A 30-year-old man is the first person in Toronto to be charged with making available an intimate image without consent, after he allegedly uploaded a video of a female acquaintance to a pornographic website.
Steven Ly was arrested on Tuesday, May 5, after a harassment investigation, and charged with Make Available Intimate Image Without Consent. The charge is one of many introduced to combat online harassment, threats and sextortion, since Bill C-13 came into law, in March of this year, as the Protecting Canadians from Online Crimes Act.
These changes in the Criminal Code will allow police to more appropriately lay charges against online harassment, bullying, intimidation and other online crimes. The changes in law also provide better protection and an enhanced peace of mind for potential victims. In the past, police were challenged in investigating and laying charges in such cases as there were no adequate laws.
“As of March this year, Bill C-13 came into force, updating the Criminal Code to make it an offence to upload such intimate videos to the Internet without the consent of all parties,” says Detective Constable Warren Bulmer.
In the case of Ly, it is alleged he took a video from five years ago, when he was in an online relationship with the victim, and uploaded it on a pornographic website in 2015. A friend of the victim saw the video and alerted the victim.
According to Detective Constable Brian Arcand, Ly is alleged to have threatened the victim with the release of the video in the past unless she met him for a date. He believes there may be more victims and encourages anyone with information to call police.
In April 2015, a friend of the victim saw the video online, which was when police executed a search warrant and seized Ly’s computer and hard drives.
“Technology has allowed people to live a more documented life and, in some circumstances, those recordings are significantly private. Often these events or behaviours seemed like a good idea at the time,” says Bulmer, noting the concern is the videos being shared in public.
“Some people mistakenly make the assumption that what they create or do online can only be seen by the person it was intended for,” adds Bulmer. “So, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of sextortion cases where people have engaged in intimate behaviour online that was unfortunately being secretly recorded. These perpetrators then blackmail victims financially or threaten their reputation to achieve a particular goal.” According to Arcand, the best way to avoid being a victim of such a crime is to remember “once you post it, it is out there forever.”
Now, however, it is a crime to share such images without the consent of all parties.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact police at 416-808-3300, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.