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Gangs in Md. Throw Rivals A Cyberpunch
Members Use Web to Brag And Warn Foes; Police Use The Sites to Track Them
By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 14, 2006; B01

The threat from the Washington area gang Street Thug Criminals was very
clear: "We swore we were going to get the *bleep* that did this and we are.
RIP Antonio." It was delivered the way almost everything seems to be these
days: on a Web page. The Street Thug Criminals have an Internet page, and
they used it to warn a rival Langley Park gang that Antonio's death would be
avenged. Police call it "cyberbanging" -- gang members openly bragging about
affiliations, skipping school, getting high and battling rival gangs.

Full story is at:

Interestingly in the last couple of years, as I have branched into safe
schools communities, I kept asking gang experts about online activity. The
last I asked -- last spring -- none had seen this. Definitely was coming.

Note that the current ways in which schools are seeking to manage the
Internet, by using filtering software, are going to be entirely ineffective
in stopping this kind of activity. The gang members will simply set up
proxies to bounce around the school filter.

I occasionally check in with the folks at Vericept, who have an intelligent
content monitoring approach that I like. They told me that when they are
finding is that in schools in higher SES regions, the greatest difficulties
reported are student involvement in cyberbullying. But in schools in the
lower SES regions, gang-related activities are most prominent.

MySpace told me that they specifically search for and remove any profile or
group that has any indications of gang relationships. In fact, there are no
signs in the building that indicate their presence because of their
perception of the need for self-protection due to their removal of gang

Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social
Cruelty, Threats, and Distress, a resource for educators, is now available
online at

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