net effect, by Nicole Manktelow - 24th April 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald - ICON)
It's usually hailed for changing lives, not destroying
them, but that's how Susan describes the internet.
She wishes her family had never connected.
had been married for 38 years - most of them happy
- until her husband discovered chat rooms.
husband is on the internet non-stop and he found himself
one or two girlfriends overseas," Susan says.
"It's been going on now for a couple of years.
74 now and, two years ago, one of the girls was 19.
The explanation given to me at the time was that they
needed a shoulder to cry on and 'I'm like a father
to her', he'd say. But as it turned out, it wasn't
online romances continued. "He even went overseas
for six weeks to see one of them ... but then he told
me, 'I miss you, I need you back,' so, stupid me,
I went after him. He promised then he was all over
for Susan, the lure of the chat room soon proved too
strong for her husband to resist. "When we were
overseas he promised to forget it. We were together
overseas for about two months. When we came back,
it was only a week or two down the track and it was
on again," she says. "Now he's contemplating
going back overseas again."
story is not a happy one, but amid many positive tales
of online love the internet has also collected its
share of pain and disappointment.
husband is defensive of his online habits "and
he lies a lot", Susan says. "He'll be at
the computer from 9 in the morning until late at night.
He says, 'So I am addicted, so what about it?'
a very embarrassing situation ... Our son still lives
at home. He's 31. I've been trying to hold it together
but I am not sure how much longer I can."
New Zealand couple were unable to salvage their marriage
- and email made a bad situation much worse, explains
Patrick*, who describes what happened to his relative.
"She's not aware that I know her terrible story,"
was married to a guy who was contracted to work in
the UK for a year. While he was away, she had an affair
and decided to tell him all about it when he got back.
Unfortunately, she didn't realise her email address
was linked to [her husband's] and he was happily reading
all her email from London. "He knew all about
the affair and had decided to have one of his own,"
did not go well for the two of them and they have
divorced. Mind you, it's worked out in the end - she
met a nice young American on the internet and now
they're happily married. I kid you not."
believes that, at the time of the affair, his relative
was emailing both her lover and some friends. "She
wouldn't have had a clue as to the risks of email.
She's oblivious to stuff like that."
misguided email can also cause considerable damage
to careers and reputations - and long after it was
first sent, warns Peter*.
sends his children to a Sydney private school and
was shocked by an email he received from one of the
was a letter about one of the other children and it
was quite critical," Peter says. "It was
the sort of thing you should not say, that she didn't
think he was supposed to be at that school, that he
can't knuckle down, that his morals were bad. It was
phoned the school and discovered the email had been
intended as a private note for another teacher. The
message had been re-broadcast to staff and parents
after a virus hit a teacher's home computer.
a lot of these stupid viruses do is propagate themselves
and go into the in-tray, grab an email and then go
through the address book. Our antivirus program had
stripped the attachment, so we didn't realise it was
a virus at first," says Peter.
lesson is, never write anything on email you wouldn't
want others to see. That message could end up almost
anywhere and (unless encrypted) could be read by anyone.
fact, you can't even trust the intended recipient.
A high-profile blunder demonstrated this a few years
ago, when a British lawyer sent a raunchy email from
work to her boyfriend, also a lawyer, at another firm
he then decided to show off by forwarding the message
to his mates, who sent it to their mates, and so on.
The message quickly circled the globe, making headlines
and bruising reputations.
are that anyone who's tried internet dating - even
those with success stories - has chalked up a few
was studying last year and when I was online I was
a bit bored. I was looking for company," says
Sarah*. She'd chatted with one guy via instant messaging
and, after meeting as part of a group, decided to
catch up at a bar.
we were there alone it got really strange," Sarah
recalls. "He had drawn me this picture - a Romeo
and Juliet kinda picture with romantic prose as well.
in the night he started getting really agitated and
eventually he burst into tears.
had really different expectations. He was telling
me, 'I could see myself with someone like you,' and
trying to grab at my hand ... Because I had used a
dating site, there was an expectation that I was seeking
a relationship, whereas all I was looking for was
guy would tell me that I should go out and wear something
I'd never normally wear - wear it for him and give
him a report the next day. That was weird.
up, I had given out my email address to five or six
people and when I went on Messenger I was getting
bombarded by them, asking for my mobile number and
when we could speak. One guy really abused me ...
I have abandoned that email address."
internet romance gave Martin*a chance to broaden his
horizons. Friends say he'd spent much of his life
at the same address, living in the family home from
which he also ran his small business. He'd met his
two previous girlfriends at the local shops just a
he got on the internet it was like a whole new world
opened up to him," says Matt*. "He came
into some money and didn't know what to do with it.
We were encouraging him to get out and see the world.
What happened was that he decided to visit this one
woman he had met on the internet. She lived overseas
in a really small town and didn't get out much. When
he got there, it was like she grew dependant on him
and wouldn't let him come back."
did return briefly, but he soon cut ties with friends
and went back overseas. He has not been in touch with
his friends since.
dangers of chat and dating inspired Sydney author
Vena McGrath to write a book about her experiences.
She's just finishing the final draft of Secrets, Lies
& Chat for an American publisher.
reason I decided to make my personal life an open
book is that I hope to save others from falling into
the same traps I did," McGrath says, adding that
many of the men she became involved with lied when
they said they were single.
are worse surprises. For example, nothing ruins a
date like having the police involved. Randy Cassingham,
the American author of the online newsletter This
Is True (www.thisistrue.com),
has a collection of stories that really are stranger
LaShawn Pettus-Brown made a date with a woman, she
decided to check his background," says Cassingham,
recalling one of the US stories on his desk recently.
Googled him. The internet search turned up a federal
fraud warrant for his arrest," he says.
was a fugitive and had been on the [run] for over
a year. The unnamed woman called the FBI and told
them where he would be ... he was arrested at the
restaurant where he was to meet her."
someone accidentally sends an email to the wrong people,
how they react to the blooper can make all the difference,
says Laura*, who participates in an email group for
a lovely woman in charge of the service," she
recalls. "One day in the lead-up to a long weekend,
she sends a message, but instead of a list-related
message, she sends a request to a beautician for a
first there was no response, as though the list had
gone quiet. Then another member took decisive action.
"One of the other people on the list sent a group
email saying, 'Let's all pretend that never happened
and we'll never speak of it again.'"
declined to specify the exact nature of the request,
other than to say it was "girl business".
horror stories outnumber the tales of success at WhoIsHe.com,
a US company that provides background checks. To read
some - or even submit your own - go to www.whoishe.com/Storys.html
their real names
Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald - ICON
TV - National Cable Satellite Corporation
to Halt Online Abuse
Sports and Entertainment Portal - Online Dating
Sports and Entertainment Portal - Chat
Bureau of Investigation
is more real than you think, by Greg Tingle
On The Internet, by Greg Tingle
the trail of the web scammers - 6th April 2004
Safety and Responsibilities, by Vaughan Buckland
they use your website in a TV broadcast about scams?
By Elena Petrova
needs someone to talk to - 3rd July 2003
Tim Bristow: A personal true tale of Australia's legendary
private investigator, by Greg Tingle
attacked by poison pen
McGrath, author of Secrets, Lies & Chat &
Internet chat authority - 30th March 2004
"The Cybercop" Hitchcock, author of Net
Crimes and Misdemeanors & President of WHOA
Angel, Speaker, Presenter, Trainer & Author
Tien, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Malda, Founder of Slashdot
Finkelstein, Consulting Programmer, Anti Censorware
Lies & Chat by Greg Tingle & Yvette Moore
Lies & Chat by Greg Tingle
Lies & Chat by Yvette Moore
FINDS BUFFALO SPAMMER GUILTY OF IDENTITY THEFT AND
FORGERY - 1st April 2004