A seventh eBay employee has been charged in an ongoing case alleging that the executives and employees of the company’s security division cyberstalked and terrorized a Massachusetts couple critical of the e-commerce giant in their online newsletter.
Breitbart News recently reported that six former eBay executives and employees are facing federal charges over allegations that they led a cyberstalking campaign a couple in Natick, Massachusetts, for publishing an online e-commerce newsletter that was critical of eBay.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling stated that the eBay employees harassed the Massachusetts couple with “disturbing deliveries” which included a bloody pig mask, a box of live cockroaches, and a funeral wreath. Anonymous threatening messages were also allegedly sent to the couple, and the eBay employees have been accused of traveling to Massachusetts to conduct “covert surveillance” of the victims.
Lelling stated: “It was a determined, systematic effort of senior employees of a major company to destroy the lives of a couple in Natick, all because they published content company executives didn’t like.”
eBay’s former Director of Safety and Security, James Baugh and former Director of Global Resiliency David Harville were among the six former employees charged at the time. Others charged include Stephanie Popp, of San Jose; Stephanie Stockwell of Redwood City, California; Veronica Zeak, of San Jose; and Brian Gilbert, of San Jose.
Each of the former employees has been charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. The individuals charged were all employed by eBay at the time of their alleged cyberstalking campaign. Popp worked as eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence, Stockwell was the firm’s manager of global intelligence center, Zea was a contractor working as an intelligence analyst and Gilbert was a senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team. Gilbert is also a former police captain.
Now, a seventh eBay employee is facing charges in relation to the cyberstalking campaign. Philip Cooke, 55, of San Jose, California, has been charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. Cooke was a former Santa Clara police captain and was supervisor of security operations at eBay’s European and Asian offices. He is now expected to appear in Boston federal court at a later date.
The New York Times later published an article outlining how Silicon Valley tech firms have used intimidation tactics against critics for years. The Times stated that Silicon Valley companies regularly employ “trust and safety” teams staffed with former police officers and national intelligence analysts. Their work includes protecting executives and intellectual property, preventing blackmail attempts, and watching out for fraud and theft. But, in some cases, Silicon Valley’s intense focus on reputation and brand can lead these teams to take excessive action.
When discussing the Massachusetts couple that was criticizing eBay in their newsletter, Steven Wymer, eBay’s former communications chief, told James Baugh, the company’s former senior director of safety and security: “I want her DONE. She is a biased troll who needs to get BURNED DOWN.” Wymer added: “I want to see ashes.”
The Times reports that the use of private security teams in Silicon Valley is becoming even more widespread and that the industry is growing rapidly. Read more here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com