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Digital investigator testifies in trial of man accused of extorting Amanda Todd

Retired Toronto Police Service officer tells court about methods used to conceal online identity 
Carol Todd of Port Coquitlam with her daughter, Amanda.

A digital investigator retired from the Toronto Police Service took the stand today (June 27) in the fourth week of the “sextortion” trial involving Port Coquitlam student Amanda Todd.

Warren Bulmer, who now works with the Australian Federal Police, spent the morning explaining to Justice Martha Devlin and the jury at BC Supreme Court in New Westminster about online connections and digital data analysis.

In 2013, as a police officer and international instructor, Bulmer was identified by Facebook as a Senior Point of Contact (SPOC) between the social media giant and law enforcement. Bulmer has studied Facebook use and its policies since 2009, the court heard.

In his testimony, Bulmer spoke about the difference between static and dynamic IP address assignments and influences on IP addresses, as well as ways to conceal IP addresses via proxy servers and encryption tools.

The Crown’s expert witness also spoke about the evolution of privacy for Facebook users since the channel started and what information can be accessed by police through basic subscriber details and content search requests. 

Police investigators also wanting a user’s archives would have to apply for a preservation order for Facebook to keep past records intact, the court heard.

Bulmer told the court he examined the records of the Amanda Todd, who died in 2012, in addition to 13 other Facebook accounts. One such account belonged to someone named Alice McAllister, who had registered with Facebook on Sept. 29, 2010.

In her opening address, prosecutor Louise Kenworthy told the jury that Crown Counsel will prove Aydin Coban was behind 22 fake online accounts.

Coban of The Netherlands has pleaded not guilty to 

  • extortion
  • importing and distributing child pornography
  • possession of child pornography
  • communicating with the intent to lure a child
  • criminal harassment

None of the allegations is proven in court.

In her testimony earlier this month, Todd’s mother, Carol, said she received a message from Alice McAllister on Dec. 22, 2010, about her daughter.

In that message, which was also shared with Amanda’s friends and family, was a hyperlink to an adult porn site called, Carol Todd stated, as well as a topless image of her daughter.

Carol Todd said she got a second message from Alice McAllister on Jan. 4, 2011, about Amanda’s online presence.

The trial continues.