Friday, October 16, 2009

Sex Crimes, Stickam.com, and Social Media

Stickam.com is a live video web site that according to the New York Times is owned by a Japanese based pornographer. According to Stickam.com's Frequently Aasked Question Page, it is a free live video service and social network that allows a user to stream live video over the Internet. However, Stickam.com is also being used to showcase the work of alleged rapists and other criminals.

This past year, there have been several arrests of the website's users based upon video that was uploaded onto the site. Each arrested user is accused of uploading video of a sexual crime that the user participated in. Unfortunately, a website such as Stickam.com is just one avenue that sexual predators utilize. As anyone who has watched NBC's Chris Hanson's "To Catch a Predator" specials or Law and Order: SVU knows, this type of behavior occurs more than most people realize. Law enforcement is so overwhelmed and most websites are understaffed and focused on generating revenue and not policing their web site. Therefore, this type of behavior can fall through the cracks unless concerned website users notify the website and the proper authorities. Since 9/11/2001, the the New York City subway's safety slogan has been, "[i]f you see something say something" and I believe this slogan should be extended to the Internet.

In Stickam.com's defense, the website self reported some of these alleged criminal acts to the police, disabled the alleged rapists accounts, and removed the content that allegedly shows a crime being committed. I am not trying to defend Stickam.com's website, but these types of websites are common on the Internet and generally it is up to the users of social media to police the content available and notify the proper authorities when it is alleged that a crime has been committed by a fellow user.

Copyright 2009 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.