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February 26th, 2011 PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, TWITTER none Comments

US targets Twitter

in bid to trap Assange

Paola Totaro in London

February 15, 2011

Julian Assange ... life in the shadows.
Julian Assange.

The US government’s legal hunt for Julian Assange will begin in a magistrates court in Virginia today when its Attorney General seeks a disclosure order on Twitter to obtain the names, dates and locations of anyone using its services to communicate with WikiLeaks.

However, the Herald has been told Twitter intends to fight the order, claiming it is too broad and breaches its right to protect the confidentiality and free speech of its users.

The new demands could affect thousands of individuals all over the world, including Australia, Britain and the US.

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A court order was sent to Twitter on December 14 by the US Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, demanding details about the accounts of Mr Assange and Private Bradley Manning, the army intelligence analyst suspected of supplying classified information to WikiLeaks.

The US is trying to build a conspiracy case that Mr Assange solicited the leaks.

The other Twitter accounts known to have been targeted are those of Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp, and US programmer Jacob Appelbaum. All have worked with WikiLeaks.

According to a WikiLeaks source, the new tactic is an “attack on the right to freedom of association – a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by information from WikiLeaks, have found so valuable”.

Twitter should be congratulated for challenging the court orders, the source said.

There is serious concern among Mr Assange’s legal team that other internet companies, including Google and Facebook, may have buckled under the US Patriot Act and surrendered their information without contest.

The anti-terrorism legislation provides a shield for secrecy and it is expected that there will be a public demand by WikiLeaks today asking the other internet companies, including Yahoo, to “explain their position”.

The US move against Twitter has led Geoffrey Robertson, QC, who leads the British defence team, to take on the advice of the celebrated Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, famous for defending O.J. Simpson, Claus Von Bulow and Patty Hearst. The two lawyers have known each other for many years.

Mr Assange will not appear in the Virginia court as he remains on strict bail conditions in Britain as he awaits his appeal against a European arrest warrant for his extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape.

Mr Assange’s legal team have made clear already that as an Australian who is not alleged to have done any wrong on American territory, US courts have no jurisdiction over him.

The decision on the extradition will be brought down on February 24 after three days of argument in a London magistrates’ court last week.

Whatever the decision from the London court, both sides have said they will appeal it to the High Court.

Under the European arrest warrant requirements, this must be done quickly, probably by Easter.

The Herald was unable to contact Twitter for comment.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Teacher suspended

over vitriolic blog

Patrick Walters

February 18, 2011

Suspended ... Natalie Munroe.
Suspended … Natalie Munroe. Photo: AP

FEASTERVILLE, Pennsylvania: A high-school English teacher in suburban Philadelphia who was suspended for a profanity-laced blog in which she called her young charges ”disengaged, lazy whiners” is causing a sensation by daring to ask: why are students unmotivated – and what’s wrong with calling them out?

As she fights to keep her job at Central Bucks East High School, 30-year-old Natalie Munroe says she had no interest in becoming any sort of educational icon.

Her comments and her suspension have clearly touched a nerve, with scores of online comments applauding her for taking a tough-love approach or excoriating her for verbal abuse. Media attention has rained down and backers have started a Facebook group.

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”My students are out of control,” Ms Munroe, who has taught 10th, 11th and 12th grades, wrote in one post. ”They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying.”

And in another post, Ms Munroe – who is more than eight months pregnant – quotes from the musical Bye Bye Birdie: ”Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS.”

She also listed some comments she wished she could post on student evaluations, including: ”I hear the trash company is hiring”; ”I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son”; and ”Just as bad as his sibling. Don’t you know how to raise kids?”

Ms Munroe did not use her full name or identify her students or school in the blog, which she started in August 2009 for friends and family. Last week, she said, students brought it to the attention of the school, which suspended her with pay.

”They get angry when you ask them to think or be creative,” Ms Munroe said of her students. ”The students are not being held accountable.”

Ms Munroe pointed out that she also said positive things, but she acknowledges that she did write some things out of frustration – and of a feeling that many children today are being given a free pass at school and at home.

”Parents are more trying to be their kids’ friends and less trying to be their parent,” Ms Munroe said, also noting students’ lack of patience. ”They want everything right now. They want it yesterday.”

Ms Munroe has hired a lawyer, who said that she had the right to post her thoughts on the blog and that it’s a free speech issue.

Associated Press

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


‘Ban Facebook for under-18s’:

sexting scandal mum

Aja Styles

February 8, 2011 – 12:38PM

You’re dropped ... Frequent, unimportant posts were the top reason for people being ‘‘defriended’’ on Facebook.
‘Jan’ found 40-year-old men were Facebook friends with her daughter, the girl caught in the middle of a ‘sexting’ scandal. Photo: Getty Images

The mother of the 14-year-old girl at the centre of a “sexting” scandal that has seen three boys convicted of underage sex crimes has called for Facebook to be banned for under-18s.

The boys responsible avoided serving jail time after pleading guilty in the Bunbury Children’s Court to raping a girl over 13 and under 16, and are now registered sex offenders despite being aged 15 and 16 themselves.

In court it was revealed the boys had been drinking when they convinced the girl to sneak out on a Friday night, on August 27 last year, and meet them in a local park.

The boys then brought her back to one of the 16-year-olds’ homes where she was plied with vodka and gave the boy oral sex. She then had intercourse with his other two friends in the bedroom. The sexual acts were filmed on a mobile phone and sent to others.

The mother of the girl, who spoke to radio 6PR under the pseudonym of “Jan”, said the family would never get over the “humiliating” and “shameful” episode.

She said she thought she was a vigilant parent but her daughter had proved her wrong and had to now face the consequences of going to school despite being taunted.

“We thought because the computer was in the living room with us that we were keeping a pretty good eye on her being so close, but nope, they can be right under your nose… they can still manage to get this stuff out there – you’ve got your webcams, you’ve got your iPhones and all that,” she said.

“My advice to other parents is: check. Stand over their shoulder if that’s what it takes. Let your kids hate you for being a busybody but keep an eye on them.”

Now that the proceedings were over, Jan said her family had been able to breathe a sigh of relief. But her battle to prevent any further privacy breaches has continued after going through her daughter’s 600 Facebook “friends” and discovering some of them were 40-year-old men.

“Now what on earth 40-year-olds have in common with a 15-year-old on Facebook? It doesn’t add up to me,” she said.

“…She’s not unique that way, I’m not just saying it’s her, it’s other kids, I know it is. That’s why I said they should not be allowed on Facebook.

“We’ve banned her from it, but you give a kid a mobile they’ve got free access to Facebook anyway, so how can you fight it if at every turn there’s a way around it?”

She said the matter came to light when one of the boys then accessed a school computer to download the footage onto a thumb drive.

She said since the breach occurred at the school it was “taken right out of our hands at the get go” and reported to police.

It became clear during the police investigation that the images were destined for Facebook, which was contacted to remove any postings of the graphic footage.

“When we first realised we went into panic mode, we banned her from her phone and Facebook, but you can ban them until the cows come home, they will still find a way to get back on Facebook and use friend’s phones,” Jan said.

“So there’s no getting away from it, you just have to be so vigilant – you know, like a two-year-old. You’ve just got to constantly watch them because they just don’t realise once it’s up there for the world to see it, that’s it – you can’t take it back.”

She said she didn’t believe the boys deserved to go on the sex offender list because they were “just kids”.

“They don’t realise the consequences of what they’ve done and I don’t believe they ever will,” Jan said.

“… That’s just what they do. That’s OK, they see things on TV, you’ve only got to watch music shows and it’s all sex anyway. You know, flaunting their bodies… It seems a huge problem but it’s got to be fixed.”

She said she felt for the boy’s family and knew one was transferred by his parents to a new school.

She had insisted that their daughter return to her old school, as “there’s got to be consequences for her as well”.

“We don’t believe that moving her out of the school would benefit so we’ve made her go back to that same school,” Jan said.

“She gets sneered, she was getting bullied a few months after the incident coming back to the school which made life difficult for everybody but she had to deal with it.”

She said her daughter was now doing much better

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha