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The psychology of cybercrime
The psychology of cybercrime

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2.2 Non-consensual distribution of sexual images

Image-based sexual crimes are multi-faceted and incorporate crimes that involve obtaining sexual or degrading imagery of individuals and then threatening to distribute these images, as a means of blackmailing victims into producing more imagery or committing harmful acts towards others.

Even though these types of crime are not restricted to one particular gender, it is important to note that most victims are females (Mc Glynn, Rackley, & Houghton, 2017). Furthermore, the ease of obtaining and distributing sexual imagery online without consent and using sensitive materials as a means of blackmailing victims, means that the frequency and scale of the problem has mushroomed. The nature of the harassment being sexualised and misogynistic means that victims are often blamed for sharing the images in the first place. However, because the images are used in a way that is not intended means that the person who originally shared the images is not responsible and should be treated as a victim in its own right.

Non-consensual distribution of sexual images can also unveil other forms of cybercrime such as revenge pornography, child pornography, sextortion and many other types. The most common type of non-consensual obtention or distribution of sexual images are related to child pornography and by extension it could also results in the solicitation of in-person sexual contact known as online grooming. Due to the sensitive nature of some of those sub-types of image-based sexual crimes, this course will only cover sexting, photo hacking as examples of this type of cybercrime.