Ex-NJ Student Gets 30 Jail Days in Web Cam Spying Case


Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail in a case of webcam spying that drew national attention to issues of online privacy, suicide, and antigay bullying, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Ravi also must do 300 hours of community service and pay $10,000 to assist bias-crime victims. Legal experts expect an appeal by Ravi of the guilty verdict, even as prosecutors may appeal the sentence.

Already the case has served as a showcase on the risks that arise when young people use social media as an integral part of their lives, sometimes with little thought about the potential toll on others, or the potential legal consequences. The case involved Ravi’s use of a dorm-room webcam to spy on his roommate’s gay relationship while the two were freshme in 2010. The incident became a nationwide symbol of digital-age bullying because it involved Ravi’s text messages to friends and his public Twitter updates, and because the roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide a few days later. Judge Glenn Berman made a point of noting that Ravi’s actions, however reprehensible, were not violent and that neither he nor the prosecution was using the term “hate crime” to describe them.

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