eBay execs appear to have been upset by a bloggers criticism of eBay.
The Feds in the U.S. have charged a number of senior execs with a range of offences. It will be interesting to see the result of the charges.
Looking at the roles of those charged, is it any wonder we can't get forged stamps removed. This incident appears to say a lot about the culture at eBay.
Anyone received a shipment of cockroaches or a pigs head recently?
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/06/ebay-execs-sent- ... ists-feds/
Six former eBay employees were "charged with leading a cyberstalking campaign" against a newsletter editor and publisher, which "included sending the couple anonymous, threatening messages, disturbing deliveries—including a box of live cockroaches, a funeral wreath, and a bloody pig mask—and conducting covert surveillance of the victims," the US Department of Justice and US Attorney's Office in Massachusetts announced today.
James Baugh, 45, is eBay's former senior director of safety and security, and David Harville, 48, is eBay's former director of global resiliency—both were arrested today and charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. Each charge "carr[ies] a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution," the DOJ said.
The bloody pig mask was a Halloween mask and shipped via Amazon.com, a court document said. The mask arrived at the victims' home the same day one of the victims "received an email reporting that a 'Preserved Fetal Pig' had been ordered online to be sent to the Victims' house," the document said. A few days later, the victims "received a box of cockroaches" that was purchased from a roach breeder and seller.
The alleged targets were a couple in Natick, Massachusetts, who publish an online newsletter that covers e-commerce companies and which "eBay executives viewed as critical of the company," the DOJ said. One alleged victim is a reporter and editor for the newsletter, while her husband is the publisher. The alleged victims' names and the news website they operate are not identified in the charging documents filed in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
"Members of the executive leadership team at eBay followed the newsletter's posts, often taking issue with its content and the anonymous comments underneath the editor's stories," the DOJ said.
"It is alleged that in August 2019, after the newsletter published an article about litigation involving eBay, two members of eBay's executive leadership team sent or forwarded text messages suggesting that it was time to 'take down' the newsletter's editor," the DOJ announcement said. Another message from one unnamed eBay executive to another said "we are going to crush this lady," according to the charging document. (Update: Bloomberg reported that the unnamed executives were then-eBay CEO Devin Wenig and public-relations chief Steven Wymer.)
The "take down" message was followed by a three-part harassment campaign by the six defendants, the DOJ said. The first phase included anonymous deliveries such as "a bloody pig Halloween mask, a funeral wreath, a book on surviving the loss of a spouse, and pornography—the last of these addressed to the newsletter's publisher but sent to his neighbors' homes."
The DOJ announcement continued:
As part of the second phase of the campaign, some of the defendants allegedly sent private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter's content and threatening to visit the victims in Natick. The [charging] documents allege that Baugh, Gilbert, Popp and another eBay security employee planned these messages to become increasingly disturbing, culminating with "doxing" the victims (i.e., publishing their home address). It is alleged that the very same group intended then to have Gilbert, a former Santa Clara police captain, approach the victims with an offer to help stop the harassment that the defendants were secretly causing, in an effort to promote good will towards eBay, generate more favorable coverage in the newsletter, and identify the individuals behind the anonymous comments.
Thirdly, the defendants allegedly conducted surveillance of the editor/publisher couple. After registering for a software-development conference as a pretext to go to Boston, "Baugh, Harville, and Zea (and later Popp) allegedly drove to the victims' home in Natick several times, with Harville and Baugh intending at one point to break into the victims' garage and install a GPS tracking device on their car," the DOJ said. "As protection in the event they were stopped by local police, Baugh and Harville allegedly carried false documents purporting to show that they were investigating the victims as 'Persons of Interest' who had threatened eBay executives. The victims spotted the surveillance, however, and notified the Natick police, who began to investigate. The police learned that Zea had rented one of the cars used by the defendants and reached out to eBay for assistance."
In private messages cited in the charging documents, Baugh allegedly called the newsletter reporter "such a (This Word Auto Censored by Board software!)" and wrote that "these people are scum."
eBay further said that it "does not tolerate this kind of behavior" and "apologizes to the affected individuals and is sorry that they were subjected to this."
Devin Wenig was the CEO of eBay at the time of the incidents and left the company in September 2019. eBay said that its "internal investigation found that, while Mr. Wenig's communications were inappropriate, there was no evidence that he knew in advance about or authorized the actions that were later directed toward the blogger and her husband. However, as the company previously announced, there were a number of considerations leading to his departure from the company."
In September, eBay's CEO-change announcement said that "both Devin and the Board believe that a new CEO is best for the company at this time." The Los Angeles Times reported then that "Wenig was fired after he failed to grow eBay's marketplace platform and clashed with the board about not wanting to sell the classifieds business."