Oakland Warehouse Fire: What Caused It

Oakland Ghost Ship before the fire:
old rugs, musical instruments, lanterns,  lots of paper and wooden decorations

Oakland Warehouse Fire: What Caused It
by Susan Basko, esq.

December 3, 2016.  Last night, there was a devastating fire in the Fruitvale area of Oakland, California, U.S.A., in a warehouse that had been turned into an artist live/work space.  The artists called the space Ghost Ship.  Some called it Satya Yuga, or in Hindi,  सत्य युग, which translates into English  as "truth era."  So far, reports are that 9 people died in the fire and many more are dead in the rubble.

Our thoughts and prayers go out for the families and friends of those who died and for those who survived.  May those who died rest in peace.

The Oakland fire department has stated that the building was a maze with many alcoves built in by the artists. The building owner was recently cited for building code violations. To call the Ghost Ship a "fire trap" would be putting it mildly, as seen in the photos posted below.

The photos below show several themes: Misuse of fire, fire hazards, an enormous amount of clutter, dangerous fire trap interior building divisions into small cubbyhole spaces, many lanterns and candles, no clear or easy exits.  This building was the definition of "fire trap."

If you would like to read a basic primer on Venue Safety, please see:

If you would like to donate to a fund to help the fire victims:

All photos below are inside or in the outside yard at the Ghost Ship/ Satya Yuga Artist Cooperative Live / Work Space in  Oakland, California, where a terrible fire occurred on December 2, 2016, tragically killing many young adults.  All photos are used Copyright Fair Use, owner not known, dates not known, all photos obviously taken before the fire on December 2, 2016 -- the photos are undated and could be weeks, months, or even years before the fire.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

This undated photo above appears to the the outside yard of the Oakland Ghost Ship. In it, a fire dancer uses a very high flame while standing on or near an old carpet, amid clutter and overhanging tree branches.  This is, obviously, extremely dangerous.

The photo above shows what appear to be lit candles
 placed amid an altar of antlers, skulls, arrows, and other clutter.

This photo above shows what appears to be a ritual fire burning
 on what appears to be a container on the floor.

This photo above shows an upper and lower deck built into the cluttered space.

Photo above shows unlit candles on an altar.

Photo above shows a hodgepodge of lanterns, a jukebox, clocks, chairs, 
wood, a bicycle hanging from the rafters.  This is fascinating to look at, but is quite a fire trap.

Decaying wood, what looks like an old sled, old music organs, 
and an array of clutter look like a fire could easily start and spread.

Imagine trying to find your way out to an exit during a fire.  

Copyright Fair Use on all photos for the fair use purposes of analysis and review for news.  

Protests: International Standards 2016

Protests: International Standards 2016
by Susan Basko, esq.

The expert panel of OSCE ODIHR has issued Human Rights Handbook on Policing Assemblies, its latest guidebook on international standards for protests. You can download a pdf of the guidebook HERE.   Previous versions in earlier years have leaned toward vague and euphemistic wording and idealistic expectations.  This 2016 version is more specific and useful, perhaps because of the addition of 10 panelists from police departments worldwide.

On this panel from the U.S., there is Ralph Price, General Counsel of the Office of the Superintendent from the Chicago Police Department.  Chicago has an excellent recent track record of large protests with no major trouble.  Chicago has also been able to hold huge non-protest events with only minor expected problems.  These events have included the November 2016 rally and parade for the Chicago Cubs World Series win, which the City of Chicago estimates had an attendance of 5 million people, making it the largest gathering ever in the United States and the seventh largest gathering in world history.  By any measure, this makes the Chicago Police experts at handling crowds. This sort of real world expertise helps make this new guidebook quite useful.

Note: OSCE ODIHR stands for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. OSCE has 57 participating nations on 3 continents of Europe, North America, and Asia.

In this guidebook, "assembly" specifically means a protest of some sort.  These guidebook lists "meetings, rallies, pickets, demonstrations, marches, processions, parades and flash mobs."  Glaringly absent is almost any mention of camping or tent protests, which have been prevalent worldwide over the past 5 years.  Page 13 of the guidebook makes this statement, but fails to call it "camping," and fails to mention tents: "Though they (protests) are usually of temporary nature, they may also last for considerable time, with their semi-permanent structures in place for several months." After this brief mention, the topic of camping as a protest is dropped.  In fact, since the Occupy protests, camping protests have become popular worldwide.

Also missing is any mention of a sit-in, which is a short or long term residence inside a building.

Camping and sit-in protests involve the occupation and exclusive use of space meant to be shared by others.  These protests are often highly effective at galvanizing dissent and thus, are highly useful to a democracy.  They are also where law enforcement most needs to be guided and restrained.  If you have been paying attention to the recent police actions against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allied protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline that proposes to send oil through several U.S. States, you have seen protesters sprayed with water in freezing temperatures, attacked with chemical weapons, and injured with projectiles shot from guns. The "No DAPL" protesters have a huge groundswell of support and appear to be holding ground on land that rightly belongs to their tribe.  Yet, stories of abuse by law enforcement against the protesters are cropping up daily.  The photos and videos are hard to deny.

Flash mobs are also listed in the "Types of Assemblies"  (pg 15), but are only minimally addressed thereafter.  This may be because a peaceful flash mob will usually be over and gone before there can be any police response.

Another topic that is missing from the guidebook is the manner of making arrests.  This is glossed over.  In the U.S., there has developed a widespread practice of police forcing a person to the ground to arrest the person.  This has led to many cases of injury and to physical abuse committed by police.  The arrestee is often ordered or forced to the ground, usually for no apparent reason.  Often, a police officer places a knee into the back of the person on the ground.  This surely causes injury to anyone and has been known to cause severe injury and death. Numerous videos show multiple police officers piling onto a person on the ground. Many videos show the person on the ground being kicked, beaten, or even shot (though shooting is usually in individual encounters and not in protest situations.)  The method and manner of arrest is an issue of dire, immediate importance in human rights with regard to policing.  The guidebook would have been far more balanced if the panel had included those who plan and participate in protests, rather than such a theory-only based panel.  It is way past time for any groups interested in human rights to address the manner and method of making an arrest.

Another topic that is missing is the widespread practice of targeting peaceful leaders for arrest.  Again, including panelists with real protest experience would have been useful.  Leaders of protests are often "picked off" by police in what are essentially random kidnappings.  Again, there is often video to show that such arrests come about with no provocation or need.

Another major topic that the guidelines do not address is the jamming or other interference with wifi or phone signals, and/or the use of stingrays to gather data from devices.  These actions by police to sabotage personal and journalistic media and communications should be prohibited.

 Thus, I suggest that in future versions of such OSCE ODIHR guidebooks on policing for protests:
  1.  That additional panelists be included to reflect a more well-rounded viewpoint, including those who plan and participate in protests;
  2.  That camping protests be addressed;
  3. That sit-in protests be addressed;
  4. That the specific method and manner of arrests be addressed and that police be prohibited from requiring or forcing any person to lie on the ground;
  5. That the practice of targeting peaceful leaders for arrest be prohibited.
  6. That police should be prohibited from jamming or interfering with wifi or phone signals or from using stingrays to gather data.

Among the positive highlights of the guidebook as the topics relate to the protesters or those engaged in the assembly , I have found these things (These are being numbered for use in referencing them; they are not in any order of importance.)

1. Freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right and, as such, is considered one of the cornerstones of a democratic society. (pg 12)

2. That protests often block traffic or cause inconvenience: "Many assemblies will also cause some degree of disruption to routine activities; they may occupy roads and thoroughfares or impact traffic, pedestrians and the business community. Such disruption caused by the exercise of fundamental freedoms must be treated with some degree of tolerance. It must be recognized that public spaces are as much for people to assemble in as they are for other types of activity, and thus the right to assemble must be facilitated. (pg 13)

3. That there must be a balancing act between the different people wishing to use the space: "Where peaceful protest interferes with the rights and freedoms of others it will often be the responsibility of the police to balance respect for of those rights with the right to freedom of assembly." (pg 14)

4. That there is a human right to peaceful assembly, but not to engage in violence against property or people:  "The right to assemble is a right to assemble peacefully. There is no right to act in a violent manner when exercising one’s right to assemble. If an individual acts violently while participating in an assembly, then that individual is no longer exercising a protected human right. However, violent acts by isolated individuals do not necessarily affect the right to assemble of those who remain peaceful." (pg 15)

5. Even if the protesters fail to comply with regulations (such as local regulations that may require a permit) police should still facilitate the protest:  "It should be noted that even though an assembly organizer or individual participants may fail to comply with legal requirements for assemblies, this alone does not release the police from their obligation to protect and facilitate an assembly that remains peaceful." (pg 15)

6. What is "peaceful assembly"?   "Peaceful Assembly: An assembly should be deemed peaceful if the organizers have professed peaceful intentions and the conduct of the participants is non-violent. Peaceful intention and conduct should be presumed unless there is compelling and demonstrable evidence that those organizing or participating in that particular event themselves intend to use, advocate or incite imminent violence. The term “peaceful” should be interpreted to include expressive conduct that may annoy or give offence, and even conduct that temporarily hinders, impedes or obstructs the  activities of third parties. 2 An assembly should be considered peaceful, and thus facilitated by the authorities, even if the organizers have not complied with all legal requirements. Lack of such compliance should not be an excuse to inhibit, disrupt or try to prevent an assembly." (pg. 14-15)

7. What is not "peaceful assembly"? "Assemblies that incite hatred, violence or war, aim to deliberately restrict or deny the rights of others or aim to intimidate, harass or threaten others, in violation of applicable law, are not considered to be protected assemblies. Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law, and that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” (pg 15)

8. If some of the protesters are violent, police should deal with those individuals and not deny the whole group the right to assemble: "If individuals or small groups of people engage in acts of physical violence during an assembly, the police should always ensure that their response is proportionate and focuses on those who are engaged in violent behaviour rather than directed at the participants in the assembly more generally. This is true whether the violence is directed against the police, individuals, property, people within the assembly or those perceived to be in opposition."  (pg 18)

Example from recent news: Such a situation was seen at a recent protest in Portland, Oregon, after the 2016 presidential election.  A very large protest took place.  A small subset of individuals came armed with bats and metal bars, and broke windows on shops and smashed the windows and metal on cars.  The Portland police were heard on videos telling those not engaged in the violence to separate themselves from the violent protesters and go protest at a different location where peaceful protests were being held.  The police then declared the area a riot and stated that all present were under arrest.  Overall, it appeared that the Portland police did a good job of protecting the rights of the peaceful protesters while being able to arrest a significant number of the violent protesters.

9. Costs of Policing should not be charged to protesters or organizers.  Insurance coverage should not be required: "The costs of providing adequate security and safety (including policing and traffic management operations) should be fully covered by the public authorities. The state must not levy any financial charge for providing adequate policing. Organizers of non-commercial public assemblies should not be required to obtain public-liability insurance for their event." (pg 21)

NOTE:  I would like to see this expanded to say that a City should open its available public restrooms for use by those in an assembly or protest.  Other nearby facilities, such as park benches, picnic tables, public transportation stations and bus stops, drinking fountains and water spigots, electrical outlets, bicycle racks, and other existing facilities should be open and their use not denied to protesters.

10. Police should not interfere with or restrict media journalists.  No distinction should be made between media organizations and independent journalists.  People should be allowed to video or photograph the police.  Police should not confiscate or damage cameras, cell phones, or other equipment of the journalists. (pgs 33-34)

11. That police officers may never act as agents provocateurs: "That officers must not act as agents provocateurs and may never instigate, participate or incite illegal actions within the assembly." (pg 71)  This topic is limited to a single sentence, but should instead be printed in huge bold letters taking up an entire page.  There are many stories of police acting as agents provocateurs and trying to incite violence or entrap protesters.  It is heartening to see this despicable practice prohibited by OSCE ODIHR.

12. Policing Strategy:  Part II of the guidebook, which is pages 42-125, deals with the police planning and strategy.  Topics include the use of water cannons, chemical agents, impact round (less than lethal weapons), and firearms.  Notably absent is discussion of the use of a sound cannon or LRAD.   If you are involved in planning protests or in giving legal advice or assistance to those who do plan protests, you should read this entire section.  It will give you a picture of the details of planning, infrastructure, and expense that go into running a police force that can properly handle public assemblies. (pgs 42-125)  It can also help you understand the rights of protesters and how to protect them from harm.  Although each city in the U.S. and each city worldwide all have different specific laws regarding public assembly, there is a commonality to the approach.  This guidebook is an attempt to get the OSCE member nations all on the same framework of respect for human rights in peaceful assemblies.

NOTE: My personal observation has been that the more organizers and protesters or participants in public assemblies are aware of the laws, rules, regulations, and practices of the police and city, the more likely the protest is to be peaceful.   The more people can engage in peaceful protest, the better the democracy.  Protest and assembly are basic human rights that lead to better government.

So, too, the more aware that people are of the possibility that there may be people who show up at a peaceful protest with the intent of disrupting it with violence or chaos, the more likely the peaceful ones are to separate themselves from the violence.  Knowledge is a powerful thing.

More about OSCE:

The OSCE has 57 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America:
    • Albania
    • Andorra
    • Armenia
    • Austria
    • Azerbaijan
    • Belarus
    • Belgium
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Bulgaria
    • Canada
    • Croatia
    • Cyprus
    • Czech Republic
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • Finland
    • France
    • Georgia
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Holy See
    • Hungary
    • Iceland
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Kazakhstan
    • Kyrgyzstan
    • Latvia
    • Liechtenstein
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Malta
    • Moldova
    • Monaco
    • Mongolia
    • Montenegro
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Russian Federation
    • San Marino
    • Serbia
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Tajikistan
    • the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
    • Turkey
    • Turkmenistan
    • Ukraine
    • United Kingdom
    • United States
    • Uzbekistan


About my involvement with OSCE ODIHR: Susan Basko, the author of this article, is a lawyer in the United States of America. Among other things, she assists those who want to plan a protest.  She is open in helping people from the wide spectrum of political and personal viewpoints.  IN 2012, she assisted OSCE ODIHR in a study of protests throughout the world, with her expertise being lent to the U.S. protests taking place in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California.  Ms. Basko was invited by OSCE ODIHR to participate in a summit of leaders and activists from around the globe.  That meeting was held in Vienna, Austria. Ms. Basko contributed by making proposals for international laws to require nations not to interfere with internet or phone signals during a protest.  That proposal was accepted by the assembly and became part of the recommendations for laws sent to the 57 participating nations.  Ms. Basko sees OSCE ODIHR as the organization making the biggest impact worldwide to protect the human rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the media.

Deray sued by Cop for Incitement: Far-Fetched

Deray McKesson
Deray sued by Cop for Incitement:  Far-Fetched
by Susan Basko, esq.

Tuesday, November 9, 2016.  Yesterday afternoon, a lawsuit was filed against Deray McKesson of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by an unnamed police officer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The police officer claims that the BLM activist, popularly known as Deray, incited violence during a protest in Baton Rouge.  The officer was injured by a man who threw a rock or piece of concrete at his face.  The officer does not claim that Deray played any part in the rock throwing, nor does he name any words spoken by Deray that allegedly would cause the other man to throw the stone.  Nor does he claim that Deray ever spoke with the man who threw the rock.  Rather, he claims that Deray was present at the protest, he is a BLM leader, and that he was speaking with others at the protest.  The officer claims that Deray was "ordering" others.  The officer also sued Black Lives Matter, which is not an organization, but a movement of people nationwide in protest of police killings of Black people.  You can read about the lawsuit against Deray in this article in the Daily Kos.  There is some sort of affiliation of BLM chapters, but Deray's group does not belong to it.  Rather, he is a founder of a group called Campaign Zero, which seeks to end police violence by collecting data and strategically affecting Use of Force policies and police union contracts.

Deray was arrested at the protest in Baton Rouge, as seen on video live streamed by both himself and his friends.  At the time, Deray was walking in a legal space along the side of a road. From the video, there was nothing discernable as being illegal in Deray's actions.  He was simply walking along in a protest with his friends, when he was set upon and dragged off.  Several days after the arrests, Baton Rouge announced it would not be charging about half of those arrested, including Deray.  Such arrests still severely chill rights by making people less likely to participate in protests, which is their legal right as forms of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

Deray and a group of others filed a federal class action lawsuit against the Baton Rouge saying the police violated the civil rights of the protesters by acted in a militarized and aggressive manner toward them.  You can read about this here in the Guardian.

This lawsuit by the Baton Rouge police officer is highly unusual in several ways:  First, if any incitement to violence had taken place, it would be a crime that could be prosecuted, and not usually handled as a private action tort, or lawsuit.  Second, it is very unusual for a police officer to sue someone as an unnamed John Doe.  Third, "incitement to violence" requires words that are an imminent call to violence, and in this case, no such words have been alleged.  It is not even alleged that Deray ever spoke to the man who threw the stone.  The known words of Deray that are heard on video have Deray stating that the protesters had been peaceful and the police had not been.  It is very far-fetched that such words could be considered incitement, aside from it being even more far-fetched that the man throwing the stone even heard the words.  Fourth, neither Deray nor his group called the protest.  It would be extremely unusual to try to hold Deray responsible for what happened at the protest.

In any protest group or other gathering, there can be people who either come to cause trouble or get caught up in the moment.  Each person is responsible for their own behavior.  Incitement involves an exhortation or urging to imminent violent action. There simply is no known evidence that any such thing happened at the Baton Rouge protest.  

The lawsuit against Deray also claims he did not try to calm down the protesters.  However, from Deray's perspective, it was the police who were out of control, overly aggressive, militarized, and acting inappropriately toward peaceful protesters.  From the videos, it looks as if Deray was simply trying to keep himself and his closest friends out of harm's way.  

What makes this lawsuit even more far-fetched is the nature of Deray himself.  For the past month or so, I have been blessed with being granted a coveted spot at seminars run by Deray at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.  I've had the opportunity to hear and learn from Deray, to meet and listen to his closest associates in Campaign Zero and the Black Lives Matter movement.  There is no way on earth Deray incited anyone to violence.  I'd describe Deray as highly intelligent, well-spoken, calm, funny, slight nerdy,  friendly, busy, practical.  I could picture him participating in a spelling bee or a math contest, not in a gun battle. 

When Deray was arrested, he seemed surprised, so much so that naysayers online claimed it was staged. Nope, he was just a goody two shoes walking along, shocked to be arrested and hauled off for no particular reason.  The wide-eyed "deer in the headlights" look in the pics of him being arrested is genuine.  Deray's response to the lawsuit against him has been that he hopes the Baton Rouge Police will return his bookbag.  

Deray's associates from the BLM movement are strikingly brilliant and filled with hope and ideas.  One such is Sam Sinyangwe, who gathers and charts data on police department Use of Force policies and killings by police.  Another is Brittany Packnett, a graduate of the prestigious George Washington University in St. Louis, who trains educators as her full-time job and volunteers to help raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement.  Anyone who is hoping to find swaggering tough-talking throwbacks to the 1960 radical days will be surprised that the BLM movement is run by top-tier graduates of prestigious schools, with perfect diction, poise, grace, seemingly boundless natural energy, positive enthusiasm, and a strong dose of humor.  There is much good-natured laughter in our seminars. 

Deray was formerly a 6th grade math teacher at a Baltimore public school with violence problems.  Just yesterday, Deray stated that he he disagreed with many people and thought there should be police in schools, or at least in schools with problems of violence.  But he does not think police should be handcuffing kids and taking them to the office, but rather than they should be on hand for incidents of violence.  This does not sound like a man who would incite someone to toss a rock at another human.

If the Baton Rouge police officer suing Deray is hoping to pose Deray as a tough talking bad guy, he's got quite a surprise coming.   It is too far-fetched.

Open Letter to Twitter Investors and Doris Shenwick

Open Letter to Twitter Investors and Doris Shenwick

To the Investors in Twitter, including Doris Shenwick:

I read the lawsuit filed by Doris Shenwick  against Twitter and its former CEO Dick Costolo, for misstating or wrongly projecting the number of actively engaged Twitter users.  (The full lawsuit can be read HERE. ) 

I have been a Twitter user since Twitter opened years ago as Twittr.  At first, Twitter was a friendly place to communicate with a group of friends or people working on the same project.  Over the years, Twitter became a bigger platform for learning and sharing with those outside one's immediate circle.  That growth attracted many interesting news and entertainment Twitter accounts, but also attracted a great many extremely abusive Twitter users -- people who do not function properly in a social environment. If Twitter were a cocktail party, there are many Twitter users who would be kicked out for not only being rude, but for attacking others repeatedly and shockingly.  On Twitter, these people remain and just keep up their bad behavior.  Racism, sexism, stalking, lying, defamation, hectoring others, roving in gangs, are just a few things that happen on Twitter each day.  Twitter "Trust and Safety" has been, intentionally and by design, lax in protecting the more normal users.  Many of us with normal levels of decency have found ourselves absolutely stalked and harassed on Twitter.

Since at least 2012, Twitter has become a very hostile place, allowing stalkers and attackers, solo and in mobs, to defame, harass, threaten, and stalk other users.  These are not isolated incidents; this harassment is now the norm on Twitter. It is the same people over and over, harassing others day in and day out.  They move from victim to victim.  When one of their accounts is finally suspended, they open another account and continue on with the same harassment.  Their motivations are varied: racism, sexism, a harassing attitude, being part of a hacker-harassment mob, thinking that harassing others makes them "famous," etc.

Do you remember when phones were landlines and Caller ID did not exist?  Do you remember prank callers, obscene callers, threat callers, heavy breathers?  Put all those sorts of people together and today's version of them are the Twitter trolls, stalkers, harassers.  There are huge numbers of them and they love Twitter because Twitter allows them to use fake names and have many accounts.  Twitter allows them to tweet at @ someone, even if that person has them blocked.  That way, the harassing Twitter users can use Twitter to lie and defame a person without the victim even knowing.  Socially normal people would never dream of tweeting at someone who has us blocked or who has a locked account. The Twitter abusers do this regularly.  Socially normal users would never dream of using Twitter to "shout out" racist garbage at a person or to create a hashtag with the purpose of harassing a person.  The more demented Twitter users do this regularly.

Your investment desire is to have "more" Twitter users.  I believe that you desire for "more" Twitter users has led to Twitter not banning many of the very worst, most hostile users.  In fact, Twitter recently "verified," or gave a blue checkmark, to an account called @EDdotSe or https://twitter.com/eddotse.  This Twitter account represents Encyclopedia Dramatica, a website and forum, the content and actions of which are criminal in the U.S. and many other nations.  The Encyclopedia Dramatica website is a combination of obscenity, revenge pornography, horrific defamation,  cyberstalking, degradation, mockery, sexual harassment, lying,  and other sick and criminal things.  Encyclopedia Dramatica and its owners and users are hostile, irresponsible, vicious, offensive, vulgar, vile.

Who are the owners?  In a recent Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Brian Zaiger of Springfield, Massachusetts states that he is the owner of Encyclopedia Dramatica.  Chris Jones of Australia has stated he is the main Administrator.  Recently, I contacted them and told them to remove my name and photo from the site because it is a crime to have my name or photo  on a site that contains obscenity and pornography or on a site that is cyberstalking.  I sent them copies of the laws that state this very specifically.  Rather than removing my name and photo, they harassed me more and posted more defamation about me on the @EdDotSE Twitter account.  Chris Jones claimed that Sherrod DeGrippo owns the site.  Brian Zaiger claimed that the site is owned by @fuxnet, also known as jihad.  This @fuxnet person is a long time member or close associate of the racist hacking stalking group, Rustle League, which has had cross-membership with ISIS, the beheading group. (One of the ISIS/ Rustle League members, Junaid Hussain, was killed by U.S. targeted drone in Syria last summer. He had a Twitter account.  Apparently to impress his Rustle League friends, he tweeted a death threat to me.  I complained to Twitter "Trust and Safety," which did nothing.

A few years ago, members of the Rustle League tweeted that they were asking jihad aka @fuxnet if he could put malware onto my Twitter account. * Malware was then put onto my Twitter account and it prevented my "block" button from working.  Then the Rustle League members proceeded to tweet abusive demeaning things at me all day and night, and I was unable to block it.  This went on for over a year --  a never-ending stream of abusive tweets aimed at me from people with absolutely no social conscience or moral decency.  Most of it was antisemitic, anti-women, and plain old anti-social hate stuff.  (I recall a person calling herself @WorthotheWorld posting some of the most vile, demeaning, ugly things at me, a total stranger to her, who had never interacted with her.  It seems her personal "world" is not "worth" much.  She thought attacking a complete stranger for fun was -- fun! )   It took Twitter over a year to remove the malware from my account and get it working right. After all the evidence of the racist hate and vile hate attacks, and the knowledge that the Rustle Leaguers had injected malware  into Twitter --  still, Twitter has allowed the Rustle League members to remain on Twitter. They are quieter now.  Some of them are in prison.  One, who was also in ISIS, was killed by the U.S. government by drone in Syria.  Many of the other Rustle League members have locked their accounts so their hate is hidden from view.  Others are still out in the open and a few are still spewing their irrational hate at me with routine frequency.

*Note: I do not know if @fuxnet is the one that provided the malware or placed it onto my Twitter account.  The chain of events that I saw was people from Rustle League tweeting to "ask jihad" if he had any sort of malware to put on my account.  Within a short period of time, my Twitter account was infected with malware that made the "block" button ineffective.  The vicious members of the Rustle League and their associates then proceeded to post literally hundreds of hate tweets per day aimed @ me.  I have saved screenshots of hundreds of these abusive tweets, and the hate content in them is astonishing.  I had never interacted with any of these people and continued to not respond, but to file Twitter Abuse reports and reports complaining of the malware.  Twitter would message me back saying they were working on it, trying to remove the malware -- but it took them over a year to do so.  The Rustle Leaguers tweeted complaints that I filed Abuse reports, but the solution would have been extremely easy:  All they had to do was stop tweeting their garbage at me.

 Does @fuxnet own Encyclopedia Dramatica?  I don't know.  I don't know much about him other than that he claims he lives in the Cleveland, Ohio.  I have seen photos of him and he looks like an actual troll. I have him blocked on Twitter, but fairly often, someone sends me a link to a Tweet posted by @fuxnet where he is lying about me and taunting me.  Why does he do such things to a total stranger?  I guess he must be a horrible person, that's why.  He brags that the U.S. government has been trying for several years to charge him with internet crimes, but he claims that so far, they have failed.  Maybe one day, they will succeed.

 A while back, I was contacted by a person who gave no name, but uses the email address vx@encyclopediadramatica.se   This VX claims to be a long time user and helper at Encyclopedia Dramatica.  I plan to publish this series of emails in the future, because I think it illustrates clearly the sort of person that participates in Encyclopedia Dramatica.  The VX person is obviously deeply mentally ill.  Of that, there is no question, because the content of the emails this person sent is so deranged, so unhinged, that the emails could only be written by someone with a diseased mind.  The person lacks decency, empathy, professionalism.  The person is rotten to the core and a blatant liar.  For example, first the VX person sent several emails claiming the Encyclopedia Dramatica site contains no obscenity or revenge pornography.   This is a blatant lie, as people have sent me the links to the horrific postings, with their stories of how their lives are being ruined by the website and its forum and the disgusting users.  The VX person spent the emails attacking me and mocking me for being an unfortunate victim of the bullies who use and run Encyclopedia Dramatica.  The VX person, if he or she had the least shred of professionalism, would have been concerned to make the site meet the standards of legality and decency.  Instead, he or she made up crazed excuses and launched escalating attacks against me.

That is the pattern I and all the many other victims that have contacted me have experienced -- when we have contacted anyone from Encyclopedia Dramatica to tell them to remove our names and photos off the site, the response has been denial of responsibility, denial that harm is being done, blatant lying, and escalating attacks and posting more things both on the site and on other sites that are set up for defamation and harassment.  The monsters of Encyclopedia Dramatica are determined to keep their victims and to keep victimizing them year after year. They toy with their victims.  I was actually told by VX that if the victims will grovel and beg, their names will be removed off the site.  I do not believe groveling results in removal, but the suggestion that groveling should be required shows how incredibly immoral and depraved VX is. No person's name or photo should ever be posted onto Encyclopedia Dramatica unless the person has given written permission; it is a crime to post a person's name or photo on such a site absent consent of the person.  If a person gives notice that the site is to remove their name or photo, the response should be a hearty apology and instant compliance -- not lying, denial of responsibility, blaming the victim, and then adding more slurs and smears on the site and elsewhere.  

Expecting one's name and reputation to be honored and for people to be treated with dignity are basic human rights.  The people of Encyclopedia Dramatica violate the basic human rights of all their victims.  Having to grovel to deranged stalkers to have one's name removed off their vile, criminal website?  And Twitter gave a blue checkmark of verification to these people as this being a legitimate group of people with a legit website?

Something is terribly wrong over at Twitter.  Something is terribly wrong in our society that these people of groups like Rustle League and Encyclopedia Dramatica have not been taught to treat others with respect and dignity.   They stomp on the most basic human right of others -- the right to their good name and reputation.  Their parents failed them, their schools failed them, and society failed to teach them these very basic things.  And Twitter now rewards them with a blue check mark.  And the Twitter investors wonder why there are not more Twitter users.

This is what is so deranged about VX, Brian Zaiger, and Chris Jones -- they believe they have the right to victimize people and damage their reputations.  I personally do not want my name associated with the filth and hate and very low morality that is the gist of Encyclopedia Dramatica.  To me and to the sort of people with whom I keep company, a site such as Encyclopedia Dramatica is morally repugnant and socially abhorrent.  Let those who want to wallow in filth and who agree to be participants in the site be participants in the site.  If people like the site -- and apparently some people do -- then let them list their own names on it, let them mock and degrade each other, let them write their sickening filth at each other.  For those of us who have a moral direction away from obscenity, racism, and hate - leave us alone. Keep us off your website.  Why do Brian Zaiger, Chris Jones, and VX think they have a right to drag innocent strangers into their repulsive, hellish world?  The fact is -- it is a crime for them to do so.  A crime.  Not a dislike or preference of us victims -- but a crime.    It is illegal to cyberstalk people in this way and illegal to make an unwilling participant part of a pornographic site.

Since I am a lawyer who stands up for what is good and decent and just, I often am attacked by people who revel in what is bad, indecent, and unjust.  I am used to dealing with evil people and their attacks against people who seek decency and fairness to others.  I am used to being lied to and lied about.  However, VX was far beyond evil -- his or her abuse escalated dramatically over the course of emails.  I want my name removed off a criminal website -- that makes me a "Nazi," according to VX. I want the revenge porn and attacks removed so the victims can try to reclaim their lives and their reputations.  That made me a "paranoid schizophrenic," according to  vx@encyclopediadramatica.se.  VX is the sort of deeply evil person I have noted is the typical sort involved with Encyclopedia Dramatica -- blaming the victims, denying reality, attacking those who defend the victims, building a wall of insolence around himself or herself so he or she can feel comfortable while destroying the reputations and lives of the many, many victims.   Then VX sent a link to a new website he or she had  just created to defame and demean me. This was meant to intimidate me, to coerce me into silence, to put me in fear - which is what Encyclopedia Dramatica is all about!  Very impressive -- VX went from lying to me, to degrading me, to vulgarity, and as a grand finale, created a smear website.  What next?  A death threat?  Swatting?  Committing crimes in my name?  It's already all been done to me!   What is your next move, VX???  You've already shown that whatever you do, it will be unprofessional, damaging, criminal, and wicked.

The users and admins of Encyclopedia Dramatica use their victims to toy with, to sexually demean, to destroy their lives and reputations. This is why the users and admins all use fake names and no one will claim ownership or responsibility for the site.  ( Ahhh but remember -- Twitter gave this group a Verification Blue Checkmark.)

Encyclopedia Dramatica claims to be "parody."  Sorry, parody, by definition, is funny.  Encyclopedia Dramatica is degrading and might be funny to sadists and abnormal people.   The site claims to be "internet culture."  Sorry --  obscenity, defamation, degradation, coercion, extortion, revenge porn, threats, lies, mockery,  and making people into unwilling victims are not "culture."  That is crime.

I thank God I have wonderful friends, family, and supporters who give me the support and encouragement I need.  I think most people would need to turn back in the face of the sort of shocking evil and abuse that is doled out by vx@encyclopediadramatica.se and others associated with Encyclopedia Dramatica.  I am brave and I am happy to stand up with and for the victims of Encyclopedia Dramatica.  I instruct the other victims on how to file complaints with the FBI and their local police.  I am certain that one day the FBI and NSA will close down this cesspool of degradation and extortion.  We are waiting.  Just like we waited for the FBI to close down the crime site, Doxbin, and finally it was done.   I am aware that many crime complaints have been filed against Encyclopedia Dramatica and the people running it.

The purpose of the Encyclopedia Dramatica site and forum is to coerce the victims of hacking and stalking and swatting into silence.  Thus, the activity of the site is extortion per se.  Victims are threatened that an "article" allegedly about them will be published on Encyclopedia Dramatica if they do not remain silent about the abuse and crimes of the people who run the site.  The people who run the site are notorious for hacking, using malware, fraud, stalking, harassment, lying, and other crimes and harmful acts.  Twitter allows not only the mainstay account @EddotSe, but also accounts of all the main perpetrators of these crimes against others.  The Twitter management is very well aware that this is happening; they approve it.  Not only does Twitter approve of Encyclopedia Dramatica -- Twitter has given a blue verification checkmark to @EDdotSE, the  Encyclopedia Dramatica Twitter account.

 I was extorted for several years by a person named Jaime Cochran (a member of the hacker stalker terrorist group, Rustle League)  before s/he finally posted a defamatory page about me on the disgusting Encyclopedia Dramatica website.  Cochran was threatening me because s/he had earlier posted personal data about me online as revenge because I helped a mentally ill man who was in jail on serious charges get mental health care.  That act of kindness on my part required Jaime Cochran to first publish personal data about me (much of it incorrect, which was good) and then to threaten and menace me for over 2 years, and then to post defamation about me on Encyclopedia Dramatica to try to harm my reputation.  This is a VIDEO OF JAIME COCHRAN explaining that s/he thinks it is "funny" to stalk people and harm their reputations.  Watch the video - this is one of the people Twitter is anointing with a Blue Check mark verification given to Encyclopedia Dramatica.  (and yes, Jaime Cochran has a Twitter account.)

Jaime Cochran's hate tweets and postings against me were virulent antisemitism.  S/he tweeted calling me such things as "filthy Jew cunt."  This antisemitism was the focus of the whole Rustle League, which lent itself to their underpinning of association with ISIS.  In addition to aiming literally thousands of antisemitic tweets at me, they made impersonation Twitter accounts, websites, etc., all designed in the most shocking hate-filled antisemitic way.  I have screen shots, and these things are astonishingly hateful.  (Note: I am not Jewish, which I say so as not to confuse the readers.  The fact is Cochran and the other Rustle Leaguers were driven by their hate of Jews, and they focused their hate onto me.)

At the time, Cochran also tweeted that s/he was engaged in these hate activities and attacks to try to make the Rustle League "relevant."   (Take my word for it, being tormented for someone's plan to gain "relevancy" for their hate group is really difficult and painful.)  I have wondered to what extent Cochran's actions were meant to recruit hackers for ISIS.  The Rustle League - ISIS compatriot, Junaid Hussain, was in charge of the ISIS Cyber Caliphate, allegedly hacking or engaging in fraud for ISIS.  I do not think it was coincidental that the Rustle League was drenched in antisemitic hate and death threats.

Twitter did eventually kick Jaime Cochran off Twitter, but allowed Cochran to make a new account after a few weeks.  The "suspension," as twitter calls it, happened after months and months of Cochran posting malicious, vile, garbage at me -- without me ever responding.  It was a clear case:  Zero tweets going from me to Cochran, while Cochran aimed hundreds or thousands of shocking, gasp-worthy antisemitic hate tweets at me and encouraged her compatriots, most of whom are young drug addicts, hackers, or disturbed individuals, to do the same.   Twitter allowed this to go on for years before finally suspending Cochran.  The suspension should have happened at least a year before it did and it should have been permanent and reinforced with a court order.

What Makes Encyclopedia Dramatica so incredibly harmful:  I will state upfront that I am one of the many victims of Encyclopedia Dramatica and the dreadful people that run and use the site.  Since I am a lawyer involved in the internet, I have been contacted by many other such victims, mainly victims of revenge porn on the Encyclopedia Dramatica website and forum and victims of horrific defamation and lies on the site.    The victims of the revenge porn on Encyclopedia Dramatica send me links to the disgusting pages that have been created in their names.  Degrading, demeaning sexual lies and smears are posted about them on the Encyclopedia Dramatica forums.  The victims of Encyclopedia Dramatica all state their lives and quality of living have been seriously harmed by Encyclopedia Dramatica.  One person was being kept in sexual slavery and unable to get a regular job because of the revenge porn and sexual taunts on Encyclopedia Dramatica.  Another person found her family unwilling to speak or associate with her because of the shocking sexual lies posted "about" her on the Encyclopedia Dramatica forum, along with the revenge porn photos.  When these victims contact people from Encyclopedia Dramatica to try to get their names and pictures removed off the site, the response of the site owners and admins is to mock them and post more and worse things.  I have had the exact same experience.  The purpose of Encyclopedia Dramatica is to harm and extort -- and they do a very good job at this. 

Encyclopedia Dramatica is a blatantly criminal site.  It is a crime in my State to put any person's name or photo on any website that has obscenity. It is also illegal in my State as cyberstalking to put any person's name onto a website that would make a reasonable person feel fear or danger.  I have told the Admins of Encyclopedia Dramatica to remove my name and any photos off the site.  I cited the pertinent laws and sent them links to and copies of the laws. Their Reply?  A bunch of excuses and blame-the-victim nonsense.  Brian Zaiger, who ran an AMA (Ask Me Anything) a few months ago on Reddit, stating he is the OWNER of Encyclopedia Dramatica, when told to remove my name off his filthy website, claimed he was not the owner. Chris Jones, one of the Admins of Encyclopedia Dramatica, claims the owner of the site is Sherrod DeGrippo.  Lawsuits filed in the UK against Encyclopedia Dramatica, Brian Zaiger, and Chris Jones yielded judgements.

My name and horrifying photoshopped pictures and terrifying lies and defamation against me are on the Encyclopedia Dramatica website, which has very strong SEO (search engine optimization).  If my name is googled, this horrific, obscene, sickening website comes up high in the ranks.  This is a shocking crime against me.  This very same crime is committed against hundreds of other victims.  This is an actual crime, since the laws of my State make it a felony to place my name or photo onto a website that contains pornography, unless I give my written consent.  The laws of my State also make it a felony to place my name onto a website that would make a reasonable person uncomfortable to have their name there.  I have given copies of these laws to Brian Zaiger and Chris Jones and told them to remove my name in full off the site.  What did I get?  The ED folks posted more lies and defamation about me on the site and used their Twitter account, @EddotSe, to post more astonishing defamation about me.  That is how they operate.

Encyclopedia Dramatica is not a normal, responsible website.  Search the site for contact info on where to complain, and you will find yourself confronted with shocking, obscene photos.  Contact any of the Site Administrators, and you will be dealt with lies, vulgarity, threats against your life, extortion threats, postings that ridicule you and threaten you.  The Encyclopedia Dramatica Owners and Admins blame the victims of these crimes for the crimes being committed against them.

AND YET, Twitter has given its blue checkmark of verification to the  Encyclopedia Dramatica Twitter account, @EddotSE.  Twitter has given its stamp of approval.  Twitter is DESPERATE for users, and some of the most active users of Twitter are those that use it as a platform to harass, harm, defame, lie about, and stalk others.

I am asking the Twitter investors to think about this clearly.  Does Twitter need MORE users or does it need BETTER users -- or does it need better infrastructure that would prevent the very many bad people who use Twitter on a regular basis from attacking those of use who are on Twitter to socialize in a more normal, friendly, socially acceptable way?

Twitter "Trust and Safety" is an utterly useless department.  It is run by someone who uses the fake name of @Delbius.  The system for making Abuse Reports to Twitter is elaborate, but abusive users are rarely removed, and when they are, they come right back using a different account.  Abusive tweets are almost never removed unless the entire account is closed down.  

 My complaint is not unique at all, but rather is a common complaint among Twitter users who use their real names and identities.  When a famous person quits Twitter because of the abuse, this becomes a news story.  There have been many such news stories!   As the investors, it seems you would be more concerned with keeping those users who are chased away -- and with permanently banning the abusers. It seems that banning the abusive users will, in many cases, require getting court orders to keep them from creating more accounts.

A few things I have seen in the past few months on Twitter:

  • A group of harassing, hectoring people setting upon a young married couple and harassing them mercilessly, constantly.  When the couple's baby was stillborn, the mob of stalkers tweeted pictures of the dead baby and mocked the parents.  This was shocking and heartbreaking.  The harassers are all still on Twitter, doing their usual horrifying things.  And who are they? One is a lawyer, several are middle-aged women, one is a young man from a rural area.
  • A Twitter account claiming to be a person hiding a kidnapped child. The account posts grisly photos of death.  The account posts photos of lynched Black people, praising racism, and pictures of Holocaust victims, praising antisemitism.  That account was closed down ("suspended," in Twitter lingo) and the person immediately started a new account.
  • A man in California running a group that stalked and harassed dozens of people, mainly mothers and grandmothers -- calling them pedophiles, issuing death threats, falsely claiming they did something to him.  He bought domains in their names and started websites smearing them -- and then tweeted links to the defamatory websites harassing all these women.  Twitter shut down many of the man's Twitter accounts, and he kept opening new ones.  He currently has at least one account and he uses it to post vile lies and links to his smear websites.  Twitter could have and should go into court and have him and all his helpers ordered to keep off Twitter.  But Twitter does not do this -- they are trying to get their user numbers up to please you, the investors.
  • A mentally ill lawyer from Covina, California, recently spent a month using her 4 or 5 Twitter accounts to post lies about imaginary crimes being committed against her, to tweet accusations and threats at government workers, elected officials, and what was apparently her psychiatrist.  People were severely defamed, harassed, and stalked for over a month.  I know -- I am one of the people that was victimized by this person.  Not only is she still on twitter, she has opened several new accounts! 
When the police and Secret Service have to monitor a series of accounts held by an unhinged person -- maybe it is time for Twitter to close the accounts and ban the person from using Twitter??  But like the example above, such people stay on Twitter.  There was also a recent incident where a man named Kyler Schmitz kept using his Twitter account to make death threats against elected officials. READ HERE The Washington Post reported that the man had to be ordered off Twitter by a judge, since Twitter took no action to remove him. According to The Hill, the death threats against the Senators remained on Twitter for two weeks.  This is Twitter "Trust and Safety" -- absolutely irresponsible and ineffective at enforcing even the written Twitter rules.   Is it that Twitter is afraid to lose unhinged users, who provide a flurry of viewing, since everyone wants to see who they will threaten to kill next?  Again, it is a question of more Twitter users, or better Twitter users.

Just a side note -- Twitter has a lot of pornography, such as this: https://twitter.com/slave_likeicare  However, the people running this particular Twitter account do not appear to be bothering other Twitter users.  I think it is criminal to be allowing pornography and obscenity on a website that is open to the public, including children.  Twitter is providing access to pornography and obscenity to people under age 18.  That is not legal.  The culpability and liability for these decisions and the lack of responsiveness and effectiveness of Twitter "Trust and Safety" are things the investors should look into.

Dear Twitter investors and  Doris Shenwick, please think about this.  Does Twitter need more users or a better quality of user?   If Twitter is going to be made decent or basically safe, there are going to be fewer users, at least for a while.


Don't Be a Troll

Don't Be a Troll
by Susan Basko, esq

Trolls are people who act like fools on the internet.  Ten years ago, there was a general idea that the internet was a place separate and apart from the real world, a place where offensive or illegal actions did not count because they were not "real."  Ten years later, a great many "trolls" are in prison or facing it, or have their reputations permanently harmed.  

The internet has seen a lot of bad "leaders" -- people luring others in to bad behavior. These bad leaders have led gullible young people to believe that socially unacceptable things such as racism, sexism, harassment, obscenity, etc., when done on the internet -- were funny or did not count.  The victims of these actions have thought otherwise.  

These bad internet leaders have also caused some young people, who might otherwise have been intelligent and ambitious, to spend their internet time and efforts on actions and attacks meant to harm or reverse social progress.  We've seen the sad display of people spending their online time attacking activists, attacking victims of tragedies or their families, mocking those who help others, attacking women in technology, attacking racial minorities, creating bizarre conspiracy theories or mind-blowingly stupid hoax theories, engaging in a cult of death or depravity, or giving themselves over to obscenity or pure stupidity.  To me, this has often seemed like an intentional "dumbing down" of otherwise smart people, as if there is an invisible effort to keep people from being socially or politically active or aware, because they are too busy creating or posting foolish memes or posting idiotic racist or antisemitic comments.  

It has been reported that in Russia, there is a specific enterprise, called the Web Brigade, engaged in creating such foolish internet content for the purpose of mocking the politically progressive.  Sadly, in the U.S., internet trolls are often fools who engage in this type of counterproductive subterfuge on their own or in mob groups, not for pay, but simply out of the desperation of wanting some small level of fame or notoriety.  Thus, the targets of trolls are often people the trolls see as having more fame or accomplishments than they do, so that by attacking those people, the trolls believe they will move up the ladder a small step in their quest for internet fame. Why it never occurs to them to seek their fame by doing something good and productive is baffling.  Perhaps it is easier to be a fool, to be a racist, to be the class clown, because it is so easy to succeed at being bad.  

If you don't want to be a troll, here is a list of things to avoid doing.  Many of these things are crimes. Some are actions usually undertaken only by the mentally ill.  Others are actions of hate. Others are signs or symptoms that a person is unethical and untrustworthy.  Each of these actions can be found at any time on the internet, particularly on Twitter, where trolls and fools abound. 

 I have been the victim of lots of lots of foolish and sinister trolls, so creating this list is easy.  The flip side is that I have been around long enough to watch so many trolls end out in prison, hiding out from the law, in big trouble at their jobs, or caught in an endless cycle of their own foolishness. 

Don't Be a Troll - 13 Things to Avoid:

1. DON'T post any correspondence you received from another person, unless that person has given you specific written permission to do so.  It doesn't matter what your reason or excuse is.  Publicly posting personal correspondence that was sent to you means you are unethical and untrustworthy.  The personal correspondence could be a letter, email, direct message, phone call, picture, etc.

2. DON'T post any correspondence of third parties, unless you have written permission from all the participants in the correspondence, as well as from anyone mentioned or discussed in the correspondence.   Again, posting any such thing means you are unethical and untrustworthy.  If the correspondence is strictly truthful and noninvasive and about people and events in the public eye, and you have permission of all parties to the correspondence, then it would also be okay to post or publish it.  Otherwise, you are abusing the trust placed in you.

3. DON'T photoshop the picture of any person to make it obscene or mocking or insulting.  This is bad behavior and it is also usually illegal as a copyright violation.  Satire is a Fair Use of copyright  materials, but satire is very rare.  Satire must actually be funny and is usually about a public figure.  If what has been created is mean or insulting or obscene, it is, by definition, not satire.

4. DON'T post any personal information about anyone.  Such acts are usually invasions of privacy and are cyberstalking.  These actions are also very often defamation because the personal information that you think you know is most likely not true or not fully true.  If you are posting things such as anyone's social security number, address, financial information, or any other such thing, you are a foolish troll.  You are displaying yourself to the world as someone who is unethical and cannot be trusted.  If you ever run for public office or apply for any job with any level of security clearance, you deserve to be denied on the basis that you cannot be trusted with others' information.

5. DON'T post your assumptions about anyone.  I have experienced this so often, as clownish buffoon trolls have posted their bizarre assumptions about me, my work, my friendships.  Some even created an imaginary address for me, and one clownish lawyer put this fake address in a lawsuit filing in a case where I was not a party, lawyer, witness, or anything.  Idiotic trolls have posted their weird theories about me being a friend, pal, associate, or supporter of persons who have barely crossed my mental threshold or that I never even heard of.  This is idiotic trolling.  

 6. DON'T expect people to behave unethically for your amusement.  I am a lawyer.  As such, it is unethical for me to talk about or post about my work, to name my clients, or to discuss what I am doing. A lawyer is not even allowed to state who their clients are, unless the client gives permission.  Very rarely, I have written about or spoken about a client and their situation.  This was always with the client's permission or more often, at their specific request.  This happens because the client feels their interests are best served if the public knows some certain thing about them.    Don't ever expect a lawyer or other trusted professional, such as counselor, therapist, minister, teacher, care giver, journalist, or any other person entrusted with personal information to break confidentiality in order to give you information.  It's not ethical.  

7. DON'T create or post any form of indecency.  We've all watched as peoples' careers and lives have crumbled after they posted dick pics, sex pics, rape videos, "goatse" pics," sex gifs, etc.  At best, posting such things marks you as short-sighted and unprofessional and inconsiderate of others.  Posting such things can also cause you to lose your job or to be denied a job or career, cause you to lose a desired personal relationship, bar you from any position requiring security clearance, and possibly get you charged with a crime.

8. DON'T post any form of racism or antisemitism.  These hateful things might look smart to you and your two internet friends, but most of the world is not living back in 1952.  Twitter in particular allows its users to post lots of hate-filled garbage and does nothing about it.   Sure, you can use Twitter to spread hate.  But, you could also use Twitter to learn about others whose lives are different than your own. How you use the social media is a reflection of what kind of person you are.   

9. DON'T swat or soft swat anyone. That means, do not file a false police report hoping to get an emergency response sent to someone else's home or job.  Soft swats are just as bad -- calling the police for a welfare check on someone basically to get back at them.  Swatting is illegal and extremely dangerous.  Swatting a person can harm them physically, financially, psychologically, socially.  This is a very serious crime.   Swatting is not a prank, a joke, or in any way harmless.  It is not an acceptable "payback" or a way to stop someone from doing something.  Swatting is a crime, and a very dangerous act.  On the other hand, it is acceptable to report if someone has suicidal plans or plans to kill or hurt others.

10. DON'T hack anybody's website, email, Twitter, etc.  Hacking takes very little skill.  That's why 12 year olds do it during their lunch breaks at school.  Hacking in to other peoples' websites and accounts is a crime.  Granted, some hacking is kind of funny, such as kids hacking into the emails of the head of a major national security agency who uses AOL email.  But even if funny, this is a crime.  There is a famous old rule: Just because you can do something, does not mean you should do it.  We have social boundaries.  I could walk down the street right now, find an open door, and go in and steal things.  I don't do that because I respect other people and their homes and I expect them to respect me and my home.  The same should be true on the internet.  

11. DON'T FILE false or frivolous lawsuits or restraining orders. I have watched as the very most horrendous internet trolls have filed lawsuits and restraining orders against others who have done nothing to them or who have bantered forth with them, exchanging abuse for abuse. I have watched as one internet troll has gotten such restraining orders by default because the defendants could not appear for court in a distance state, yet she can be seen online each day harassing and mocking the very people against whom she has restraining orders.   

I personally had the experience of having one of the most foolish internet trolls try to get a restraining order against me, though I had never met him or spoken with him or had any interaction with him.  This will always be with him as an example of him lying to the courts and trying to harm me by his devious deceptions.  The Court denied  him and did not allow him to tarnish my name and reputation based on his dishonesty and viciousness.  Who is the one that suffers the most in the long run?  I am still the good person that I always was.  His reputation is now as a person who lies to Courts, makes up outlandish and bizarre nonexistent events and conspiracy theories.  In other words, filing that false request for a restraining order against someone living thousands of miles from him, who has never had any contact or interaction with him, has forever cost him whatever credibility he might have had, if any. He will never be able to apply for a job or a position without his corrupt actions being brought before the decision makers.  

12. DON'T buy a domain or create any account in anyone else's name.  Do not buy a domain in the name of any other person or company.  Do not start a website, blog, email account, Facebook, Twitter, sex site or dating account, or any other thing in the name of any other person.  Aside from in most cases being criminal to do so, these actions are malicious and show you to be unethical and untrustworthy.  Such an act is a good reason for any company to refuse to hire you, to fire you if they already hired you, for any agency to deny you any position requiring any level of security clearance, to be denied the chance to run or hold public office, to be denied a license as a professional in most fields, to be disallowed teaching credentials, to not be allowed any sort of police or municipal or government job,  to forever be considered a dishonest person and an extreme security risk, and possibly to be denied immigrant status or a renewal of a green card.  

 Impersonation has been ruled a crime of moral turpitude.  Moral turpitude is a category of acts or crimes that are considered to speak to the basic bad character makeup of the person.   Why is the perpetrator trying to harm the name and reputation of another, to defraud, defame, and impersonate?  These actions are never good.  What I have noticed is that the people who buy domains or open accounts in the names of other people engage in a whole menu of abusive acts towards others.  These are people who do not respect boundaries and who never learned consideration for others.   They disrespect the names of others because they lack basic civility.   

13. DON'T fall for the lies of people who tell you these things don't matter, or that it is all in fun, or that there are no victims, or that the victims are overly sensitive and feeling "butt hurt."  In fact, if you see anyone using the term "butt hurt" to describe the reaction of the victims of internet crime, run like hell and find yourself a much better internet mentor.