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Friday, September 6, 2013

Another Voice Lost... Caroline Criado-Perez

Today I woke up and checked my Twitter feed and wasn't surprised at what I found, but I was still very upset by it. Caroline Criado-Perez was being harassed again, or maybe still. I found her defending herself against unseen, anonymous attackers, hiding behind pseudonyms to protect their privacy, all the while destroying hers.

Criado-Perez came to international attention early this year, when she made the simple request to include more women on the British currency. She noticed that the only female representative of the British Female population was the figurehead, Queen Elizabeth II, and thought, well that's a bit odd. Being American, I assume all British people say, "Well that's a bit odd," instead of, "What the fuck do you mean, there aren't any women on our paper money." Since that time, after the British Royal Bank acceded to her request and put Jane Austin on the £10 note, she has been stalked, threatened and finally driven of Twitter. According to the article she wrote, for the New Statesman, the threats started out, horrible but, normal. They were fairly misogynistic, with all the name calling that people who stopped aging, mentally and emotionally at thirteen, can come up with. But then the real nightmare began. There were death threats, rape threats, stalking online and off. People were publishing what they thought was her address. 
She has defended herself on every side, and turned to local authorities to help end the harassment. @CCriadoPerez, as she is known on Twitter, turned over several screen captures from her Twitter feed, to the British Police, and after months of waiting, finally contacted them to find out where the investigation was going, only to be told there wasn't enough information. They were asking her to, yet again, find for them the screen names of her attackers, so they could do their job, even though she had already done this. Are they incompetent or malicious?After several months of this abuse Perez, today, decided she had had enough. The threats, the lack of response from authorities and the general wearing down that comes with it all, finally made her pack it in. Her Twitter feed is closed for now. I hope not for good, because she was a voice, and a powerful one at that, for those who are treated to this on a daily basis, both men and women. Laurie Penny, Lindy West, Molly Knefel, Jamie Kilstein, and many others have been treated like this for the oh-so radical notion that Women are people too, and should be accorded the same rights and respect that Men get.  The abuse continues, even 10 hours after Perez left Twitter. The people that engage in this kind of behavior are cowards, as most bullies are, and not especially bright. If the police ever get off their collective asses, it's not that hard to track an IP address back to it's client. 
Personal Note: I have removed some of the language previously posted, after reflection, because of the tone and the content. To anyone that read this previously, and was negatively affected by it, I apologize.

Internet Service Providers keep a record of the constatnt stream of input and output that passes through their servers. Each IP address corresponds to a particular physical location, based on the communication lines that it passes through. There is an origination point, the ISP server, the assigned client, or end user of that IP address, then the termination point, the places that information is sent to, ie Twitter, and the data, i.e. the information. Those four things combined, with a little help from Twitter and local law enforcement could be used to bring these assholes to justice. 

Freedom of Speech has it's limits, and when it is abused as it has been on Twitter, it should be regulated and turned back on the attacker. There is no Fifth Amendment Protection on the Internet. Records on the internet are kept forever, somewhere. Just ask the Texas Senate how hard it is to erase history on the Internet. '

We need more people like Caroline Criado-Perez in this world. People that have the stamina, and the fortitude to stand up to the Trolls and the Evil and say, "FUCK YOU!" I know British people say that. We need people that refuse to shut up, and keep talking when people would rather they didn't. We need to see more of the bravery that Criad0-Perez showed, by staying online as long as she did. She is not the first to go through this, and will not be the last, unfortunately. I have seen this happen to other people I have a great deal of respect, for, and every time I just get more and more pissed. These are the reasons I started blogging and podcasting. I really do hope that she comes back, because we, on the right side of History, need her and need to be more like her. 

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