Lawrenceville, GA. -- Gwinnett Police are warning parents and students they're seeing more and more sexting pictures posted online-and there's nothing they can do about it.
In the past, when pictures were posted on Instagram or Facebook, local police had legal avenues they could take. Those sites, with US-based servers holding their information, are usually compliant. Corporal Jake Smith said in one recent case, they easily had the photo removed from Instagram.
"Unfortunately, the same photo then made its way onto a site hosted in China," Smith said. "And we don't have any recourse as far as taking that down or requiring them to give us data on who posted that photo."
Hacking expert Gregory Evans said only novice internet business owners keep their sites in the US. Most experienced website owners have faced lawsuits and subpoenas, and reacted.
"They've learned from their mistakes and they've now moved all their servers overseas," Evans said. "Not just China but India, Pakistan, even South America."
Evans said in those cases, the sites are often supplied by an ex who posts sexted pictures of their former significant other. The sites post them and charge a fee for their removal. But oftentimes, once that fee is paid, the pictures show up on other sites.
Evans said that's because many of the sites have the same owner. Once they see a victim is willing to pay, they'll take advantage as often as they can. Local and even federal law enforcement officers have very little recourse under current laws.
"Mostly we just need teens and parents to be aware that once these photos go out, there's no getting them back," Smith said.
Evans says there are private ways to get the pictures removed. He takes on clients at Hackersforhire.com. But even he can't guarantee the pictures won't live on in some dark corner of the world wide web.
"Someway, somehow it will always be out there- and that's the scary part," Evans said.
Social media guide for parents
Anthony Weiner admits to more lewd photos
11-year-old says she was shown classmate's sexting photo