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This story from CNN [link no longer available] provides some interesting facts about the Megan Meier case:

Megan became friends with the Drews’ young daughter and the girls remained close for years, according to a report provided by prosecutors. But the girls had a falling-out in 2006.

A teenage employee of Drew’s named Ashley said she created the “Josh” account on MySpace after a brainstorming session with Drew and her daughter, according to a prosecutor’s report. Drew said the girls approached her with the idea, and she told them only to send polite messages to Megan.

Ashley sent Megan many of the messages from “Josh,” and Lori Drew was aware of them, prosecutors said.

On October 16, 2006, there was a heated online exchange between Megan and Ashley, who was posing as Josh. A few other MySpace users joined in, calling Megan names. It ended when “Josh” said the world would be better off without Megan.

Tina Meier said her daughter went to her room, crying and upset. About 20 minutes later, Megan was found hanging from a belt tied around her neck.

Drew’s attorney Jim Briscoe said on NBC on Tuesday that Drew “absolutely, 100 percent” had nothing to do with the negative comments posted online about Megan and wasn’t aware of them until after the girl took her life.

One possibility is that perhaps one of the other young girls involved made the nasty comments that precipitated Megan’s despair. This still doesn’t excuse the mother’s involvement in the fake profile, but much of the online shaming blames her for the suicide. Maybe Lori Drew is taking the brunt of the criticism to protect the other young girls involved.

Suppose the mother weren’t involved at all, and the profile were made totally by the young teenage girls without the knowledge of any adults — would people feel differently about the online shaming campaign or about posting personal information about the creators of the profile?

Meanwhile, the shaming of the Drews continues:

A few weeks ago, someone made a prank call to police reporting that there had been a shooting inside the Drews’ house, prompting squad cars to arrive with sirens flashing.

Someone recently obtained the password to change the Drews’ outgoing cell phone recording, and replaced it with a disturbing message. Police would not detail the content.

Clients have fled from Drew’s home-based advertising business, so she had to close it. Neighbors have not seen Drew outside her home in weeks.

Death threats and ugly insults have been hurled at Drew over the Internet, where she has been portrayed as a monster who should go to prison, lose custody of her children, or worse. Her name and address have been posted online, and a Web site with satellite images of the home said the Drews should “rot in hell.” . . . .

Sheriff’s Lt. David Tiefenbrunn said patrols have been stepped up around Drew’s house. “There could be individuals out there with a vigilante-type attitude that might want to take revenge,” he said

Originally Posted at Concurring Opinions

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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics. Professor Solove also posts at his blog at LinkedIn. His blog has more than 1 million followers.

Professor Solove is the organizer, along with Paul Schwartz, of the Privacy + Security Forum and International Privacy + Security Forum, annual events designed for seasoned professionals.

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