Webcam stunt ends in suicide and invasion of privacy charges

Two American college students are facing up to a five year stretch behind bars after being charged with invasion of privacy.

The case centres on the secret filming and broadcast of a sexual encounter between Tyler Clementi and another man. Clementi was illicitly filmed by his roommate Dharun Ravi and classmate Molly Wei who streamed the encounter live on iChat.

Discovering that he’d become the subject of campus gossip Clementi subsequently committed suicide by jumping off the nearby George Washington Bridge after posting a farewell message on Facebook: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”

Investigators are now trawling through the cyber clues left by the students, including a Twitter post by Ravi which he tweeted: “Anyone with iChat I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 09:30 and 12:00.”

It illustrates the dangers of encroaching technology upon our private lives with a cheap webcam and broadband connection now the sole barrier between us and global distribution.

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