It should be noted that an early, if not first, instance of an online physical attack on a person has been carried out using online means. The Washington Post reported a case of social media used to trigger an epileptic seizure. (The attack was on Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald.) This concept has surfaced in science fiction, notably in Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash (which also inspired the creation of Google Earth). In that case, persons were exposed to an attack while in a virtual reality state that caused them to become comatose.
With the Internet of Things, and the potential for projecting “force” (or at least damage-causing light/sound ) over the network, a new level of abuse and a need for protection is emerging. One key in this particular case, and into the future, might be to have true identity disclosed, perhaps as a criteria for accepting content over the Internet.