A man was convicted with online harassment after using her ex-girlfriend’s account to post obscene photos and messages, posting as her. Charges include “unlawful use of encryption,” and “knowingly interrupting an electronic communications service with intent to harass the victim.”
The woman discovered that obscene content and messages have been posted on her MySpace account, including a photo of her wearing a thong. Her ex-boyfriend had her password when they were still together, but said she changed it after breaking up.
The boyfriend, Steven Kucharski, laughed when confronted by the girl, telling her “she deserved it.”
Investigation by the police revealed that the IP address from where the obscene posts were posted belongs to the father of the boyfriend. It turns out Kucharski, who helped create the woman’s MySpace account, used his email to do so, that’s why he still has access to the page.
A March 29 appeal to an Illinois appellate court overturned Kucharski’s received ruling for encryption, but sustained the harassment conviction. That is because he accessed the MySpace account of his girlfriend without consent, a move that evidently fit the online harassment statute definition.
Encryption was overturned because the court agreed with the arguments of Kucharski that password changing didn’t involve changing the format of data into another.