Have you ever experienced a large scale national disaster and thought to yourself "goddamn death and destruction, why aren't people paying attention to me?" and then gone on to post a video with similar sentiments on the Internet? Did you also express joy at the deaths of some of the victims and wish they had died sooner, while claiming some of the survivors were too unattractive to be on TV and lamenting that the news coverage was preventing your favorite shows from airing?
Do people often call you a douchebag? You may be Zhang Ya, a Chinese girl with apparently nothing even remotely close to common sense or decency.
It was after the Siuchan earthquake in 2008, when Zhang made what amounts to a YouTube video bitching about how the earthquake and all its victims were really ruining her day. This in turn lead to an epic scale shitstorm of angry fallout with the video being posted and reposted across the Internet and angry responses jammed with what was probably some extremely creative Chinese cursing.
The girl was eventually arrested and held in custody for three days after personal information was posted online (and in such detail that people even knew her blood type). Some websites say she was brought in for protection from the massive mob of angry Chinese bloggers, while other sites claim she was arrested for what she posted, citing some Chinese laws about defamation and endangering public stability.So, that kind of adds another dimension to the whole Internet flame war thing, doesn't it? Piss enough people off in a video blog and suddenly you're in some forced labor camp making lead-painted toys.
Is this what Chinese justice looks like? Honestly, we have no idea.
If you love email spam, you can thank Alan Ralsky. He started spamming back before anyone knew what spam was, in the late 90s. By 2001, he managed to push so much shit through the Verizon servers he shut them down, leading to a lawsuit from Verizon.
That lawsuit was settled and by 2002, Ralsky was rolling in enough dick enlargement cream cash to buy a $750,000 mansion. He continued spamming, using a database of 250 million names, charging companies to send out their shit e-mails for them. Up to 70 million a day, by his own admission.
As with all great assholes, the taint of arrogance was right around the corner, under the ballsack of stupidity. Ralsky, smug and potentially borderline retarded, did an interview with the Detroit News in which he seemed quite pleased with himself and the legal way he was doing business.
Readers didn't find things as amusing as he did and when the interview was posted on Slashdot, some people went out of their way to find the address to his new home, which they then posted. The result was Ralsky being signed up to every hardcopy mailing campaign people could find.
Snail mail, as the kids call it, started arriving at Ralsky's mansion by the truckload. Literally by the truckload, as tons of it was delivered to his house each and every day. Ralsky's reaction was to complain that he was being harassed and was going to sue. This lead to massive bouts of laughter and an unprecedented level of not giving a shit. But at least the man won't have to leave home to do his Christmas shopping.
For some reason, the information age tends to make assholes want to go global. By, for instance, abusing a cat on camera and posting it on YouTube.
When a 14-year-old kid decided he'd post his own cat torture video, he probably didn't foresee the massive response he'd get once it spread across the Internet, leaving YouTube and heading to places like 4chan and other corners of Hell where the foolish are punished for their glaring webcam indiscretions. There, the denizens that some call "Internet detectives" and that we call "tentacle child porn enthusiasts" tracked the abuser down through his Facebook and MySpace accounts, because assholes are also generally not bright enough to not wallpaper the Internet with their own photos and personal information.
The result of Anonymous's detective work is that there appeared an entire website devoted to the teen, including his picture, links to the videos he made, the names of his parents, their addresses, phone number (as well as work addresses and numbers) and the website address of his father's business, which is now strangely absent from the Internet.
In a curious twist, the use of gay fan fiction also came into play, on websites that review the father's business, featuring such charming passages as "Tito was naked, standing in front of him with a big Hawaii boner staring him in the face. 'As the ancient Hawaiians used to say... it's time for a dicking!'"
The news media caught wind of the story, and then local police started getting inundated with calls from all around the world. Businesses in town got the same treatment including a number that weren't involved in any way due to the wrong information being spread online. Oddly, the police response to this was to politely ask people to stop as they might "stalk the wrong person."
The cat was taken out of the home. The abuser and his brother (also in the video) were charged by the local cops.
Debate rages to this day as to whether Anonymous went too far, since they tend to not apply this much righteous rage or sympathy to actual human beings. But then there is the case of Chris Forcand...
The Internet gets a bad rap for being the refuge of the socially maladjusted and sexually deviant (wait, can something still be considered a "bad rap" if it's true?). But when you get cases like that of Chris Forcand, you realize that sometimes one type of deviant can rise up to fight another.
Forcand, a Canadian who resembles George the Animal Steele, was on MSN trying to solicit sex, panties and dirty pictures from what he believed was a teenage girl.
Instead, he was flirting with our friends Anonymous. This in turn lead to not only an amusing Encylopedia Dramatica page, but actual real world consequences.
Forcand's life was picked apart. Transcripts and photos from his conversations were forwarded to his church and posted on his Christian blog along with his contact info.
Finally the police got involved, setting up their own sting operation, ironically using the same technique as Anonymous. The result was Forcand being arrested in what was described as the first time an Internet predator was ever brought to justice through Internet vigilantism, at the hands of a group that only approves of child molestation when it's being done by an anime tentacle monster, and in other special circumstances where they find it amusing.
More Fortey can be found at ScenicAnemia.com.
If you'd like to become a victim of the Internet yourself, then say any of the words mentioned in 7 Words You Can't Say On The Internet (Without Starting A Flame War). And check out some people who should've been targeted themselves, in Where Are They Now: 6 "Stars" of Embarrassing Viral Videos.
And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks or we'll sick the Internet on your asses.