Wednesday, March 31, 2010

FBI Nails Potentially Dangerous Man in Hours Thanks to YouTube

Here's a good illustration of just how quickly information can be dispersed through the Internet, and just how little privacy actually exists online. On Friday, March 26th, a YouTube user by the name of shiamuslimcantbestop posted a video in which he made allusions to putting bullets in the heads of Eric Cantor, congressman from Virginia's seventh district, and his family. By the following afternoon, the prolific YouTuber was in FBI custody and answering questions.

Shiamuslimcantbestop, who was identified as Norman LeBoon, has taken to YouTube as his personal pulpit, having posted 515 messages of love, hate and violence (though primarily hate and violence) over the past ten months. LeBoon claimed to be the messiah in some of the videos, offering condemnations of everything from Israel to YouTube itself, and even the movie 'Babe.' The message Friday, which has since been removed, targeted Cantor for being "a liar... a lucifer... a pig... an abomination."

The day after the video was posted, the FBI contacted Google, and filed an "Emergency Disclosure Request" in order to obtain the IP address from whence the video had been uploaded. Law enforcement officials then took that address to Verizon, and filed an "Emergency Situation Disclosure Request" in order to track down the physical location of the computer associated with that IP. That led authorities to Philadelphia, where they then went through an internal database and discovered an active warrant for Norman LeBoon due to charges of terrorist threats, assault and reckless endangerment. The photo from the arrest clearly matched the man seen in the YouTube videos, and, within hours of filing the initial request with Google, FBI agents were knocking at LeBoon's front door.

Thanks to the power of the Web, agents were able to identify, locate, and apprehend a potentially dangerous man within 24 hours of his illegal threat [Ed. Note: Threats and calls to harm are not constitutionally protected] against a serving member of the U.S. government. If convicted (and considering his admission of guilt, we're sure he will be), LeBoon faces up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to $500,000. Even after that, he'll like spend years under the strict supervision of psychologists. Just check out his prodigious collection of YouTube rants to get an idea of why.


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