Non-consensual distribution of intimate images increased by 8% from 2020 to 2021.
New statistics indicate that police-reported extortion cases in Canada have increased by almost 300% over the past decade, as online crime has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.< /p>
These concerning increases are linked to the use of social media platforms and other electronic service providers, said Lianna McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Center for Child Protection, in a press release. press.
“They should be seen as a warning shot.
—Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Center for Child Protection
Crime data released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday also showed an 8% increase in the non-consensual distribution of intimate images from 2020 to 2021. There was also an increase in indecent or harassing communications (up from 4%) and threats made (up 3%).
The nature of these crimes has shifted online, Statistics Canada said, and may have been exacerbated by increased internet activity during the pandemic. There were nearly 15,500 cybercrime harassing and threatening behavior offenses in 2021, up 21% from 2019.
Stephen Sauer, Director from Cybertip.ca, said the problem has gotten worse over the past year. The Winnipeg Child Protection Center operates Cybertip, Canada's tipline for reporting cases of online child sexual exploitation.
There was a 120% increase in online luring reports between January and June, Sauer said. The line now sees 300 extortion cases per month, up from 155 earlier this year.
What this really says is that there are has a significant problem here. Police are seeing an increase, we are seeing an increase, Sauer said.
The number of people targeted is also likely higher, Sauer noted, but many don't report out of feelings of embarrassment or shame, especially when it comes to children. I think there are a lot of kids trying to handle these situations on their own without an adult or telling us.
Children are often specifically targeted, according to Sauer. Foreign-based organized crime networks pose as young women on social media platforms teenagers use like Snapchat and Instagram.
They convince them to #x27;send sexually explicit images or videos, then immediately threaten to share the content if those kids don't pay them money, or sometimes more images.
A 17-year-old Manitoba boy took his own life earlier this year, just three hours after he was targeted online.
Police departments across Canada have issued warnings after a surge in sextortion scams.
Statistics Canada has also noted an increase in incidents involving sextortion luring. a child through a computer – a 5% increase compared to 2020.
Several people are victims of sextortion on Facebook every year.
Last month, a 13-year-old Albertan woman disappeared for more than a week before being found in Oregon, and her family says she got caught up in the mind games of a man she met online.
A 40-year-old American was arrested and charged with rape, sexual assault and kidnapping.
Sauer said such cases involving online crimes can be extremely difficult for police to investigate, as most social media companies are not located in Canada and are not necessarily obligated to provide information to officers.
Parents should talk to kids about online safety, but Sauer warns that can't be the only guarantee for kids who are increasingly using the internet for education. #x27;school and to socialize.
Social media giants could make immediate changes to keep kids safe on their platforms, Sauer said. The federal government could also introduce regulations, he added.
Ottawa has just concluded an advisory council on online safety and is consulting to form a regulatory framework to tackle harmful content online.
McDonald said new crime data reinforces the need for the government to quickly impose a regulatory framework for technology companies.
We do not allow other types of companies to introduce into the Canadian market products that are potentially harmful to people, she said. However, in the digital space, it's a rat race to the detriment of children.