TV2 wants me to explain the difference between MSN chat and IRC or web chat rooms so that my grandma could understand it in 40 seconds, with a discussion of what the dangers are and whether you can be anonymous. The background is that there’s a court case going on now where some young girls have been threatened by a guy they met on MSN – they thought they were anonymous but he started telling them he knew where to find them and had their addresses and everything, and had some cannibalism thing going on. I have about 15 minutes to research this, and my colleagues are making me do it and of course one should and it’s cool and all and I hate seeing myself on video but yes it’s cool, OK, right, I’m googling MSN anonymity now. Any ideas to what I should say? They’re coming at quarter to two, but I’ll be at a meeting from 12.15-13.30 so have little time.

Damn. I was going to install MSN chat but it’s Windows only. Argh!

4 thoughts on “msn chat and anonymity

  1. Gro

    Mathias uses msn a lot. What i understand from him, is
    that you choose identity, and you don’t have to give your real
    name. But i presume that it is quite easy to get an innocent
    child to give his/hers real name. What i know, is that
    mathias belive that everybody is telling the thruth on msn. If
    a grown-up for eksample goes on msn and says he is a pupil at
    my sons school, that would be enough to make my son give out
    personal information about himself. And that is quite scaring
    to be honest. But mostly the children exchange adresses with
    each other, so they know who they invite in to the msn-chat.
    And mathias also blocks adresses he doesn’t want to chat with.
    There are a lot of sleazy people trying to get in contact with
    these children, but you must either have faith in the children’s
    ability to judge, or ban the whole thing.That’s the only
    solution i think. It’s a lovely tool for communication, but
    there are advantages and disadvantages here, as it is with all
    new technology. But children are more clever than we think. Or
    i like to think so 🙂

  2. Elin

    I’ve followed this for a bit. These girls were perfectly anonymous – but he used clever mental tricks to have them reveal their phone numbers, other personal details and send him pictures of themselves. He offered them insane amounts of money if they’d meet him at a hotel and sleep with them (remember – he was talking to them one by one, not as a group). He would tell them that if they sent him a picture – he’d forgive their sins and delay their punishments (which were to be killed an eaten) with ten years. One girl got scared and sent him her picture. It is not about flaws with the MSN client – it is about a devious, psychopathic man’s abillity to manipulate.

  3. Elin

    (Oh – and telling them that he had their address etc is just another way he manipulated them into believeing he had power – of course this doesn’t mean that he in fact had this information.)

  4. Jill

    Gro and Elin, thanks so much – that’s interesting, Gro, that your son believes that other people are telling the truth on MSN – something we need to try to teach them, I suppose…

    The interview was fine, though I pity the journalist, who now has 20 minutes of video to edit down into 40 seconds… She had fixed questions sent her by another journalist who’s in charge of the whole piece, which will be one of those “what’s online chatting and should we worry about it” pieces. Some of the questions were, well, hard to answer – “What’s the difference between chat and MSN?” is a bit like asking what the difference is between a car and a Toyota, and that really wasn’t the answer they wanted, so I got that question again and again. What they *wanted* to hear was that you need to make your personal information public to use MSN (which isn’t true though probably the registration process makes it easy for the gullible to do so) while chat boxes on websites often don’t require any signup.

    I’d just come in when they arrived and had no time to put on lipstick or check my hair, either. I’m *not* going to be watching the evening news, that’s for sure! I *hate* seeing myself on video. Utterly detest it.

    It’s pretty cool being the expert on TV though 🙂

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