Cyber bullying cases pass to private investigators
- The Daily Telegraph
- May 21, 2013
The Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday that parents were paying up to $800 a day to hire private investigators to identify and track down those who were bullying their children and confront them with evidence of their ugly online behaviour, with one investigator fielding three calls a day from anxious parents.
The revelation sparked our campaign to put pressure on social network sites to become more proactive in pursuing and banning bullies who use anonymous profiles.
For many parents, approaches to private investigators are a last resort after complaints to police and schools often fail to result in action.
Aside from the fact police are seemingly not equipped to deal with the technical side of cyber-crime on social networks - according to the investigators - the forensics specialists are frequently told by officers that Facebook bullying complaints are "outside their case prioritisation".
Former AFP investigator Jason King, who operates J&D Online Investigations, said police often pass on the details of parents who have complained about cyber bullying.
"They contact me to take on the cases," Mr King said.
"Not officially of course, because they can't be seen not doing their jobs properly.
"It's not that the police are under-resourced, but a kid getting annoyed by Facebook bullies is not really high on their list of priorities. You get these local constables call up and say 'I have no idea how to handle this, can you do it?'.
"We slap intervention orders on people who bully in person. The internet is just another element of that - just investigate it the same way."
At Sydney's Lyonswood Investigations and Forensics Group, investigator Lachlan Jarvis said that some parents came to them on the advice of the police.
"We get clients who have been referred by police who tell them 'it is not work we take on; we don't have the expertise'," Mr Jarvis said.
NSW Police launched a Fraud and Cyber Crime Squad in November 2011, committing resources to what it claimed was a dramatic shift in the way its detectives were investigating crime in cyberspace.
A police spokesperson said police have "successfully identified numerous people (who are) using social media platform to commit a variety of cyber crimes.
"We don't use private investigators, nor do we refer to private investigators."