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Cybercrime & Other Issues You Need To Know About!

Did You Know………

  • 20 percent of teens have engaged in cyberbullying behaviors, including posting mean or hurtful information or embarrassing pictures, spreading rumors, publicizing private communications, sending anonymous e-mails or cyberpranking someone. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 32 percent of teens clear the browser history to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 16 percent have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)

Locally:

Hackensack officials investigate report of sexual image on students’ electronic devices Published: Friday, January 21, 2011,
BY MARLENE NAANES AND MONSY ALVARADO STAFF WRITERS,NORTHJERSEY.COM

Authorities are investigating a report that a nude picture of a sixth-grade child was disseminated using electronic devices and are warning city students to remove the image or face charges, police said Friday.

Investigators are giving students a three-day amnesty to remove the image which was reported to have been sent to at least a couple of other children, including a seventh-grader, said Superintendent of Schools Edward Kliszus. The school district, law enforcement and the state Division of Youth and Family Services are investigating.

“It’s a serious offense to possess such a photograph of someone under age,” said Police Capt. Tomas Padilla, the acting officer in charge of the Hackensack Police Department.

In a letter to parents posted on the school district’s website, Kliszus and a police lieutenant said students may be using “cellphones and e-mails to send images of real or simulated sexual acts and naked or semi-naked pictures.” “Often, students participate in the sharing of provocative images of themselves and others without realizing the potential consequences,” the letter said.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said he sees similar behavior in other schools in the county.
“It comes up more often than you think,” he said. “Kids take pictures of themselves and others, and it’s shocking how quickly it moves.”
“What usually happens is that with the cooperation of parents, everything will be off the phone,” he added.

Kliszus said it is unclear whether the image exists, but the school district is sending a strong message to other students and notifying their parents. On Friday, members of the police department’s juvenile division talked to students at the 5ive6ix School and Hackensack Middle School, where the alleged victim and the seventh-grader are pupils.

“We want everyone to know, clearly, that this is not appropriate, and parents have to be diligent,” Kliszus said. “It involved only one child, but one is too many.”

The alleged incident occurred during the holiday break, but the school system was not aware of it until Thursday night when it was reported.
The school sent out a reverse 911 message to parents about the incident and will send an e-mail and a letter to parents, telling them to check their children’s electronic devices. Parents should remove any inappropriate images, Kliszus said.

Padilla said that police will only search student cellphones if given cause, but said he hopes the letter will prompt parents to be more vigilant.
“It’s our hope and belief that parents will take the appropriate action with the information we have given them, and that they use this as reason to discuss this topic with their children,” Padilla said.

If any inappropriate images are found on students’ devices, they will be prosecuted, Kliszus said.
The alleged victim will be getting counseling, and the parents are involved, Kliszus said.

Tiffany Smith said she received a call from the school on Thursday morning, and said it made her realize how important it is to keep an eye on children’s Internet and cellular phone activity. Smith said she allowed her seventh grade son to have a Facebook account on the condition that he give her his password, and later this month when he gets a cellphone, she will be monitoring his use.
“Kids at this age get influenced, it’s sad, but they get influenced by others,” she said.
Smith said the students involved should be punished.

Letter sent to parents:
Parent/Guardian: Important Information
Recently, there have been several media reports highlighting a trend where children have been creating and sending inappropriate images/videos via their cell phones and computers. It has come to our attention that some students may be engaging in similar behavior in our community, such as using cell phones and e-mails to send images of real or simulated sexual acts and naked or semi- naked pictures. Often, students participate in the sharing of provocative images of themselves and others without realizing the potential consequences. School authorities are working in conjunction with the Hackensack Police Department to help educate the community about the legal and psychological implications of this behavior.

Possession or transmission of sexually revealing or explicit images falls under the “endangering the welfare of a child” statute in New Jersey. It is illegal to create/manufacture, transfer, transmit, or possess child pornography. The Hackensack Police Department has notified us that there will be an amnesty period which will end on January 24, 2011. After this date, any student found to have created, transmitted or possess(ed) an illegal image/movie will be charged.

The Hackensack School district and Hackensack Police Department want all children to understand that this behavior is inappropriate, illegal, and potentially dangerous. In order to help students understand the seriousness of this behavior, from time to time the Hackensack Police Department Youth Division detectives will speak to our students to explain the law and its consequences.

We ask that parents ensure that all cell phones and other electronic devices be cleared of all questionable images or movies. In order for our children to thrive in a healthy environment, the cooperation between schools. police, and parents is vital.
Thank you for your assistance in this critical matter.

Edward A. Kliszus, Ph.D. Lt. Jaime A. Barrios
Superintendent of Schools Hackensack Police Department

Sexting scandal at middle school in Wyckoff, Jen Maxfield, WABC News, Wednesday, May 18, 2011
WYCKOFF, N.J. (WABC) — A 13-year-old girl took explicit photos of herself and forwarded them to several boys.
You can guess what happened next; they forwarded them to more boys and now the police are involved in this sexting scandal.
Wyckoff police have issued a warning to students at Eisenhower Middle School: delete any explicit photos on your phones by Thursday morning or face child pornography charges.

“We think that by making this a learning experience instead of arresting and charging people that there’s a lot to be learned here,” said Chief Benjamin Fox, of the Wyckoff Police Department.

Wyckoff Police know that dozens of students have viewed the explicit photos a 13-year-old girl took of herself and then sexted to several boys.
The sext got forwarded around until a teacher heard about it and called police.

“A lot of people are talking about it, it’s a big deal now, whoever has that picture now is deleting the picture,” said Goldie Felixbrod, a student.
In a letter sent home, police are asking parents to talk to their children about the dangers of sexting.

“I have an 11-year-old son, we’re always looking over his shoulder, we keep him busy all the time, and that would never happen in my house,” said Kevin Kohler, a parent.

Officials recommend that parents check their teenagers’ photos and texts.

“I check my children’s phones, I check the computers, I try to talk to them,” said Tricia Dugan, a parent.

Julia’s mother checks her phone every night.
I put my phone on her desk and she can check it, so I don’t care because I don’t have much to hide,” said Julia Sancetta, a 7th grader.

But other parents expressed reservations about reading what some teens feel amounts to a modern-day diary.

“I try not to invade their privacy, but maybe I should be doing more of that,” said Jim Fuhrman, a parent.

There was a similar incident in Wyckoff three years ago and this has been an issue in schools all over the country.
Police say it’s always worth a reminder to warn your child about the dangers of sexting.

State of New Jersey:

The most important legal development in NJ is the passage of the new Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, signed into law by Gov. Christie in January 2011.

Antibullying Law
NJ Antibullying Law

Juvenile Justice Update: New Teen Sexting Law Passes New Jersey Assembly
An amendment to the New Jersey criminal code establishes a diversionary program for juveniles who are charged with “sexting” — sending or posting of sexual images using cell phones or computers.

July 16, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ — An important amendment to the New Jersey criminal code will reduce the consequences for teens charged with “sexting” — sending or posting of sexual images using cell phones or computers. Assembly Bill 1561 establishes a diversionary program for juveniles who are criminally charged with sexting, allowing them to avoid the consequences of a sex crimes conviction.

The measure passed unanimously in the Assembly and has received committee approval in the New Jersey Senate. The bill would amend the current law to provide a remedial education and counseling program for amenable juveniles. The goal of the diversionary program is to increase the young person’s awareness of several issues:

  • The legal consequences and criminal penalties — including possible federal charges — of sharing sexually explicit or suggestive materials
  • The non-legal consequences, including loss of educational, extracurricular and employment opportunities
  • The long-term effect of placing sexual images on the Internet
  • The link between sharing sexual images and cyber-bullying

One of the bill’s sponsors, Pamela Lampitt of Camden, explained the purpose to the Gloucester County Times: “Teens need to understand the ramifications of their actions, but they shouldn’t necessarily be treated as criminals. We need to create a path that places education and forgiveness before arrest and prosecution.”

Federal bill will help combat harassment and cyberbullying on college campuses, Published: Saturday, March 12, 2011, 12:27 PM
By Jessica Beym/Gloucester County Times

U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) reintroduced legislation this week to help combat harassment and cyberbullying on college campuses by requiring for the first time that colleges and universities have anti-harassment policies on the books.

The “Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act,” introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, also provides funding for schools to establish or expand programs that help to prevent student harassment.

“The tragic impact of bullying has the attention of the entire nation, from forums at the White House to conversations around dinner tables, and we must all take steps to prevent harassment,” said Lautenberg, who is participating in an anti-bullying summit at the White House. “This legislation would ensure that all college students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and civil environment. While there is no way to completely eliminate the cruelty that some students choose to inflict on their peers, there should be a clear code of conduct at all universities to prohibit harassment.”

The legislation is named in honor of Tyler Clementi, an 18 year-old freshman at Rutgers University who took his life in September 2010 after his roommate and another student harassed him and violated his privacy over the Internet.

The legislation would require colleges and universities that receive federal student aid to have in place a policy that prohibits harassment of students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.

Schools would have to distribute that policy to all students, along with information about the procedure to follow should an incident of harassment occur, and notify students of counseling, mental health, and other services available to victims or perpetrators of harassment. The legislation would require schools to recognize cyberbullying as a form of harassment and it would create a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to help colleges and universities establish programs to prevent harassment of students.

The bill is supported by Garden State Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Women’s Law Center, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Anti-Defamation League, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Trevor Project, Security on Campus, Inc., National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.

Nationally:
The FBI Recent Report on Cybercrime:

  • Non-delivery of payment or merchandise.
  • Scams impersonating the FBI.
  • Identity theft.

These were the top three most common complaints made to the joint FBI/National White Collar Crime Center’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) last year, according to its just-released 2010 Internet Crime Report. The report also includes a state-by-state breakdown of complaints.
In May 2010, the IC3 marked its 10th anniversary, and by November, it had received its two millionth complaint since opening for business.
Last year, the IC3 received more than 300,000 complaints, averaging just over 25,000 a month. About 170,000 complaints that met specific investigative criteria—such as certain financial thresholds—were referred to the appropriate local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies. But even the complaints not referred to law enforcement, including those where no financial losses had occurred, were valuable pieces of information analyzed and used for intelligence reports and to help identify emerging fraud trends.
So even if you think an Internet scammer was targeting you and you didn’t fall for it, file a complaint with the IC3. Whether or not it’s referred to law enforcement, your information is vital in helping the IC3 paint a fuller picture of Internet crime.

Additional highlights from the report:

  • Most victims filing complaints were from the U.S., male, between 40 and 59 years old, and residents of California, Florida, Texas, or New York. Most international complainants were from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, or India.
  • In cases where perpetrator information was available, nearly 75 percent were men and more than half resided in California, Florida, New York, Texas, the District of Columbia, or Washington state. The highest numbers of perpetrators outside this country were from the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and Canada.
  • After non-delivery of payment/merchandise, scams impersonating the FBI, and identity theft, rounding out the top 10 crime types were: computer crimes, miscellaneous fraud, advance fee fraud, spam, auction fraud, credit card fraud, and overpayment fraud.

The report also contained information on some of the alerts sent out by the IC3 during 2010 in response to new scams or to an increase in established scams, including those involving:

  • Telephone calls claiming victims are delinquent on payday loans. More
  • Online apartment and house rental and real estate scams used to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars. More
  • Denial-of-service attacks on cell phones and landlines used as a ruse to access victims’ bank accounts. More
  • Fake e-mails seeking donations to disaster relief efforts after last year’s earthquake in Haiti. More

Over the past few years, the IC3 has enhanced the way it processes, analyzes, and refers victim complaints to law enforcement. Technology has automated the search process, so IC3 analysts as well as local, state, and federal analysts and investigators can look for similar complaints to build cases. Technology also allows law enforcement users who may be working on the same or similar cases to communicate and share information.
Because there are so many variations of Internet scams out there, we can’t possibly warn against every single one. But we do recommend this:

  • practice good security—make sure your computer is outfitted with the latest security software,
  • protect your personal identification information,
  • and be highly suspicious if someone offers you an online deal that’s too good to be true.

Resources: IC3 – Internet Crime Complaint Center

White House Conference on Bullying Prevention – March 10, 2011 ,Thu, Mar 10, 2011

Today (Thursday, March 10, 2011), the President convened a conference on bullying prevention at which some of nation’s leading experts and practitioners on bullying prevention spoke (Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D., Susan M. Swearer, Ph.D., Rosalind Wiseman, Catherine Bradshaw, Ph.D, and others).
The conference is available for review for a limited time at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live, and/or check out the event at the White House Facebook page. There is also an excellent set of materials that you can access at www.stopbullying.gov. We would urge you to take in the entire several hours of the nation’s-highest-level-summit on this issue, but here are some of the “high points” if you cannot:

1. The Right Tone Has Been Set from the “TOP“: President and Mrs. Obama’s short pre-conference message was DEAD-ON, hitting home some key issues relating to bullying/cyberbullying and setting the correct tone for the national discussion on this issue:

  • Bullying is harmful and unacceptable: President Obama: “If there is one goal in this, it is to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless right of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It is not.”
  • Connecting with technology is a good thing, but we need to treat each other with decency and respect. President Obama: “While technology has allowed us to connect as never before, and that’s a good thing, it should not affect how we treat each other — that is why we are holding this summit.”
  • Cyberbullying can be a very damaging form of bullying: President Obama: “Bullying is harmful, especially when it follows [young people] from their school to their phone to their computer screen.”
  • Youth are at the heart of the solution — and there is good news — they are gaining momentum and learning to respect each other despite differences. President Obama: “There is good news — there is a growing movement of young people themselves to make our schools and communities places where no one is made to feel alone or afraid for being different, where all of our children can thrive.”

2. Research and Experts. The summit appropriately recognized the critical role that research plays in resolution, by briefly giving the “national stage” to solid, prominent researchers and experts (Justin Patchin, Susan Swearer, Catherine Bradshaw and George Sugai), who used that moment to powerfully communicate the following key issues:

  • We need to empower youth to be safe online – they are the key to resolution.
  • There is no quick fix — we need to do the hard work of understanding the complex social ecology in which bullying unfolds so we can create truly effective prevention/intervention programs.
  • Positive school climates are key to resolution.
  • Parents can be effective — how? by actively supervising, listening to, and affirming youth when they do well; plus, parents have to get online, and get in the picture.
  • Youth have a responsibility to demonstrate to their parents that they are being safe and smart online.
  • Schools need simple and effective reporting procedures that let students and teachers report quickly and safely.
  • Schools must collect data on a regular basis about bullying so they have a true picture of what is going on, what the needs are, and how students are responding.
  • Relationships, not just technology: we need to focus on the negative behaviors rather than viewing the technology itself as negative.

3. Media and Providers. As never before, service providers, media and social network sites were highlighted for their critical role in joining together to solve the problem (and let’s face it, if they don’t “play”… it’s pretty much “game over”). Among other important issues, these presenters discussed steps they are taking to use technology to detect and deter bullying and create support networks for young people.

  • MTV
  • Facebook
  • Rosalind Wiseman
  • Melody Barnes, an Administration advisor

4. The Real Life Face of Bullying. Knocking it out of the ballpark, the summit “hit us in the gut” with the real life face of bullying by introducing us to ordinary (yet extraordinary!) parents and siblings of children who have taken their lives after being bullied, youth who have sufferred from bullying, and young “activists and ambassadors” who are taking resolution into their own hands to make a difference. As an experienced professional in this field, I was especially moved by this section — I hope you will take a moment to see some of these while still available online.
Conclusions and take-aways:

  • The solution must be a mass effort of all stakeholders or we will not win: government, educators, community members, parents, youth, media and online providers must all work towards the same goal.
  • The efforts must be sustained: “one-shot” approaches and presentations won’t do it. We must hit it hard, consistently and in an ongoing manner to change social norms.
  • There is hope! We can do this! President Obama: “There is good news — there is a growing movement of young people …”

Other Investigative News:
Judge rules use of GPS to track a cheating spouse is not an invasion of privacy, By MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger ,Published: Thursday, July 07, 2011,

Beware, all you cheating husbands and wives.
The use of a GPS device to track your whereabouts is not an invasion of privacy in New Jersey, a state appellate court panel ruled today.
Based on the battle of a divorcing Gloucester County couple, the decision helps clarify the rules governing a technology increasingly employed by suspicious spouses — many of whom hire private investigators.
“For the appellate division to say that it’s not an invasion of privacy is a wonderful thing for the private investigation business,” said Lisa Reed, owner of LSR Investigations in Flemington. “It’s been something we’ve been haggling over for some period of time.”

No state law governs the use of GPS tracking devices, and the ruling, which does not affect police officers, is the first to address the issue, said Jimmie Mesis, past president of the New Jersey Licensed Private Investigators Association.

“We only use it when we are sure we have the appropriate conditions,’’ Reed said, noting that investigators make sure GPS devices are installed in cars on public streets and not private areas, and that the spouse must have some legal or financial connection to the car.

The court ruled in the case of Kenneth Villanova, a Gloucester County sheriff’s officer who sued private investigator Richard Leonard of Innovative Investigations Inc., hired by Villanova’s now ex-wife in 2007.

After Villanova evaded Leonard, who was following him, on several occassions, he recommended that Villanova’s wife buy a GPS tracking device. She put it in the glove compartment of the GMC Yukon-Denali, which they both owned but was primarily driven by Villanova, the court papers said. It was in place, undetected, from July 14 to Aug. 24, 2007.

Two weeks into the GPS tracking, Leonard found Villanova leaving a driveway in his car with a woman who was not his wife, the decision said.
Villanova initially sued his wife for invasion of privacy and tried to include Leonard in that case as well. Villanova eventually dropped the claim against his wife in the divorce settlement but pursued his suit against Leonard.

Villanova claimed the tracking device invaded his privacy and caused him ”substantial and permanent emotional distress,” though the appellate judges noted he sought no medical treatment or advice.

Appellate Judge Joseph Lisa, Jack Sabatino and Carmen Alvarez said Villanova had no right to expect privacy because the GPS tracked his movements on public streets.

“There is no direct evidence in this record to establish that during the approximately 40 days the GPS was in the … glove compartment the device captured a movement of plaintiff into a secluded location that was not in public view, and, if so, that such information was passed along by Mrs. Villanova to (Leonard),” Lisa wrote.

Leonard’s attorney, Marc Pakrul, said he was pleased with the ruling. Villanova’s attorney, Charles Sprigman Jr., did not return a call seeking comment.

GPS doesn’t just track cheating spouses. Private investigators use it to keep tabs on the subjects of insurance fraud investigations, background checks and child custody cases, Mesis said. “The tracker’s not doing anything different than what a person in a car would be doing,” he said.