2 posts categorized "Web/Tech"

March 13, 2010

Chatroulette is Shockingly (Fill in the Blank) - Is It Legal?

Chatroulette scary

             What is ChatRoulette?  Sam Anderson describes it perfectly as “a new website that brings you face-to-face, via webcam, with an endless stream of random strangers all over the world” in his New York Magazine article The Human Shuffle. 

I stumbled upon www.chatroulette.com quite by accident when perusing www.oddee.com and found 18 Funny ChatRoulette Screenshots.  While I don’t think they were necessarily funny, they were quite interesting.  Screenshots ranged from a justifiably angry African-American fellow being linked up with a young Arian whose room was adorned with a Nazi Swastika flag (not funny) to a young woman screaming in horror when her chat partner donned a humorously terrifying mask.

Chatroulette swastika  Chatroulette i will draw you 


         What is this modern technological miracle?  And, is it legal? 

 Chatroulette pervert

            Apparently Fox News is worried that ChatRoulette will become a haven for child predators.  In his Fox News Article Chatroulette Is 'Predators' Paradise',  Joshua Rhett Miller observes that “One minute you're chatting via webcam with a mom of two from Montauk, N.Y. -- and the next you're staring at a stark-naked man in Bangkok.”  The site demands that you swear to be 16 years of age or older before it will let you log on.  However, there is no safeguard to ensure that those who attest to being over 16 are actually over 16.  

            The legal issues are very complex because we’re dealing with international cyberlaw, extradition, who is breaking what laws in which countries.

            Maureen Rogers, blogging in Pink Slip, says that “It sounds like the perfect milieu for snuff [films], kiddie porn, suicide, animal torture... Which means that, as a business, it would need to be monitored and run by someone other than a 17 year old kid. And that someone should have deep pockets, because it's hard to believe that there won't be lawsuits popping up at some point.

A Movie About Chatroulette 

            A fellow by the name of Casey Neistat posted A Movie About Chatroulette on the clever site Rubbishcorp.  The movie is well worth watching.

            Meanwhile, prudence dictates that parents monitor what their kids are doing on the Internet because there are undoubtedly going to be some shockers emanating from the servers of Chatroulette.

            Chatroulette will ultimately be the focus of some sort of litigation – stay tuned!

October 01, 2009

Internet Crime: Fraudsters on Social Networking Sites

Social-networking-sites     The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center has prepared a report entitled "Techniques Used by Fraudsters on Social Networking Sites."  Basically, the fraudsters hijack accounts in order to spread malicious software  via various techniques:

  • Use of spam to promote phishing sites, claiming a violation of terms of agreement or some other issue that needs to be resolved
  • Asking you to download an application or view a video
  • Some spam appears to come from a friend's e-mail, thereby giving the appearance of legitimacy
  • Some involve applications advertised on social networking sites, again giving the appearance of legitimacy.  

Mommy's fraudster


Once the victim responds to the phishing site, downloads the application, clicks the video or link, their computer, telephone or other digital device becomes infected. Others install malicious code or rogue anti-virus software.  Yet others give the fraudsters access to your profile and personal information and begin sending messages to your "friends" list instructing them to install the new application, too!!!


The IC3 has graciously provided the following tips to avoid these tactics:

  • Adjust Web site privacy settings to help protect your identity
  • Computer thiefBe selective of your friends because your "friends" can access any info marked as "viewable by all friends"
  • Provide only limited access to your profile to those with whom you don't feel comfortable sharing personal information
  • Disable options and then open them one by one such as texting, photos sharing, etc.  If you're using the site only to keep in touch with people, it may be better to turn off the extra options that won't be used
  • Be careful what you click on.  Posting a link or video to someone's wall doesn't insure that it's safe
  • Familiarize yourself with the site's policies and procedures.  Check their FAQ's.

If you experience a fraudster type incident, report it to www.IC3.gov

If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident, please contact me immediately at

(323) 852-1100

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