At Dozier Internet Law we battle "extortionists" all the time. In one way or another, an attack is initiated against a business or person. In almost every instance, the motivation is to extract something, usually money, from the target. This "business model" is employed much more often than most people realize. Without understanding or appreciating the economic motivation, netizens often come to the defense of these culprits claiming "free speech" and launching support for the scofflaw. Has extortion become a way of life? This isn't an isolated incident. It happens often, just not to this seemingly sadistic extreme. That's why at Dozier Internet Law we look for the motivation of attackers and the great majority of time it comes back to a direct benefit...money, or in this case sex:
An 18-year-old male student is accused of posing as a girl on Facebook, tricking at least 31 male classmates into sending him naked photos of themselves and then blackmailing some for sex acts.The boy was charged with five counts of child enticement, two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child, two counts of third-degree sexual assault, possession of child pornography, and repeated sexual assault of the same child. The social networking site Facebook was used. The boys reported that they were tricked into sending nude photos or videos of themselves.They were told that if they didn't have sex with a male friend, "she" would send the nude photos or movies to their friends and post them on the Internet, according to the complaint. Seven boys were identified as successful targets. The maximum penalty if convicted on all charges is nearly 300 years in prison.
And just today it's reported that "sexting" through cell phones resulted in child porn criminal charges against both the school age senders and recipients. You can look up the definition of "sexting" if you want.
How is this type of thing becoming a pervasive plague? Because parents of today for the most part don't understand social networking, Web 2.0, or the role of the web in the life of kids. Many have never been on Myspace or Facebook, don't know about Twitter, can't appreciate the power of the web or digital images in our new world order, and are out of touch.
Here's an idea. Instead of spending our resources exclusively on educating the kids, why not invest in educating the parents? If mom and dad get it, then maybe by the time these kids grow up they won't be looking for their next target...an ex-friend, a former teacher, that local business...and expecting to live off the proceeds and benefits of cyber-stalking, cyber-smears, or "Google Bomb" threats.