Maryland Man Arrested for Alleged Tweet Triggering Epilepsy Attack

19 March, 2017, 00:10 | Author: Michele Stevens
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John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury, Maryland, was arrested Friday in Maryland after sending a message via Twitter to Dallas reporter Kurt Eichenwald on December 15, 2016. Prosecutors say Rivello's Twitter account sent Eichenwald an "animated strobe image" attached to the message, "You deserve a seizure for your post".

An affidavit filed with the complaint said that a search of Rivello's Twitter account showed he had sent other messages about Eichenwald saying "I know he has epilepsy" and "I hope this sends him into a seizure".

It's believed Eichenwald was targeted for his criticism of then-President-elect Donald Trump. Eichenwald said that he has received as many as 40 similar tweets from various Twitter handles after he announced he received the seizure-inducing strobing tweet. Eichenwald had previously written about suffering from epilepsy. Once Eichenwald viewed the tweet, he suffered a seizure.

Prosecutors say a screenshot of Eichenwald's Wikipedia page was found on his iCloud account and had been altered to show a fake obituary with a December 16 date of death.

In 2008, trolls posted hundreds of epileptogenic graphics to an online message board run by the Epilepsy Foundation in the USA, causing some patients to suffer headaches or seizures.

Shortly after the attack, Eichenwald's account tweeted: "This is his wife, you caused a seizure".

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On Friday, Eichenwald tweeted: "After a 3 month investigation, the FBI this morning arrested the man who assaulted me using a strobe on twitter that triggered a seizure". "Stop sending them", he wrote.

Eichenwald's case is different from other online stalking or bullying lawsuits because the tweet Eichenwald received wasn't just sent to harm him emotionally, it was created to target his medical condition, The New York Times pointed out in a report. "It landed face down on the bathroom floor", he wrote in Newsweek.

Only around three in every hundred people with epilepsy suffers from the photosensitive kind, according to the charity Epilepsy Action.

Lieberman said that this tweet wasn't an effort to curb free speech, equating it to sending an envelope of Anthrax spores or a bomb to someone.

He had also researched epilepsy seizure triggers on the epilepsy.com website. 'It triggers a physical effect'.

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