YouTube Records Snatched By U.S. Customs

    March 19, 2007

Negative publicity continues to befall YouTube, first stemming from the billion dollar copyright infringement suit filed by Viacom, and now from reports that the popular video sharing service is being used as a vehicle to communicate death threats from vengeful criminals.

There are several creative directions you could pursue when taking advantage of YouTube’s video e-mail service. You can give that old friend of yours a personalized birthday message, recite a love poem for that special someone, or just act goofy to give a pal of yours a much-needed laugh.

Or, you can tell that no good, dirty, snitching brother of yours that he should think twice before ratting you out to the feds, sending along video clips of assassinations to add just the right amount of pizzazz and fright to drive your message home.

Unfortunately, that last option isn’t the joke that most of you hoped it would turn out to be. As reported by Steve Bryant of Google Watch, U.S. Customs has seized YouTube records associated with death threats made against the brother of an individual under investigation for drug trafficking.

More details from the article:

According to the search warrant, the death threats were sent after the brother assisted Customs’ officers by informing them that the drug trafficker — who was living with his mother post-arrest — had falsified information relating to his sentencing, and that the trafficker was bragging about "pulling one over on the government."

The case is bizarre, to say the least, but it just goes to show how times have changed in the criminal underworld. Back in the olden days, a man might find a threatening note comprised of letters and words from magazine clippings, or the tried and true methods of personal violence and/or home vandalism. But now, cross the line and you’ll get a YouTube video in your inbox depicting famous assassinations or other similar content.

Whatever happened to the good old days of putting a horse head in someone’s bed?