Category: justice

How Philadelphia’s Social Media-Driven Gang Policing Is Stealing Years From Young People:

By the end of his senior year in a Philadelphia high school in June 2017, Jamal had missed out on completing his certification in the culinary arts, playing on the basketball team, attending prom, and walking across the stage at his graduation. He was barred from working a job to help his mother pay the bills. He wasn’t even allowed to leave his home — all on the order of a judge. But Jamal hadn’t been convicted of a crime. Jamal lost a year of his life because — like many testosterone-filled young men — he acted tough on his social media accounts.

Jamal, a young black man — whose name has been changed at his request due to confidentiality concerns — was swept up in Philadelphia’s Focused Deterrence program, an initiative meant to crack down on gang violence but which has instead been used to criminalize entire social networks of young black and brown people. Philadelphia police arrested him in September 2016 on a gun charge after an officer in the department’s South Gang Task Force identified Jamal as a member of a gang. How had that officer made that determination? As officer Matthew York, a member of the task force, later testified in court, it was largely based on photos and tweets that appeared on Jamal’s social media and which York believed associated him with a gang, as well as Jamal’s appearance in a friend’s music video, a video that the officer believed was “gang-related.”

Philadelphia’s Focused Deterrence program, like similar programs in cities around the country, relies on internet surveillance. Police officers mine social media for possible gang affiliations of young people, then compile that “data” and feed it into gang databases. Police officers target young people in the databases — who may be included for as little as flashing a gang sign in a Tweet to bragging about a crime in a music video on YouTube and Facebook — for on-the-ground policing. State and federal prosecutors also get their hands on the social-media “data,” using it to shore up criminal cases. Philadelphia modeled Focused Deterrence after criminologist David Kennedy’s “Ceasefire” policing model, which, as I previously reported in IThe Appeal and The Nation, focuses policing on small groups of individuals (often referred to by police departments as “gangs”) that purportedly drive community violence. The Kennedy model and its offshoot programs have been deployed by many cities, including Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans.

But the “data” police feed into these databases, for the most part, has little bearing on reality. Indeed, in December the City of Chicago settled a lawsuit with a man who was falsely included in its sprawling gang database. Across the country, young people are swept into these databases and then targeted by police — just because they bragged about actions they had no part in or made threats against rival groups they have no intention of following up on…

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 3 – Character Witness

Online Shaming Gives Creeps the Spotlight They Deserve:

When Lucky Strike server Laura Ramadei reportedly felt a male customer touch her ass “ever so gently” as he told her that he’d like to take her “to go,” she knew exactly what to do. Not only did she rebuff his awkward advance in person, she went home and did some sleuthing. By plugging the name on the receipt—Brian H. Lederman—into Google, she found her harasser right away: Lederman is a hedge-fund manager who works with Swiss Performance Management and Truehand AG.

Ramadei posted Lederman’s receipt to Facebook along with her story, eventually drawing widespread media attention to his alleged misdeed. For his part, Lederman denied the accusation but didn’t do himself any favors by telling the New York Post that he has nonetheless “grabbed plenty of girls’ asses in [his] life.” In this same interview, he also called Ramadei a “cunt” and threatened to destroy her chances of employment in New York City. Now, when you Google “Brian Lederman” the first result describes him as someone who “grabs a lot of asses.”

Revenge, it seems, is a dish best served through search engine optimization.

Digital Human, Series 12, Episode 6 – Shame

#BalanceTonPorc Is France’s #MeToo:

PARIS — My adopted home is the land of the shoulder shrug, of the insouciant “bof,” of a “these-things-happen” cynicism—a place where there’s a small industry of books on seduction and far more shame attached to discussing money than to discussing sex. So it was surprising to see the Weinstein scandal explode so intensely in France.

But there are darker sides here—daily indignities and workplace harassment, to say nothing of troubling rates of women being harmed or even killed by their partners in France—and it seems to have taken Harvey Weinstein’s downfall to bring it out. While the hashtag #MeToo has released an emotional wave of testimonials by women around the world, in a kind of online group therapy, France’s answer,  #BalanceTonPorc—“rat out your pig”—which went viral this week, takes things a step further.

Started last weekend by Sandra Muller, a New-York-based French journalist, the hashtag essentially invites naming names. That could be a slippery slope. (Lawyers have asked Muller to delete a tweet in which she named the name of a French executive who she said had told her, “You have big breasts. You are my type of woman. I will make you orgasm all night.”)

But the fact that the #BalanceTonPorc hashtag has taken off here—the country where the wild life of Dominique Strauss Kahn, the once presidential-contender and managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was something of an open secret before his political career was destroyed by allegations he had sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York—marks a shift. It’s the flip side of an old dynamic: The French may still consider Americans too moralistic when it comes to sex, but when it comes to sexual harassment, it took an American scandal—and good old-fashioned investigative reporting—to open a debate France has needed to have for some time. It reminds me of how the European press loved picking up American press reports of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, perhaps because it gave them cover to confront something they knew was pervasive but might never have taken the initiative to tackle on their own (with the notable exception of Ireland’s press).

Digital Human, Series 12, Episode 6 – Shame

How a scammer stole 500$ from me and in the end begged me not to tell his parents:

Ebay chat

I now knew without a doubt he was a scammer and the first thing I did was to write him on ebay. Still trying to be nice, still trying to get the money.


Hello! It’s geek_at from reddit. I see you have deleted your reddit account. Is the deal still on? Have you ordered the products yet?


Excuse me, but who are you? I don’t use this account except when I occasionally buy items.

my ebay was hacked recently along with my email because I was keylogged. The hacked then proceeded to access my bank paypal and ebay. So no. I won’t send you money for someone else hacking you but I do feel sorry for you.


nice try -firstname-, you have 4 days until I press charges


Please do. I will take you to court for defamation and false accusation. I am a college graduate with a law degree and you are just trying to use baseless threat and accusation. When clearly I have not contacted you and have no idea what you are talking about. You randomly message me about deals and products when this is ebay and you have listed nothing that I have bought or bid on. If you try to keep contacting me and continue to pester me further with threats I will contact my local police office as you have looked up my information and have been baselessly accusing me.

Scammer confirmed. I knew his account wasn’t hacked because after a little google search I found a direct link between the two nick names he used on reddit and ebay because he has used both of them on Steam.

He also changed his nickname on ebay right after this message.

His first major mistake: Looking for a job

His second major mistake: Having friends

His third major mistake: Having a family

Digital Human: Series 12, Episode 3 – Duped