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Monday, February 09, 2009

Teen's alleged online sex scam

Of course the worst news gets the most coverage - more than 500 news outlets in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, India, Australia, and Bosnia Herzegovina, among other countries, turned up in a Google News search on this. But there is something to be learned even from this sex extortion story about an 18-year-old in Wisconsin, described by a "shocked" friend to a Wisconsin radio station as a "goody-two-shoes kind of guy" but accused of "posing as a female on Facebook in a plot to trick at least 31 male classmates into sending nude pictures of themselves and then using the images to blackmail them into performing sex acts, The Register in the UK reports. The takeaway is that even when the site you use is all about socializing with friends in "real life" - which is usually a pretty good protection measure - don't develop a false sense of security. Not everyone is on the up and up even in real life. The other takeaway: that this, as The Register put it, is just "the latest graphic example of the heap of trouble waiting for naive teens who send sexually explicit images of themselves over the email or text messages. Last month, six high school students in Pennsylvania were charged under state child pornography statutes for sending and receiving nude images of each other using cell phones. Last year, a 15-year old girl was arrested on felony child pornography charges for allegedly sending nude pictures of herself to classmates."

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Another imposter profile

Our ConnectSafely forum gets reports of these all the time - posing as someone else, including fictional people, is not unique to any social site or technology - but this case is particularly ugly. "Eighteen-year-old high school student Anthony Stancl is accused of creating a Facebook profile belonging to a nonexistent teenage girl and then, between approximately the spring of 2007 and November of 2008, using it to convince more than 30 of his male classmates to send in nude photos or videos of themselves," CNET reports. He then proceeded to blackmail them, saying he's post their images online if they didn't have sex with him. At least seven of the boys did. Here are two early cases of imposter profiles that came to my attention, involving what I'd call "extreme cyberbullying."

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Korean crackdown on malicious Net use

South Korea has cracked down on malicious Internet use, Agence France Presse reports. "South Korean police have rounded up more than 2,000 people for spreading malicious rumours on the Internet during a month-long crackdown sparked by an actress's suicide," AFP reports. Eleven people "have been formally arrested and detained for serious legal breaches." It adds that Korea's National Police Agency's cyber-terror prevention centre is asking prosecutors to charge "another 2,019 with various offences," and the crackdown will continue, AFP adds, referring to the centre's chief investigator. Charges include libel (about 59% of those arrested), breaching laws on contempt, blackmail, and cyberstalking.

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