Katie.com lawyer to host cyber-bullying conference
Takes one to know one
Cyber-lawyer and "national expert on cyber-bullying" Parry Aftab is to host a conference on cyber-bullying in Westchester, New York. Particularly attentive Register readers may remember Aftab for her involvement in the saga of Katie.com, the web's weirdest domain name dispute.
The argument centred around a book called Katie.com. It told the story of Katie Tarbox, a young woman who was molested by a paedophile who she met online while he was posing as a teenage boy. Trouble was, the domain name was already registered to another Katie, Katie Jones. Once the book was published, Jones' life was "completely invaded".
Penguin, the publisher, backed down and renamed the book, but not before an extended campaign on Jones' part, that continued for several years. (See our original coverage from 2000 here.) It says the whole escapade was an oversight, and that the domain was brought to its attention after publishing.
But before the dispute was resolved, Parry Aftab got involved: she contacted Katie Jones and tried to persuade her to hand over the Katie.com site.
Jones wrote at the time: "She tried to convince me that I should donate the domain name to them. Secondly, she tells me that they're planning on launching some school curriculum thing to teach kids about online safety - and they're calling it Katie.com. Are they insane? No wonder they want me to hand it over."
Aftab said she was not working with Tarbox, and accused Jones of having a hidden agenda.
Jones told The Register: "When I wrote about the call on my blog and the whole thing got into the news and slashdotted again, they very quickly went into 'damage control' mode, Tarbox denied to anyone who emailed her that Aftab had called me on her behalf, and Aftab became extremely quiet on the subject."
Now Aftab is lecturing on how to deal with cyber bullying, the irony is not lost on Jones: "A summit to tell people how to bully others?" she suggests. ®