Many of the crimes we see that involve computer or networking technology and criminal activity of a sexual nature deal with people in possession of child pornography on their computers. Law enforcement officials are able to track these photos and videos and find them on just about any computer. People need to understand that connecting a computer to the internet is like opening a door to the harddrive through which the government can freely walk, with the appropriate search warrant or permission, of course.
However, another crime we are starting to see more often in Florida deals with a new term called sexting. Sexting, which is derived from the word texting, involves sending sexually suggestive, and sometimes illegal, picture via text messages, which can be done on most cell phones these days. Some kids may think that sending a naked picture to a friend of similar age is a joke. In fact, sending a sexually suggestive picture of a minor to another person over the internet or via text message can be a serious crime in Florida. Police in the Jacksonville area are receiving more complaints about such activity and following up with arrests. When a person uses a cell phone or computer to send such a picture, it can be a federal crime. One twenty-four year old kid was recently sentenced to twenty years in federal prison for violating federal criminal laws by sending naked pictures of a minor over the internet and by cell phone. Everyone should be aware, and adults should tell their kids, that it can be a very serious crime to send nude and other sexually suggestive pictures by text message or over the internet, regardless of how harmless it may seem.