I read a tragic story published by The San Francisco Chronicle on sfgate.com today. It told the unfortunate tale of a crash scene photo of a decapitated corpse. The image was released by the California Highway Patrol and soon proliferated online.
“Family members said they suffered emotional distress after the graphic photos of the October accident appeared on the Internet. They said the photos’ release exposed them to e-mails and text messages from people taunting them with pictures of the girl’s decapitated corpse.“
If true, an argument can be made that the Internet increased the family’s suffering. It’s bad enough to see the photos online, but to get less than sympathetic email and text messages adds to the family’s pain and suffering. The family is seeking $20 million, so it appears their lawyers see cash in the connected nature of web 2.0.
One wonders how their email address and/or phone number (assuming the text messages were SMS) were found by the miscreants. I expected the journalist on the story to dig a little deeper, but then again, it’s just an AP feed that the Chron reprinted. Looks like a case of lazy journalism to me.