciolli and the oh-so-funny, “boys will be boys” posters at AutoAdmit counted on. They got sued in federal court. And Federal Court Judge Christopher Droney allowed Heller and Iravani’s legal team to subpoena the internet service providers. Suddenly, Vincimus (Kirk Cheney), D (Matthew Ryan) and AK47 had names. Oops!

Here is one of the problems.  Because of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (the name of that law is a hoot) Google and AutoAdmit could not be sued. Google and AutoAdmit could not be sued because they are merely carriers. That law needs to be changed!!! After, and only after, Brittan Heller appeared on Good Morning, America did Google withdraw their ‘ads by google’ from the AutoAdmit website.  Folks, its all about the money. God help us if Google were asked to make a moral, ethical choice without public pressure.  As far as I am concerned, they sold their soul when they allowed China to police the internet. For Google, it’s all about the money!

Cohen and Coilli have hidden behind the banner of free speech. “Whored around like a feral cat” is not free speech.  Print that statement in a newspaper and you will be sued for slander and libel…and rightly so. The rules and laws that govern the written word in other mediums should apply to the internet. Simple. And Google certainly has the money to control what is allowed on the search engines. The key word is ACCOUNTABILITY.

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