A Canadian man is facing charges in British Columbia after engaging in repetitive flooding of Twitch chat with racist and vulgar messages, according to CBC News.
The federal charges against the 20 year-old Brandon Apple were filed yesterday, utilizing an uncommon charge of “mischief in relation to computer data.” Apple is accused of spamming 150,000 chat messages to over 1000 channels over the course of two months in 2017. Apple utilized a chat flooding program called ChatSurge, which boasts of its ability to “flood, destroy or simply demolish any Twitch.tv chatroom,” while under the username Ob Noxious.
After Twitch discovered the attack, Twitch sought a court order to determine Apple’s identity. The order lists a few of Apple’s comments used in the chatbot, such as “Get the black guy outta here! What a ***,” and “Death to all jews Death to all jews.” Reportedly, the chatbot also linked to sexual content involving children. Twitch alleges in the report that Apple’s chatbot was sending 700 messages a minute at its zenith.
Twitch was unable to get the information on Apple’s identity through his internet service provider, but leaning on services like Cloudflare and Whois, which Apple used to spam Twitch, eventually got them his name. In court, Twitch has claimed that employees have spent over 300 hours trying to identify Apple.
Apple has not entered a plea in regards to the charges and has not officially been entered in court, the first appearance coming in February. If found guilty, he could face up to ten years in jail.
This is a pretty unprecedented case, but it is also fascinating to see how the law is choosing to catch up to technology. Even just a few years ago, the idea of flooding stream chats being an actionable offense was crazy because anonymity was the singular ruling force. It is interesting to see how that is changing.