The new podcast from The Guardian uses it’s short six episodes to full effect in investigating the case of Mathew Hardy, who cyberstalked people who he knew from his home town Northwich for decades. His case is eerily similar to Jason Christopher Hughes. Young men, who both used computers in their early days in a way that reaked havoc in the lives of everyone they chose to target, often with devistating consequences for whoever had inovertantly found themselves in their cross hairs.
It was the fact that it was the early days of the internet which also lead them both to be able to operate their rein’s of terror for so long, as police forces across the world, and legislators not yet realising the very concrete and real harm that the internet can fascilitate. Having seen in the recent episode on the Macabe Tale of John Harwood, we have never needed technology to stalk, intimidate or harrass people, but with every new form of communication there are new ways for those who’s behaviours are less healthy to express them.
Where Sirin Kale, the reporter on Can I Tell You A Secret really excells is in her nuanced and sensative treatment of Hardy’s autisim. As a nuro-diverse person myself I am often aware of the misconceptions and two dimensional views many nuro-typicals can hold about what a nuro-diverse diagnosis does or does not mean. Kale however goes out of her way to make sure Hardy’s autisim is neither an excuse, nor discounted when it comes to his actions, but rather treated as a factor that is worth uderstanding, especially when it comes to rehabilitation.
Kale also touches on the poor level of support for prisoners who have an autisim diagnosis, and while it holds no suprise for those of us with invisable conditions that even the most well meaning in society struggle to understand and respond to appropriately, I found the majority of unanswered questions from the podcast were about how autistic individuals are treated both before and when they enter the criminal justice system.
For more tales of stalking, cyber stalking and harrassment check out