back to article Software engineer jailed for 2 years after using RATs and crypters to steal underage victims' intimate pics

A software engineer was this week jailed in the UK for two years after pleading guilty to accessing women and children's webcams, Skype accounts and iCloud backups for more than a decade. Robert Davies, of Byron Close, Colwick, Nottinghamshire, catfished many victims through a web of fake social media accounts, Nottingham …

  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Austism Defense

    I know Autistic people see the world "differently" but I seriously doubt autism affects someone's ability to tell right from wrong.

    Disclaimer: I am on the autism spectrum.

    1. DrXym

      Re: Austism Defense

      In most functional forms it shouldn't have any ability on somebody telling right from wrong. It's still amazing how many times it or aspergers is used as a defence in trial or against extradition.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Austism Defense

        It's not a defence, but it is absolutely relevant in court and police questioning to ensure a fair trial and investigation. It's just amazing that this is so misunderstood and it's always interpreted and reported as a "defence" rather than a request for accommodations which is all this usually is.

      2. kirk_augustin@yahoo.com

        Re: Austism Defense

        Sure you can still tell right from wrong with autism, but that does not mean the judge was right to convict him, because collecting images off other computers is not wrong and even someone without autism should be able to understand computers well enough to understand that. Computer networking works by the computer being essentially public. The crime would be damaging files, not copying them. Merely copying them harms no one. If you think that violates privacy, you would be ignorant because no computer on a network can ever be private.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Austism Defense

      Can we start a petition for people on the spectrum to formally declare that our collective condition is not, in fact, a defense for utterly reprehensible and criminal behavior? Maybe roll in a petition for a penalty or sanction on lawyers trying to turn neurodiversity into this generations Twinky defense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Austism Defense

        As another one "on the spectrum" I'd sign that!

        IIRC, IT is know to attract "our type" and I have and continue to work with many like us.

        Not one of them displayed the behaviour these people show - Autism and Aspergers are not automatically sociopaths! The lawyers really need to STFU about pulling that excuse out. It makes me livid.

        It's one thing to be teased for years about "being like that Sheldon guy" thanks to "that show", but the fun stops when you are automatically suspected of being a potential sexual assailant and murderer because of people like Jaymes Todd.

        1. muddysteve

          Re: Austism Defense

          If you are teased about "being like that Sheldon guy", I assume your reply is "You mean the Nobel Prize winner?".

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Austism Defense

            My usual reply is "I've no idea what or who you're talking about. Sorry."

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: Austism Defense

              Or:

              "I wouldn't know -- I've never shelded."

    3. Clausewitz 4.0
      Devil

      Re: Austism Defense

      I used to think autism was used by law enforcement/spy agencies to spy on scientists and well-skilled hackers to steal their tools, cryptocurrency and privacy, not the other way around.

    4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Austism Defense

      Indeed, but it can affect the ability to appreciate social cues like "He's too young" or "I don't want to" which may explain the number of ASD sex offenders.

      Telling right from wrong isn't always that easy. For example, if I, a Briton, went to Japan there are countless ways in which I could cause offence, despite an earnest desire not to do so. I just don't know and could not pick up the cocoa's cues.

      Not that any of that covers the elaboration of this case, which suggests very strongly s knowledge that it was wrong. If you think you're allowed in a host you don't break a window to get in.

      1. Chairo

        Re: Austism Defense

        @Ian Johnston

        "For example, if I, a Briton, went to Japan there are countless ways in which I could cause offence, despite an earnest desire not to do so."

        Just don't forget to take off the toilet slippers after going to the loo. In particular if you are the host of the party...

        That said - people there tend to be quite forgiving to foreigners and the laws are quite liberal. If you want to be arrested for slight misbehaviour, I suppose autocratic countries are more critical. North Korea comes to mind.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Austism Defense

        Indeed, but it can affect the ability to appreciate social cues like "He's too young" or "I don't want to" which may explain the number of ASD sex offenders.

        Er, and non-ASD sex offenders?

        Jeez.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Austism Defense

          Er, and non-ASD sex offenders?

          They exist too, of course.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Austism Defense

            So the problem there is the condition of sex offender, not the condition of autism, unless you're claiming cues like "He's too young" or "I don't want to" are only ignored by people with ASD.

    5. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: Austism Defense

      Yup, me too. So, I work in IT Security, and one of my colleagues is also on the spectrum, seems whichever colour hat you don, those of us with Autism are kinda fascinated by the subject (but then I also own a set of lock picks).

      But the kiddie porn thing, no excuse. That's not an autism thing. I'm disappointd with his sentence.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Austism Defense

      So what I think is important to note is that like people not on the spectrum, autistic people while usually having similar traits, have their own personalities as well.

      For example, autistic people are exempt from face masks as it can be distressing for them, I can wear one, although not disposable ones for too long as I hate the feel. Can wear cloth ones all day.

      Ear cancelling headphones are very popular in the community, but I dislike them.

      Autistic people are meant to have little or no empathy, that's true, I don't. But I have an autistic friend who has empathy as their special interest and is super empathic.

      So being autistic isn't an excuse for being a perverted criminal. I have been working in IT for 20 years and never been tempted to pull and of the shit he did.

      Just don't ask me about Pokemon in person or I will bore you to tears probably....

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Austism Defense

        Ear cancelling?

        I presume you meant noise cancelling. I can't wear earphones / headphones in an unsecured location like outdoors - I am acutely aware of the "sound world" around me and to not have that is discomforting in the extreme. Indoors, I HATE having to share an office - it can be hours before I re-find the headspace I need to be in if someone has been talking to someone else in the vicinity. I'm not sure the space managers appreciate how disruptive that is, and suggesting noise-cancelling headphones as a "solution" shows a distinct lack of understanding. However, indoors I can put headphones on, and I find that a steady stream of production music and Barclay James Harvest / Jethro Tull / Pink Floyd blocks out a lot of the sinners.

        As for face masks... I can and do wear them all day, and have done for many, many years in previous employment. And a lab coat, hair net, gloves, overshoes etc.

      2. Aspie73

        Re: Austism Defense

        Actually it's a complete misconception pushed by Ali G's cousin that Autistics don't have empathy. Other studies have suggested that as we're hypersensitive we're more likely to be an Empath than neurotypicals; it's just that we find it hard to deal with the overwhelming feelings of others.

        I'm a Samaritan listening volunteer, and that's not something you could do without the ebility to empathise.

    7. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Austism Defense

      as often as not In My Bombastic Opinion, "autism spectrum" includes GENIUSES and COMPUTER GEEKS by its broad definition. You can add AD[H]D to that list as well, In My Bombastic Opinion.

      that being said, the guy managed to stay UNDER THE RADAR until he was 32, so STILL might have fit "the profile" of this kind of criminal when he (allegedly) first started out, learned to like it, and accelerated to the point where he got caught.

    8. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Austism Defense

      I thought when someone is autistic, and a woman says "no", the autistic person hears "no" and assumes she means "no". Problems may happen if the woman is not clear. "Maybe another time" is understood as "maybe another time", where I would understand it as "no".

  2. MiguelC Silver badge

    "Davies doesn't quite fit the archetype of a Computer Misuse Act offender. Research published last year found that on average, CMA crims are overwhelmingly male – but tend to be in their 20s and are not highly skilled."

    Might that be because highly skilled software engineers are more likely to be able to conceal their acts than lesser skilled perps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Skills of the investigators more relevant

      The bias is likely from the tendency of investigators to go almost exclusively after the low hanging fruit. Camping bots in chat rooms and social media scraping is the norm for what passes for investigation and enforcement. This amounts to going after cases that happen to fall out of a tree and land in their lap.

      Big surprise, if you start cracking down on the people making spyware tools, you find a web of criminals using those tools to commit crimes. Law enforcement might want to pursue that strategy instead of signing up as customers themselves.

    2. Lazlo Woodbine

      " but tend to be in their 20s "

      According to the article he's 32 and had been doing this for more 10 years, so solidly in his 20's for the majority of his criminal career...

      1. TRT Silver badge

        He's 32...

        You mean 2^5?

        1. Tom 7

          Re: He's 32...

          Autism is not a binary thing!

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: He's 32...

            My point exactly!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not again..

    Simon Stevens, Davies' barrister, told the court in mitigation that his client accepted his guilt and had been recently diagnosed with autism.

    .. which has zero point zero to do with the offenses he was charged with, so why is this [censored] barrister even bringing this up?

    This seriously annoys me - I know plenty people on the functioning spectrum so I know it bears no relation to the crimes this character engaged in.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: Not again..

      This seriously annoys me

      And rightly so.

      As moronic as this "argument" is, the barrister's job is to get a favourable outcome for their client. And if they think it might help, they draw the autism card.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not again..

        It should at least help him to be jailed in a facility appropriate for his medical needs.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Not again..

      El Reg commentators were solidly behind the Asperger's defence for Gary McKinnon and in several subsequent cases. I thought at the time that planting the idea of people with ASD as obsessive hackers unable to control themselves was probably unhelpful.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not again..

        [Original poster]

        Nope, not me. Also never supported that argument for Assange because the end result is that it stigmatises innocent people.

        This is why I think that any attempt to use this argument should be addressed. Autism and Aspergers have become the argument de rigeur for frankly ignorant lawyers to get their criminal customers off the hook, and that has to stop IMHO.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not again..

          This is why I think that any attempt to use this argument should be addressed. Autism and Aspergers have become the argument de rigeur for frankly ignorant lawyers to get their criminal customers off the hook, and that has to stop IMHO.

          Well, up to a point. In general I am against any defence being forbidden. Yes, some killers have tried to use a "consensual rough sex went wrong" defence untruthfully, but the answer to that is to challenge the defence, not forbid it. Likewise with ASD.

      2. joepie91

        Re: Not again..

        There's a difference between bringing it up as a defense in and of itself, vs. bringing it up as a reason to reject extradition; it certainly *is* true that the US is extremely ill-equipped to deal with neurodiverse folks, and that prosecution there would result in an even more 'cruel and unusual' punishment than usual.

        If I'm not misremembering, that's precisely what applied in McKinnon's case and various other cases. "Autism" wasn't an argument to defend the action, but rather an argument against extradition to the US specifically.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Not again..

          Indeed, and many people that didn't want McKinnon extradited (including me) were suggesting that he be tried in the UK for any crimes committed here.

          Being autistic meant he was deemed likely to kill himself if imprisoned in the US. I can relate to that, I've come close to killing myself for being left free in the UK, being wrongly extradited to another country would make me downright lethal.

    3. ZootCadillac

      Re: Not again..

      It does seem rather odd that these people in bother are often found to have a spectrum disorder after the fact. It might just be another ploy that solicitors use to get a tick in the win box. You might think that, I could not possibly comment.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Not again..

        TBH most crimes you're left thinking "there must be something wrong with that person". So a psychiatric evaluation follows and guess what? 99.999999999% of us had a beloved pet die or a tragic break up or a parent / sibling / relative who did x, y or z, or are a little bit aspy or a little bit narcissistic or a bit hedonistic or have been dominated or are domineering or both... and so the list goes on.

        It was only a day or so ago when Casualty had a character who was a bit of an arsehole at times go through a relief / dilemma crisis when they *might* have had a brain tumour which possibly explained their arseholeiness.

        Hard to know how far to stretch the compassion elastic.

    4. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Re: Not again..

      Because that's what Lawyers do! I seriously doubt he is autistic at all. His lawyer most likely paid some unethical "expert" to create a diagnosis to garner sympathy from the court!

      He will do this again, that's a fact! The next time it is likely to not be through technology be done personally.

      Child abusers/exploiters cannot be reformed! They should be locked away permanently.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not again..

        Because that's what Lawyers do! I seriously doubt he is autistic at all. His lawyer most likely paid some unethical "expert" to create a diagnosis to garner sympathy from the court!

        Like many other psychological "diagnoses" there is absolutely no coherent definition of autism, just a rag bag of disparate and sometime mutually contradictory observations. That's how we've ended up with absurd notions like "autism presents differently in men and women", unlike, say, broken legs, diabetes, AIDS, bowel cancer, ingrown toenails, dental caries and other proper, physically verifiable conditions.

        That yer replication crisis, right there, and dressing it up as "neuroscience" without actually doing any brain function tests at all should fool nobody.

      2. loops

        Re: Not again..

        > Child abusers/exploiters cannot be reformed

        Sexual offences have the lowest recidivism rates of any offence.

        You can attribute that to the violence they face when in prison, the monitoring they're subject to on release, the rehabilitation courses they are forced to take when in prison (it's about the only crime where offenders are forced to undertake rehabilitation) or, more likely, a combination of the three.

        But the evidence does strongly suggest that a majority are reformed compared to other criminals. The ones that do go on to reoffend tend to make the headlines of course.

    5. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Not again..

      It's the Kevin Spacey defence™.

      "You engaged in highly inappropriate sexual conduct with minors".

      "I have news everybody, I'm gay".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "had been recently diagnosed with autism"

    Please stop using that as an excuse. I'm autistic, and I'm not a paedo.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Re: "had been recently diagnosed with autism"

      I have an honest question. In a previous job, a colleague, who after the event I learnt was on the Autism spectrum, asked me what my favourite thing was. After thinking for a few seconds, I said watching TV.

      When I asked him what his was, his response was "Sex". I told him "I was going to say that, but I thought it's a bit inappropriate in the workplace" and his response was "I don't find many things to be inappropriate".

      Is his behaviour normal for someone with ASD? I know it is a spectrum and not all on it will suffer the same, I

      1. Matt_payne666

        Re: "had been recently diagnosed with autism"

        Im well and truly on the spectrum, not in the mild sense and fully clinically diagnosed in my 40's

        its a broad brush so cant speak for the rest of them, but if I was asked that question, the answer he gave would be so far down the list of replies...

        but then im also not interested in kids and even cute young teachers are not really acknowledged in that way - my kids are their age!

        Us Aspy/ASD types can function in a very neural typical way and many of us do not have any sort of criminal urges!! So also chalk me up as another that sighed and rolled his eyes at another criminal suddenly being diagnosed as Autistic

        These instant diagnosis also grind my gears... from consultation/referral to diagnosis took several years for me being an adult and all via organisations i had to chase and contact myself... i maybe a cynical old git, but al these criminals that 'only recently' were diagnosed cant all have been petitioning the various medical teams for years, the system can be gamed so I feel they are about as honest as the whiplash cases that used to arise after an accident...

  5. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

    "Simon Stevens, Davies' barrister, told the court in mitigation that his client accepted his guilt and had been recently diagnosed with autism."

    In terms of mitigation, autism is completely irrelevant. People with high functioning autism are statistically no more or less likely to commit crime than those without, and exhibit a strongly rational based understanding of right and wrong. A number of studies have been carried out, particularly on people with Asperger's Syndrome, that show this (see Attwood, "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome", p. 334 for a summary).

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      People with high functioning autism are statistically no more or less likely to commit crime than those without...

      Sounds suspiciously no-true-Scotsman. What about people with low-functioning autism?

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        What about people with low-functioning autism?

        Usually they are in special needs care for life.

        The autism spectrum covers a lot of different cases and is, to some degree, a catch-all term.

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        They get left locked in an attic for 7 months and end up with double incontinence and other physical health issues.

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-59999250

        Or kept in a cupboard for four years.

        https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/autistic-young-man-been-detained-22626013

        Or detained for 20 years despite never committing a crime.

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10332367/Whistleblower-reveals-autistic-man-44-basic-needs-met-like-animal.html

        Autism. Not fun.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny how

    crims seem to discover they are ill with some illness or other (in this case Autism) after they have been caught.

    Just saying...

    1. Clausewitz 4.0
      Devil

      Re: Funny how

      I am a security expert and explois developer.

      And in my humble opinion, most FBI/Europol/Tech Police, are just.. Morons ! You can see them coming from miles away !

      I am used to see the Autism trick being used to spy on normal people.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funny how

      Me I always like the "early release b/c terminal illness so they can die with family." Oh yes, "compassionate grounds". Then they die years later, like al-Megrahi?

      1. AndyMulhearn

        Re: Funny how

        Wasn’t the most egregious case of this the chap from Guinness - Ernest Saunders - who recovered from Alzheimer’s? Had his sentence reduced on the basis of a contested diagnosis and is still alive and kicking 20 years later.

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Funny how

        Al-Megrahi was released on 20th July 2009 and died on 20th May 2012, not quite three years later. For most of that time he was receiving palliative treatment, in intensive care and/or comatose. He may well have been released a bit earlier than the rules say, but there is absolutely no doubt that he was terminally ill with a cancer which killed him.

        If we're looking for curious releases, nothing stands higher than Ernest Saunders, still going strong 30 years after a diagnosis of serious Alzheimer's ...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Funny how

        Terminal Illness time to live isn't an exact science, some are estimated to months to live and die the next day (a neighbour of my parents), some are estimated to have weeks at most and then soldier on in poor health for an extended period before dying.

    3. Aspie73

      Re: Funny how

      I'm not a crim, but didn't discover that I was autistic until I was 40. Yes, it can go that long until you seek answers as to why it is that you don't quite fit in to society.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So he's guilty of 29 "utterly disgraceful" charges and will serve less than a year in prison. I'd like very much to know how the victims feel about that. Do they think this criminal's conviction will so thoroughly humiliate and chasten him, or that the "sexual harm prevention order" will be so efffective, that there's no possibility he'll reoffend regardless of his sentence? Do they feel the need to see him punished, or do they prefer putting him back to constructive work quickly? Do they consider the cost of incarcerating this criminal greater or lesser than the benefit to society? If they think 9-12 months in the can is enough, would they be offended if the entire prison term were omitted? If they don't, how long would make them happy? These are serious questions; I have my own opinion but it's not the one that matters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "sexual harm prevention order"

      This is not as wishy washy as it seems.

      It could mean he has no access to a home computer or smart phone (less likely these days due to everything moving online). Almost certainly he will have a logging device between his router and isp.

      Police can (and do) turn up without an appointment, at anytime of the day and search the house and all equipment without a warrant.

      He could have a curfew imposed, both physically and electronically.

      All social media accounts and email accounts are allowed to be accessed.

      The list goes on and and on.

      Source: Know a probation officer that deal with sexual offenders.

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

        Hmm. Seems unlikely that that will stop him - he's a highly experienced deviant who is at least passingly good with a computer.

        He'll get around the logging by using either a sidechannel like someone else's wifi, or a VPN. If he's allowed a computer, he'll just use an SDcard with a live image or whatever, to leave nothing on his shiny clean PC for when Plod comes looking. If he's limited to a smart phone, so what? VNC to a hidden device and proxy from there, via unchecked mobile data that bypasses his router.

        The guy should have been locked up for at least twice as long. He clearly would have known he was targeting children once he was on their systems.

        1. JDPower666

          And how exactly will locking him up for "twice as long" reduce the chance of reoffending? It may make you feel better to see a harsher penalty but if he's gonna re-offend, he's gonna re-offend, doesn't matter whether it's 12 months or 12 years. Whereas a prevention order MAY make him think twice, or catch him out if he does.

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      By the sounds of it, he doesn't sound like he would escalate his crimes - if he was going to, he likely would've done so in the years that they went undetected.

      So they probably see him as unlikely to physically attack/rape people and therefore give him a lighter sentence.

      He's unlikely to be able to continue his habits due to the monitoring etc, so hopefully he'll pick up a new hobby altogether.

    3. Lazlo Woodbine

      That Sexual Harm Prevention Order will seriously impact him for the rest of his life, as there's so many jobs that require a DBS check and that Sexual Harm Prevention Order will be a massive red flag.

      I can't see him getting any worthwhile employment for decades.

      So yeah, only 9 or 10 months in the big house, but many years of being messed around by The Man in his future.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Unlike Islamic Justice systems we don't let the victims decide the sentencing, nor do we let baying mobs either - we leave sentencing to judges with a counterbalance of a sentencing review council to review sentences which may be excessively lenient or harsh.

      The "newspapers" have a lot to answer for, for whipping up "PEDONATION lock up your kids ANY MAN could be a PEDO!!"

      Thus leading to thugs and hooligans roaming the country threatening people, endangering prosecutions and worse under the banners of "wolfpacks" and "pedo hunters" - Those involved are ALWAYS the lowest denominators in society, quite often having done extensive periods behind bars for assault, GBH, drug dealing, house breaking and worse themselves.

      Yet the "newspapers" laud them as some kind of folk heroes when they are nothing but common criminals and thugs

  8. This is my handle
    Joke

    Reminded of the scene ...

    ... from "And Justice For All" (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078718/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0) where a character throws himself on the mercy of the court (which has repeatedly held him in contempt) for his profane outbursts. "But your honor -- I'm a diabetic." "I fail to see what that has to do with it!" "That's because you're a douchebag!" "CONTEMPT!", as the gavel is pounded.

    PS: I'm quoting from memory, which may have introduced some inaccuracies since 1979.

  9. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    That Mugshot

    ... should be enough to convince women and children not to pose with their naughty bits exposed. Whether it's for a stolen identity or just one of many administrators that can peek at messages passing through the network: This is the guy that's leering at you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That Mugshot

      You only have to read a couple of pages of "Everyone's Invited" to see how tragically naive many young women are about this. It's not just "I thought he loved me", it's "He pestered me until I agreed, and he promised me he wouldn't share them."

      One does not wish to blame victims, but dear God they could at least make it a bit difficult for their harassers.

      Don't. Send. Nudes. To. Anyone. Ever.

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

        Re: That Mugshot

        Don't. Send. Nudes. To. Anyone. Ever.

        Seconded. Once it is out there, it cannot be deleted, or wished away.

        Best is just to forcefully terminate the connection, walk away and forget about it.

        And have a qualified/knowledgeable person thoroughly sanitize the device, or toss and burn it, and be more careful next time.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That Mugshot

        With all due respect - you're basically saying "Be part of the 50% of the community that gets paid more, is respected more, and is sexually harassed less and speak up for yourself!"

        Like an Amazon exec saying: "Stop being poor!"

        We have religion telling us we're impure, guys trying to fuck us, no one paying us enough in money or respect, secondary sex characteritics that are fetishished//// none of this is as simple as "just speak up and don't let yourself be bullied."

        I don't know you anonymous, - maybe you're a woman, maybe not. i hate that some (not all) women and kids have had it DRUMMED INTO THEIR HEADS to never say no, never make a man feel uncomfortable, and always, always defer - but the fact is, they have. The perpetrator is the problem

        From what you're saying, if you asserted yourself and someone pushed back even a little (the way you're outlining), you would certainly back down and maybe even (unnecessarily) apologise. Being a polite, decent sort, the power dynamics at play would never be made explicit to you.

        But they exist. Saying the victims shouldn't "make it easy" is missing the point.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That Mugshot

          Saying the victims shouldn't "make it easy" is missing the point.

          I'm saying that it's tragic that young women feel that they have to go along with men's demands and that they should be empowered to say "no". Doesn't that mean we're in broad agreement?

          Of course the boys should be pestering and certainly shouldn't be sharing, but we don't live in an ideal world. I wrote that post shortly before walking across the middle of Glasgow for some distance. The quickest route was through back lanes but I stuck to the roads, because it would be scant consolation, lying bleeding in an alley, to think "Muggers really should be taught not to mug".

        2. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

          Re: That Mugshot

          Not blaming the victim but you should not make is easy to be the victim of ANY crime!

          If you post on Facebook you are going on vacation and have your home address in your profile and get burglarized, yes your a victim, but your also a stupid victim.

          Maybe it's a generational thing but I can tell you every woman I've had a relationship with, including my wife, if I asked them to pose for nude photos would tell me NO! I'd also probably get smacked upside the head!

          As far a children, they can be manipulated, this is where parent MUST step in, it is also where parents fail. Fail to have open conversation with their teenagers about predators, about their online activities and yes tell them "we will be monitoring you! We trust you but we WILL verify!"

          There is never, ever any reason to excuse the perpetrator! Those who target children cannot be reformed, cannot be fixed, they should be locked away permanently!

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: That Mugshot

            Not blaming the victim ...

            The binary notion that if one is a victim one must also be blameless is not helpful. Loads of victims are partially or even wholly to blame. Walk along a country road in dark clothes on a winter's night and, when you are run down you will be a victim and entirely to blame. Stalk a young black man around your housing estate until he snaps and starts beating the snot out of you. You are a victim (the Florida legal system lets you kill him in self defence) and also to blame.

        3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: That Mugshot

          "women and kids have had it DRUMMED INTO THEIR HEADS to never say no, never make a man feel uncomfortable, and always, always defer - but the fact is, they have. The perpetrator is the problem"

          That's not the perpetrator. That's years later, when 'Chad', who has been socialized to spot victims, sees another one and applies the pressure. The problem is the initial upbringing. Bad parents. Perhaps a big dollop of religion and poorly supervised social learning very early in school. By the time a compliant girl (or boy) is handed their first phone with camera, it's far too late.

          Go ahead and make people feel uncomfortable. It's happened to me many times at the hands of people I consider to be good friends. I can be a jerk, but I expect people to give me the thumbs down sign (or something) when I overstep their boundaries. Particularly when I was younger. But even now, I can't read minds and know each person's limits.

      3. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

        Re: That Mugshot

        For adults, yes that's great advice and one wonders about the "intelligence" of some adults.

        For children, especially teenagers, if your not monitoring their online activity then your a fool! Their privacy is one thing but be honest and up front with them and tell them "We trust that you won't do these things be we WILL verify that you are not doing them. If we see that you are you will lose all your online devices."

      4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: That Mugshot

        "It's not just 'I thought he loved me' "

        There's a line in a ZZ Top song:

        "I've been in love ten thousand times. All I have to do is remember my lines."

        Women need to understand this at a very early age. Much earlier than most parents would like to admit. I used to listen to a call in radio show help line for teens and young adults. Often, a young woman would call in with tales of woe and abusive relationships. The doctor hosting the show would listen for a few minutes and invariably ask, "What happened to you when you were five years old?" And then the horror stories of neglect, abuse or just plain horrible parenting would pour forth.

        " 'He pestered me until I agreed, and he promised me he wouldn't share them.' "

        "Hey babe. Send me some nudes."

        "No."

        "Come on. Just one little picture.'

        Unfriends/blocks on social media.

        This is how it has to work. Women need to take some a**hole lessons (I could teach them from experience).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That Mugshot

      Are you blaming the kids now?

    3. parlei

      Re: That Mugshot

      While I agree that there is a risk in taking and sharing such pictures, what is the difference between "having such a fancy phone/watch/car is asking for someone to nick it" and "if you take such a picture you are asking for someone to nick them"?

      Better systems to catch the criminals, more education as to how to send material safely, etc is a good thing. Telling females to lock themselves up or it is THEIR fault is annoying to say the least.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That Mugshot

        Telling females to lock themselves up or it is THEIR fault is annoying to say the least.

        I am always a little suspicious of the motives of people who campaign against encouraging women to take basic precautions against being the victims of sexual crimes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That Mugshot

          Can one hold two positions at once?

          1. The blame for sharing of private images is 100% on the shoulders of the one who shares them without consent, not the one who takes them, and no blame should be placed on the victim.

          2. These days -- as it has always been -- it is prudent to take precautions and consider the possible consequences of any act.

          A hundred years ago it was "what happens if someone gets hold of those love letters (which may contain explicit statements!) and gives them to the wrong parties?".

  10. ZootCadillac

    I initially came here to post something humorous after seeing the headline in my inbox. Even when I started reading I thought that there had to be some comical value in the story. But nope. After having read it all he's just s filthy pervert who would be better placed in my garden for a good fucking kicking rather than a prison term.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      or compost

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We live in a world where no one ever, Ever, EVER takes responsibility for their own actions; it is always "society's" fault, or the "upbringing/family life", some "diagnosis", always something.

    There is no way that I can accept that someone could be so far off the common understanding of right and wrong and still function in society if they thought the actions this man took were moral and just. To me, that is the crux of the problem: if your "upbringing" or "diagnosis" or whatever "issue" you blame your crime on is really so debilitating, then pray tell how you manage to function in society at all without ticking off and disgusting everyone you come in contact with?

    You can't. You know right from wrong. You're just playing a legal game to try to avoid penalties for your crimes.

    Time and again such stories splatter the headlines... and slander the people who do suffer from the "excuse" but who haven't stooped to crime. They aren't famous; no one knows about the people who live with the same "disability" every day, successfully. All the public hears about are the aberrations. :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So you must be happy at the reading of this article, since it literally says in there that the perp accepted his guilt?

      I don't see anything in there saying that "it's the fault of the diagnosis". Either you're assuming things that aren't there, or you simply need to provide more evidence to back them up.

      Just because he's guilty doesn't mean that his autism should go untreated, so his barrister was right to mention it, to ensure that the judicial system would not ignore it while the guy is in their care and supervision.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We live in a world where no one ever, Ever, EVER takes responsibility for their own actions; it is always "society's" fault, or the "upbringing/family life", some "diagnosis", always something.

      Children are rarely badly behaved now. They all have ADHD, ASD, ODD, PDA or something similar. Drives their teachers nuts, impairs their contemporaries' learning ... and the real world of adulthood and the realisation that acronyms are not get-out-of-jail-free cards come as a horrible shock.

      Don't get me wrong here. Of course some children do have ADHD, ASD, ODD, PDA and so on. I've worked with a fair number of them. However, applying these terms to any misbehaviour does nobody any favours. It takes resources from those who need it and it delays behavioural improvement for those who are perfectly capable of it.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    "pleading guilty to accessing women and children's webcams"

    For Christ's sake, man, don't you know PornHub ? Or YouPorn ? Or just the goddamned Internet ?

    There's enough images out there, most of them from professionals, for you to sate your thirst for a good wank session.

    Or so I've heard.

    Allegedly.

    I couldn't possibly comment.

    Mine's the one with . . uh, yeah, that one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "pleading guilty to accessing women and children's webcams"

      The driving force may be a sense of power over people. I had an acquaintance who delighted in conning family and friends out of money. Yet in most cases all he had to do was ask them. In the end they refused to give him anything ever again.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: "pleading guilty to accessing women and children's webcams"

        That's sad, and something I find beyond comprehension. A sense of power over people... who would even want that? What would it achieve? Nope... still can't get it.

        1. spireite Silver badge

          Re: "pleading guilty to accessing women and children's webcams"

          The moral compass probably never existed for him.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "pleading guilty to accessing women and children's webcams"

          "A sense of power over people... who would even want that?"

          Hmm, let me see: Trump, Johnson, Patel… Sadly, I could list too many more…

          Either due to their personality just inherently being like that, or all kinds of upbringing issues, some people just seem to be that way. :-(

  13. John Robson Silver badge

    In no way detracting from the offense

    What is up with our education of youngsters that so many of them have taken sexually explicit images of themselves (?)

    1. spireite Silver badge

      Re: In no way detracting from the offense

      Have to say, the there is an undercurrent of blame culture on everything.

      Regarding your comment, I lay the blame squarely at the Kardashian et al/social media door.

      When I was their age, yes - you had the Evangelista etc - but they were not dressing down/off like they youngsters of today do. Yeah Lusardi andFox were relatively popular but they were viewed in their little boxes as slags in many eyes. Nobody was inspired by them to get their kit off in huge numbers.

      Throw in that bollocks called Love Island, and we're collectively near the bottom as a society. There isn't much farther to sink.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In no way detracting from the offense

        "Nobody was inspired by them to get their kit off in huge numbers."

        On the contrary - many young women aspired to the aura of such exemplars. They wanted to feel they were beautiful - as society valued that characteristic. With fame went apparent life-style and financial benefits - when other careers were still off-limits. Women were also challenging the prudish attitudes that were their expected public face.

        Page 3 models might have been regarded as "slags" by some misogynists - but not by young women.

        Then the Thatcher years brought the conservative backlash that introduced a new era of state and self-censorship and re-imposed prudish attitudes.

        Polaroid cameras replaced the limited area of home-developed photographs. Digital pictures have merely made those possibilities available to anyone.

        What has regressed is that people have not learned to accept their bodies. The blackmailer and exploiter is empowered by a society's potential shaming of the subject person.

      2. jason_derp

        Re: In no way detracting from the offense

        "...we're collectively near the bottom as a society. There isn't much farther to sink."

        If you think this is as bad as a society can get, you lack in imagination.

  14. spireite Silver badge

    There is no excuse for this stuff.....

    I honestly read the title as suggesting Rapid Antigen Testing had something to do with it.

    That said, how many will say 'I was normal until I took a Covid vaccine', or 'Covid made me do it'.

  15. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Joke

    Dodged the bullet

    accessing women and children's webcams, Skype accounts and iCloud backups

    Smart, limiting himself to women & children. Probably would have gotten a life sentence if he had come across devices owned by dudes - with an exponentially higher number of d1ck pics available to prosecute him for.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hardly have mirrors in my house....

    .... because I know what I look like. Even if were attractive, I can't imagine why on earth I would purposefully take a naked selfie (or allow someone else to photograph me in my birthday suit). It's quite beyond me. Once on the day before I began dieting to lose weight, I took a selfie in my boxers. Once the diet was over and I got my comparison, I immediately deleted both the before and after pictures. I just don't get it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hardly have mirrors in my house....

      Regularly seeing yourself naked in mirrors helps maintain a healthy regime. Photographs taken over time give us a sense of continuity in the changes that otherwise morph slowly in our daily life.

      Seeing other ordinary people naked gives reassurance that bodies come in many varieties - including the ravages of time and accidents.

      Children who grow up in a naturist environment go through puberty's changes knowing what will happen to them is normal. Curiosity about the opposite sex is then not focussed on what might be hidden.

      It has been said that social nudity soon appears boring. For the human mind - sexual titillation lies in what is hidden by a covering.

  17. kirk_augustin@yahoo.com

    Autism a valid defense

    The reason autism is a valid defense is that anyone who puts naked pictures on their computer is an idiot. It is essentially posting them in public. So then a person with autism will see no logical contraction in collecting them, because there is nothing at all wrong with that. People who think they should have privacy on their computers are idiots who simply do not at all understand computers. If you look at the running processes on any computer, you will see dozens, if not hundreds, and only 1 or 2 will be the user. The rest are all systems or externally initiated processes, like communications from your network, printer, mouse, keyboard, or other devices. That is just how computers work, so anyone who thinks their computer is at all private, just is ignorant.

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