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FBI Posts Fake Hyperlinks To Trap Downloaders of Illegal Porn 767

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-thought-getting-a-shock-site-link-was-bad dept.
mytrip brings us a story from news.com about an FBI operation in which agents posted hyperlinks which advertised child pornography, recorded the IP addresses of people who clicked the links, and then tracked them down and raided their homes. The article contains a fairly detailed description of how the operation progressed, and it raises questions about the legality and reliability of getting people to click "unlawful" hyperlinks. Quoting: "With the logs revealing those allegedly incriminating IP addresses in hand, the FBI sent administrative subpoenas to the relevant Internet service provider to learn the identity of the person whose name was on the account--and then obtained search warrants for dawn raids. The search warrants authorized FBI agents to seize and remove any "computer-related" equipment, utility bills, telephone bills, any "addressed correspondence" sent through the U.S. mail, video gear, camera equipment, checkbooks, bank statements, and credit card statements. While it might seem that merely clicking on a link wouldn't be enough to justify a search warrant, courts have ruled otherwise. On March 6, U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Nevada agreed with a magistrate judge that the hyperlink-sting operation constituted sufficient probable cause to justify giving the FBI its search warrant."
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FBI Posts Fake Hyperlinks To Trap Downloaders of Illegal Porn

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  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:01PM (#22814672) Homepage Journal
    But I was afraid to click the link!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lorenlal (164133)
      I clicked it... As soon as I did, my phone rang... I'm scared.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wiseman1024 (993899)
        4chan party van anyone?

        Post JB, get people v& for taking the bait. An interesting scheme. Now the FBI is almost as bad as that which it fights. I would almost care, if I didn't think pedos deserve it.
        • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:25PM (#22814910)
          JB is not CP. Seeing as how half of 4channers are 15, jailbait-clickers are just interested in girls their age. Anyway, the FBI should be trying to take down the monsters who hurt these children instead of spending millions on prosecuting people who just copy files around the internet.
        • by alizard (107678) <alizardNO@SPAMecis.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:15PM (#22815754) Homepage
          Let's say the FBI decides for reasons having to do with what they think your politics are to get you busted. (e.g. mistaking you for somebody else) You see a page of what interests you and you click on it. The FBI screenshot shows a bunch of naked juveniles.

          Do YOU deserve it?
      • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:22PM (#22814876)
        You should be scared- you can have all your thousands of dollars of computer equipment and hard drives seized indefinitely just because you clicked on a link. I'm wayyyyyyyyy more terrified of the FBI than of terrorists, and I'm no criminal.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:03PM (#22815258)
          I'd like to give a shout-out to all of the people on the "Stealing wireless has no victims" thread earlier today.
          • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:18PM (#22815380)
            I wonder how many people don't realize the trouble they can get into if someone is piggybacking on their internet connection and doing illegal things.

            You would hope that innocent people would eventually be found innocent after their computer(s) had been ransacked, copied, examined, etc., but there is also the chance that the logs alone would be deemed sufficient.

            People need to understand what kind of liability they open themselves up to by not securing their wireless. Or they need to know that they had better keep excellent logs themselves in order to prove their own innocence, but then that can be turned against them as well if they don't monitor and police for illegal activity.

            The best and easiest way to protect yourself is to lock it up.
            • by i_b_don (1049110) on Friday March 21, 2008 @01:56AM (#22816674)
              You know... i hate this mentality. I *like* people who leave their wireless routers open. I think they're friendly and good-neighborly and i think this attitude screws that all to hell. IANAL, but to the best of my legal knowledge you have almost no liability over someone else using your wireless *despite* what the RIAA says. Remember, they sue you becuase your IP address is being used, but if they don't find any corroborating evidence on your computer that you've violated copyright then they have nothing.

              The more you *bow* to the government and let them change your behavior even when what you're doing is not illegal, the more power you give them. I don't know how we let things get to this state in our country when it comes to wireless access.

              I *want* people to leave their wireless access open, and I *don't* want people to feel that even though they're not doing something illegal they have to change their behavior because the police or other government folks are trying to push us into line.

              Why is it that YOU guys, you /.'ers don't seem to feel the same way???

              d
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pichu0102 (916292)
          Even worse, when malware makes owned computers hit the URLs, the FBI now has cause to permanently confiscate millions of dollars worth of equipment due to boxes getting pwned.

          I may be thinking in a paranoid manner, but what's to stop someone from doing this just to cause an economic issue due to many, many people losing their equipment and having to repurchase it?
        • by inTheLoo (1255256) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:35PM (#22815518) Journal

          You are right to fear the FBI [slashdot.org]. Now they have a one click way to harass, smear and jail the political and economic opposition they have spent the last few years identifying [commondreams.org]. Detention centers have been built and police have been practicing mass arrests [uruknet.info]. Arbitrary arrest and torture of opposition, this is how democracy dies. The FBI program is so obviously flawed that it can only be useful for crushing opposition.

          I'd be packing my bags if I thought there was a place to run. The only option is to crank up resistance and vote these evil bastards out of office. It's time to dismantle the police state.

          • by jamstar7 (694492) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:08PM (#22815708)

            I'd be packing my bags if I thought there was a place to run. The only option is to crank up resistance and vote these evil bastards out of office. It's time to dismantle the police state.

            Great idea, but 'voting these evil bastards out' only gets rid of the bosses. Problem is, every government bureau is a hotbed of bureaucrats [wikipedia.org] who aren't elected and be voted out. Add to it the concept of the administrative subpoena [cdt.org]:

            What is an administrative subpoena?

            An administrative subpoena is essentially a piece of paper signed by an FBI agent that requires any recipient to disclose any documents (or any other tangible things). The proposed administrative subpoena would also compel a person to give testimony, essentially forcing anyone to talk to the FBI. Administrative subpoenas are issued with no prior judicial, prosecutorial or grand jury approval. Under the current proposals, failure to comply with an administrative subpoena could result in civil and criminal penalties, and the subpoenas would be executed in complete secrecy. In fact, under one of the proposals, anyone who disclosed the existence of an administrative subpoena could be subject to up to five years in prison.

            Technically, a person getting an administrative subpoena could ask for judicial review. But, in the case of subpoenas for documents, why would they? Most - if not all - administrative subpoenas for records would be issued to third-party businesses to get information about their customers. The business has immunity for complying with the subpoena and little incentive to spend its money challenging a subpoena for records that pertain to someone else. And since the business is prohibited from notifying its customer of the existence of the subpoena, the customer can never exercise his right to challenge the subpoena.

            So, now our JEdgar can pull out a handy form, fill in the blanks, and hand it off to whomever and aquire any information he desires, without the benefit of a search warrant. In the case of this 'kiddie porn' site, I'd think, since kiddie porn is such a hot button issue, that getting a real live honest-to-God search warrant and subpoena wouldn't even be a minorleague speedbump. The question in my mind is, why settle for something of dubvious legal value when you can get something that stands up in court, unless of course, you're on dubvious legal ground to start with...

        • by symbolset (646467) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:14PM (#22815748) Journal

          It really is worse than that. Any site you go to can link any content from any other site, and not show it to you -- just load it transparently in the background. You will have downloaded the material without your knowledge and it will be in your cache when they break your door down.

          The article plainly states that they do not even bother to record the referring URL or page, which means they don't care if you were prank porn'd. Considering some freaks are out there getting SWAT called on people it's realistic to expect that this will be a toy of choice for disgruntled former life partners and competetive coworkers with an evil bent. You'll be guilty of committing a crime completely without your knowledge. You won't just lose your equipment -- you will go to PMITA prison and spend the rest of your life on the registry. Same with if you have an HTML email with the content embedded but otherwise looking harmless. Since there are hundreds of thousands of compromised sites out there, and millions of spam bots the internet bad guys could get almost all of us on this list pretty quickly. Also some browser plugins automatically download all of the pages linked from your current page in the background to speed up browsing.

          What this means is that this Internet is now useless with pictures. Or embedded content of any kind.

          I'm all for catching and punishing the freaks that seek out this content and most especially the ones that publish it. But to leave enforcement this wide open to abuse is just wrong.

          It's time to browse with Lynx again. Who would have thought that would come up again for people who weren't blind?

          Just about the only alternative that works is browsing via secure remote desktop from offshore hosting.

    • by explosivejared (1186049) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `deraj.nagah'> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:06PM (#22814714)
      Spoofing as a link to a slashdot article would be about the least successful campaign of this type the FBI could conduct. Of all the billions and trillions of links out there, the link to an article on slashdot is going to get the fewest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TommydCat (791543)
      If you have a child under the age of 18 click the link for you (or while you are away), is that still illegal?

      Or rather without identifying the actual individual clicking the link, this seems like a fishing expedition without any reasonable restraint placed on the search (i.e. if the search warrant is for an elephant, the authorities have no cause to search through your underwear drawer or safe... Not that *I* would hide anything there...).

      It seems this would cause quite an impact on a home-run business a
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lemmy Caution (8378)
        The clicking of the link itself triggers a search warrant. The search warrant, in the case above, produced evidence that indicated that the suspect did, indeed, consume child porn. I would not like to see conviction based on a link-click, but as the basis for a search warrant, I'm not sure that's inappropriate.
        • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:36PM (#22815526)

          I would not like to see conviction based on a link-click, but as the basis for a search warrant, I'm not sure that's inappropriate.
          Maybe, but they convicted him on two charges: clicking the illegal hyperlink and possession of child pornography.

          The "illegal hyperlink" was not in fact illegal - it was a harmless trap full of junk content. They didn't convict him because they found illegal browsing history on his computer - they convicted him because he clicked on their fake file.

          The "child pornography" was a single thumbs.db file. You know, the low-res file with all the thumbnail pictures that XP makes for you automatically? At any time in the past, he could have accidentally downloaded pictures (from say a P2P program), deleted them without even viewing them. I find it hard to believe that he could be so good at covering his tracks, but he'd keep a single thumbs.db file around by accident.

          At the very least, the first count should be overturned. I'm going to have to look at my pictures pretty closely and delete stuff - I know that I've accidentally downloaded some pretty fucked up stuff from usenet and P2P.
      • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:21PM (#22815406)

        If you have a child under the age of 18 click the link for you (or while you are away), is that still illegal?
        I would assume so. The Feds managed to charge teenage girls with child porn offenses -- seems taking boobie flashes of underage teen girls is a crime whether you're a teen girl or not. So, take a picture of yourself in the mirror and you're a minor, you just porn-pwnd yourself.
    • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:38PM (#22815932) Homepage Journal
      Makes me scared of having "Link Prefetch" enabled in Firefox...
    • Kind of sad in a way. We used to do this sort of thing for fun.

      I used to have a web page with a link that read "click on this to see the picture of a hot naked 10 year old female", which of course led to a digital photo of the female family dog.

      Sigh. Gone are the days.
  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:03PM (#22814684) Homepage
    So now if you develop a search engine, you get your computer confiscated?
    • by syzler (748241) <david&syzdek,net> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:18PM (#22814836)
      What if your browser uses link prefetching? Will they then have enough justification to take my computers and smart phone away which would leave me without the ability to work?
      • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:29PM (#22814948)
        They can tell if it's prefetched, if you're using a recent firefox. Firefox sends the http header

        X-moz: prefetch
        for prefetch requests. You can disable prefetching altogether by going to about:config and toggling

        network.prefetch-next
        • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:33PM (#22814992)
          You should disable prefetching; a little-known fact is that cookies are exchanged when links are prefetched.. if you're on unsecured wifi (like my internet during the months I'm at school) all someone has to do is present you with a link to amazon or to wikipedia or to slashdot, and you don't even have to click it for the auto-login cookie to be exchanged. Those of you with credit card info saved on amazon, beware. ~~~~
          • by eh2o (471262) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:45PM (#22815576)
            That is why purchase transactions and personal data from amazon are served from a secure server. The secure server uses an independent cookie with the secure flag set, which cannot be transmitted except over https. Hijacking the unsecured session cookie won't get you much more than recommendations tailored to someone else's account. This is a standard design for a high-volume service that can't afford to have every page SSL encrypted.
    • by erikina (1112587) <eri.kina@gmail.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:32PM (#22814982) Homepage
      And lets hope that server never sees the light of day again, not only is helping people find child porn, it's in possesion. Think of the children.

      On a serious note. Am I the only one that scared by these prospects? I don't mind the whole "think of the children", as I'm not a bad/evil/pedophile .. but put in the position, I might have clicked the link. Not because I'm into that stuff, but a combination of curisoity, bordem and just wondering if that stuff exists might have driven me to click it. And according to TFA the mere act of clicking the link constitues "violating federal law, which criminalizes "attempts" to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison.".

      I probably should have posted this anonymously, but I'm sick of the idea that possesion of some pictures is one of the worst crimes in the world. Sure child abuse is terrible (And I'd have no hesitation against the death penality in severe cases). But having a picture of it? C'mon.
  • How long until... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baron_Yam (643147) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:03PM (#22814686)
    Compromised web sites contain stealthed links to these honeypots?
  • Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TXISDude (1171607) * on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:04PM (#22814700)
    With BotNets, Identity Theft and other serious on-line crime, I am so glad that the FBI has the resources to protect us from porn . . . Having had my Identity stolen (the old fashion way - postal theft) and haven gotten no response form any LE - local answer - not in our jurisdiction, FBI answer - not enough $$ involved. Thinking of that - how much $$ are they investigating in this sting operation? Cyber crime will not be a priority until either 1) we get an administration with a different set of priorities (I don't see hope on the horizon there) 2) someone important gets really gouged by Identity theft or a botnet 3) a magic unicorn arrives and makes everything nice
    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:18PM (#22814848) Homepage Journal
      With the "not enough money" part involved, I always wondered what it would take to steal ID's, but only put about $5,000 in debt on each ID, just enough to stay under the radar per ID stolen. With enough ID's stolen here and there, that gets to be real money...a dollar here and a dollar there adds up to a bit over time. The FBI really should look at the smaller cases and I'd bet they'd find some big fish...
  • Nice. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:05PM (#22814710)
    So if I see some link advertising child porn, and I click it to see if it's fake or something which actually needs to be reported to authorities, now I'm potentially opening myself up to having my computer confiscated and my life turned upside down?

    Guess I'd better let the kids fend for themselves then!
  • Entrapment? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by prockcore (543967) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:06PM (#22814716)
    Ok, I'm not one to throw around the term willy nilly, but this seems like it fits the very definition of entrapment.
    • Re:Entrapment? (Score:4, Informative)

      by explosivejared (1186049) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `deraj.nagah'> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:17PM (#22814830)
      "Claims of entrapment have been made in similar cases, but usually do not get very far," said Stephen Saltzburg, a professor at George Washington University's law school. "The individuals who chose to log into the FBI sites appear to have had no pressure put upon them by the government...It is doubtful that the individuals could claim the government made them do something they weren't predisposed to doing or that the government overreached."

      Not that that is my personal opinion, but the article points out that lawyers have said that this almost certainly is not entrapment. Apparently, the fbi is safe behind the argument that you clicked the link under your own will without unreasonable pressure from the government.
    • Re:Entrapment? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pikine (771084) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:19PM (#22814852) Journal
      I think they don't use the fact you clicked on the hyperlink to incriminate you, but it's a probable cause for a warrant because you're likely to possess other child porn. It would be interesting, what would they do if they don't find any possession of child porn? Take off their hat and apologize for the inconvenience?
      • Re:Entrapment? (Score:5, Informative)

        by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:36PM (#22815022) Homepage Journal
        apologize? The FBI? You're kidding right?

        There is absolutely NO repercussions to a judge who authorizes a search warrant on shoddy evidence. Law enforcement can literally *lie* to get the warrant and, even if you can prove they were lying, there isn't a venue to file your complaint. Even if they cause damage to your property, you can't sue... they had a valid warrant. About the only people you *can* file your complaint with is the FBI.. who will action it, around the 4th of never.

    • Re:Entrapment? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cthugha (185672) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:26PM (#22814928)

      No. Entrapment is where the State gets you to do something illegal and then charges you for doing that thing. The goal here AIUI was just to get evidence so that search warrants could be obtained to investigate other possible offences.

      Now, that's not to say there are issues here, particularly about:

      • using deception to get people to effectively admit that they're likely to do something bad and whether that infringes the right to silence or right against self-incrimination (in some jurisdictions it might);
      • whether the onus required to get a search warrant was actually satisfied (just because you click one link doesn't necessarily mean that it's likely you've clicked similar links in the past),

      but I don't think it's entrapment.

  • by Psychotic_Wrath (693928) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:08PM (#22814726)
    I'm feeling lucky with google can be kinda scary to use now
  • Abuse? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by _bug_ (112702) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:10PM (#22814754) Journal
    If someone started masking these kinds of links as legit links and sent them out in e-mails and such you could wind up with a lot of innocent people being raided by the FBI. And then how do you prove you didn't mean to click on the link?

    What about hidden frames that open these kinds of links?

    What about use of javascript, flash, java, or other embedded technology to make http requests in the background?

    It just seems way too easy to get innocent people caught up in this sort of trap.
    • Re:Abuse? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stanislav_J (947290) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:25PM (#22814906)

      If someone started masking these kinds of links as legit links and sent them out in e-mails and such you could wind up with a lot of innocent people being raided by the FBI. And then how do you prove you didn't mean to click on the link?

      What about hidden frames that open these kinds of links?

      What about use of javascript, flash, java, or other embedded technology to make http requests in the background?

      It just seems way too easy to get innocent people caught up in this sort of trap.

      Does anyone still even give a shit about the innocent as long as some bad guys are caught? In the wars on drugs, terrorism, kiddie porn, and all other hot buzz quests, I was under the impression that innocent people caught up in their dragnets have been viewed as "acceptable collateral damage" for quite some time now.

  • Entrapment? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomcircuit (938963) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:11PM (#22814758) Homepage
    This seems like entrapment to me, they are effectively soliciting child pornography. They are not allowed to solicit in prostitution stings, the john must make the solicitation.

    I'm sure they get around this by claiming you must click the link, an affirmative action on your part, but wouldn't that be the same as putting up a sign advertising prostitution? (which is illegal too I might add)
  • Entrapment. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bo'Bob'O (95398) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:14PM (#22814792)
    Ok, I know there are some lawyers out there on Slashdot, so I have to ask, isn't this WAY over the line of entrapment? Or is it because they "only" raid your home that this is legal?

    So basically, all that would have to happen is someone post this link on an unrelated message board I frequent disguised as a link of interest, then I get my house raided, my computers confiscated likely with no return, dragged into court preceding and there is nothing I can do about it?
    • Re:Entrapment. (Score:5, Informative)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:40PM (#22815056)
      IANAL But I would but wouldn't entrapment be more like they made a page trying to convince you that Child Porn was Legal, Moral, and/or Not a big deal, then give you a link. In general pressuring you do the activity. Just putting a link and say it is for Child Porn, isn't entrapment because the person is actively looking for child porn, and clicks the link knowing what they are getting. Not someone who wouldn't do so except after the convincing.

      • by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:44PM (#22815572) Homepage Journal
        People seem to think entrapment means "police pretend to let you commit crime".

        Entrapment is only when the police encourage, cajole, and pressure you into committing a crime that you wouldn't otherwise have considered committing.

        Every time I see a story on a sting like this people trot out the "entrapment!" argument. If things like this were entrapment, every sting operation, every undercover operation, etc. would all be invalidated. Clearly, the cops are permitted to put a fake hooker on a street corner and wait to be approached.
  • by WarJolt (990309) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:16PM (#22814806)
    This gives me an idea for an april fools joke. Now all I'll have to do is sneak over to my buddies house and browse the web and wait for the FBI to show up.
  • by Doug52392 (1094585) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:16PM (#22814808)
    So the people that accidentally click on these ads (like the page moves down a little and they end up clicking on the pr0n ad) will get arrested to? This is looking even worse than the RIAA's legal fiasco... What's next, putting fake torrents of movies, TV shows, and music up on the Internet, and arresting anyone who downloads these torrents????
  • by phoenix.bam! (642635) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:25PM (#22814916)
    I'll get a folder and write "CHILD PORN. HOT TOT ACTION" on it then I'll walk around trying to hand it to people while saying "This is child porn." Anyone that takes it from me will be instantly arrested and charged. I bet I could trap plenty of random people.
  • by QCompson (675963) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:33PM (#22814988)
    While this particular investigation may not raise many eyebrows, this could be a very bad precedent for future investigations. Once courts and juries routinely accept that clicking on links believed to be child porn=being a child pornographer=molesting children, anything goes. Literally anyone could be tricked into being directed to such a link. You'd have blanket permission for the Feds to get a search warrant for anyone they want, and no one would dare question it, for even questioning child pornography laws instantly draws suspicion.

    A search warrant based on clicking links is very troubling. Before obtaining the warrant there was no evidence whatsoever that the suspect had ever even viewed child pornography, and of course the link the Feds provided didn't actually link to any.

    The war on child pornography is expanding every year. More police are hired to investigate it, more funds are allocated for it, and penalties are made ever-harsher. In Arizona it's up to 10 years for each picture someone possesses. Other states consider burning pictures to a CD to be "manufacturing". People are being sentenced to 10, 20, even 200 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/6399471.stm) years in prison for possessing pictures.

    At some point you have to wonder whether the damage this zealousness causes (throwing college students in jail for decades for possessing some pictures) is worth the benefits. The argument that child porn possessors are creating a market for the material grows ever more tenuous, as fewer investigations seem to be centered around people who pay or provide other compensation for child pornography, but rather are focused on downloaders and traders. Unfortunately, it seems there will be no rational discussion about these investigation techniques or the laws themselves anytime soon, since it seems that there is an army of millions who froth at the mouth anytime they hear the words "child pornography" and cannot or will not draw distinctions between viewing pictures and videos and actually committing sexual abuse.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:39PM (#22815042)
    1) Disconnect from my network.

    2) Connect to his unsecured wireless router.

    3) Visit FBI sting site (and also maybe do some Google searches for child porn topics to build a browsing history with the ISP they'll find worth checking out).

    4) Sit back and wait.
  • by Daltorak (122403) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:40PM (#22815060)
    For some interesting historical context, read the Wikipedia article on Jacobson v. United States. This goes back to the 1980s when the USPS tried to lure people into purchasing child porn through mailings, in some cases many times over the course of years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobson_v._United_States [wikipedia.org]

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:41PM (#22815068)
    There are LOTS of problems here, but in particular (no pun intended), this does not meet the "particularity" test. Courts have also repeatedly held that an IP address does not "particularly describe" a person OR a place, or even a thing. In order to be Constitutional, warrants have to "particularly describe" the person or thing to be seized.

    I could have any number of computers on my Comcast connection. I could have open wi-fi and be serving Internet to my neighbors... it would show up as my IP.

    This whole thing is a crock of shit.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:28PM (#22815468)
      On the other hand, law enforcement under the current Administration hasn't been any too careful about Constitutionality. The thing is, regardless of whether these activities are in fact legal, once you've been subjected to a raid you've already suffered a punitive action, and will suffer further humiliation and expense defending yourself in court. And depending upon how that works out, you might find yourself in prison anyway, as some of that "acceptable collateral damage" the Feds talk about.

      There have been a number of Federal judges nailed on child pornography charges over the years: I sincerely hope that one of their number gets bitten by this nonsense. I especially hope that he's actually not guilty ... maybe the rest will understand how abusive this is, given the inability of the technology to uniquely identify anyone.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @09:53PM (#22815156)
    What if you get a link from spyware or carp like it?

    Like how teacher faced jail that happened in class where the school did not keep there systems up to date.

    http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article1464355.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

    http://billpstudios.blogspot.com/2007/01/have-spyware-go-to-jail-for-child-porn.html [blogspot.com]

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Amero
  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:06PM (#22815278)
    So when the bright teenager down the street helps the nice old folks install their computer and wireless network, after s/he decides to "safely" view older 15-17 year olds of the (opposite?) sex, the old folks should not be surprised about that knock, or kick, on the door in the night? A "few" convictions here and there, guess that solves the Medicare and Social Security crisis...
  • by lexsird (1208192) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:12PM (#22815326)
    Big brother seems to have fewer blocks from running over our rights these days. I have watched this country hand over it's basic civil rights since 9/11 in the name of patriotism, law and order and nationalism. Read some history, this is how the Nazi's rose to power, using dogma so akin to what we hear these days. Some people say the terrorists won, I disagree. Someone more sinister and evil than them won, they were just the vehicle for it, the excuse.

    You do NOT take power away from a government once it has it without a great struggle. In our fear, we have with blind trust handed over our freedoms, leaving common sense behind us. This is just one dangerous step down a wide path to destruction by allowing such flimsy standards for law enforcement. Sure, the reasons they use may on the surface and the moment seem justified, but it sets a dangerous president that will erode our rights even further. Ask yourself, how far will they go to probe us to find our resistance? When will we if ever cry out for a stop to this madness? At what point will we say "enough is enough"?

    History shows us how the people of Germany failed to stop the Nazis. The Nazis were few in number, one would think the German people could have rose up and crushed them. But they were fearful, law abiding and followed the dogma. They thought they were doing the right thing. A monster was loosed on the world because of their inaction. How much of a monster will we Americans unleash on the world if we fail to control our nation? If you don't think it can happen here, don't be foolish. The German people didn't think it could happen to them. They didn't all wake up and decide to be world villains, wringing their hands and laughing madly with each other over plans of world domination. How are we different than them? What strange magic protects us from evil men? Our Constitution? It is but a document, words on paper that can't stop an ant from crawling over it. It has to live in our hearts and minds and we have to be vigilant to defend what we believe in. Only then do those words have any power.

    What can you do? For now you can vote. You should do it and be responsible to cast that vote to support your ideals, not the flavor of the year dogma. We should all be thankful that we can vote. When the day comes that we can't, we will wish so hard we could because the struggle back to the vote will be long and hard and most likely brutal.

    Attacks on our freedoms cannot be suffered and ignored; tolerance in this case is a form of defeat.
  • RickRoll 2.0? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ender77 (551980) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:55PM (#22815656)
    With what people do with RickRoll, I am scared what they will do with this.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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