In the days that have passed since my initial report about Amanda Todd’s suicide, the story has become even more convoluted and concerning. That piece focused on the misrepresentation of Amanda’s story by the mainstream media, who wrongfully painted it as a case of traditional schoolyard bullying that just happened to transpire over the internet. It also detailed the vigilante efforts of a small New Jersey-based sect of the hacktivist group Anonymous whose deep-diving web research linked her allegations of being stalked and tormented to a man named Kody Maxson. At this point no one can definitively link him to Amanda’s suicide; however, it has become very apparent that Kody’s internet habits and moral character are unilaterally disgusting and mostly revolve around online sexual extortion.
Shortly after Monday’s article was published, I was contacted by an IT security expert who agreed to give me information on background but wishes to remain unnamed. He had taken it upon himself to look into one of the email accounts Anonymous had pointed to in last Friday’s leak of Kody’s personal information – namely email@example.com – and discovered it was unregistered. After proving his claim by sending me an email from the account, he told me its inbox was full of death threats and media inquiries. He also posited that perhaps the address had never existed in the first place; however we both agreed that it was entirely possible that Kody Maxson could have disabled it shortly before the Anonymous leak to avoid attention.
That said, after the IT consultant raised the possibility that Kody Maxson could be a completely fictitious individual created to throw the authorities and other interested parties off the trail of the actual perpetrator, a central component of a large-scale trolling, or completely unconnected to Amanda Todd’s suicide, I decided to thoroughly vet Anonymous’s background research on Kody myself.
In an email correspondence that I had with a member of the New Jersey sect of Anonymous who provided the initial leak I learned more about their motivations. This branch of Anonymous cropped up out of thin air when the Amanda Todd story broke. The individual from New Jersey Anonymous told me, “I’m pretty certain that Kody was involved with Amanda's death. He’s a known paedophile with charges against him. He has blackmailed other girls over webcam in the same manner and he has admitted to being friends with her online. I know it’s not hard evidence, but he looks guilty to me.” This is all conjecture, of course, but it makes it very apparent why Anonymous decided to acquire and leak his information in the first place.
Taking this research into my own hands, I googled “Kody Maxson” using a filter to exclude “Amanda Todd” so that my search results would only produce webpages that included Kody’s name before Anonymous or the media had publicly connected him to Amanda.
The above “like” and comment is from Kody Maxson on a video of the 2011 riots in Vancouver that erupted after the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which he described as a “fun night”. It also led me straight to Kody Maxson’s Facebook profile. I discovered that the Facebook profile my search results provided a link to had been renamed from “Kody Maxson” to “John Doee”; however, as you can see above, the very same profile was still showing up in Google’s cache as “Kody Maxson”. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of websites and social networking knows that renaming a Facebook profile does very little to mask one’s true identity and, more importantly, that the internet never forgets anything. Even more tellingly, the profile was registered under the URL facebook.com/kody604 (which, of course, has since been deactivated – but not before I took some screenshots!), with the “604” presumably selected because it is Vancouver’s area code. (To be clear, all of the Facebook information I have discovered was posted as public information available through a simple Google search.)
At the time of my discovery, the Facebook profile for John Doee/Kody Maxson stated that he lived in Havana, Cuba. By digging a bit into his timeline, I found a personal “25 Questions” quiz in which he listed Semiahmoo Secondary and Earl Mariott Secondary as the “best” schools besides Hogwarts. While the fictional magic academy is not located in Surrey, British Columbia, both of the other schools listed are.
So it’s clear that there is – or at least was – a Kody Maxson living in Surrey, British Columbia and based on my research I believe that he either purposefully created an account including as little personal information as possible or at one point he scrubbed his profile of this information. Either way, he did a pretty sloppy job.
Additional searches for information on Kody led to a website called Websites R’ Us, that Kody seemed to have establish in an attempt to drum up potential business as a website designer. The grammar and design of the site was atrocious, so I imagine that career resulted in a dead-end for him. The site was active when I discovered it early Tuesday morning, but it has since been taken offline. On the site, Kody wrote that the Websites R’ Us office was based out of Delta, British Columbia. Delta borders Surrey. The website also listed firstname.lastname@example.org as his contact address – the same address that the IT security expert who replied to my aforementioned email had re-registered last Friday.
The URL of the now-defunct site was kody1206.wix.com. “Kody1206” is the screen name that Anonymous has tied to jailbait message boards, as well as a much more deranged and advanced community called The Daily Capper, which derives its name from screen-capturing. Essentially, The Daily Capper is a community of individuals who lurk in video-chat rooms with the sole purpose of surreptitiously taking screenshots and recording video of the person whom they’re chatting with. This is exactly the type of torment that Amanda Todd describes in her devastating video; however, this does not prove that the site and screen name were controlled by the same person who drove her to commit suicide.
The Daily Capper also hands out awards – visualised as a golden webcam – to members of the community who cause the most harm to their victims, elicit the greatest amount of lulz and are the most successful at blackmailing. In a video announcing the nominees for this perverse award ceremony, “Kody1206” is mentioned. A bizarre CGI newscaster (pictured in the image above) describes “Kody1206”’s online interactions with a girl referred to as “Peyton”, with a robotic voice that sounds similar to those produced by text-to-speech software: “Peyton: no one else has gotten this much attention by doing so little, her drama with Kody1206 has become the talk of BlogTV, the cam site of the year”. It goes on to say that Kody1206 is “famous for his blackmail of Peyton, streaming her videos on BlogTV and TinyChat and threatening her in public.”
The award for Blackmailer of the Year is described by this animated newscaster as the most sought-after grand prize for the “rapists of the internet”. A nominee named “Perso” is commended for “enjoying time with their sex slaves while they drink out of the toilet.” Another nominee who goes by “Aussie” is described as someone who “like others, has blackmailed so many times, he does not know if he’s doing it or not.” The animated newscaster then commends “Aussie” for this particularly vile individual’s “dedication”. But while the nod to Kody in the video raises serious questions about his moral fibre, there is no mention of Amanda Todd.
These Daily Capper videos go through many other stories that revolve around subjects, mostly young girls, who have been tormented and manipulated sexually via the internet. They discuss the stories as if they are popular knowledge, which implies that there is an informed audience who follow these sick extortion-dramas.
Following these nominations, The Daily Capper posted a video that has now since been removed, announcing the winners of their 2010 awards. It awarded Kody1206 as blackmailer of the year, an online event that has been reported by the Metro News, Canada’s daily commuter paper. Below are screenshots I acquired of the video in question before it was taken down.
Included in the video of the ceremony is a clip of “Peyton” talking to her webcam, a video which Kody presumably recorded and shared with the human garbage that populates The Daily Capper. “Peyton” described Kody as “fat”, and said that if he “threatens her” she’ll “threaten him” right back.
While the above evidence clearly links Kody Maxson to Kody1206 and connects Kody1206 to a ring of self-congratulating sexual extortionists, it did not lead to Amanda Todd until yesterday afternoon when CTV News “tracked down” the “alleged Amanda Todd tormenter” who Anonymous “identified”.
This man, who can only be Kody Maxson, told CTV News that he was Amanda Todd’s “friend” and that “he helped identify a man in New York who was harassing her.” CTV News found Kody entering a courthouse in Surrey, British Columbia, where he faces charges of “sexual assault and sexual interference with a minor in a case unrelated to Todd.” My phone call to the CTV News reporter who appears to have encountered Kody, Lisa Rossington, was not returned.
At the time of this writing, no arrests have been made in connection with the suicide of Amanda Todd. The RCMP has told the Vancouver Sun that all charges against Kody are unfounded. Kody has denied the accusations and has said that he feels “betrayed”, and that he knew Amanda “in a sense”. He also said that he spent his time online – on sites like The Daily Capper – tracking down online predators, and that he tipped off the RCMP and NYPD to a man with the screen name Viper, but that he cannot remember who he talked to at those law enforcement agencies. All of my attempts to reach Amanda’s immediate family before the publication of this article were unsuccessful.
However, after this story was originally published yesterday, a commenter alerted us to a Daily Capper video that does mention Amanda Todd and her habits on the internet video chat site BlogTV. You can watch the video here. The mention of Amanda begins at 1:19. The announcer says: "Amanda has been blocked a few times for showing... she said she has been IP banned from BlogTV."*
It’s very important to note that not all of Anonymous’s information about Kody Maxson was correct. A 404 area code phone number has been floating around that belongs to a man named Alex Ramos. After calling the number, he told me that he is NOT the same Alex Ramos who allegedly leaked autopsy photos of Amanda. He has, however, received a steady stream of death threats since his number was posted. I completely believe him, and even if it were the same Alex who leaked the photos, his phone number is being shared online as the direct line to Kody Maxson. It is also unclear as to whether Kody Maxson is a 32-year-old man, as Anonymous has claimed.
Hopefully, the complexities of this case will help to eradicate what is clearly a highly evolved, sinister and organised form of sexual exploitation and blackmail. After speaking with Mobina Jaffer, a senator for the Liberal Party of Canada in British Columbia, live on BBC World Service radio yesterday, I pointed out to her that the Amanda Todd case was much more than a story about the dangers of schoolyard bullying. I told her that the central issue here was a case of predators preying on vulnerable children. Her frustrating response demonstrates the Canadian government’s total lack of awareness regarding this extremely serious problem. “Of course the predator is a very big issue,” she said to me on the radio show, “but where we have been focusing is the issue of friends, cyber-bullying continuing from the school ground to the Facebook, to the Twitter, to the internet.”
Senator Jaffer offered no plans to refine this supposed strategy in the light of recent events, or how the government can begin to combat the quickly growing and highly dynamic problem of online harassment. Clearly though, more mainstream awareness needs to be focused on this form of extortion that is designed to destroy the lives of girls like Amanda Todd.
*this paragraph has been added after the story was initially published.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @patrickmcguire
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