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Interview With Jayne Hitchcock

Target of the Woodside Literary Agency's Harassment and WHOA's President

Jayne Hitchcock's harrowing tale of online harassment can be found in detail at Abuse of Usenet: The Woodside Literary Agency. WHOA took some times out to speak with her about what she has learned from this ordeal.

WHOA: What things have you learned about online harassment in pursuing this case?

JH: That I am the first person to go public with it and actually try to prosecute my harasser. That it can happen to anyone. That it does have to be stopped, or at least the harassers have to be punished in some way.

WHOA: What do you think are steps that individuals should take to avoid having similar incidents occur to them?

JH: Be careful what you post on newsgroups and who you send your email address to. I would suggest getting a "free" email account, like I have with Juno and Hotmail, and using that when you post to newsgroups. Use your primary ISP email account for personal or business email only. That way, if someone does decide to harass, email bomb or forge posts in your name, you can cancel the free email account and get another.

WHOA: What are some steps that site administrators could take to avoid this happening to anyone?

JH: ISPs should be able to look up someone when they apply for an account. If that person's name, address, phone number, and/or credit card number comes up as belonging to a spammer, scammer, or otherwise kicked off their ISP previously, they can deny them an account. There should also be a way for every ISP to connect with each other, or trade a "bad account" list to keep these people from jumping from ISP to ISP.

WHOA: What do you see as the future of the issue of online harassment?

JH: There will be changes made, either by government regulations, the ISPs, the FCC or other government agency; or people on the Internet may get so fed up that they'll do it themselves. It's sad it's come to this.

Jayne has dedicated herself to trying to help stop this sort of abuse from happening to herself and others. Please visit her web site. for more information.



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