Lori Drew is the Midwestern mother who allegedly participated in
a hoax on the social- networking website MySpace that ended in the
suicide of junior high student Megan Meier. Meier was formerly
friends with Drew’s daughter until the two had a falling out. There
were also allegations that Meier had acted in negative ways toward
Drew’s daughter. In retaliation or perhaps as a prank, Drew
collaborated with her daughter and Drew’s former employee in
creating a fake profile of a 16-year-old boy. Using the profile,
they friended, befriended, flirted, and started an online
relationship with Megan Meier. After some time, the messages became
nasty. One message to Meier said, “I don’t know if I want to be
friends with you anymore because I’ve heard that you are not very
nice to your friends.” The harsh messages continued, finally
culminating with: “You are a bad person, and everybody hates you.
Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place
without you.” Meier responded: “You’re the kind of boy a girl would
kill herself over.” She committed suicide a few minutes later.

In the wake of this tragedy, prosecutors attempted to find a way
to charge Drew with a crime, but her actions did not fall under any
of the traditional applications of existing statutes. However, one
prosecutor theorized that Drew could be charged under accomplice
liability for aiding and abetting unauthorized access to a computer
system under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a law
normally used for computer hackers. In bringing its case, the
government argued that Drew aided and abetted the violation of the
CFAA because she encouraged the creation of a fake MySpace profile,
violating MySpace’s Terms of Use (TOU) which required truthful
information from users. Since access to the MySpace system is
premised on satisfying the TOU, lying about one’s identity by
creating a fake profile would give access without proper
authorization thus violating the CFAA.

A. Please answer the following issues with a
maximum of 800 words in total:

  • Was this a proper CFAA use? What role does prosecutorial
    discretion play here?
  • In your point of view, are current laws sufficient to handle
    these situations or do we need new laws? (e. g.anti-cyberbullying
  • Who should regulate social networks? The government? Users? The
  • What duties do social networks have to enforce their terms of
  • What duty does the government have to help enforce the
  • Do social networks create the possibility of new crimes, or
    just new locations for old crimes to take place?
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