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By Brian Hews
The Cerritos Sheriff’s were forced to investigate a threat posted on an obscure new smart phone “app” this week at Cerritos High School that turned out to be a hoax.
At the time, Lieutenant Hernandez of the Cerritos Sheriff’s station told HMG-CN that, “Deputies are at the scene working with school officials, that is all I can tell you, but the threat is being taking seriously I can tell you that. ”
When asked if phone records could be subpoenaed to find out who posted the threat, Hernandez said, “Our intelligence team is working on that right now. ”
The threat was posted on a new smart phone app aimed at High School and College students called Ogle that is certain to draw the extreme ire of parents, school staff and law enforcement.
It is, quite possibly, one of the most irresponsible apps ever created, allowing students to take cyber-bullying and posting of threats to a new level.
Ogle is a “campus feed” app. Students select the school they want to post on and post photos, videos and text. All students who downloaded the app at the selected school can then see the posts.
Shockingly, app users on Ogle are completely anonymous so there is no way to find out who is using the app.
After downloading, Ogle obtains your location and allows you look up a school in your area. But in reality the app lists all the schools enrolled throughout the U.S., so someone from Florida can post on any high school in California and vice-versa.
A user selects the school and can immediately start writing posts, commenting on posts, or posting pictures and videos.
If a school is not listed, a student can press on the top right corner and send a request to Ogle for inclusion.
HMG-CN downloaded the app and found over 100 high schools listed in the area (South East Los Angeles County) including all in the ABCUSD, the Norwalk/La Mirada School District, and the Bellflower USD.
Several private high schools were listed, including Mater Dei, Servite, St. John Bosco, and Whittier Christian.
The Palo Alto based company’s website says the goal of Ogle is to “connect to your campus in a fun, creative way as you go about your day. ”
But that is not what students are using the app for.
Some of the posts look more like Facebook comments but a large majority are extremely offensive, bashing LGBT people, calling out girls as “sluts,” anything one would expect a high school student who can post anonymously would write.
A look at the Cerritos High School page showed posts of, “Thoughts on the new football guy”, “Send nudes” and “Online bullies are the worst!”
And most disturbingly, the message posted on the Cerritos High Ogle this week, obtained by HMG-CN said, “Shooting up the school tomorrow,” which triggered the investigation by Cerritos Sheriff’s.
Schools will be scrambling to stop students from using the school’s public Wi-Fi to write and comment on posts on Ogle even though students could easily use their own phone carrier signal to post.
“It will be causing future issues in schools for law enforcement that is for sure,” Hernandez said.
HMG-CN contacted an IT professional who indicated that the schools might not want to stop students from using the Wi-Fi because the school could potentially identify a phone through the school’s network monitor.
“If you know what you doing it is not to hard to figure out who’s phone it is.”
Also, as in the case of overt threats, law enforcement officials can subpoena phone company records to find who is the owner.
State Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) told HMG-CN, “As the parent of a daughter who attends Gahr High School, I am very concerned that the OGLE App can be used by students to post anonymous messages targeted at students, school staff or a school site that are inappropriate or threatening. There are laws against this type of activity. I support the efforts of school officials and local authorities to work with Nuistar, the creators of the App, to monitor, find and prosecute anyone who uses it in an illegal manner.”
HMG-CN investigated the company online and found that Nuistar started in Newport Beach under the name Nuistars, Inc.
The company has another app called HiveChat.
Nuistars, Inc. current address is 1172 Castro St Mountain View, CA, 94040 and is a California Foreign Corporation, number 03795871. The Registered Agent Xiaohu Jiang.
A corporate filing is called a foreign filing when an existing corporate entity files in a state other than the state they originally filed in.
Nuistars, Inc. former location was 660 Newport Center Dr. Newport Beach, CA.92660, number 03073788. Registered Agent was Daniel Jiang.
Nuistars, Inc. is also registered in Wilmington DE., as a domestic corporation.
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