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Crime - Crime and the Internet

  Public shaming

Killing the Lone Survivor's dog

Torturing and killing a family's pet

"Erwin James"

John Hirst

Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber

The Streisand effect

Will Frey and Austin Zehnder

Crime and the Internet

This page is not about online crime. But rather about the difficulty of criminals in hiding information about their crimes in the world of the Internet.

The Internet is a serious threat to the privacy of criminals. It used to be that they were named in soon-lost newspaper reports. Now they are named online forever.

Public shaming

In a small community, everyone knows you, and it is hard to get away with certain crimes. Commit one bad crime and it becomes hard to live there any more. Everyone will shun you. Potential employers and potential girlfriends will know about you. You may have to leave town and start again. This "public shaming" is a powerful deterrent to many crimes.

In the move to big anonymous cities, that deterrent was lost. But the Internet may be bringing it back. And that may be a good thing, not a bad thing. Criminals, before you act, consider this: What if you are caught, and every future girlfriend is only one Google search away from seeing what you did?

Richard Gatiss mugged a tiny disabled pensioner in 2015.
For years to come, whenever any potential girlfriend Googles "Richard Gatiss", she will get this.
A fate worse than prison?

Killing the Lone Survivor's dog

Stories like this are everywhere in the Internet age.
In 2009, Michael Edmonds of Texas was in a gang that, for fun, shot the dog of US military war hero Marcus Luttrell (the "Lone Survivor") and then threatened to kill Luttrell himself.

As a result, Edmonds' details and images and video were plastered all over the Internet forever.
Welcome to the Internet. This is what it does.
In 2012 he got 2 years prison, suspended to 5 years probation. His co-defendant got 2 years prison.

Torturing and killing a family's beloved pet

In Seaham, Durham, in June 2014, four young men stole a family's beloved pet rabbit Percy. They tortured it and killed it.
The family's three children, age 14, 10 and 4, are devastated. The 14 year old said: "I just can't believe anyone could be so cruel".
The young men are Martin Bell and Frank Hudson and two 17 year olds.

The men torturing the family's pet.
From an animal cruelty activist.

"Erwin James" (James Monahan)

Even today, the Guardian won't tell you his real name or what he did.

A similar case: Wilbert Rideau writes for Mother Jones magazine.
They neglect to tell us that he killed a female bank teller in a bank robbery in 1961.

John Hirst

Murderer John Hirst appears on TV, showing no remorse or sensitivity.
He expresses no remorse about the woman he killed. He even grins about it.
Search for more.

Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber

Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber murdered 64 year old actor Walter Sedlmayr in 1990. They were involved in a business dispute with him.

They have taken legal cases to stop people talking about this. Bizarrely, they consider that they have "served their time" and we should not be allowed to talk about this any more. Even more bizarrely, they think suing Internet sites is a good way to remove their names from the Internet (as opposed to propagating their names).

As at Feb 2011:

Manfred Lauber (left) and Wolfgang Werle (right) murdered a 64 year old man in 1990.
They say we should not be allowed to talk about this any more.
Photo from Wired.

The Streisand effect

Will Frey and Austin Zehnder

Trying to shut up a rape victim led to another story of the Streisand Effect in July 2012.

June 2012: Sex assault victim Savannah Dietrich is told in Kentucky that she cannot publish the names of her rapists.
She publishes them on Twitter.
She named them as Will Frey and Austin Zehnder.
The above tweets are from 26 June 2012.
A complaint was made against her for contempt, and she was told she possibly faced jail for naming her rapists.
Good for her. She has real guts. The Internet gives power to the victims of crime. She is a real Internet hero.

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