Romania has seen a number of digital rights violations that led to arrests and convictions of perpetrators. A man accused of rape and child pornography was arrested in Gorj, southwest Romania, on December 17. According to the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Corruption, the man raped a 15-year-old girl in March 2022. He also filmed the teen’s ordeal and shared the pornographic material with on Facebook.
On December 22, the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Corruption dropped a child pornography probe based on a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, NCMEC.
The US-based NGO had alerted Romanian authorities after detecting pornographic material involving a Romanian teen girl being shared on Instagram by an IP address in Alba County, in central Romania. The tip led prosecutors to a 15-year-old boy. He admitted guilt. However, prosecutors argued that the culprit had limited consent due to his youth.
In another incident, on December 31, Romanian authorities arrested influencers brothers Andrew and Tristan Tate in a human trafficking probe involving their video chat business in Bucharest.
Prosecutors at the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Corruption identified six women who the Tate brothers on dating apps first contacted. Another man was arrested on January 12 for harassing and blackmailing his ex-girlfriend by publishing pornographic content about her on Facebook. The woman contacted the authorities, who intervened after the man destroyed the victim’s car.
Finally, on January 13, a court in Craiova, southwestern Romania, sentenced a man to eight months in prison and payment of 6,000 euros in moral damages to the three policemen he harassed on Facebook. Prosecutors said the suspect gathered information about one of the policemen and his relatives and then sent messages to public institutions containing embarrassing details about the man’s marriage. He also published the details on multiple fake accounts he set up on Facebook. The harassment started after one of the victims punished a colleague, who was discovered passing confidential information on police investigations to the suspect.
False bomb threats spread fear
In the second half of December, there were a number of incidents where false bomb threats were sent through social media and other forms of technology. Several incidents were recorded in Hungary, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina where false bomb threats were made through technology, leading to the spread of fear and misinformation through social networks.