The case against the man accused of bullying and blackmailing B.C. teenager Amanda Todd may be in jeopardy because of the way Dutch police tracked his online activity.
Todd took her own life at the age of 15, a week after posting a video on YouTube about how her interactions with a man online led to humiliation and depression.
The suspect in the case, 36-year-old Aidyn Coban, is accused in seven other cases of pressuring victims to perform sexual acts on webcams and recording their images to extort them. But, police believe there could be dozens of other victims out there, including in Canada.
Police in the Netherlands arrested Coban in January, but prior to that, broke into his home and installed a keystroke logger — software that records everything a user types — on his computer.
The information gathered could help prosecutors secure a conviction in the case, but only if it winds up being admissible.
Coban’s lawyer plans to argue the information gathered with the keylogger is inadmissible.
Christian van Dijk said it’s the first time a case involving keylogging software has gone before the Dutch courts and there are a lot of unanswered questions about how police use the software.
“If Holland uses material that isn’t legal, then we have a problem,” Christian van Dijk told Global News in a phone interview on Thursday, following a pro forma hearing in Amsterdam that Coban did not attend.
Police in Canada, the U.S. and other jurisdictions use keystroke loggers. But they are controversial in the Netherlands.
Privacy regulations are strict in the country and the law surrounding search warrants was written prior to computer technology, according Mathijs Pennings, the Dutch journalist who broke the news in January that Coban’s arrest was connected to the Todd case.
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According to Pennings, police discovered data with Internet usernames of 250 people. Now they’re trying to find out real names and hope more people come forward.
Lawyers on both sides will have another three months to gather information and build their cases before they appear in court for another hearing.
Prosecutors in B.C. are desperate for Coban to be extradited to Canada, where such information is admissible.
With files from Jennifer Tryon and Stuart Greer