Hackers claim to have tracked down Amanda Todd's tormentor
Published Tuesday, October 16, 2012 10:10AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 16, 2012 1:16PM EDT
An Internet 'hacktivist' group has identified an individual it alleges blackmailed Amanda Todd, the B.C. teen who took her own life last week, one month after posting a YouTube video about her struggles with bullying.
In the video, the 15-year-old used flash cards to tell a heartbreaking story about online abuse and bullying that had made her life a living hell. She ended the video with a cry for help: "I have no one. I need someone. My name is Amanda Todd."
According to the video, Todd's troubles began when she was in Grade 7 and a man convinced her to flash her breasts in a chat room. One year later, she said she was contacted by someone on Facebook who had the picture, and threatened to send it to her friends if she didn't record a show for him.
The threat was eventually carried out.
On Monday, ‘Anonymous’ – an online group that claims to use its computer-hacking skills for good – began to circulate the name and address of a man it claimed to be one of her alleged tormenters.
The RCMP has refused to confirm the allegations. But a police spokesperson confirmed they were aware someone had been named via social media.
"I'm not going to speak to anything beyond the fact that we are aware of what has been put on social media in regards to that name," RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Peter Thiessen told The Canadian Press.
Even Todd's family members say they aren't sure the information is accurate, claiming police investigators have tracked down a different individual, in the U.S., whom they believed was involved.
After her suicide last Wednesday, Todd's story has made headlines across the country and provoked a robust online response.
Twitter users posting under the hashtag #RIPAmanda have been pledging to wear pink, Todd's favourite colour, while others have posted tribute videos to YouTube. Memorials have been organized over Facebook, where a page dedicated to Todd has amassed nearly 900,000 "likes."
Amanda's aunt, Leanna Todd, said there are valuable lessons to be learned from her niece's death. She said parents need to do a better job of monitoring their kids' Internet activity and communicating about personal struggles.
"Anyone in a position of power has the opportunity to help those who are powerless," she told CTV British Columbia on Monday.
"We as adults need to catch up and know what our children are doing and what we're exposing them to, what they're being exposed to,” she added. “Because I was certainly unaware and I'm going to change that."