Lawsuit hears of digital links behind Facebook accounts used to ‘sextort’ Amanda Todd
A former Toronto police officer with digital expertise that includes Facebook records walked jurors in Amanda Todd’s ‘sextortion’ trial through the connections behind major accounts on the social media platform on Tuesday.
Aydin Coban, a citizen of the Netherlands, is accused of harassing and extorting the teenager before killing herself in 2012, using nearly two dozen online accounts.
Crown said he will prove that Coban was the mastermind behind the various social media profiles using a combination of technical information and the content of the posts themselves.
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Jurors heard a second day of testimony on Tuesday from Warren Bulmer, a retired Toronto Police Service officer who now works for the Australian Federal Police.
While at TPS in 2013, Bulmer specialized in computer-facilitated crimes with the Child Exploitation Unit and was identified as a “primary point of contact” between law enforcement and Facebook.
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On Tuesday, Bulmer told the court how he reviewed an account in Amanda Todd’s name and pored over 13 other Facebook records.
Bulmer told jurors how he discovered links between multiple accounts, including connections to the same device, the same internet service and the same VPN – a virtual private network used to conceal a user’s true identity.
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In one example, he detailed 22 unique IP addresses associated with a Facebook account under the name Alice McAllister.
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In her opening statements, Crown Attorney Louise Kenworthy detailed how that account was used to send messages to 16 Facebook users, many of whom belonged to the Todd family.
Earlier in the lawsuit, Todd’s mother Carol said the message contained a link to a pornography website with a topless video of her daughter on it.
The defense has not yet had the opportunity to cross-examine Bulmer.
The trial is about the question of identity.
Crown is seeking to prove that Coban was the person who exploited the Alice McAllister account and 21 others to sexually blackmail Todd and send explicit images of the teenager to friends and family between 2009 and 2012.
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Coban pleaded not guilty to five counts, including possession of child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment and communicating with a youth to commit a sexual offence.
The defense has not yet given its closing argument. Coban’s attorney, Joseph Saulnier, previously said that while there’s no doubt Todd was a victim of crimes, the question at trial is who was responsible for the messages.
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The defense maintains that there is no connection between Coban and the online extortionist, and that the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt who actually sent the messages Todd received.
Todd committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 15.
Shortly before her death, she posted a YouTube video chronicling her ordeal, which captured worldwide attention and became a rallying cry against cyberbullying.
In the video, Todd silently holds up a series of flashcards describing the torment she endured.
— with files by Rumina Daya
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