back to article 'Housemate from hell' catches 24 new charges after alleged nightmare cyberstalking spree

A US bloke accused of cyberstalking and harassing his former housemates has been hit with two dozen more criminal charges. Matthew Lin, a computer programmer from Newton, Massachusetts, faces seven counts of cyberstalking, five counts of distributing child pornography, nine counts of making hoax bomb threats, three counts of …

  1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Matthew Lin, a computer programmer from Newton, Massachusetts, faces seven counts

    I didn't see anywhere in the charges or other story that he used the alias Matthew. Is there a link?

  2. nil0

    It's Ryan Lin in the original article, and Ryan S. Lin in the PDF. I hope there's not a Matthew Lin in Newton, Massachusetts...

  3. JimboSmith Silver badge

    Originally facing three to five years on just the cyberstalking charge, Lin now finds himself confronted with potentially facing decades behind bars thanks to the 24 new felony counts.

    Good!

  4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Good

    Do not jump the gun. It looks like the usual USA prosecution strategy of stapling every possible charge into something which will force the suspect to do a plea bargain and accept one third of them.

  5. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Gimp

    Nasty

    This guy sounds seriously psychologically disturbed to me.

  6. rajivdx

    Need help with a cyberstalker

    My friend is being stalked in exactly the same way by a creep living and operating from the US. Is there any way to nail this creep from Australia (where she lives) such that he gets his 3 to 5 years behind bars?

    Please help if you know how.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    Gather some examples. Contact your local police to file a formal complaint. Good luck.

  8. Sampler

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    Locals might not help, a friend had a nude image of herself added to a 4chan page for local Brisbane girls by a former flatmate that had stolen it off her mac and posted it up, police wouldn't do anything as he was in Queensland and she was now in NSW, best she could do was get a report number so she could at least get the website to take it down (however, given it'd already been scraped a reverse image search shows it on many sites now).

    Might be worth taking your evidence to US authorities in the area of the perpetrator, if they follow up like the cops in this article you may do better than than Aus. authorities.

  9. aaaa

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    I'm with @Sampler - definitely report to the local Australian cops, but reporting it in the US as a crime in the US (using a carriage service to threaten?). It may be worth contacting a US based lawyer too - primarily to find out if there are US based not-for-profits that may assist. If the cyberstalker is doing this to your friend, the chances are she's not the only one. As in this article - it's not until the cases start to come together that you really get traction.

    From a technical POV - getting the evidence can be really really difficult - again as shown in this article. Law enforcement needed a VPN provider to co-operate to get anywhere at all. You can set a trap up though, maybe in combination with the phone call (see below). i.e.: your friend mentions they have a new computer or now using flikr or dropbox or something - with the hope that the stalker will try and break in to look for more material. And there will be - but all the files will be fingerprinted or whatever to prove they came from that source. All the cops need then is to find those files in the stalkers possession to prove breach of DCMA.

    From a non-technical POV - getting the guy to admit it on tape is always handy (e.g.: record a phone call). It won't have any legal standing, but it will help others to get on board your friends case.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    My friend is being stalked in exactly the same way... any way to nail this creep from Australia (where she lives) such that he gets his 3 to 5 years behind bars?

    1. Get Rich or slightly above middle class

    2. Use money to find that guy and get lawyer

    3. Use US broken system to sue that guy

    4. ????

    5. Profit

    Putting that aside, it's probably not worth your friend time to play with their legal system. Not to mention, the local and US authorities are plain useless in cyber area. So here is a more practical approach if your friend has some money and just wanted the stalking to stop.

    1. Hire a computer / cyber security expert

    2. Create new contact

    If your friend is really poor, then your friend will need to do everything themselves to stop the abuse from the guy over there.

    1. Your friend needs to accept that they've made mistakes in their life to cause contact with that guy (it is your friend's mistake to put anything on the internet. Stop doing it and learn from it)

    2. Your friend needs to track down what information (email, phone number, address, selfies, photos, etc.) they are leaking to that guy

    3. Your friend needs to now stop using that medium (FB, twitter, dating app, phone, computer, etc.) and the account that are leaking info to that guy

    4. Your friend needs to recreate her identity with new contact completely separate from the old identity

    Alternatively, if your friend would like to go for a high risk high reward approach, your friend can counter troll the stalker.

    - It's all fake troll - hook the guy (better with a guy friend) to make them contact you closer online, then strike them back with the unexpected (I'm a dude. I'm from India. I like to disguising things. I have herpes. etc.)

    - Amnesia troll - contact the guy (also better with a guy friend) but with similar response that never adds up. Strike at one point saying amnesia. Repeat until the stalker got bored. (note : this only works when the stalker is stalking for for a response from the victim.)

    - Psychopath troll - hook the guy (also better with a guy friend) to make them contact you closer online, then invite them to a real place. Then with your other friends help to support, show him your friend loves for blood and other insane stuff. (Warning: this take acting, preparation and physical skills. legally not advised.)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    If you know who it is (even if you can't prove it) you may be able to get a No Contact Order or similar, which their local police will deliver in person, accompanied by a stern warning.

    In the US you call your local police, convince a judge to grant the order, and the court will send it to the defendant's local police. If you're lucky, Australia and the US will have an arrangement for handling these cases by now. Find out before you waste time in court.

    Yes, it is a massive pain. Much easier to stay anonymous and "off the grid" (especially social networks that make you use your real name).

  12. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    Whatever evidence you secure, ensure to get as accurate a time-stamp for it as possible (UTC).

  13. Christoph Silver badge

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    Made mistakes? Hide? Run away? Stop using the net? Why the fuck should she be the one to blame, the one to have to change her life to try to get away? Why should someone with a serious mental problem be able to impose that on other people and make them responsible for it? Why should it be their fault that someone is a sadistic bully?

    Don't blame the victim.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Running away.

    When a volcano erupts, and someone says "run away, lava is coming", that is not "blaming the victim".

    Even if she can do something about the person. Best thing to begin with is to get away from them! Get away from situations that involve the incident. The picture will be forgotten. But if you are there, the attacker has reason to keep bringing it up.

    You can be stronger than the attacker. The first way to gain strength against them, is to remove their ability to get to you. You then hold the power and authority to decide what they get to do. You may have to give up Facebook temporarily, but make sure you keep in contact with friends and family as many other ways as you can.

    Don't see it as them making you loose Facebook, see it as you removing their ability to get to people on Facebook. Then you can take the next steps, as you choose, of getting on with your life and ignoring their attempts, or taking it further and getting legal/social justice. Or make sure your friends and family, legal or protective authorities are with you when the person attempts contact again.

    As for past mistakes now on the internet, as said, people do forget or get bored. We cannot remove past actions, even if done by someone else. We can protect ourselves from future ones. We are in a dangerous world, do we decide to move under a volcano, or decide to give up one freedom on what photos to take/store digitally, but assure we never get hit by the lava?

  15. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    INAL, but... Cyberstalking & bullying are crimes in the US on their own. If she knows who it is, I would call the local police in his jurisdiction. This behavior is increasingly common, and they might have procedures already in place. Good luck.

  16. rajivdx

    Re: Running away.

    First she made no mistakes. You meet people daily and you choose not to associate with them the way they want to - if they continue to harass you, its no fault of yours. Second, they are in 2 separate countries that are literally on opposite ends of the earth - how much further can she run (no she did not run, and should not have to either).

    Don't get me wrong, she has tried the suggestions you have put forward - closed all her accounts, got new phone numbers, etc. But he still tracks her down, and that is scary. Tracks her friends & family - that is scarier.

    The only solution seems to be to go back to the US, to the state that he is in and lodge a police complain & get a restraining order. Would you go that close to a creep like this who would probably know you are coming and be waiting for you?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Going to them

    You don't need to go to them. They are a person. They have weaknesses. They are not an unstoppable force attacking you. They only have electronic means, you have everything else.

  18. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Re: Need help with a cyberstalker

    "police wouldn't do anything as he was in Queensland and she was now in NSW"

    Kick that up the food chain. The AFP should take an interest.

  19. Corwin_X

    If all the charges are proved - I don't want this guy on the streets ever again.

  20. rajivdx

    Thanks

    Thanks all for the suggestions. It does look like not much can be done besides reporting to local police. The best that can be done is apply for a restraining order when back in the US - but this requires one to travel back to the US.

    For those implying she invited it - no she did not.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Thanks

    It does look like not much can be done besides reporting to local police.

    Sure there is. Get her to pretend she has a new Russian or even better Albanian boyfriend. Works almost as well (you can sometimes hire them by the hour, rates are a bit steep but provide good ROI).

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Thanks

    "For those implying she invited it - no she did not."

    Honest question, I saw no one saying that. So I can understand what this means then, who (or how) was it said it was invited?

    This kind of attack has no excuse. However, it can also be really difficult to protect against or undo. So I guess sometimes people in all areas feel trapped and may just give any kind of advice, even if it does not help much. :(

    PS, this is what one person did when their online life was stolen (warning, swearing, sorry): https://youtu.be/Jwpg-AwJ0Jc

  23. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Nutjobs.

    Nutjobs everywhere.

  24. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

    Long may he rot

    This guys sounds one, maybe two steps away from a serial killer. Just a matter of time.

    Long may he rot.

  25. tip pc
    Facepalm

    so whats the point of paying for a vpn if the authorities can just ask the vpn provider what you've been upto and get enough data to implicate you?

    yes ok some may use them to get around geo blocks, others think they are adding anonymity.

  26. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    points

    What's the point of locking your front door if the police can just get a search warrant?

    As for VPNs, I use one to log in to work from home, when I have to.

  27. Danny 2 Silver badge

    The Next Web discussed the VPN angle of this case:

    Some, we knew about. There’s PureVPN, a company whose privacy policy explicitly states that it keeps no logs on users...

    This is patently false, as 24-year-old Ryan Lin can attest to. Lin was arrested late last year after these non-existent logs were turned over to FBI agents. The logs — the same ones PureVPN promised not to keep — were instrumental in the man’s arrest.

    https://thenextweb.com/security/2018/03/27/26-popular-115-vpns-keeping-tabs-saying-theyre-not/

  28. DNTP Silver badge

    Sigh, Newton's in the news again...

    Newton MA is one of the best places to live, but every time it makes the national news it's always weird, messed up stuff like this. We had that British nanny shaking a baby to death in 1997, and that messed up senior scavenger hunt prank in 2002... and that's how people think of Newton internationally.

  29. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    On behalf of decent Massholes everywhere...

    ...we don't know this dickwad and we don't WANNA know him!

  30. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: On behalf of decent Massholes everywhere...

    In happier news, the Sox crushed the Yankees 14-1 yesterday.

    (Not going so well today, 4-1 Yankees bottom of the 1st)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: On behalf of decent Massholes everywhere...

    >In happier news, the Sox crushed the Yankees 14-1 yesterday.

    Ah yes. You colonials play a version of rounders. Takes as long as cricket, but is far less interesting.

  32. RichardB

    Cyber/Physical

    Notwithstanding the messed up nature of all this - and especially the kp issues at hand; I can't help wondering if the guy had accessed a physical diary and photocopied some photo's, would the charge sheet look similar?

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