The Internet, the Philippines and Internet in the Philippines
 

CAUGHT IN THE NET
ASSAULTED ONLINE

by Angela Giles Klocke

It was a day like the rest. I was working online, putting my zines together, gathering information, writing, the usual. I had just sent out that day's zine, Variety News. In no time flat, I had mail with the zine's name in the subject line.

"Get me off this list, you dirty 'blankety-blank' " it said. My heart froze in my chest. What? Surely this was a mistake. Before I even had a chance to digest what had just occurred, more mail came in, screaming obscenities. My hands were shaking at this point.

True, I had been yelled at online before, especially as a newbie, but never had I seen such. I had done nothing to this person. They had subscribed to my newsletter the day before on their own accord. I rarely add anyone manually to any zine I publish and I had definitely not added this person. In fact, I had proof that he had subscribed himself. But that wasn't enough.

I then did something no one should ever do. I responded with a resounding "Huh?" That was all it took to set this person off. Hate mail came flying in. I was called every name under the sun and it became clear very quick that this person was quite racist, even though he had no idea apparently what race I am. In fact, his e-mail address alone gave away what type of person he was.

Me being who I am, I actually tried to reason with this person. "Why are you doing this?" I asked.

"That's it. You've been warned," Comes the next e-mail.

At this point, I am scared, rightly so. I knew now that no more contact should be made. I contacted friends to see what I should do. But at this point, it didn't matter. Porn mail and hate mail and every type of mail out there came in floods into my inbox. I was appalled. Subject lines boasting the hottest nude teens on the net were coming in by the dozens. This person was going from porn site to porn site, subscribing me to everything he could. I couldn't keep up with all his mail.

The next thing he did was worse. He wrote to MY ISP and tried to have my acc ount closed, claiming I had been SPAMMING him. Not only did he write them, but he wrote my web site provider and gave them the same story. He was literally trying to have me shut down and I had done nothing to him.

Luckily, a net savvy friend of mine (whom I had NEVER met in person) showed me how to read who HIS ISP was and to contact them. I did this immediately only to find out my friend had already called them! She was working on this already so my letter wasn't a surprise. The person working on the situation was more than sympathetic and as it had turned out, my assaulter had done this before. So while it was comforting that I was being helped, I couldn't understand why if he had a history of this it hadn't been taken care of before.

A few hours later, I was assured that this person could no longer send me e-mail. But that didn't mean the other mail stopped. For weeks, and even to this day, I received porn mail, mail about making millions, SPAM, SPAM, and, you guessed it, more SPAM. The worst part was that I couldn't just change my e-mail address. Hundreds of writers had my e-mail address and changing wasn't going to work. The best I could do was try to unsubscribe from each list or block the ones that refused to honor my requests. It was a nightmare.

To make the matter worse, this person slandered my zine by spreading terrible rumors about it. The next best solution was to close the zine. I didn't want my name and company name associated with what this person was now making out to be a porn list itself. I hated to see the zine go but it was a sacrifice to save the rest.

I never heard from this person again. His dangerously racist web site was still up and running last time I looked. Freedom of Speech, I was told. Of course I know all about that but still...

The reason for sharing this story with you -- this sort of thing happens to many people online. It's happening right now. What can you do to protect yourself?

First, never reply. I don't know if it would have made a difference in my case, but maybe this person was waiting for me to do it. I let my "must make everyone be nice" attitude stand in my way of good judgment. Just ignore anyone who SPAMS period.

Second, if they assault you more than once, immediately notify their ISP and your own. Let everyone you can know about the situation right away. You need back up.

Next, there are many places online for you to visit to report these types of people. A real quick search with your favorite search engine will produce a ton of wonderful resources. They are set up to help you in times of need like this.

Finally, keep your cool. Don't fire off angry letters at the person assaulting or at their ISP. Stay calm no matter how rattled you may be. No one can work properly under the pressures of anger. Not you, not the people who have to help you, not your friends.

And on a final note, don't ever let anyone scare you from doing what you do. If you let an assaulter scare you offline, he has won. You must keep going. I could have easily stuck my head in the sand and disappeared. But I kept going. I didn't change my e-mail address, I didn't move my web site and I didn't stop doing what I do, my job. I was scared, no doubt, but I kept going. And you must too.


Resource Box:

Angela is the publisher of several online and print zines and she owns her own publishing business, Klocke Publishing -- http://www.klockepresents.com. She has been published in numerous publications and places all reprints at Themestream.com She welcomes e-mail at agklocke@klockepresents.com , but asks that no one sends mean mail :-)

ISSUE 17 MAY - JUNE 2000
I S S N   0119-7088

Caught in the Net
Assaulted Online
by Angela Giles Klocke

Men, Relationships and the Internet
by Brett Krkosska

Netbytes
The Top Net News In May

Newbie 101
Are You In A Communication Rut Or Are You Getting Your Message Across?
by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta

Web Tips
by Deborah Anderson

Netspeak
How To Sell Your Website or Domain Name For Big Money
by Kevin Nunley

Is Your Domain Name A Trademark Infringement?
by Shelley Lowery

The Importance of Having Your Own Domain Name
by Sumantra Roy

My Blue Room
Alcoholics Anonymous
by Meg R

Virgin
by S

The Dollar Stretcher
Secrets Save 25% on Groceries
by Gary Foreman

Pay Yourself First
by Gary Foreman

This Month's Secret Assets
Angela Giles Klocke
Colleen Moulding
Deborah Anderson
Kevin Nunley
Shelley Lowery
Sumantra Roy
Meg R
Brett Krkosska
Gary Foreman
Shery Ma Belle Arrieta

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