Arrest Made In Seizure-Inducing GIF Case


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.



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