Police in Madrid arrested a 53-year-old man accused of recording intimate videos of more than 500 women without their consent before posting the footage on porn sites.
Officers caught the suspect in the act of recording up a woman’s skirt on Wednesday, using a cell phone hidden in a backpack. An investigation revealed he had uploaded 283 videos of 555 victims, some of whom were minors, with the recordings receiving millions of views online, according to a police statement.
“Upskirting” – the practice of filming up someone’s clothing without their permission – became a specific criminal offense in England and Wales in April, and it has been illegal in Scotland since 2010. In South Korea, women have taken to the streets to protest upskirting and hidden camera recordings.
In Spain upskirting is not an offense in its own right. The suspect in this case was charged with violating privacy and corruption of minors, a police spokeswoman told CNN.
The Spanish investigation began after police noticed an account on a porn website that was uploading intimate videos recorded in Madrid without the consent of the women shown.
Following video analysis, police were able to track down the suspect, catch him in the act of recording video without consent, and take him into custody. Police also seized a laptop and three hard drives containing dozens of gigabytes of footage.
“The detained man generally recorded his victims in busy areas such as the metro before following them to the street, sometimes even introducing himself to them in supermarkets or shops in order to obtain better shots of their intimate areas, which he recorded in close proximity,” read the police statement.
The man, who is a Colombian national, acted “compulsively” on “an almost daily basis,” said police.
He managed to record 29 victims in one five-day period, and would sometimes take video of their faces as well as intimate areas and full-body shots, according to police.
Officers have been able to identify 29 victims, who have filed criminal complaints against the man, who has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention.
The use of technology to commit crimes of a sexual nature is gaining increasing amounts of attention globally.
In May, Singapore introduced new offenses for upskirt photography and also criminalized the sending of unsolicited intimate images, or “cyber flashing,” as part of a major crackdown on sexual harassment online.
The city state’s parliament approved reforms to its criminal law, which also cover the sharing or threatening to share sexual images, so-called “revenge porn.”