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Thursday, February 22, 2024

eBay pays $3 million over weird cyberstalking marketing campaign

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eBay has agreed to pay $3 million in reference to a 2019 harassment marketing campaign directed at a Massachusetts couple that had been important of the e-commerce website. The US Department of Justice announced the utmost legal penalty on Thursday and mentioned the corporate dedicated six felony offenses.

Particularly, the DOJ charged eBay with two counts of stalking via interstate journey, two counts of stalking via digital communications providers, one rely of witness tampering, and one rely of obstruction of justice. The fees stem from a heinous harassment campaign carried out by a gaggle of seven eBay staff, a few of whom had been firm executives.

In 2019, the staff got here up with a plan to focus on Ina and David Steiner, a pair who ran an e-commerce publication that coated eBay with a important lens. Along with sending the pair on-line threats, the staff visited the couple’s residence to conduct surveillance and despatched them grotesque objects, together with a bloody pig masks, a funeral wreath, reside bugs, and a e-book about getting via the dying of a partner. Former eBay security director James Baugh and the corporate’s former director of world resiliency had been sentenced to prison in 2022, whereas the 5 remaining staff had been additionally charged.

“eBay engaged in completely horrific, legal conduct,” Performing US Legal professional Joshua S. Levy mentioned in a press release. “The corporate’s staff and contractors concerned on this marketing campaign put the victims via pure hell, in a petrifying marketing campaign aimed toward silencing their reporting and defending the eBay model.”

As a part of the deferred prosecution settlement, the DOJ is requiring that eBay retain a company compliance monitor for 3 years and “make intensive enhancements to its compliance program.” eBay responded to the agreement in a post on its website, writing it “takes accountability for the misconduct of its former staff.”

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“The corporate’s conduct in 2019 was fallacious and reprehensible,” eBay CEO Jamie Iannone mentioned in a press release. “From the second eBay first realized of the 2019 occasions, eBay cooperated totally and extensively with legislation enforcement authorities… eBay stays dedicated to upholding excessive requirements of conduct and ethics and to creating issues proper with the Steiners.”

Replace January eleventh, 2:10PM ET: Added a response from eBay.

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