Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Crime Scene

Police in Boulder, CO, grappling with a crime scene in which there was "blood in almost every room in the house," used a victim's MySpace account to locate seven men accused of rape and robbery. International media picked up the story about how perpetrators were ID'd through the "friends list" of the battered teen, and thus it reached me in my remote location.

This dystopian narrative reminded me about how much Internet culture has permeated society in the decade since Julian Dibbell's much reprinted and now classic essay on online community, "A Rape in Cyberspace: How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database into a Society." In his essay, Dibbell writes about his position of spectatorship on a surreal yet public virtual assault and how social actors intervened and policed the transgression that took place in their midst.

Mainstream media may have an agenda for focusing on such cases, particularly when other technologies (such as the telephone) play a greater role in the commission of crimes. These traditional technologies have also dismantled the human communities that once sustained them (live telephone operators, neighborhood exchanges, party lines, etc.) and have no social mechanism of self-regulation.

Update: Check out the FBI's Internet Crime: A Look at Growing Trends, which covers the Innocent Images National Initiative and the work of IC3 or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home