When it comes to online safety, the internet is becoming a nastier and scarier place for many people, especially for women and children.
The list of crimes committed against women and children keeps growing and points out a problem that didn’t get much attention when society rushed to embrace the modern internet and its many technological wonders.
And New Brunswick has seen some of the worst examples in North America and maybe even globally of the dark side of the internet.
In the spring, we had an absolutely vicious, targeted campaign against a University of Moncton student that remains to this day one of the worst cases I’ve seen anywhere in North America of such a sustained and hateful effort.
The province also has the dubious distinction of having one of the largest cases in Canada where someone was caught exploiting thousands of children online: the case of a then-26-year-old man in Moncton, who police believe victimized more than 2,000 boys worldwide.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, we’ve seen the case of a cabinet minister, Cathy Bennett, resigning after being viciously harassed online as finance minister. She’d gone public last December about being a target of cyberbullying.
And tragically in Cape Breton in June, we have yet another case of a young person, this time a 13-year-old girl named Madison, who committed suicide after being bullied online and offline.
Some studies have said as many as one in five young Canadians has been the victim of cyber bullying or cyber stalking.
Legal system caught unprepared
Canada’s legal system simply wasn’t prepared for the deluge of criminal activity targeting women and children in particular.
First, on the issue of online sexual exploitation of women in Canada, we know more and more women are the victims of this crime, and thus far we’ve only seen a few cases proceed through the court system.
In one case, an ex-boyfriend received jail time to be served on a weekend. In a case in…