Why does the media concentrate on mental illness in computer crime stories?
The BBC has posted an article relating to Lulzsec. The article is titled ‘”Hacking suspect Ryan Cleary ‘has Asperger’s syndrome’“. The question is, what does Aspergers Syndrome have to do with it? They seem to put an overly large emphasis on the fact he has it almost like it is a discrimination against people with Aspergers Syndrome. The man is accused of commiting an attack upon the police servers. He may or may not have done it. The commenting on the fact he has a mental health condition is really irrelevent. Moreover it could perhaps be an invasion of his privacy.
This is not the first time that cases involving computerized crime have been reported by the BBC and others in a way that they highlight the mental health of the accused. The media should seriously reflect upon what it is writing as it may not be long before a law firm decides to bring the case to the attention of the courts and take legal action against them for so publicly observing the health conditions of people. It seems a double standard that screaming “Retard smashes window” would be considered in appropriate yet shouting “Ryan Cleary has Aspergers Syndrome” is completely fine.
Discrimination against Aspergers by the Media
Aspergers syndrome is a form of autism, which is characterized as being a condition which effects people’s ability to interact with others in a normal way. It is strange then that media seems to focus so heavily on it when computer crime cases come up.
The gaurdian also highlight the condition.
It is even possible that he may be extradited to the United States much like the case of Garry McKinnon who hacked the pentagon and nasa’s computers for evidence of extra terestrial life. He equally had a similar condition reported. Both men could use medical treatment as a defense but this is a matter for the courts, his lawyer may even want to argue a defense on the basis of evidence. The type of attack used is typically used by “zombie” computers – machines infected with a virus to be used to attack a target without the knowlege of the user of the computer.