Teen faces trial after YouTube bomb threat

The teen says it was a joke, but New Zealand police are taking his bomb threat very seriously. 

Mar 3, 2020, 6:10 am*


Fruzsina Eördögh 

Fruzsina Eördögh

Most people realize if you make threats against politicians or government buildings on YouTube, you’re likely to get arrested. However, one New Zealander lacked this kernel of wisdom and is currently standing trial for it.

Eighteen-year-old Ifraaz Joseph, who identifies with whistle-blowing organization WikiLeaks and is part of New Zealand’s Anonymous according to his Facebook, made this critical error in judgement on September 6, 2011 with a public video.

Structured in typical Anonymous style, the video featured a computerized voice which claimed to have lined New Zealand government buildings, including the Prime Minister’s home, with explosives. It also threatens to hack government and media websites in retaliation to New Zealand’s new copyright law known as the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act. The text-to-speech digital voice went on to say the attacks would happen on September 11th.

“We will hurt anyone that gets in the way. People will die, people will be injured,” the video said according to New Zealand news site Stuff.

The Daily Dot was unable to find the original video or a copy of it.

Police were able to identify Joseph by combining the joint efforts of New Zealand’s National Cyber Crime Centre (NC3) and the Electronic Crime Laboratory, reported New Zealand newspaper Otago Daily.

“[T]he investigation showed police could trace individuals who made serious threats on the internet,” New Zealand detective Pete Jones told Otago Daily.

Joseph maintains the video was a “joke” and has since apologized for the threatening message.

Joseph’s wasn’t the only serious threat posted on YouTube recently.

Canadian rapper Maxime Brown aka “Maxi Cube” was arrested in late April for threatening the Canadian Prime Minister, and his children, via video. He was subsequently banned from using a computer.

It remains to be seen what will become of Joseph.

Photo by bronzebrew

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*First Published: May 11, 2012, 2:18 pm