Arrest Made In Seizure-Inducing GIF Case

FBI arrests man accused of triggering Newsweek reporter's epilepsy

A man from Maryland has been arrested and faces charges of cyberstalking after he allegedly sent a tweet of animated strobe lights to Kurt Eichenwald, a journalist who has epilepsy.

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.

The complaint was filed in December by Kurt Eichenwald, a Newsweek reporter who has epilepsy and was sent a strobe image to his Twitter account on Dec. 15 meant to trigger a seizure.

Investigators also found screen shots from an epilepsy website with a list of commonly reported epilepsy seizure triggers and a story from a Dallas news site about Eichenwald's efforts to subpoena Twitter to track down the user who sent him the image, according to the affidavit. 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 has been public about having epilepsy.

Eichenwald said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating dozens of other individuals who also began sending him images of strobe lights after the incident.

An image of an article from The Dallas Observer about the Dallas Police Department's attempt to identify the Twitter account used in the attack was also found, Department of Justice officials said.

He told "GMA" that his wife captured a still image from the seizure-triggering animation.

On Dec. 15, @jew_goldstein, apparently reacting to the tweets featured on Tucker Carlson Tonight, wrote, "YOU DESERVE A SEIZURE FOR YOUR POSTS".

Now, Buzzfeed reports the man has been arrested by the FBI on federal charges.

He said that he was reporting each of them to Twitter to ask that their accounts be suspended.

Hagee said the FBI can not comment on ongoing investigations, but Eichenwald tweeted that the agency has details of the other cases of strobes and urged those people to "stop sending them". Fortunately, since I was standing, I simply dropped my iPad to the ground the second I realized what Mike had done.

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

"What Mr. Rivello did with his Twitter message was no different from someone sending a bomb in the mail or sending an envelope filled with Anthrax spores", Lieberman said in a statement.

Epileptic seizures can be fatal; your humble hack lost a fellow journalist and friend to the condition.

"It wasn't the content of the communication that was meant to persuade somebody or make them feel badly about themselves", Lieberman told Newsweek.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

Death Off Table For Accused Cop Killer
Rick Scott signed a bill requiring a unanimous jury recommendation before the death penalty can be imposed. So now, the Florida Supreme Court is considering whether or not he'll get a new death penalty hearing.

42 dead in air attack on refugee boat near Yemen
Some 85 Emirati soldiers have been killed since the beginning of Saudi Arabia's military campaign against Yemen two years ago. A sailor who had been operating the boat, Ibrahim Ali Zeyad, said 80 refugees had been rescued after the incident.

Florida State holds off FGCU to advance in NCAA Tournament
Coach Leonard Hamilton seemed to take exception to a question about Gulf Coast having a "mystique" about them. We're long and athletic, and we dunk the ball, too". "I know the difference between good and great".

United States denies bombing Syria mosque
"We take that very seriously", he said , adding that Centcom had not received any direct reports of civilian casualties.

Other news