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Nude Instagram pictures involving Wake teens linked to cyberbullying

The SBI is investigating dozens of Instagram accounts linked to the probe that began in February.
April 21, 2014 5:13:12 PM PDT
A search warrant shows the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has asked a judge for permission to search 15 accounts on the social media website Instagram as agents look into the sharing of nude photos of Wake County high school students.

The case began in February when the mother of a Wake Forest teen reported nude pictures of her daughter were being shared on the website.

The sexually explicit photos include close-ups of body parts and depictions of sex acts.

The sharing of nude images of anyone underage engaged in sex is considered second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor under North Carolina law. The warrant also says investigators are treating the cases as possible cyber-bullying.

The warrant says the images were shared with the sole purpose of exposing "students in area schools or geographic locations that were 'hoes' or 'thots', thereby embarrassing or tormenting that individual.

The warrant asks a judge for access to account information, including technical details that could reveal who owns the accounts and their geographic location.

Can a cyber-search identify the person or persons behind the crime? An expert at N.C. State's School of Computer Science said there are ways to post anonymously.

"Now, that's not to say these identifiers aren't very useful.  Most people don't know how to manipulate them and they may not have thought to change them for all the times that they accessed the server," said N.C. Computer Scientist Will Enck. "So they're very valuable tools to help identify who was using these accounts and who signed up for them."

The case expanded to other Wake County high schools and then as many as nine other North Carolina counties.


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