Back in June, authorities in Massachusetts revealed they were charging 6 former eBay staff members in connection with the strange harassment project of a couple who ran an e-commerce newsletter. The 6 had sent out the couple, Ina and David Steiner, online risks and abuse, and mailed a bizarre collection of products consisting of live bugs and a bloody pig face mask, all for the newsletter’s unfavorable protection of eBay, according to the US Attorney’s Boston workplace.
David Streitfeld of The New York City Times spoke to among the six people charged, Veronica Zea, who said she plans to plead guilty– the charges include conspiring to commit cyberstalking and tamper with witnesses. If you thought the preliminary story was weird, buckle up, because this report has plenty of batshit details.
Copies of the September issue of “Hustler: Hardly Legal” touting “eye-popping 18- year-olds” shown up at the houses of next-door neighbors with David Steiner’s name on them.
The couple had their house address doxxed, had their car followed while driving around their neighborhood, had pizzas provided at all hours– the plot even required Zea and her colleagues to put a tracking gadget on the Steiners’ automobile (which apparently never ever took place).
District attorneys say the Global Security and Resiliency group, as the team of ex-eBay employees was known, planned to harass the Steiners privately, then have eBay action in to stop it. In this way, they figured, they might trick the Steiners into more favorable protection of the business. And, according to the Times account, the project versus the couple was sanctioned by eBay’s then-CEO Devin Wenig, a claim he rejects: “I was simply speaking off the cuff,” he says.
The scheme they describe was both completely sinister and remarkably inept– loaded with daft presumptions on the part of eBay about a plot that did not exist. It stands as a cautioning about how quickly tech business can feel aggrieved, and the mayhem that can take place when they do. And it vividly demonstrates how the internet makes individuals crazy, often without them ever understanding it.
Ah, aggrieved tech business that do not understand when to chill, obviously.
The information in the Times piece– consisting of a picture of the mild-mannered Steiners– are what actually make the story; it almost reads like a summary for a film (attn Netflix, you may wish to get on this). Do yourself a favor and go have a look at Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal in the Times It’s a great check out a wild tale.