For the first time in the history of the world, the global connectivity of the Internet means that you don’t have to be in the same country as someone to sexually menace that person.
The problem of this new sex crime of the digital age, fueled by ubiquitous Internet connections and webcams, is almost entirely unstudied. Brock Nicholson, head of Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta, Georgia, recently said of online sextoriton, “Predators used to stalk playgrounds.
The perpetrator wanted a pornographic video of the victim.
And if she did not send it within one day, he threatened to publish the images already in his possession, and “let [her] family know about [her] dark side.” If she contacted law enforcement, he promised he would publish the photos on the Internet too.
If the prosecutorial estimates in the various cases are to be believed, the number of actual victims probably ranges between 3,000 and 6,500―and, for reasons we explain below, may be much higher even than that.