Blurred pic of files which were circulated on social media earlier this week.
WEBSITES targeting a local audience have for years been sharing stolen sexually explicit photos of youthful women and child pornography of females from Trinidad and Tobago.
The websites, which also showcase movies of minors involved in lovemaking acts, have sections where the user must pay to build up access. There has been no attempt to shut down the sites and no known paedophilia investigation involving local law enforcement, the Express was told.
In the case of the leak of hundreds of pictures of women and children to social media and to at least one of the pornography sites this week, the TTPS’s Cyber Crime Unit is relying on the Computer Misuse Act for guidance in the investigations.
The Police Service’ Corporate Communications Manager Ellen Lewis said yesterday that victims have been coming forward and reporting the crimes to the Fraud Squad, which is leading the investigation with support from the Cyber Crime Unit. However, given the sensitivity of the issue, the police’s corporation communications manager Ellen Lewis declined to say how many had made reports.
“We are urging other persons similarly affected to report to Fraud Squad to permit for a fuller investigation” she said.
The Computer Misuse Act was passed in 2000 and provides for several offences where people can be prosecuted for unauthorized access, or interference with a computer or with any programme or data held in a computer. The Act seeks to enhance computer security by protecting the integrity of computer systems and by imposing significant stringent penalties for computer-related offenses.
The penalties for the above offences range from fines of inbetween $15,000 and $35,000 and terms of imprisonment inbetween two to five years for very first offenders. Additionally, the Act provides for conviction on indictment to a fine of $150,000 and to imprisonment for ten years—,if some of the offences involve protected or secured computers.
The Act as it applies to unauthorised access to computer programme or data states: “ A person who knowingly and without authority causes a computer to perform any function for the purpose of securing access to any programme or data held in that computer or in any other computer commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $15,000 and to imprisonment for two years”.
In the case of a 2nd or subsequent conviction, a fine of $30,000 and imprisonment for four years can be imposed.
And the Act also states that “if any harm is caused as a result of an offence committed, the person convicted of the offence shall be liable to an extra fine of $20,000 and to imprisonment for three years”.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, in response to Express queries on the status of the Crime Bill, said the State is moving to introduce the law before the end of the year.
“The law is drafted and the solution to issues raised by the media in the draft law and in the data protection act are being aggressively pursued. We intend to accomplish this exercise and bring the law in the shortest period possible and certainly within the next few months”, said Al-Rawi via text.
Hundreds of nude photographs obtained over a period of years from the social media accounts of females, some of them children, have been collective online by a hacker who also uploaded the pictures to a pornographic website and attempted to sell the pictures for thousands of dollars.
The pictures have widely collective and viewed, even as the Police Service warned that people were engaging in child pornography and numerous laws were being cracked.
Many of the pictures showcase the females posing in the nude or in undergarments, using a phone or camera pointed at the mirror, while some of the pictures appeared to have been taken by another party.
The Express was told several of the women are entertainers, models and university students, and many of the children are in secondary school.
The Express was told the some of the photos were captured years ago and the victims’ electronic devices were hacked, or their photos that had privately been collective were being misappropriated.
The link that led users to the pornographic photos of the woman and children, have since been disabled. The website that contain the photos has also been disabled.
The photos, according to information technology experts, could have been obtained by someone hacking into a person’s Google Drive, Dropbox or e-mail online, and a password would do little to prevent a hacker from getting access to a device.