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).
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In his recent post on sextortion as cybersecurity, Benjamin Wittes rightly points out that every webcam should have a physical cover or off-switch. I want to add an additional technical point: Even barring a cover, how the camera's indicator light is designed can make a huge difference.
In the week since the release of our sextortion reports, there have been a number of encouraging signs of legislative interest in the problem. The day Brookings released the reports, Rep.
Like many of us on the internet, sextortionists rely on pseudonyms to carry out their work, whether in order to hide their identity online or to affirmatively present a false one.
One interesting feature of the sextortion research we released this week—a feature we did not discuss in the papers themselves—is the interaction between this issue and the “going dark” debate. We left this matter out of the papers themselves because the papers were about sextortion as a phenomenon and possible solutions to the problems it poses.
When we think of cybersecurity, we don't think of sexual violence. Sexual assault, rape, and child molestation are problems of intimate contact between individuals in close proximity to one another. By contrast, we tend think of cybersecurity as a problem of remote attacks that affect governments, major corporations, and—at an individual level—people with credit card numbers or identities to steal.
Prosecutors colloquially call it “sextortion.”
Legally speaking, there’s no such thing. The word is a kind a prosecutorial slang for a class of cases that do not correspond neatly with any known criminal offense.
This morning Benjamin Wittes hosted an online webcast previewing two new Brookings studies on "sextortion," a new form of remote sexual assault. Danielle Citron and Carrie A. Goldberg also offered their insights on cybercrime, exploring what sextortion is and what lawmakers can do to stop this egregious crime.
Next Wednesday, May 11, Brookings is holding an online event to release a pair of papers on which I and a team of Lawfare folks have spent a great deal of time over the last several months. The subject is a new form of sex crime, colloquially called "sextortion," in which a perpetrator threatens a victim online (generally with the release of compromising photos) if the victim does not produce pornography for him.