Sextortion

The Lawfare Podcast: Mona Sedky on Prosecuting Sextortion

By Benjamin Wittes
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 2:11 PM

A few weeks ago, The Brookings Institution released a pair of reports on the problem of sextortion, authored by me, Cody Poplin, Quinta Jurecic, and Clara Spera. (See Lawfare's previous coverage here). This week, on the podcast, I was joined by a real, live prosecutor of sextortion cases, Mona Sedky of the U.S. Department of Justice. I met Sedky over lunch shortly after our report came out; she had prosecuted three of the cases we had covered in our report so we had a lot to talk about. Sedky is actually a computer crimes prosecutors, who likens sextortion cases to other incidents of data breach common in other cases she works on. She also has become, as a result of these cases, a sex crimes prosecutor who feels a fierce desire to protect victims from this particular species of an attack—which she likens to a physical world assault. She came by Brookings this week to discuss this weird corner of cybersecurity, how it relates to other cybersecurity and sexual violence issues, the need for victims to come forward and report what is happening to them, and how DOJ thinks about a crime that is new in human history. 

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