Had this pandemic hit the world before 1989, the outcome and human suffering would have been so much worse. Most of us have been able to carry on many of our day to day lives online. However, as our essential use of the WWW has increased, so too has online criminal activity and toxic behaviour. Part of the problem lies in the fact that these crimes are not tangible, so somehow not seen as important to investigate. If any of them were carried out in the high street they would be taken more seriously.
The common denominator of all these crimes is anonymity. Criminals are able to steal money, groom children, share child pornography, sell real images of violent and pornographic abuse, make death threats, encourage suicide, spew racist, misogynistic, and homophobic abuse because they are anonymous.
Although there are a number of organisations individually tackling these diverse internet behaviours, they do not appear to be joined up, and are not working together. Worse still, the police are woefully under resourced and lacking the technical skills to deal with the many forms of internet criminal activity. Instead of mopping up the damage, why don’t we prevent the cause- anonymity?