This blackmailing continued for months till a young girl in Canada reported the matter to the police. This report resulted in his arrest and subsequent sentencing.
Internet has become an important part of our daily lives. Adolescents are increasingly depending on computers for various tasks including games, chatting and school assignments. This increased use of the Internet puts them at greater risk of befriending pedophiles and hackers. Any contact with such a person can cause emotional trauma and girls may even encounter serious physical danger since many pedophiles pose as younger people looking for friends. With increased use of computers, Internet has become a haven of online pedophiles: "the very same offenders that once combed the playgrounds seeking victims now lurk into cyberspace" [Kopelev, 1999].
These pedophiles are causing serious injuries to others especially younger people since they are more vulnerable. It is important ethical use of Internet is promoted and increased use is regulated. With more people gaining access to cyberspace, it is important that online activities are carefully monitored and regulated with the help of strict anti-hacking laws and computer misuse laws. Governments must understand that these laws should be regularly updated and improved because older or dated laws may not cover advanced misuse such as DoS attacks and illegitimate access. Exploitation of adolescents is easier since they have their own set of problems and families may not always be available to hear them out. In such cases, they resort to their friends online and since pedophiles have ample time, they "are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money and energy in this process. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They will be aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of children" [FBI]. Thus adolescents and children become an easier target for pedophiles who can then misuse the information gathered and can cause serious emotional and even physical danger to their hapless victims.
The major ethical issue in this case is unethical access to computers with the aim of blackmailing young girls into submission. We understand that illegitimate access to any computer is simply unethical and unlawful. If a person uses a tool to gain access, the person is committing a serious offence, which is covered by the modified Computer Misuse Act of Britain. The law clearly states that a person would be found guilty of a serious offence "if he supplies or offers to supply any article believing that it is likely to be used to commit, or to assist in the commission of, [a hacking offence]". Here the word article refers to "any program or data held in electronic form". [Outlaw.com]
When a person gains access to a computer and then uses it for illicit purposes, it only adds to the gravity of the offence. The Computer Misuse Act of 1990 makes it clear that a person would be charged with a criminal offence if he gains unauthorized access to data knowing that such access is unlawful. The law is current being reviewed to extend its scope. However it is commonly believed that CMA is effective enough to secure an arrest and prison term for someone like Ringland.
Apart from legal issues involved,