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Crime Canada

Canadian Teen Arrested For Calling In 30+ Swattings, Bomb Threats 350

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stick-to-trolling-the-internet dept.
tsu doh nimh (609154) writes "A 16-year-old male from Ottawa, Canada has been arrested for allegedly making at least 30 fraudulent callsincluding bomb threats and 'swattings' — to emergency services across North America over the past few months. Canadian media isn't identifying the youth because of laws that prevent the disclosure, but the alleged perpetrator was outed in a dox on Pastebin that was picked up by journalist Brian Krebs, who was twice the recipient of attempted swat raids at the hand of this kid. From the story: 'I told this user privately that targeting an investigative reporter maybe wasn't the brightest idea, and that he was likely to wind up in jail soon. But @ProbablyOnion was on a roll: That same day, he hung out his for-hire sign on Twitter, with the following message: "want someone swatted? Tweet me their name, address and I'll make it happen."'"
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Canadian Teen Arrested For Calling In 30+ Swattings, Bomb Threats

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  • good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:08PM (#46985377)

    good

  • by Entropius (188861) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:11PM (#46985405)

    ... the fact that you can do this with a telephone is pretty scary.

    Just recently I saw a massive police overreaction (closing off a block of downtown DC in front of a university hospital, complete with police abusing citizens) just because some student left her backpack lying around. If this is all it takes to provoke this sort of reaction, and if a few phone calls can get someone "swatted", then why the hell does al-Qaeda bother with bombings and flying planes into things? Send over a few sleeper cells with nondescript bags and boxes and watch the panic fly.

    This is pretty damn analogous to an allergic reaction: "ack, a piece of peanut antigen! FETCH ALL THE CYTOKINES, BOYS, THIS MEANS WAR!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yep. Back when Osama bin Hidin was running around, all it took was a video to make the U.S. clench its buttcheeks.

      Now it just takes a 16 year old prankster.

    • by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:54PM (#46985683)

      You do realize that these Swatting are caused by someone with the fake caller ID of the address calling emergency services and claiming there home has been invaded by someone with guns and they are actively killing people and have numerous hostages. Or some other variant where someone with a gun is in the process of killing someone with a bunch lined up and the caller is either a hidden victim or the person doing the active killing. There is usually included a statement that the cops need to hurry and that any attempt at contact will result in the "killer" immediately killing multiple people.

      The scenario presented doesn't give police many options. Though I don't like SWAT teams nor the militarization of the police, but reacting to these scenarios as if it was a prank is only going to result in a real scenario going bad in a way that results in multiple people being killed and everyone laying blame on the cops for not taking it seriously.

      Maybe you should read the transcript of these SWAT'ings and lay out what procedure you would have put in place to determine that it was a prank and not the real thing and prove how smart you are. Keep in mind that in some jurisdictions there may be laws on the books that require this type of response.

      • by ColdSam (884768)
        So the solution is for the police to react calmly, professionally using their presumably expert knowledge with a little bit of common sense. They should be able to suss out these swattings and act appropriately in the vast majority of cases. Breaking down doors and shooting innocents should be an incredible rarity.
        • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @09:24AM (#46989177) Homepage

          So the solution is for the police to react calmly, professionally using their presumably expert knowledge with a little bit of common sense. They should be able to suss out these swattings and act appropriately in the vast majority of cases.

          Why "should" they be able to suss out these swattings? What symptoms are the police missing that differentiates a swatting from a real incident? I.E. the same questions the grandparent asked, but that you airily handwaved away.

          Unless you can answer them, you're blaming the cops based on a belief you've pulled out of your ass rather than anything resembling reality.

    • by Nahor (41537)

      And then when someone calls 911 because of a real hostage situation or bomb threat, then people go all up in arms because SWAT was too slow, never mind that they were only checking if the call was legit.

      What's scary is how people always overreact, no matter what, and require blood if the outcome doesn't please them, even if everything was done right otherwise.

      • Yep it is a no-win situation.

        However I have limited sympathy.
        It is like leaving your house unlocked and complain that you always get broken in to.
        If they don't even bother attempting to stop swattings, then too bad that is their problem.

        • by rtb61 (674572) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:50PM (#46986073) Homepage

          There is a win, risk analysis based upon reality. Initial police response to confirm is only minutes away, delaying everything whilst waiting for swat is tens of minutes. Unless of course the police force has been right wing screwed up and turned into for profit law enforcement, where police are far away chasing traffic fines and some trigger happy freak is all to eager to send and the swat team and kill some people, anyone.

          There is huge risk in sending out the swat team, this has been proven time and time again, by far the safer and quicker response is by a properly managed police force and confirmation being sought by 'actively' patrolling police officers. No public call should ever, I repeat ever, activate the swat team, only a request by a senior officer on site should bring the dogs out.

          • There is huge risk in sending out the swat team, this has been proven time and time again, by far the safer and quicker response is by a properly managed police force and confirmation being sought by 'actively' patrolling police officers. No public call should ever, I repeat ever, activate the swat team, only a request by a senior officer on site should bring the dogs out.

            And this appears to be exactly what happened in this case, as the kid is being charged with multiple attempts at swatting only. The attempted calls to the investigative reporter were defused by calls from the local police department. The police appear to have learned their lesson from previous swatting incidents, and no tactical teams were deployed.

    • by melchoir55 (218842) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:10PM (#46985787)

      The reason terrorists don't bother with stuff like this:

      There aren't any.

      • by Entropius (188861)

        You jest, but I take the failure of ebil al-Qaeda terrists who want to kill or at least scare the fuck out of Americans to kill or scare the fuck out of Americans, combined with how easy it is to do said killing or fuck-scaring, as evidence that they're far less threatening than we're told they are.

        Instead we get whackadoodle underpants bombers and wacky Chechens. But the toll from the Boston bombing (5 dead, ~200 injured) is the same as an average week in the ghetto of Baltimore (a city of half a million).

    • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:29PM (#46985925)

      ... the fact that you can do this with a telephone is pretty scary.

      Just recently I saw a massive police overreaction (closing off a block of downtown DC in front of a university hospital, complete with police abusing citizens) just because some student left her backpack lying around. If this is all it takes to provoke this sort of reaction, and if a few phone calls can get someone "swatted", then why the hell does al-Qaeda bother with bombings and flying planes into things? Send over a few sleeper cells with nondescript bags and boxes and watch the panic fly.

      If the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, the terrorists have won.

    • If this is all it takes to provoke this sort of reaction, and if a few phone calls can get someone "swatted", then why the hell does al-Qaeda bother with bombings and flying planes into things? Send over a few sleeper cells with nondescript bags and boxes and watch the panic fly.

      Because they don't operate like that. Their goal is not to inconvenience Americans, it's to get international attention and power over their own people. The US is just a convenient punching bag. Or do you really think that they are "jealous of our freedoms."

    • The news here is that if an anonymous prank call is all it takes to launch SWATs, the sleeper cells should just learn to speak flawless English and have 911 on speeddial.

      How long do you think it would take for a team of dedicated terrorists to shutdown emergency services if they are this stupid?

    • by murdocj (543661)

      Maybe you missed the Boston Marathon bombings? The police have a choice. They can ignore warnings, suspicious packages, etc, and we can just accept that major cities are going to lose a few thousand people each year. Or they can react to EACH threat. They don't have 20-20 hindsight.

      • by j-beda (85386)

        Maybe you missed the Boston Marathon bombings? The police have a choice. They can ignore warnings, suspicious packages, etc, and we can just accept that major cities are going to lose a few thousand people each year. Or they can react to EACH threat. They don't have 20-20 hindsight.

        THOUSANDS of people EACH YEAR in "major cities"? What colour is the sky in your world?

        Maybe I have been sleeping - did I miss the announcements of multiple foiled death plots in North America? I guess the police doing all this type of "targeting suspicious activities" could be acting as a deterrent, but I find it hard to believe that in each of our "major cities" there are people crazy enough to want to plot bombings, but at the same time being held back by their fear of the actions of the police.

    • ... the fact that you can do this with a telephone is pretty scary.

      Militarization of the police fits your "government's" anti-activism agenda [theguardian.com] that has been carried out for over a century. [wikipedia.org]

      SWATting won't end on its own, they want the practice to become more acceptable. This is just practice for ensuring no one ever tries to defeat "national security" which means maintaining the social, economic and political status quo even against the will of the people. What's scariest is how easy "citizens" allow themselves to be fooled into paying for oppressive police states they actu

    • bombing. The response to this was to have about 3-4 thousand police soldiers(DEA, FBI, staties, and local) show up and shut down about 3 cities here in Massachusetts for a day. I've heard the cost of the shut down was on the order of 300-400 million dollars. Should I point out this was to stop 2 idiots(with little training) with a couple of pressure cooker bombs, some pipe bombs, and a pistol. Wonder what that cost, maybe a thousand dollars? (Geez, if Al-Qaeda wants to hurt us by warfare on the cheap that r
  • I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arielCo (995647) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:36PM (#46985559)

    At the risk of being modded into the ground, how is this Slashdot material?

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:48PM (#46985627)

      Because this is what Slashdot has become.

    • Oh, the technique was totally new, because it involved "with a computer".
    • by gweihir (88907)

      It does involve limitations of communication technology and effects that can be created on the real world using communication technology.

  • bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:10PM (#46985789)

    On one hand, glad the little fucker got caught. on the other, also glad he was Canadian. Had he been in the US, he'd probably get a life sentence.

    16 year old kids do really incredibly dumb anti social stuff, problems arise with something as easy to pull off as this -- and the supposed anonymity of the internet. How many of you remember winnuke (circa 1996)? Nowadays nuking someone would have been met with a knock on the door, and being hauled away in cuffs.

    (NOT defending swatting. more criticizing penalties for teenagers in the US. At 16 you're a moron -- you have some inkling of the consequences but you don't really *get* it.)

    • Re:bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:38PM (#46985997)

      I've never met a 16 year old that didn't understand what they were doing. On the other hand I've met plenty that didn't care. Not even 100 years ago 16 years old was an adult in many places able to exercise contracts, get married and work full time. My grandparents married at 17/16. I don't ascribe to the view that 16 years old is incapable of understanding their actions, that ability develops as early as 5 years old. I do ascribe to the view that our society and most western societies don't hold those 16 year old's to that level and that results in kids like this doing these horrible things.

      I also don't think he should face quite the same penalties as an older individual but it's foolish to suggest they don't understand the consequences. Most 16 year olds fully understand, in fact they understand so well that they fully grasp that society will not punish them as harshly because of their age and willfully engage in actions like this because they know there is no long term consequence for their action.

      That said he should spend the next two years of his life in a juvenile correctional institution receiving the counseling, assistance and parenting he clearly needs. Afterwards his record should be sealed and he should be told that should he commit these actions again he will end up in real prison.

      • by l0ungeb0y (442022)

        Afterwards his record should be sealed and he should be told that should he commit these actions again he will end up in real prison.

        Where's the justice in that? He needs to be charged with as many Felonies as possible and be made virtually unemployable for the rest of his life, with the hopes this keeps him in poverty and all the more likely to be picked up on trumped-up BS petty charges or resorts to crime, so that we can keep him in the "Correctional System"

    • Re:bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:41PM (#46986015)

      I don't know, I think for something like swatting more than ten or so people deserve the full adult felony treatment - because in that case they are an irredeemable asshole and I'd rather them be vanished than spend time figuring out if they are useful to society or not.

      I did some dumb things too as a kid, but not 30 times over...

      • I did some dumb things too as a kid, but not 30 times over...

        That's OK, you just have to do them three times now, and then be unlucky - we sentence on "three strikes" rules now, because, you know, baseball and also "tough on crime!".

      • Re:bleh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dryeo (100693) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @12:03AM (#46987027)

        Don't have the feudal idea of felons in Canada. In a case like this the Crown might ask for the 16yr old to be tried as an adult and the Judge might agree. Then there is a trial and sentencing rather then the threat of life in jail if the youth doesn't plead guilty. If tried as a juvenile, the maximum is 2 years, which is a good chunk of a 16yr olds life. No idea what the maximum sentence would be if tried as an adult but the Judge would probably still take into consideration his age and history.

    • Re:bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:48PM (#46986063) Homepage

      At 16 you're a moron -- you have some inkling of the consequences but you don't really *get* it.)

      Only in the US, where we try to extend "innocence" as long as possible. In a lot of cultures 16 year old are working and starting families. I'm not saying that's the preferred path, just that a 16 year old SHOULD be able to make adult decisions. The fact that they can't means that society is not raising them correctly.

      • Re:bleh. (Score:5, Informative)

        by evilviper (135110) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:25PM (#46986875) Journal

        In a lot of cultures 16 year old are working and starting families. I'm not saying that's the preferred path, just that a 16 year old SHOULD be able to make adult decisions. The fact that they can't means that society is not raising them correctly.

        No, the biology has been studied for decades. It's actually right around 25 that people emerge from their high-risk behavior and inability to weigh consequences, and start thinking straight. The traffic fatality statistics serve as a good proxy... There's a reason a huge number of 18-25 year-olds are killed in traffic accidents, and it's predominantly biological.

      • We aren't raising them correctly?

        Those countries where the 16-year-old's are raising families all suck.

        Give me a mommy state over a dead beat daddy state any day of the week!

    • by russotto (537200)

      On one hand, glad the little fucker got caught. on the other, also glad he was Canadian. Had he been in the US, he'd probably get a life sentence.

      Personally I wish he was in Singapore. This is the kind of thing where corporal punishment would seem appropriate.

      • Re:bleh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by N1AK (864906) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @05:10AM (#46987837) Homepage

        Personally I wish he was in Singapore. This is the kind of thing where corporal punishment would seem appropriate.

        In many ways corporal punishment (outside the death penalty and crazy eye for an eye nonsense) would often be cheaper and better for the victim as well. This kid, even if tried a sa child could get 2 years in prison. His education will be stuffed, it'll cost a fortune for tax payers and his career prospects are dead and buried. I struggle to see how a month in a hard labour camp with a couple of harsh beatings/lashings is less humane.

  • Seriously, WTF, kiddo?

  • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Monday May 12, 2014 @09:26PM (#46986309) Homepage Journal

    You should stop at 29 swattings and fake bomb threats.

    Seriously, how did he not get caught earlier?

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