October 20th, 2012
12:29 AM ET

Exclusive Interview Part 3: 'I'm going to regret this for the rest of my life'

CNN's Drew Griffin talks to Michael Brutsch, a.k.a Violentacrez on Reddit, a married father who anonymously posted disturbing and sexualized photos of young girls online. He is now apologizing for his posts.

Mr. Brutsch says, "It's all my fault. I take one hundred percent responsibility for everything I've done..." Brutsch added, "If I hadn't been allowed you know, to run wild, I wouldn't have"

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Filed under: Internet • Reddit
October 18th, 2012
09:45 PM ET

Exclusive Interview Part 1: Man behind 'Jailbait' posts exposed, loses job

Fort Worth, Texas (CNN) - An internet troll reviled for his pornographic posts on Reddit and recently revealed as a middle-aged software programmer told CNN that he made "a huge mistake."

For years, 49-year-old Michael Brutsch hid behind the online screen name "Violentacrez," creating hundreds of subforums on the user-generated website, such as "Rapebait," "Incest," "Pics of Dead Kids," "Choke a Bitch," and "Rape Jokes." "Violentacrez" has been banned from the site several times, although Brutsch still maintains a separate account.

Last week, Gawker revealed the identity of "Violentacrez," whose posts generated as many as 800,000 subscribers and triggered a debate about whether Reddit was criminally liable for the content of its forums. Reddit is a website where the popularity of posts - and whether they are featured prominently on the site's main page - is determined by registered users' votes.


Watch Part II of the interview: 

Watch Part III of the interview: 

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Filed under: Internet • Reddit
October 18th, 2012
09:42 PM ET

Exclusive Interview Part 2: Reddit troll exposed

CNN's Drew Griffin talks to Michael Brutsch, a.k.a Violentacreza on Reddit, a married father who anonymously posted disturbing and sexualized photos of young girls online because, he says, it was "addictive."


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Filed under: Internet • Reddit
October 18th, 2012
04:26 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Exclusive interview with Reddit “Jailbait” moderator

Even if you’ve never heard of Michael Brutsch from Arlington, Texas, you may be aware of what he’s done to distribute sexually suggestive pictures of underage girls online. Known as Violentacrez on Reddit, his real identity was exposed by Gawker last week. Tonight in an exclusive interview on AC360°, Brutsch tells CNN’s Drew Griffin about the disturbing content he created, why he became a notorious Internet troll, and the consequences of losing anonymity.

Brutsch, 49, says moderating “Jailbait,” which he created in 2008, and other sections of the site was his way of relaxing after work, which he no longer finds necessary because he’s now out of a job. He agreed to the interview because he wants to clear up what’s been said about him. Although he posted about sexually assaulting his stepdaughter, he says he never did. He only made that up as part of his Reddit character to boost Violentacrez’s credibility as “ the king of posting porn.” He also wants to make it known that he didn’t start a section called “Creepshots,” a collection of pictures taken of unsuspecting women, but was asked to moderate.


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Filed under: Drew Griffin • Internet • Reddit
July 7th, 2010
11:23 AM ET

Threat of 'cyberwar' has been hugely hyped

Bruce Schneier
Special to CNN
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/07/07/schneier.cyberwar.hyped/tzleft.schneier.courtesy.jpg caption="Bruce Schneier: Cyberwar threat often hyped to make case for military control " width=300 height=169]

There's a power struggle going on in the U.S. government right now.

It's about who is in charge of cyber security, and how much control the government will exert over civilian networks. And by beating the drums of war, the military is coming out on top.

"The United States is fighting a cyberwar today, and we are losing," said former NSA director - and current cyberwar contractor - Mitch McConnell. "Cyber 9/11 has happened over the last ten years, but it happened slowly so we don't see it," said former National Cyber Security Division director Amit Yoran. Richard Clarke, whom Yoran replaced, wrote an entire book hyping the threat of cyberwar.

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Filed under: Internet
February 16th, 2010
06:39 PM ET

Ten fascinating people you've never heard of

John D. Sutter and Richard Galant

Jane McGonigal is one of the most interesting inventors you've never heard of.

The bubbly game designer - whose optimism seems to flow out of her wild blond hair - is trying to get the world to play a lot more online video games, and not just for the sake of fun.

The cooperative skills and hopefulness that people learn while pecking away at online games like World of Warcraft will help our society address real-world problems like climate change and nuclear arms proliferation, she says. To get people to use less oil and mentor entrepreneurs in Africa, she also is developing games that merge the digital and real worlds.

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Filed under: Environmental issues • Internet
February 15th, 2010
01:57 PM ET

As candidates battle for votes, fight extends to Wikipedia entries

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Burt Hubbard
The Denver Post

Denver Mayor and Colorado gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper has received "poor ratings" from "some Denver employees," according to one version of his online biography on the website Wikipedia.

Seconds later, the ratings of the mayor are still poor, only the group responsible for them has been changed to "small businesses."

And with a few more clicks of the keyboard, the original could just as easily reappear, disappear and appear again.

Like county fairs and gossip fences of days gone by, the Wikipedia biography is an emerging battleground in the modern political campaign.

The online encyclopedia lets anyone and everyone edit the posted articles. And while that may be a boon for the First Amendment, it can be a nightmare for politicians who want to maintain control of their personal narrative — and want it to tilt in their favor.

In Colorado, Wiki wars have already been waged over U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet's ethnicity, challenger Andrew Romanoff's standing within the party, Hickenlooper's reputation with small business and Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis' relationship with former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay.

Snapshots of the pages for leading candidates for governor and U.S. Senate taken last Monday trace how the pages had changed during the prior months.

Tracking the changes shows a pattern of online political intrigue, some originating from government offices.

All the pages had been changed, usually anonymously, since the candidates had announced their intentions to run for office.

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Filed under: Internet
February 10th, 2010
10:52 PM ET

Video: Iran obstructing links to outside world, opposition members say

Ivan Watson | BIO

Iranian authorities have imposed a virtual information blockade after opposition leaders issued a call for supporters to take to the streets during an important government anniversary on Thursday, people inside the country are saying.

Residents of the Iranian capital said Wednesday that text messages on many messaging services have been blocked and Internet speeds have slowed to a crawl.

The Internet "comes on only a few minutes each day, but you never know when," one Iranian wrote in an e-mail to CNN, which he said took seven hours to send. "This has been going on for more than four days now. I contacted my Internet provider and they said it is out of their control."

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Filed under: Internet • Iran • Ivan Watson
December 30th, 2009
10:35 AM ET

Say goodbye to the Uh-Ohs. Long live the Tens.

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David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

So this is it. The end of the first decade of the new millenium - which isn't really new anymore, is it? What do we even call this last decade? We called the 80s the 80s, and the 90s the 90s. But is this the 0s? The 00s? Given what the last ten years have been like, what with the economy, terrorist attacks, and the mortgage crisis, I tend to think of the last ten years as the Uh-Ohs.

We're done. Ten years have gone by since we all worried about Y2K and we're still not driving flying cars.

What has ten years of tech bought us? Are there colonies on the moon? Can we "beam" from New York to San Francisco in seconds? Have we cured cancer?

Nope. Instead we got Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Seriously, that's what we got out of ten years. We've learned we can be inane 140 characters at a time. Special.

Craigslist and Google have teamed up to kill newspapers. Bloggers are bashing magazines. And e-books are causing print publishers to both lose revenue and hair.

So, yeah, we got the iPhone. We've learned that Apple can be petty, capricious, and completely non-responsive in all new ways. Yay?


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Internet • Technology
December 18th, 2009
11:28 AM ET

Twitter hacked by 'Iranian Cyber Army'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/12/18/twitter.hacked/story.twitterhack.cnn.jpg caption="People who tried to access Twitter early Friday were redirected to a Web site from the 'Iranian Cyber Army'. " width=300 height=169]


The popular microblogging Web site Twitter was hacked overnight, leaving the millions who use the site tweetless.

Those who tried to access Twitter were redirected to a site that had a green flag and proclaimed "This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army."

The Web site was down for nearly an hour. Representatives from Twitter could not be immediately reached for comment, but the company spoke about the issue on its official Twitter page.

"Twitter's DNS records were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed. We will update with more information soon," the company posted at about 2:30 a.m. ET Friday.

It was unclear who the group Iranian Cyber Army was and if it is connected to Iran. However, Twitter has had an interesting relationship with Iran.

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Filed under: Internet • Iran • Twitter
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