Docstoc

aggresive online behavior case studies

Document Sample
aggresive online behavior case studies Powered By Docstoc
					A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

Appendices: Selected Case Studies
For those who wish to keep reading, we offer a series of exploratory case studies on predominately aggressive forms of online behavior targeted at large corporations as appendices. Although the emphasis of these cases falls on aggressive forms of behavior, several of these cases illustrate the blurring edge of the other latter two of our clusters: socially-constructive and aggressive online behavior. These primary case studies include campaigns targeting large corporations, often with recognizable brands, including Wal-Mart; McDonald’s; AOL; Genzyme; ADOT/Biodata; and Lufthansa.

WAL-MART Wal-Mart: Corporate Gripe Sites

Wal-Mart has the dubious honor of being one of the most frequently targeted institutions in terms of the number of gripe sites that have been launched online that focus on its activities.The website walmart-blows.com is among the most widely-read of the many anti-Wal-Mart sites.The website has been online since at least 2003. In 2005, this website was featured by forbes.com in a story on the “best” corporate hate sites.The site hosts a forum page where users may post comments regarding the national retailer.The forum page also includes a discussion forum where users may post positive comments about Wal-Mart.The site is organized in a user community fashion. Users must register to add comments and the site is administered by “administrators,” who have full technical control over the forum platform and “moderators,” who are in charge of monitoring the forums, including removing materials for being off-subject or offensive.The site currently claims to have more than 5,000 registered users. Apparently, three individuals serve as moderators for each and all of the forums. In addition, news articles of all kinds which relate to Wal-Mart are posted on a separate webpage within the site. Many other online sites targeting Wal-Mart’s activities have cropped up online. Another prominent site is WalMartWatch.com, which has called for a boycott of Wal-Mart and various efforts to stop its expansion.WakeUpWalMart.com calls itself “the most exciting, fastest growing social movement in America.” Of all the companies we studied for this paper, the campaign against Wal-Mart is among the most extensive and varied — and, no doubt, represents a broad community that is highly difficult to engage in a conversation in its entirety and has wrapped most of its critiques of the company in terms of social reforms of one sort or another.

17

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

Analysis

To select one of many examples from the Wal-Mart case study, the actors involved with the walmart-blows.com site appear primarily to be former and current employees who are interested in relating their experiences with the retail chain and exchanging news. The site includes a user forum specifically devoted to employee postings, yet former and current employees appear to post in all the fora, perhaps comprising the core of the userbase. It is unclear who exactly founded the site and for what reason. The forum is based on phpBB bulletin board software, a simple open source package.1 In addition to providing a public forum for messages, the platform also permits private messaging between two registered users.The site represents a community-based phenomenon.The community has its own set of norms which are at least in part reflected in the site’s Terms of Service. These norms are enforced by the site’s administrators and forum moderators.Yet, it is unclear to what extent clear standards are present; although the Terms of Service prohibits “vulgar” language, vulgarities are a common feature of many of the postings and are even included on the primary webpages drafted by the webmaster himself. As noted above, only a few individuals appear to be responsible for maintaining the site, yet any member of the internet-using public may post content on the site after registering. The Terms of Service describe the service offered by the site as “access to a rich collection of resources, including various communications tools, forums, shopping services, search services, personalized content and branded programming through its network of properties which may be accessed through any various medium or device now known or hereafter developed.” Additionally, the Terms of Service forewarn the user that the delivery of the service may include advertisements.Thus, the site appears to have a commercial basis rather than to represent a strictly non-profit endeavor. Evidently, the homepage of the site initially featured a photo of a Wal-Mart protest, but this photo was removed after the webmaster was served with a legal notice from WalMart. The website is relatively sophisticated and organized. It features pages on “Legal Info” as well as listing terms of service and a privacy policy. Additionally, a forum message drafted by site administrator “Zeus” refers to “my attorney”2 indicating that the site owner(s) have consulted with a lawyer. Reportedly,Wal-Mart responded by tripling its Washington lobbying staff in 2005 to help “set the record straight” and founding an entity called “Wal-Mart for Working Families.”3 The company also hired the global PR firm, Edelman, to advise its executives on setting up a blogging campaign, which went wrong when it became clear that the bloggers were in fact often Edelman employees.

18

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

The Wal-Mart example demonstrates a few key factors. One factor is the extent to which an online campaign targeting a single institution frequently has a broad range of actors who are seemingly not connected on the front end, but whose activities interrelate once the campaign begins.These actors frequently collaborate to drive up one another’s search engine rankings by cross-linking practices and, occasionally, coordinated GoogleBombing exercises. Another key factor that emerges from the Wal-Mart case is the close tie between online critics of corporations and broader social justice issues.These online critics who emphasize social justice issues frequently combine traditional offline campaigning tactics, such as the boycott, while using Internet-based modes of communications, such as blogging.4

MCDONALD’S McDonald’s: Anti-Corporation Web Sites

On February 16, 1996, a group of activists called the McInformation Network launched what would soon become one of the most effective anti-corporation web sites on the Internet: www.mcspotlight.org.5 According to its FAQ, the McInformation network is dedicated to “compiling and disseminating factual, accurate, up-to-date (as far as is possible) information, and encouraging debate, about the workings, policies and practices of McDonald’s and other Multinational Corporations.”6 The site was created in reaction to the famous McLibel suit, in which McDonald’s UK sued Helen Steel and Dave Morris for allegedly producing and distributing a factsheet entitled “What’s wrong with McDonald’s?” that criticized the company’s policies and practices.7 McSpotlight.org is operated by volunteers from 22 countries and features a plethora of critical background information and comments on McDonald’s and other multinationals. For example, there is a much-frequented “debating room,” in which users discuss and exchange corporate policy issues and campaigns. A comprehensive archive allows interested people to search articles, memos, press clippings, and many documents related to the McLibel trial — including the original factsheet. Besides video clips, interviews with activists, and a quiz ridiculing quotes from McDonald’s executives, the site also offers a guided tour of McDonald’s own website: while the actual mcdonalds.com content is shown in a frame, the respective McSpotlight comments can be found right next to it. According to the McInformation Network, the site receives about 1.5 million hits per month. One of the key means of driving traffic to the site has been the amplification of the site’s message through mainstream media stories about the corporation that mention the McSpotlight.org site.

19

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

Analysis

The actors in this case are not just a local group of activists, but an international network of volunteers with a common set of goals.This network collaborates by gathering and posting information online in a manner designed to raise awareness for their cause. In contrast to more easily identifiable entities like employees and competitors, the McInformation Network is a decentralized organization with loose ties and flat hierarchies that make it unpredictable and hard to monitor. In addition, the activist motivation behind McSpotlight makes it very difficult to deal with from a corporate perspective. For instance, a dispersed international community is far less likely than a single, identifiable actor to accept a settlement on contentious issues. The McSpotlight website was one of the first to use a number of features of the Internet to its advantage. First, the guided tour of the McDonald’s website used frames. According to this coding technique, a website can be organized into different frames that each displays a different HTML document.8 These windows within the browser window make it possible to show content from one website in one frame and comment on it in another. Dan Gillmor, one of the leading experts on grassroots journalism and new media technologies, regards this as an important lesson of the web: “When you put up a public Web site, be prepared for the public . . . to use your site in ways you never anticipated.”9 Another technical feature that allowed McSpotlight to become a powerful player against big corporations was the fact that the site was established on four identical mirrors in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.10 This made it virtually impossible for McDonald’s lawyers to take the site off the net.They would have had to get injunctions from courts in many different countries, a very cumbersome and expensive endeavor. Alternatively, in some countries they could have targeted Internet Service Providers (ISP) to take down content judged defamatory by a court.11 But even that apparently did not seem to be worth the effort for McDonald’s. The reason for this self-restraint may have also been a more general lesson McDonald’s learned from the $38 million McLibel suit. As commentators pointed out, it was first and foremost the rigorous legal action on the part of the corporation that turned a calculable local protest into a global movement that drew the attention of millions to the company’s practices.12 As with many other cases in this area, the real battleground was therefore publicity and public opinion.The McSpotlight web site managed to attract media attention around the world and helped frame the conflict as a “David-And-Goliath” tale, which later was even featured in a documentary.13 Interviewees for this study noted the importance of mainstream media coverage to the success of the online community over an extended period of time.

20

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

AOL AOL: Reputational Attack

The “instant messaging war”14 between AOL and Microsoft was in full swing in August 1999 when Richard Smith, a leading expert on computer security and president of Phar Lap Software, received an email from a technology consultant called “Phil Bucking.”15 Bucking claimed that he had found a security flaw in AOL’s instant messaging software that AOL exploited to detect the Microsoft Messenger software and block it. Accusing AOL of putting user security at risk, he wrote: “I think you would agree that this is a heinous and risky action.”16 Smith, however, did not fall for this trick. Smith resisted going public with the alleged flaw and misconduct at AOL. Instead, he did a web search on Bucking — to no avail, as it turned out. Increasingly suspicious, he was able to trace the message that had been sent from a free Yahoo! email account back to a Microsoft proxy server. Microsoft later confirmed that the email must have been in fact authored by one of its employees, but failed to identify the person. As Rob Bennett, at that time director of marketing for Microsoft’s Internet Services, assumed: “it’s somebody who got a little overpassionate but went about it the wrong way.”17
Analysis

The incident illustrates how a current employee can take matters into her own hands and use the limited authentication technologies of online media to smear a competitor. Even though the programmer responsible for this e-mail could never be identified, the intent was presumably to create an advantage for her own company by tipping off an expert and opinion leader in the field under a fake identity. For example, the author wrote to Smith because he had “significant credibility with the press.”18 The interesting thing about this case is that this single-handed online behavior, though intended to improve the employee’s own company’s position, backfired in full force. Instead of making AOL the focus of media attention and linking it to a security problem, leading newspapers like the New York Times wrote about the pseudonymous informer at Microsoft and the company’s marketing tactics. John C. Dvorak, a columnist at PC Magazine, for instance, is cited saying: “This is par for the course for Microsoft marketing.”19 Others came up with an older story of Microsoft employees anonymously posting critique of IBM’s OS/2 to bulletin boards in 1992.20 Thus, even though the concrete economic damage is hard to assess, the posting had an adverse effect on Microsoft’s overall reputation at least in the short run and did not help to improve its competitive position.This is especially ironic since even Smith contended that there might in fact have been a security flaw in AOL’s software. Because of the smear attack, however, it was only the dubious messenger, which made the headlines — and not the (potentially accurate) message.

21

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

GENZYME Genzyme Corporation/Biomatrix: “Cybersmearing”

At the turn of the millennium, Cambridge-based biotech company Genzyme Corp. fell prey to a “cybersmearing” campaign in the context of acquiring New Jersey biomedical firm Biomatrix, Inc.21 While Genzyme first officially announced its plans to buy Biomatrix for $738.5 million in cash and stock in March 2000, three anonymous posters started flooding bulletin boards on Yahoo! websites with negative messages about Biomatrix and two divisions of Genzyme as early as April 1999. More than 15,000 postings appeared under various false names, attacking the companies’ performance and integrity.While some comments accused the CEO of Biomatrix personally of having been a Nazi doctor,22 others claimed that Synvisc, a drug against arthritis, killed people23 or spread rumors about the companies’ financial well-being (“It is clear that Biomatrix is collapsing,” “Genzyme is spinning their financial results”).24 The campaign coincided with a 40% drop in Biomatrix’s stock from $35 to $21 a share. Biomatrix officially ignored the postings until January 2000 when the public pressure became too great. “Shareholders started calling, asking why we weren’t responding to the accusations,” said Biomatrix’s president Rory Riggs. Biomatrix first successfully applied for a subpoena, requiring Yahoo! to disclose the posters’ identities. It turned out that two of the attackers were former employees of Biomatrix, who were fired for unspecified reasons shortly before the campaign began.The third person apparently had no connection with the company. Biomatrix then sued the three men in New Jersey superior court and won. In a summary judgment, the judge held on July 25, 2000 that the messages were libelous and defamatory. Later that year, the state securities regulators in Massachusetts also took action and filed a complaint, seeking a cease-and-desist order against the men.
Analysis

What is remarkable about the Genzyme/Biomatrix case is first that there was not just a single actor, but a group of people alleged to have been conspiring against the company. Of course, the motivation of the members of the group cannot be determined with certainty. But it seems plausible from the facts that besides a possible element of disappointment and revenge on the part of the two former Biomatrix employees, a rather criminal intent to capitalize on manipulated changes in stock prices may have played an important role. Massachusetts Secretary of State,William Galvin, head of the securities division, for example, suspected a scheme of “shorting” behind the postings: short sellers bet that stock prices will fall and then plant negative rumors about a company on the Internet to influence people, who base their investment decisions on such online information.25 Even though it is not clear whether the three defendants (or even third parties, as a Biomatrix

22

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

lawyer suspected 26) in fact profited from such a scheme, the regulators found they had strong enough evidence to intervene in order to protect consumers and the economy. As to the choice of media applications, the three men took advantage of some distinct characteristics of bulletin boards to achieve their goals. First, a considerable number of people draw their financial information from these highly specialized fora, hoping to get insider tips before the rest of the market. Second, bulletin boards generally allow their users to disguise their true identity. People choose nicknames like “allergictochickenbits” or “vote_republican2000” in the Genzyme case27 and start posting.The user’s rhetorical skills might enable the attacker to signal credibility.Third, it is easy online to adopt multiple identities — and to post under a variety of those different identities, making it appear as though more than one person shares the view in question. According to the regulator’s complaint, this allowed the posters “to create the illusion that many different posters also felt negatively about the stocks.”28 The short-term effects of this campaign were palpable. Although it is very hard to establish causality between the smearing and the double-digit losses in stock prices,29 Genzyme received almost immediate feedback from shareholders worried about the negative publicity. Despite an effective corporate and regulatory response, the long-term consequences could include a stain on the company’s reputation, which could stick within the collective memory of customers, shareholder, and employees and may well resurface in the context of subsequent events.The corporate response in this case shows that despite the often counterproductive publicity-enhancing effects of lawsuits in cybersmearing cases, a company may have no other choice if it falls prey to allegedly criminal behavior. In the Genzyme case, this presumably led to the first decision finding that online postings can constitute libel.30

ADOT/BIOMODA ADOT/Biomoda: Allegations of Misdeeds in Online Forum

Between July, 2003 and November, 2004, Susan Blumenthal posted more than 1,200 messages to ragingbull.com, an online forum where participants discuss the performance and prospects of various stocks.31 An ex-vice president for communications at ADOT’s subsidiary Biomoda, Blumenthal wrote mostly critical and negative comments about her former employer in those postings.These comments displeased the management of the two companies: Biomoda was about to stage its IPO and the ADOT executives were worried about their ability to raise funds to support the spin-off.

23

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

ADOT decided to take action.The company sued Blumenthal for $13.5 million in damages. In the lawsuit, the company claimed that, among other things, Blumenthal had posted numerous false allegations of stock fraud that had harmed the companies’ reputation and market value. For example, Blumenthal was said to have accused ADOT of operating a “pump and dump” stock scheme and issuing fake press releases. According to ADOT’s lawyers, the messages had had a negative effect on the company’s stock and caused unspecified economic damage. Blumenthal did not hesitate and countersued ADOT for “frivolous and malicious” lawsuits. She said she never smeared the company directly: “I just posted press releases and filings so investors would have information so they could make the right decision.”32 In August 2005, the parties reached a settlement with the help of a mediator.33
Analysis

The ADOT/Biomoda case illustrates the fine line between legitimate discussions and smear campaigns in message boards.The case also stands for the proposition that former employees can cause a corporation enough problems using the Internet at crucial moments in the company’s trajectory. Blumenthal appears to have acted alone. Her motivation was not entirely clear.While the companies’ lawyers argued that Blumenthal wanted “to purposely harm ADOT and Biomoda,”34 she denied the charges and pointed out that she had even observed a 6-month moratorium on speaking about her former employer. The facts suggest, however, that revenge may have played at least a part: Blumenthal parted from Biomoda on bad terms over unpaid wages and also asked other posters for their email addresses to prepare a class action suit.35 These actions suggest that Blumenthal presumably wanted to settle old scores with ADOT and Biomoda, and that personal financial gain — or, more precisely, recompense for perceived loss — may have been a factor in waging the campaign. As in the Genzyme case, the actor chose a bulletin board to publish her opinions.This media application allowed her specifically to target an audience whose members had a financial interest in the companies. At the same time, the bulletin board allowed her to remain anonymous, at least to the casual observer. It is not clear what role her insider knowledge of the companies’ operations played. As she did not use her real name, people could not easily identify her as an “expert.”Yet her knowledge and experience likely enabled her to signal credibility through her postings, probably by offering analyses and insights that required special knowledge or would have taken others considerable work to formulate. Posting on message boards is also quick and easy, a factor which permitted Blumenthal to do it comfortably alongside her new job as a freelance writer. The corporate response in this case sheds light on the pitfalls — or at least the limited utility — of taking legal action against individual employees that criticize their former company on the Internet. First, as in other cybersmearing cases, it is virtually impossible

24

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

to prove that damage, such as a falling stock price, in fact resulted directly from the postings. Causality between critical information and a drop in stock prices or lost revenues is very difficult to establish to a fact-finding. An effort in court to prove a negative impact on the abstract and hard-to-quantify brand value or reputation would require equally complex and expensive inquiries. Second, the posting of especially critical or negative opinions and facts about a company are constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment.Third, a lawsuit may expose a company to a countersuit; depending on the former employee’s resources, she may countersue and thereby draw even more attention to negative publicity (for an extreme example of this effect, see the Lufthansa case below).

LUF THANSA Lufthansa: Denial of Service Attack

Germany’s major air carrier Lufthansa became the target of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, orchestrated by a single person using specifically configured software.36 The attack was initiated by Andreas-Thomas Vogel, an activist and website administrator for the Libertad, an advocacy group criticizing as “inhumane” Lufthansa’s policy of letting the police use its planes for the forced deportation of asylum seekers.37 On June 20, 2001,Vogel called for Internet users to participate in what he claimed to be an “online demonstration.”38 He released software that systematically contacted the website of Lufthansa and flooded the company’s web server with messages, forcing it to shut down. According to Lufthansa lawyers and Human Rights organizations, Lufthansa registered about 1.2 million hits that day, which originated from some 13,000 computers.39 Even though concrete economic damage could not be established, Lufthansa lawyers pressed for criminal proceedings against Vogel. According to Lufthansa, the web server was shut down for 8 minutes; the web site’s response time for visitors seeking to access information were very slow for the rest of the morning.40 Also, a Lufthansa employee testified the website had registered significantly fewer bookings than usual on the day of the attack.41 The company also said it had avoided greater losses by renting ten times the usual capacity on the day for which the attack had been announced.42 Vogel was charged with incitement to coercion in the trial court of Frankfurt, found guilty, and fined 900 Euro in June, 2005.43 On appeal, the First Penal Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt reversed the decision on the grounds that the attack did not constitute an act of force, but was intended to influence public opinion — a behavior protected under the German constitution’s freedom of speech provisions.44

25

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

Analysis

The first remarkable aspect of this case is the political motivation of the actors and the way they achieved their goal. Opposing Lufthansa’s deportation business as “inhumane”, Vogel and his collaborators were presumably not interested in the actual loss of traffic on the company’s site.The date and time of the attack had been announced long before it occurred, so that Lufthansa could prepare itself and only faced a comparatively minor disruption. Rather, the critics sought to achieve a broader goal: to gain international attention for their cause and Lufthansa’s involvement in deportations. In this regard, the campaign was highly successful. Even after the actual attack had gained media coverage, the legal aftermath has kept the story in the news to this day. Another interesting feature of the case is the choice of media applications. Denial-ofservice (DoS) attacks on companies’ web servers happen relatively often.45 In the most general sense, this technique aims at using up the server’s resources and thus shutting it down or, at the least, slowing it down considerably.46 There are different technical methods of achieving this goal, such as syn floods, land attacks, or ICMP floods.47 In the special case of a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack, not just one but multiple compromised systems attack the resources of the target system simultaneously.While Libertad’s software was specifically designed to bring down the Lufthansa server, many functionally equivalent programs are freely available on the Internet and can be downloaded and executed by anyone who knows how to do a Google search and run code on a computer.48 This technique is particularly interesting if the actual target is not just the technical infrastructure itself, but the reputation of a company, which depends on traffic to its site. The activists in the Lufthansa matter further complemented the DDoS technology with other Internet applications to gather a critical mass of participants for the “online demonstration.”Through a specifically designed website and word-of-mouth propaganda via mailing lists and messages boards, the activists managed to get a sufficiently large number of people to affect Lufthansa’s IT and public opinion.49 As to the corporate response, the legal aftermath is likely to have contributed substantially to the activists’ success and to the reputational damage sustained by Lufthansa in the wake of the DDoS attack.The criminal proceedings, which were actively supported and later joined by Lufthansa lawyers, allowed Vogel to gain even more attention and position himself and his group as warriors for freedom of assembly on the Internet — and extending his eight minutes of fame to many months of global attention.50 From the corporate perspective, the legal response may therefore well be considered counter-productive. In addition, every lawsuit in this field faces difficult trade-offs between countervailing values and rights, whether in the United States or another jurisdiction.While aggressive attacks on a company’s property may constitute a criminal offence or grounds for civil litigation, the attackers can almost always claim their fundamental rights of freedom of

26

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

speech or freedom of assembly against an unfavorable judgment.This factor is especially important when the actors are politically motivated since not only in Germany, but also in the U.S., political speech enjoys better protection than commercial speech.

NOTES
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

See http://www.phpbb.com (last visited Oct. 3, 2006). http://www.walmart-blows.com/tos.htm (last visted Oct. 2, 2006). Terms of Service, para. 2, http://www.walmart-blows.com/tos.htm (last visted Oct. 2, 2006). See http://www.walmart-blows.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=300 (last visited Oct. 2, 2006). http://www.walmart-blows.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=300 (last visited Oct. 3, 2006). Wal-Mart Wars: Retailer responds to Web rhetoric, Boston Herald (Dec. 22, 2005) at 41. See http://blog.wakeupwalmart.com/ (last visited November 12, 2006). McSpotlight.org, http://www.mcspotlight.org (last visited Sept. 14, 2006). See also Edward Welsh, David and Goliath Bunfight Comes Under Spotlight, SUNDAY TIMES, June 16, 1997, at 24;Tim Hardy, Still in the McSpotlight: A Web Site Repeating the Libels against McDonald’s Is Being Read by Millions.What can the Company Do?, THE INDEPENDENT (London), July 2, 1997, at C3; Dan Gillmor, Some Sites Just Get Too Hyper over Links, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, Oct. 18, 1999, at D8;Vicky Roach, David vs. McGoliath, THE DAYLI TELEGRAPH (Sydney, Australia), Sept. 30, 1999, at T09. See McSpotlight.org, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.mcspotlight.org/campaigns/current/mcspotlight/faq.html#3b (last visited Sept. 14, 2006). See, e.g., Roach, supra note 8. See Wikipedia.org, Framing (World Wide Web), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_%28World_Wide_Web%29 (last visited Sept. 14, 2006). See Gillmor, supra note 8 (noting that not only activists, but also rivals and other third-party intermediaries may try to capitalize on one’s content). See Hardy, supra note 8. See Hardy, supra note 8. See Roach, supra note 8;Welsh, supra note 8. See Roach, supra note 8. See, e.g., Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Microsoft, AOL Offer Terms For Peace; Instant Messaging War Hits Day Five, THE WASHINGTON POST, July 27, 1999, at A01 (“Microsoft last week introduced messaging software that allowed people to not just talk to other users of Microsoft’s technology, but to communicate with the 40 million people who use AOL’s messaging software. AOL, the undisputed leader in the instant messaging market, accused Microsoft of making an ‘unauthorized intrusion’ into its data network and set out to electronically jam the messages so they wouldn’t reach AOL users.”). See John Markoff, Microsoft Says Worker Wrote Smear of Rival, NEW YORK TIMES, Aug. 13, 1999, Section C, at 1; Margaret Kane, Did Microsoft Employee Smear AOL?, ZDNET NEWS, Aug. 12, 1999, http://news.zdnet.com/21009595_22-515423.html; Melanie Austria Farmer, Microsoft Employee’s Move Against AOL Backfires, C.NET NEWS, Aug. 13, 1999, http://news.com.com/Microsoft+employees+move+against+AOL+backfires/2100-1023_3-229803.html. See Markoff, supra note 18 (citing from the electronic message sent by Bucking). See Markoff, supra note 18. See Markoff, supra note 18. See Markoff, supra note 18.

9

10 11

12

13 14 15 16 17

18

19 20 21 22

27

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

23 24

See Kane, supra note 18. See Beth Healy, Three Face Stock Scam Complaint: False Net Postings Allegedly Targeted Genzyme Affiliates; State Files Complaint against 3 in Genzyme Case, THE BOSTON GLOBE, Aug. 22, 2000, at C1; Lawrence M. Fisher, Genzyme to Buy Biomatrix for $738 Million, N.Y.TIMES, Mar. 7, 2000, Section C, at 12;Tom Walsh, Taking on Cybersmears — Regulators Watch for Manipulation of Stock on Line, BOSTON HERALD, Aug. 28, 2000, at 025; Eric Niiler, Internet Chat Damages Biotechnology Stock, 18 NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 1030 (2000); Graham Lea, Cybersmears — Another Great Net Tradition Falls by Wayside, THE REGISTER, Aug. 7, 2000, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/08/07/cybersmears_another_great_net_tradition/. See Lea, supra note 24. See Niiler, supra note 24, at 1031. See Healy, supra note 24. See Healy, supra note 24. See Walsh, supra note 24; Healy, supra note 24. See Healy, supra note 24. See Healy, supra note 24. See Niiler, supra note 24. See Lea, supra note 24. See Andrew Webb, Ex-VP’s Postings Lead to Lawsuit, ALBERQUERQUE JOURNAL, Feb. 28, 2005 [hereinafter Webb, ExVP’s Postings]; Andrew Webb, Mediator Says Internet Postings Case is Settled, ALBERQUERQUE JOURNAL, Aug. 15, 2005 [hereinafter Webb, Internet Postings Case Is Settled]. See Webb, Ex-VP’s Postings, supra note 34. See Webb, Internet Postings Case Is Settled, supra note 34. See Webb, Ex-VP’s Postings, supra note 34. See Webb, Ex-VP’s Postings, supra note 34. See Jan Libbenga, German Court to Examine Lufthansa Attack, THE REGISTER, Apr. 1, 2005, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/01/lufthansa_ddos_attack/ [herinafter Libbenga, German Court]; Jan Libbenga, Lufthansa Online Activist Found Guilty, THE REGISTER, July 5, 2005, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/05/lufthansa_demo/;Torsten Kleinz & Craig Morris, Higher Regional Court Says Online Demonstration Is Not Force, HEISE NEWS, June 2, 2006, http://www.heise.de/english/newsticker/news/73827. See Kleinz & Morris, supra note 39 (citing Libertad’s spokesperson Hans-Peter Kartenberg). See also Libenga, supra note 74 (“Two people have died on such flights as the result of incorrect restraining methods.The Deportation Alliance claimed that Lufthansa was making a profit from the suffering of people.”). See Online Demonstration against Deportation, http://www.geocities.com/rouwer/uk/index.html (last visited Oct. 3, 2006). See Kleinz & Morris, supra note 39; Netzeitung.de, Erster Prozess gegen Online-Demonstration, June 15, 2005, http://www.netzeitung.de/internet/343818.html. See Netzeitung.de, supra note 42. See Netzeitung.de, supra note 42. See Kleinz & Morris, supra note 39. See Libbenga, German Court, supra note 39. See Kleinz & Morris, supra note 39. See, e.g., Jim Hu, Blackout Hits Major Web Sites, CNET NEWS.COM, June 15, 2004, http://news.com.com/Blackout+hits+major+Web+sites/2100-1038_3-5234500.html. See Wikipedia.org, Denial-of-service Attack, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack (last visited Sept. 11, 2006).

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

35 36 37 38 39

40

41

42

43 44 45 46 47 48

49

28

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

50 51

Id. This makes DoS attacks particularly attractive for users with less-than-perfect technical skills, especially as opposed to programming a virus or worm to specifically target a company’s system. Cp. Online Demonstration against Deportation, supra note 41.

52

29

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

FIGURE 1: Mapping Aggressive Behavior Case Studies

“Criminals”
McDonalds/ McInformation Network Exxon Mobile/ stopesso.org Coca-Cola/ killercoke.org

ebay/phishing cybersmearing etoys/ toywars GoDaddy/Website Vandalism Lufthansa/”online demonstration”

Activists
Microsoft/ IE beta Coca-Cola/ Wikipedia

Victoria’s Secret/parody

Consumers

Minolta, Sony/D7 User Forum

UNIX/UNIX-Haters

Competitors

Apple/ idont.com

AOL/IM allegations Wal-Mart/ walmartblows.com

Employees

Nestlé

ADOT/ Susan Blumenthal

NWA/Sickout

SSS/ System Attack

Collaborative

Socially Constructive Types of Behaviors

Aggressive

30

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

FIGURE 2: Interplay of Factors

The following framework summarizes the key components as well as their interplay that must be taken into account if one seeks to describe and, in a later section, gain a better understanding of different forms of online behavior.1

Media Application(s) Characteristics of application > Choice of Media Application ONLINE BEHAVIOR > > > > > >

Corporate Responses > > > > >

Short- and long-term effects > > >

Intent and usage Actor/Actors

>

1

Based on Nicola Doering, SOZIALPSYCHOLOGIE DES INTERNET, INTERNET UND PSYCHOLOGIE, Neue Medien in der Psychologie, Band 2, Hofgrede (2. A., 2003), 128.

31

A G G R E S S I V E O N L I N E B E H AV I O R

G A S S E R | PA L F R E Y

FIGURE 3: General Affective Aggression Model

Some of these explanations and conceptualizations of aggression, including the important frustration-aggression hypothesis and theories of instrumental and observational learning, have been combined into a single, empirically-tested framework that seems particularly helpful to explain at least some of the phenomena described in this White Paper. The framework, known as the General Affective Aggression Model (GAAM), posits that several interacting variables produce affectively-based aggressive behavior. More precisely, the framework demonstrates how individual and situational variables as input factors for aggressive behavior interact with affective and cognitive processes when it comes to a decision for or against aggressive behavior. The interplay between individual variables such as traits, attitudes about violence, beliefs about violence, values concerning violence and particular skills on the one hand and situational variables like cognitive cues, frustration, discomfort, etc. on the other hand makes it clear that any given stimulus in a given context may trigger different reactions among different individuals, depending on their disposition. The model also illustrates the interdependencies among cognitive processes (e.g. accessible cognitions such as aggressive thoughts and scripts), accessible affects (e.g. hostile feelings), and arousal. This model further illustrates that the result of the interplay among these variables is the subject of an appraisal process in which the individual evaluates the particular situation and emotional experience. This process then results in a decision where aggressive responses or other forms of behavior are chosen from the available behavioral repertoire. The following chart illustrates the model:
Individual Differences
• • • • traits attitudes about violence beliefs about violence skills

Situational Variables Accessible Effects
• hostile feelings • expressive-motor responses • • • • cognitive cues discomfort or pain frustration attack

Accessible Cognition
• aggressive thoughts • aggression scripts

Appraisal Process
• interpretation of situation (e.g. harm, intent, malice) • interpretation/experience of affect (e.g. anger toward target)

Arousal
• physiological • perceived

Behavioral Choice
• aggression • other

Source: James J. Lindsay and Craig A. Anderson, “From Antecedent Conditions to Violent Actions: A General Affective Aggression Model”, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26 (2000), 533–547.

32


				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Stats:
views:201
posted:9/6/2008
language:Norwegian
pages:16
Laura Trunk Laura Trunk
About