back to article Webcam sex blackmailer faces extradition to Canada to stand trial for bullied teen's suicide

The man thought to be behind one of the most notorious cases of cyber bullying may finally face trial in Canada – after a Dutch court approved his extradition from the Netherlands. Aydin Coban is alleged to have persuaded 15-year-old Canadian Amanda Todd to send compromising pictures of herself to him via webcam, and then …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Let the Canadians have him. He'll soon find out why some refer to prisons as the cooler (especially come winter).

    1. BillG

      Murder in the First

      If he intentionally drove her to suicide (as he claimed), and since there was obviously malice aforethought, he should be charged with first degree murder.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Murder in the First

        He probably will be so charged. This was about having enough to get him extradited. His has Dutch time and almost certainly Canadian time.

      2. P. Lee

        Re: Murder in the First

        From your wikipedia link:

        Murder is a sub-category of culpable homicide which is defined as causing the death of a human being,

        1) By means of an unlawful act;

        2) By criminal negligence;

        3) By causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; or

        4) By wilfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person.

        I'm not sure any of these cover suicide. (3) is probably the closest but I'm not sure the intention of it fits. I suspect "threats or fear" is to cover things like, "I'll shoot you if you don't jump the gap between these two buildings." I'm not sure (4) fright counts either.

        From Fifth Estate's program it appears that she exposed herself on a webcam to two hundred people. The blackmailer pushed the pics towards her facebook "friends" and a lot of the issues came from the people around her. The threat to "push her to suicide" was empty without the cooperation of those around her. Had they supported her, the blackmailer would have been powerless. If the Canadian police had investigated, she probably wouldn't have died. If Dutch police had investigated, she probably wouldn't have died. Nobody cared, because nobody considers internet (teenage) sexual activity much of a problem.

        If we can't rely on the law to protect us, what do we do? We have take responsibility for ourselves. Really that comes first. We need to change the what we teach our kids about sex. It isn't just a bit of fun, it involves immense trust, and physical and psychological vulnerability. Without absolute security, it will lead to intense pain when that trust is broken, be it by some stranger on the other end of a webcam or a boyfriend who dumps you. What is "absolute security"? Well, I'd suggest a legal document and a public commitment by the other person in front of family and friends to stick with you for life. Ok, that may not be absolute, but lowering the bar indicates that you think you don't really deserve that.

        The blackmailer is scum who deserves to go away for a long time. However, let's not go "punching nazis." Making the crime out to be something that it is not does not help the cause. Tragic though this is, keep the emotions as fuel for rational action, not lashing out. Why are kids saying "yes" to requests for sexual activity online? Maybe we need to stop normalising under-age sexual activity on TV and in music aimed at children. Make it easy for children to say "no" rather than thinking "everyone is doing it."

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: Murder in the First

          Making the crime out to be something that it is not does not help the cause?!

          If you said something to somebody in passing who then killed themselves as a result, it'd be one thing. But this is recognised in law with the term "Mens rea", which is a latin legal term that arrived in Canada via the UK, which arrived in the UK via the Roman Empire. It basically means "guilty mind" and it's an ingrained part of common law.

          Let's check the article again.

          The 38-year-old Dutchman persuaded and pressured dozens of girls to perform sexual acts on their webcams and then blackmailed them by threatening to send the footage to their friends and family. If they refused to post more images, he warned them he would drive them to suicide.

          The article says that he deliberately drove her to suicide. That is an unlawful act.

          Murder is a sub-category of culpable homicide which is defined as causing the death of a human being

          1) By means of an unlawful act;

          So yes, he's a murderer.

          Yes, people shouldn't kill themselves over bullying and people should be less naive. However, "Naive" means "(of a person or action) showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement: " This is pretty much the definition of somebody who hasn't left the education system yet. The education system is supposed to bridge the gap between enthusiasm and experience.

          Deliberately targeting naive children is reprehensible and deserves to be punished in the most severe terms. The victims shouldn't be blamed for being victims. The young are arrogant, gullible and make stupid mistakes such as thinking "it'll never be me". Pretty much everybody did that when they were young. The difference is that by far and by large our mistakes weren't recorded and were quickly forgotten by everybody involved. (generally including ourselves with the exception of us becoming more cautious)

        2. BebopWeBop Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Murder in the First

          @P Lee

          Can I suggest that By causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; would be plausibly arguable - as I am sure the prosecution will do, and on the face of it very reasonably

  2. Potemkine Silver badge

    How many will have to die?

    " it looks as though the blackmailer and abuser is going to spend most of the rest of his life behind bars". Good. That bastard deserves it.

    Cyber bullying is a more serious problem than told by the media, which is the only way to have our politicians acting on the subject. 'Referring adults' (parents, teachers, educators...) have also to do their job and take their part, by communicating, by educating, by controlling teenagers' use of communication media: it's a wild world out there.

    1. Kugutsu

      Re: How many will have to die?

      Controlling teenagers' use of communication media is a bit tricky, now that they all have smartphones, which usually come with data contracts. Only a few yeas back, the advice was to make sure that kiddies/teenagers only access the internet in a public space at home. With the pace that technology develops, they can now get online whenever and wherever they like. It would take a very special kind of parent to try and keep their child offline, given the ubiquity of connected devices these days...

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: How many will have to die?

        The main problem I have with controlling my kids internet time is all my neighbours with their open Wifi connections.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How many will have to die?

          The main problem I have with controlling my kids internet time is all my neighbours with their open Wifi connections.

          You should be glad - that gives you plausible deniability when they are experimenting and download stuff they shouldn't. I just hope you don't like your neighbours too much :).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How many will have to die?

      Not controlling (if you think that will work with a reasonably intelligent teenager you haven't had children yet :) ), but educating yes. This is your role as a parent, protect as much as you can but also make the kids ready to stand on their own feet. The problem is that money is made on the Net with data, so kids are coerced to "share" without any regards for the consequences by what can only be referred to as "social" media by an extremely cynical interpretation of the word.

      If you want to start somewhere, it must be with helping kids to understand that they're the equivalent of inviting a house full of the creepiest people you can imaging to watch you while you sleep or shower.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: How many will have to die?

      Cyber bullying is across the board. I'm on the periphery and have seen at least as many cases of adults being bullied as of teens.

      The interesting thing is that you'd think that this is due to the anonymity afforded by the Internet but in a good chunk of the cases the perpetrator isn't hiding at all. The Internet is just making it easier to be an antisocial arsehole without setting foot out the door.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: How many will have to die?

        Likewise a lot of the antisocial arseholes turn out to be naive teen trolls. The question becomes how to ensure the trollishness doesn't wind up with them becoming a full blown professional like Mr. Coban here.

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. Moosh

    I think one of the major issues is that many people are still completely ignorant of the internet and technology in general.

    Many people the same age as me, close friends of mine, struggle to complete even basic tasks on a computer.

    How are these people going to be able to comprehend what dangers their child is facing online, when they can barely understand how to visit a web page?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      This. It's easy to forget this as a technical person* , but a lot of people out there have no clue about the dangers they are facing. I wonder how long it took people to learn that it's a good idea to lock your doors and close your windows when going out, way back when.

      * By which I do not want to say that I'm technically a person, I'm not an "AI" chatbot.

    2. BillG

      Power of Words

      @Moosh wrote: I think one of the major issues is that many people are still completely ignorant of the internet and technology in general.

      Good point, but the real issue is very retro. Many people just do not understand the power of words.

      The psychology of language, including neurolinguistics, is very powerful and as we've just seen and we can all agree, very dangerous to the point where carefully chosen words can wound or heal.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @Moosh - Also, too many do not understand how FB, Google, et. al. make money and that everyone is product to folded, spindled, and mutilated for advertisers. Couple this with some of this has only been around about 20 years. Many grew up without every having a computer or understanding how it works.

    4. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

      Absolutely spot on.

      I spend a lot of my downtime counselling my family young and old on internet security, scams, spam etc. My 69 old Dad I am proud to say is pretty savvy after years of advice, I am not convinced my 11 year old niece and 14 year old nephew are anywhere near so clued up despite being more tech savvy.

      The sad reality is naivety is not confined to the young or the old. I have began to realise that as clued up as I think I am, things are constantly evolving and I could be caught out too. As we adapt, the low life types adapt too. After all most of the damaging stuff is about social engineering not about the tech.

      The law is at least starting to react strongly to these undesirable behaviours, and the sooner the message sinks in that just because its on the internet, doesn't mean it's anonymous sinks in, the better.

      Back when I got my 1st 14.4k modem the apparent anonymity made some people behave differently in a way they wouldnt in life. It's not a new problem but with the internet as big as it is now, its a growing audience and seems to be getting more damaging in it's manifestations.

  5. Louis Schreurs BEng


    I totally agree with the condemnation of this .... person

    And yet I believe that all this shite is to be adressed to the fact that humans are not able to upbring their children to have themselves behave in a self-protective manner......

    .... and that has to be reckonned to be the effect of humans rebelling ability.....

    ... sooo this is the way human society works.....

    ..... I hate humans.

    1. Kugutsu

      Re: But

      Kids learn by making mistakes. In the past this would be immediately embarrassing, but would have little long term or far reaching consequences. Mostly the event would be laughed at in the moment by peers in the moment, and then totally forgotten. Occasionally, local gossip might pick it up and spread it around a bit. In most cases this would be self limiting, in that if you subsequently behave yourself, gossip will move on to the next salacious target that presents itself.

      Now though, every mistake is recorded for posterity, and potentially broadcast to the world. They are no longer learning experiences, they are life-wrecking catastrophes that will haunt you forever, in that any potential peer, employer or partner can do a 5 second search and see you at your worst. But our culture penalises non-participation in the self-destructive sharing of everything through social rejection - the worst possible immediate outcome for a teenager. I do not envy kids today.

    2. Just Enough Silver badge

      Re: But

      Everyone does stupid things as a teenager. Most of us are fortunate to have them lost in the mists of time, and possibly we are the only ones who even remember them. We cringe when we recall them. We vow never to let it happen again. That's what you call a personal learning experience.

      Today's teenager's moment of stupidity invariably gets recorded in some way for prosperity, and is disseminated out into the internet within minutes. It remains out there, forever and unforgotten, to be experienced anew again and again by who knows who. That's what you call a never-ending public humiliation.

      It's pretty terrifying if you think about it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Burn him


    1. Tikimon

      Re: Burn him

      Deserves worse than that.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hangin's too good for 'im!

    Burnin's too good for 'im

    he should be torn into little pieces


    -Hanover Fist

  8. FlippingGerman


    He obviously deserves everything he's got (and may yet get), but I can't say I'm a fan of the idea that he could be prosecuted for murder in Canada without actually having been there. How do they even claim jurisdiction?

    (I assume he was not in Canada but in the Netherlands at the time, that may well be incorrect).

    1. the Jim bloke Silver badge

      Re: Unpopular?

      the victim was Canadian, and one of the foundations of society, is that a government protects its citizen.

      Failing to act in the interests of its constituents means its not a government, just a gang of despots.

      Some weasel around this by redefining whats "good" for their people, others by being selective as to who it considers citizens.

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