from the physical-assault-in-a-virtual-world dept.
Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald, who is known to be suffering from epilepsy, reported on twitter that someone tweeted him a seizure-inducing image. This is not the first time it happened, but this attempt was (apparently) successful in triggering a seizure.
This might be the first physical attack on a person perpetrated via the internet. A sad point in history, in my view.
Links: coverage from Ars Technica, Eichenwald's Twitter feed. I'm not linking to the offending image - you're big enough to find it on your own and apparently it is quite horrible even for people who do not suffer from epilepsy.
Eichenwald has tweeted that he is involving law enforcement.
Any ideas on how hard it would be to filter out seizure-inducing media (make it click-to-view/play)?
A man accused of triggering an epileptic seizure of senior Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald through a tweet was arrested by the FBI on Friday morning. An FBI spokesman said the name of the suspect has not been released but confirmed that an arrest was made, Dallas News reported.
The arrest comes three months after Eichenwald said he suffered a seizure after someone sent him a video clip of a flashing strobe light in an intentional effort to trigger his epilepsy. A Twitter account called @jew_goldstein — which has since been suspended — responded to Eichenwald with a gif of flashing strobe lights and a message: "You deserve a seizure for that post." Shortly after, Eichenwald's account tweeted: "This is his wife, you caused a seizure. I have your information and have called the police to report the assault."
From the Dallas News article:
The agency announced that John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury, Md., was arrested Friday morning in Maryland on a cyberstalking charge.
[...] Eichenwald's attorney, Steven Liberman, told Newsweek that "What Mr. Rivello did with his Twitter message was no different from someone sending a bomb in the mail or sending an envelope filled with anthrax spores."
[...] According to a criminal complaint, messages sent from Rivello's Twitter account mentioned Eichenwald, saying "I know he has epilepsy," "I hope this sends him into a seizure" and "let's see if he dies."
Authorities also found an screenshot of Eichenwald's Wikipedia page on Rivello's iCloud account, the criminal complaint said, altered to list his date of death as Dec. 16, 2016. Other files on the iCloud account include a list of things that trigger epileptic seizures and a screenshot of a Dallas Observer article about Eichenwald's attempts to find the person who tweeted at him.
[...] On Friday, Eichenwald said that more than 40 people sent him strobes once they found out that they could trigger seizures.
[...] propose that a risk factor for seizures in patients with photosensitive epilepsy is engagement of the circuitry that produces gamma oscillations.
Gamma oscillations are brain waves that oscillate at frequencies in the 30 to 80 Hz range. One researcher told the Telegraph:
Our findings imply that in designing buildings, it may be important to avoid the types of visual patterns that can activate this circuit and cause discomfort, migraines, or seizures [...] Even perfectly healthy people may feel modest discomfort from the images that are most likely to trigger seizures in photosensitive epilepsy.
Migraine, Epilepsy Drug Caused Serious Birth Defects in Thousands of French Children
Epilepsy-Triggering Suspect Charged, More Details on the Arrest
Alleged Epilepsy-Triggering Troll Arrested by the FBI
Epilepsy Patient Assaulted Via Twitter
Easing Epilepsy With Battery Power