There is a saying, perhaps cynical, that “Character is what you are in the dark.” In a sense, the Internet is one way in which this notion can find expression, based on the sense of anonymity that it can create. People may be tempted to write or even to do things online that they might not otherwise if they knew that they were being watched.

The problem is, increasingly these days when you surf the web or engage in virtual conversations with others, you are indeed being watched. And if the content of your interaction leads toward behavior that federal or New Jersey law has made illegal, this can lead to a bad conclusion.

Take as an example the recent case of a Lindenwold man who thought that he was engaged in an online conversation with the mother of an 11-year-old girl. The engagement eventually led to the man allegedly transmitting images of child pornography online as an exchange what he hoped would be the mother’s use of her daughter in an online video sex act.

As it turns out, the supposed mother was a federal agent, and now the New Jersey man is facing federal charges including attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child and attempted manufacture of child pornography. If convicted, he could be sent to prison for a decade or more.

Online sting operations are not necessarily infallible, and anyone accused of committing an Internet crime should seek legal counsel experienced in defense of Internet crime charges.

Source: SFGate, ” Indictment: Man sought webcam sex show with child,” June 17, 2015