Among the many, many people who irk the anarchic message board 4chan, cyberbullying expert Parry Aftab is one of the most consistently despised. So it's not surprising that an anonymous internet denizen sent a SWAT team to her New Jersey home this weekend.
Some 30 police officers, including members of a SWAT team, surrounded Aftab's house this Saturday after receiving a call from an unknown man claiming that he had killed four people at the home and had another hostage, according to NJ.com. The guy demanded $10,000 and a police car. Police shot tear gas through the window, but when they entered found only Aftab's cat at home. (Aftab was on vacation at the time.) Police are now trying to trace the call, which was made from an internet phone, spoofed to appear to be an out-of-state phone number.
The nature and timing of the attack on an old 4chan target suggests the caller is a 4chan fan. Aftab, who runs WiredSafety.org, has enraged 4chan for years with her anti-cyberbullying crusades and her work with the feds on cybercrime issues. "People like Parry Aftab are a threat as they wish to restrict the very tool that we use to fight oppressive governments so they can make sure their kids don't get called names on the internet," reads her entry on Encyclopedia Dramatica, 4chan's wiki-of-record.
Exactly one year ago Saturday, 4chan members launched a massive internet harassment campaign against Aftab, forcing her to cancel an appearance on Good Morning America, where she was scheduled to talk about 4chan's harassment of 11-year-old viral video star Jessi Slaughter. They made "Parry Aftab arrested for child molestation" trend on Google, pranked called her and shut down her websites.
Nobody called the cops on Aftab at the time. But Partyvan.info, an informal guide to 4chan's "raids" on its enemies, suggests bogus crime tips as a good way to screw with someone. "It can be a great way to ruin someone's life," it says. "There have been stories of police teams busting in and wrecking someone's place looking for a 'lead' that was offered to them." Have there ever!
Aftab herself has an extensive entry on Partyvan.info, which lists her personal information to aid in harassment, including the address police raided on Saturday. In fact the night after the raid, someone updated her entry, boasting that she'd been "swatted." They also claimed to have ordered "about $1,500" worth of pizza to her home.
A year after the Jessi Slaughter saga, 4chan still rages over her defenders. It's amazing that a message board on which the average post exists for about 30 seconds can have such a long memory.
[Image via AP]