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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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  • Nice. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:05PM (#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!
  • tor (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:06PM (#22814712)
    So now I'm curious. Did they raid a privacy buff who is running a tor server?
  • Re:Porn?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:09PM (#22814738) Journal
    You missed the bit where it was kiddie porn, so everyone can scream 'think of the children!' while they run around in circles arresting the true menace to our children, hyperlink clickers. I wonder how long it will take them to start raiding the sites where the ads show up. Guilty by vague association and all that.
  • by dlanod (979538) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:09PM (#22814746)
    It's not the links that are the problem. It's the "behaviour" pattern of following the links that the FBI are using to determine who to raid.
  • Abuse? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by _bug_ (112702) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:10PM (#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.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:12PM (#22814774) Journal
    I thought you could. Lets all say it together now. This is what the THOUGHT POLICE will do when they are trying to ensnare thought criminals. Make it so even the curious are guilty, no matter the reason for their curiosity. Yes, all those pretty little links on the Intarwebtupbestruck are there for us to click on. I mean SURELY there really isn't someone advertising child porn, it MUST be some kind of joke, right? click ...
    NO CARRIER

    Fucking nazi police state bastards. For god sake, protect the children. Lets ignore that little nasty fact that: About 95% of victims know their perpetrators. Source: CCPCA, 1992. http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/stats.htm#Offenders [prevent-abuse-now.com]

    Yes, pictures may be offensive to many, but they do NOT correlate 100% to abusers.

    People who view physically graphic bdsm pictures are not rapists.

    Lets get the fact right people. A casual relationship does not correlate to cause without hard scientific fact finding to back the statement up.

    This is worse than a cop dressed like a prostitute to persecute victims of that 'crime'.

    I'm so sick of the one-size-fits-all use of pop-psychology to enact and enforce draconian laws.

    Lets start by banning idiots from Washington DC rather than guns and work our way down from there. /personal rant
  • Entrapment. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bo'Bob'O (95398) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:14PM (#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?
  • What about Malware? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by helmespc (807573) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:16PM (#22814812)
    What happens when someone develops malware to hit this URL?

    Talk about scary...
  • by syzler (748241) <david AT syzdek DOT net> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:18PM (#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?
  • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:18PM (#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...
  • by phoenix.bam! (642635) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:25PM (#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.
  • Re:Entrapment? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cthugha (185672) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:26PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:31PM (#22814958)
    You've obviously never seen the aftermath of the type of search they do.

    A person's life is destroyed.

    They lose their job.

    They lose their friends.

    They lose access to their kids/nephews/nieces.

    They get kicked out of boy scouts/girl scouts/big brothers/YMCA/churches.

    And all of this happens at the SLIGHTEST mention of child pornography.. it doesn't wait until after someone is convicted to happen.. as soon as the FBI or other LEA is at the door.. your life has been flushed down the toilet, never to be recovered.
  • by erikina (1112587) <eri.kina@gmail.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:32PM (#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.
  • by TommydCat (791543) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:38PM (#22815034) Homepage
    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 as well (such that I have in my spare time), when a third-party could have pasted the same link elsewhere without the identifying marks such as "CLIX HEAR 4 1LLEGUL PR0N!@#", such as the various goatse crap we see here. "Unsuspecting" is a viable defense -- and TFA mentions no one knows if they recorded the Referrer: header from the client in their logs...

    Am I responsible for what authorities might find if they click this link on your computer? [localhost] (BTW - when I hit submit the first time, my network connection went down for 10 minutes... Coincidence?)
  • by gblackwo (1087063) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:40PM (#22815062) Homepage
    Shouldn't masking IP addresses via common utilities like a proxy server do the trick?
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:51PM (#22815140) Journal
    How about we strive for some open and transparent government. No lobbyists money. Open voting that is monitored by Internet live, not just on TV, and not without feedback. How about we allow ALL legislators the chance to read every proposed law, and receive feedback from their constituents before the votes? How about we allow recall votes on every 8th Tuesday via Internet? How about we put the voting power over new legislation in the hands of the people?

    Yeah, you'll tell me that groupthink is not working, just look at digg or reddit or slashdot and I'll reply back that the overall opinion from those sites *tends* to reflect the average opinion. Limit that to voter registration number IDs and it works. It gives our legislators an instant idea of how the voters want the vote to go.

    Let each legislator call a 48 hour hiatus on any bill movement if there are blips in the Internet voting. Lets set this up and monitor it via the open source methods so that there is always a whistleblower or 5000 to point out flaws. How about we make this the 21st century government of the people, for the people, BY the people?

    Yes, there are problems with that, but doing nothing and leaving the status quo only encourages the ravages to justice that we have been witness to. Change now. I don't just mean presidential party change, I mean change for all of it. The system does NOT fairly represent the populace opinion. That is NOT what the founders wanted. The current system was created to attempt to do that with 18th century technology. We have advanced since then. Lets put some advances in the legislative and governing processes.

    No, I do not advocate bio-ID or anything like that. It's simple, show your papers, get your number, vote. Yes, F/OSS can come up with a voting systme that works AND is able to be monitored. It's not that hard.

    Take the interworkings of government out of the hands of those that would work behind closed doors and ALL will change. Suddenly, you'll have time to put aside the beer to go vote online for a bill that means something to you when it is all transparent and in your face. When it is as easy as logging on at home there will be a LOT of people interested, they will feel empowered. Form letters saying thanks for your input are ridiculously stupid in response to an email... never mind that they are tantamount to being blown off.
  • by mmmiiikkkeee (930217) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:05PM (#22815274)
    I believe that its illegal to let a crawlers run 'wild' on the internet in the first place(unless you have permission to do so). at least that was what i was told in my cs class where we made a web crawler. So in either case they will catch a 'bad' guy... but seriously I don't think this is fair. If i hack my friend's computer and install a VNC program on it and use VNC to use there computer to go to the 'porn' site. then they get there house searched! it seems too easy to 'fuck' with this and frame some one???
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:07PM (#22815282) Journal
    You know what, I can agree to a point. I surf porn, who doesn't? right? every so often I'm taken to sites that look like child porn without my consent to do so. The link is misleading. I panic and close the window. I'm not guilty of supporting child pornographers or promoting child sexual abuse. It just happens. The government could well spend their time finding those things and shutting them down rather than abuse ME for clicking on a link that was not advertising correctly.

    While your argument for how child porn is supported seems to hold water, I have doubts. Your definition would include those that would draw pictures, never involve a human child, and never assault a child. Your net is too wide. You are too far into thought police territory to be credible. I do understand your concern, and the difficulty in curbing the spread of what you feel is wrong.

    I do NOT support child abuse, sexual or otherwise... and likewise, I DO NOT support thought police. To simply look at something out of curiosity is not to be an abuser. Scientists have valid reasons to investigate what is available on the Internet. Those with a curiosity about human sexuality have a valid reason to look or seek information.

    Your intent and scope mean to imprison all that might be curious as well as those that are hard core abusers through a simple act of thought or interest. God forbid they make C++ programming illegal, how many would be punished wrongly?

    Sure, you say well no one should even be interested in child pornography, right? But I did not click on a link that said "Hey STUPID, this is child pornography that will get you jailed"... it was much more NOT illegal in description. As a casual surfer how the FUCK am I supposed to know the difference between 18 and 16? Even as careful as I am, I still occasionally end up on some site with VERY young looking kids? WTF? That is not what I wanted. That is NOT what I clicked on.

    I'm left feeling that I do not know if I should surf the net anymore if they are going to bust into my home and shoot people because I may have clicked on a link that maliciously redirected me to that FBI link?

    In fact, I'm thinking we should have anonymous set up thousands of links to those FBI links so that they can't actually prosecute anyone. WTF dude? You assume that everyone that might end up at that link MUST be some pervert. That just so wrong I don't even know how to insult you.
  • by Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:07PM (#22815286)
    That is truly interesting. Of course I searched for it at Wikipedia and now I am sure to be on list of 'potentials'.

    I find it interesting that 1) I have never heard of that 2) All sex with underage children regardless of age is considered pedophilia.

    Saying ephebophilia just doesn't sound as seedy.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:18PM (#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.
  • Re:Abuse? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SpacePunk (17960) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:20PM (#22815402) Homepage
    It's better for an innocent man to rot in prison than to let a criminal go free.

    If current law enforcement principles were applied to the Vietnam war, the My Lai massacre would have been deemed a successfull operation.

  • hmm, you know, this is a good example of why we should secure out networks. I personally run my network wide open, but have mac filters so only my devices can connect. But should i just completely conceal my network? DO I risk having my junk confiscated because of fake porn links pervs around me might click on if they got on my network? boo
  • by HappySmileMan (1088123) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:41PM (#22815554)
    Maybe he's talking about stuff like robots.txt and stuff to restrict access, but that only applies to sites who choose to have that file anyway, presumably the FBI didn't bother with it when setting up these servers, so no search engine would have any way of knowing it's crawlers aren't welcome
  • by HappySmileMan (1088123) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:50PM (#22815608)
    Actually the charges of destroying hard drive and thumb drive were dropped, he just visited that link and had two grainy thumbnails in "thumbs.db" somewhere, they could've gotten there from temp files or anything, I think two low resolution thumbnails in a system file that builds up thumbnails of every picture you've had, including temporary files is a bit harsh.

    People I know have come across CP while looking for regular porn, they closed the page, didn't download anything and didn't go back, but those thumbnails would still be on their computer for a while most likely, are they criminals?
  • Re:Priorities (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Friday March 21, 2008 @12:31AM (#22815870)

    Man I was right with you there until you threw in 3) OMG! Ponies!!!111!!! from left field.

    Actually, I think he was onto something there. Scenario 3 is the most likely to happen first...

  • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Friday March 21, 2008 @12:38AM (#22815932) Homepage Journal
    Makes me scared of having "Link Prefetch" enabled in Firefox...
  • by OakLEE (91103) on Friday March 21, 2008 @02:05AM (#22816416)
    Got any pin cites for federal cases? I'm writing a brief for my moot court program involving the surveillance IP addresses and I've got a Ninth Circuit (my local jurisdiction) decision that holds the exact opposite of your assertion. See United States v. Forrester, 512 F.3d 500, 510 n.5 (9th Cir. 2008) (stating that "Every computer or server connected to the Internet has a unique IP address.") I know that statement is wrong, and am trying to provide other case law to show that the court misstated its assumption.

    Anyway if you have the pin cites handy feel free to reply. It'll make my life easier.
  • Laws are out of date (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ghettoimp (876408) on Friday March 21, 2008 @02:32AM (#22816540)

    20 years ago, these laws probably made sense. When pornography was distributed as videos or magazines controlled by companies with their names on the box, the responsibility for age-verification and record-keeping could be easily assigned to the publisher. If they could find "young-looking" 18-year olds and there was a market for that, then power to them -- the magazine consumer still had a reasonable expectation that they weren't breaking any laws by their purchase. There wasn't much of an alternative market to worry about.

    But today, most people have no idea where their porn comes from. If images.google.com is good enough to get you off (or supplements whatever sites you actually pay for) then your porn is coming in from an incredibly diverse collection of sources which you can't even name. This list potentially includes particularly untrustworthy sources such as scammers from other countries who will do anything for clicks and misguided high-schoolers posting explicit photos of themselves. You don't control the pictures you see. You just ask for "young ass" and you get whatever comes up.

    Unfortunately, age-verification is far more difficult for consumers than producers. First off, a producer can ask to see a driver's license while she's still wearing her clothes. The consumer has much less to go on. Could you reliably sort a mixed stack of photos where half the girls are 17 and the other half are 18? Admittedly there are some clear cut cases -- it shouldn't be hard to identify pictures of children as opposed to teenagers. But even then, it's already too late! You already have a copy of the picture on your computer. And you can now be charged with a serious crime, the mere allegation of which is enough to ruin your career in many professions.

    And for what? Where was the harm? What makes this a crime?

    Even suppose you actively sought out pictures like these, saved all the ones you found, and wanked off to them every night. Who have you harmed? As far as I can tell, nobody.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2008 @02:44AM (#22816610)
    This comment is not about child porn. It's not about movie downloading. It's not about "anti-cyber-bullying laws". The particulars don't matter. It's the bigger picture that does.

    Anyone who thinks that "it will never get THAT bad - SOMEONE will put an end to this travesty" is deluding themselves. In the former USSR in the post-World-War-II years, these precise tactics were used by the NKVD/OGPU/KGB to instill fear, make people spy on each other, and learn that questioning the government will lead to your life being completely destroyed. It's not just the arrest and the broken door/seized computer, it's the devastation wrecked upon a person's life when the word "pedophile" is uttered. Friends? Employment? Social status? You can forget about it.

    In the year 2008, people speak of those *accused of* what has been perceptually made into THE most heinous crime (worse than murder, actually, judging by the sentencing laws) in EXACTLY the same tones that USSR citizens referred to "Article 58" arrestants back in the 50's. And that's just scary. All it takes is an accusation, and one may as well end one's own life.

    America is becoming more and more like Soviet Russia, with the government using the same damn playbook, down to the details:

    Need to direct attention away from the serious problems the state cannot solve? Let's target an issue and blow it out of proportion, using any methods available (and while we're at it, let's invent a few new ones) - entrapment, denial of due process, evidence manufacturing, impossible sentencing, etc. Whether it's AIDS in Africa or child porn or torrents or 9/11 - "pick a topic, and let's get outraged over it". It's the new game, and all the cool kids are playing... why not you? Are you different? What's wrong with you? If you're not with us, you're against us. Et cetera.

    Need to assure that the majority of the population does not have the will to protest? Let's instill a culture of "don't bother to vote, it won't change a thing", driven by a total lack of transparency in the political process, shameless media manipulation, destruction of the public education system, and development of the welfare state.

    And so on, and so on.

    What's really troubling is how accepted all of these tactical components are by the majority of the public. Present company excluded, of course. At least /.ers have the wherewithal to speak up for their (and other people's) rights. Go out on the street, and ask 20 random people what they think about Waco, or Kevin Mitnick, or the Waco massacre, or Kevin Mitnick, or Julie Amero... the list goes on. How many of those people will actually have a CLUE, much less CARE?

    Hitler, Stalin, and now the US Government. Nice job. Glad to see you guys have done your homework.
  • Oh Realllllly? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday March 21, 2008 @03:44AM (#22816858)
    "But your Honor, I run TOR and Freenet on my networks".

    Check and MATE. If you are running an open exit node for TOR, then the FBI cannot prove it was you at all.

    Assuming that you are not actually downloading child pornography, and they don't find any OTHER evidence in your home, the FBI is screwed royal. First off, clicking a link is not enough evidence to send you to prison, which also means CONVICTING you of a CRIME.

    If you are not convicted, they cannot keep any of your property and must return it. Furthermore, you have the a great foundation for a lawsuit against the FBI. Plenty of law firms would take that on contingency, and organizations like the EFF would be all over it.

    I have heard of some stupid stunts before by government, but this one is more memorable than others. I can see a lot of people getting overly concerned about this, but after the first couple of false positives, the judges are going to react and shut this crap down.
  • Re:Oh Realllllly? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:11AM (#22817320)
    Uhm

    1) Newspaper headline reads "LOCAL MAN ARRESTED IN CHILD PORN STING" and shows your mugshot

    2) You can't sue the police without evidence of GROSS NEGLIGENCE. I don't think you'll get it in this case. You would not have a case, since they obviously regard IP addresses in an WWWLog as binding evidence of a crime.

    3) They will give you back your stuff if you ask, provided they haven't lost it. I think they have 90 days after you submit triplicate motorized requests. However, they might have opened up your drives to investigate, in which case the data is hosed. They do tend to drop things too, once the evidence isn't useful for them.

    4) Judges shut this crap down? Not with the convictions they already got. The judges are running for Mayor. It would look bad if they were "soft on pervs" and someone found out.

    5) Papers please...

  • by rtfa0987 (1260014) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:49AM (#22817618)
    From Philadelphia newspaper

    In February, when FBI agents and local police arrived at his door with a search warrant, they acted cautiously, they testified, because they believed he legally owned a dozen or more weapons.

    Vosburgh didn't answer their knock. For the next 27 minutes, authorities tried to talk him into opening the door.

    When authorities finally entered the apartment, they said they found a computer pried open, its hard drive smashed into several parts, strewn elsewhere. They also found smashed thumb drives, one of which lay in the toilet, they said.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/11075356.html [philly.com]

    When authorities entered Vosburgh's apartment, they found broken and bent parts of the computer in the kitchen trash and in a bathroom toilet. A hammer was found on the floor outside the bathroom, and scissors nearby.

    Vosburgh told authorities that the computer had been destroyed earlier to get rid of a virus. Still, agents were able to recover an external hard drive from his desk.

    During the 2 1/2-day trial, prosecutors showed jurors images of five nude prepubescent girls found on the external hard drive that showed the girls with their legs spread apart exposing their genitals.

    The hard drive also contained more than 2,000 images of a 13-year-old girl

    Authorities alleged that Vosburgh also tried three times to download images from a hardcore kiddie-porn message board known as "Ranchi" in October 2006.

    "Being convicted of charges like this is sort of career-ending,"

    http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/11074616.html [philly.com]

  • by ByteGuerrilla (918383) * on Friday March 21, 2008 @08:40AM (#22817854)

    I don't know what the entry in about:config is in Firefox, but if it's network.prefetch-next then the default value seems to be true.

    The Feds are gonna be getting a hell of a lot of false positives.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday March 21, 2008 @09:13AM (#22818094) Journal
    Don't flood it. Just produce two or three clicks per day from the botnet. Ideally from machines owned by politicians, if you can narrow it down that well. If they start getting thousands of hits, they will know something is wrong. Let them wrongly arrest a few hundred people and heads will roll.
  • by holmedog (1130941) on Friday March 21, 2008 @09:29AM (#22818250)
    When I was 17-20 my brother and I owned a house together. We would host daily lan parties, weekend beerfests, and other general mischief.

    On any given weekend we would have 10+ people in our house, on our internet. On occasion they would use our computers as well. We had four, so friends could come over and lan.

    Well, all said and done, apparently someone accessed an IRC server/channel that was distributing CP. The department of Emmigration and Internal Customs busted in 3 months later while my wife (gf then) and I were asleep. Pistols in the face, flashlights, the whole nine yards. They confinscated all of my computer equipment, my cat5s, my cds, my wife's home videos, my camera, and my hub. Yep, they even took my hub.

    It took us almost 11 months and tons of paperwork to get our stuff back, even after proving there was no way in hell we were home w hen the supposed infraction occured. No charges were ever pressed, but it cost me $7,000 in lawyer fees (I wasn't fucking around and hired a lawyer as soon as they started asking questions).

    So yeah, this kind of stuff really scares me.

  • by Verteiron (224042) on Friday March 21, 2008 @10:02AM (#22818684) Homepage
    Bear in mind that if you get raided, you will lose all of your computer equipment and everything that can connect to the internet. This includes your Wii, XBox, PS3, as well as digital cameras, PDAs, cell phones, and of course your desktops and laptops. In other words, all the stuff that "we /.'ers" live our lives with. And even if you're not found guilty, your name will be in the paper in connection with the words "child pornography", because the news media (particularly local media) eats this stuff up with a spoon. Regardless of the verdict, people will know your name as the "guy who got raided for child porn". Good luck finding work again. Also, regardless of verdict, many people who have their stuff confiscated never get their equipment back. Most likely your shiny new laptop will end up in the police chief's son's bedroom.

    That's quite a risk to take, just to run an open wireless network. If you want to take it, that's fine, but THIS /.er sure isn't going to. You don't have to bow to the government, but it can still make you bend over and grab your ankles.
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Friday March 21, 2008 @10:57AM (#22819332)
    Morag: What we need is something to discredit him. If he could be deported to Cygnus Alpha.... Doctor, am I right in thinking you can create experiences, implant them into a subject, who will then believe that they really happened?
    Havant: Of course. In fact, creating an illusion of reality is quite simple.
    Morag: Good. Then I think we can totally destroy Blake's credibility and get him sentenced. But I'd like to do a feasibility check. Doctor, would you come with me please.
    Havant: As you wish.

    Varon: I'm Tel Varon, Justice Department. I've been assigned to defend you.
    Blake: I don't need a defense. I'm going to plead guilty.
    Varon: Come now. Certainly the evidence against you is strong --
    Blake: I just want to make a statement in open court. I want those responsible for the massacre brought to trial.
    Varon: I'm sorry?
    Blake: There can be no justification for deliberate murder.
    Varon: There's nothing in the charges about murder. There are a number of other counts. Assault on a minor, attempting to corrupt minors, moral deviation as it pertains to--
    Blake: Let me see that!
    [Blake gets up. Varon presses the sheet against the glass. Blake reads it.]
    Blake: All involving children! None of this is true!
    Varon: Of course not. That's why you surprised me when you said you'd plead guilty.
    Blake: [Splutters] Yes, but not to this, not to these charges.
    Varon: They are the only ones that have been brought against you. And I must tell you frankly the evidence against you is very damaging.
    Blake: Well, if there is any evidence, it's been faked!
    Varon: I've had the opportunity of talking to the children -- that is, the prosecution witnesses -- and they do seem very certain of their facts.
    Blake: Oh, yes, yes. Yes, their briefing would have been perfect.
    Varon: If I may, I'd like to outline how I think we should conduct your case.
    Blake: [In the background behind Varon's lines] They set me up beautifully.
    Varon: There is a possible approach if we could cite your record: your breakdown after your involvement with those illegal political groups, the remorse that you felt, the guilt you carried has placed you under an enormous strain. And we can submit that these assaults, these aberrations were carried out whilst you were mentally unbalanced.
    Blake: I will offer no defense, but I will plead not guilty.
    Varon: These are grave charges. Without extenuating circumstances, you might face deportation. A mental institution would be better than spending the rest of your life on Cygnus Alpha.
    Blake: [with deliberation] I will offer no defense. Right?
    Varon: Won't you reconsider?
    Blake: Even if you could prove me innocent, the charges have been made. I've got to hand it to them. [At the security camera] You've done a brilliant job!!

    Varon: Look at that: outpatient admission, identity unrecorded. And there's another. And a third.
    Maja: Three unidentified admissions on the date the victims weren't at school.
    Varon: It's not absolute proof, but it gives us somewhere to start.
    Maja: But why would they have been to the clinic?
    Varon: Mental implantation?
    Maja: What's that?
    Varon: A fictional experience and emotion, implanted into the mind so vividly and permanently that it becomes reality.
    Maka: Is that possible?
    Varon: The process was perfected years ago, but prohibited by the medical profession. But if it is being used again --
    Maja: Blake could be telling the truth!
    Varon: And that could blow the top off the whole Administration. Come on.

    [Over the bodies of Varon and Maja]
    Dev Tarrant: I think a transporter accident. Killed instantly. Very tragic. See to it, will you?
  • by kalirion (728907) on Friday March 21, 2008 @11:15AM (#22819562)
    Still agree though that the FBI should have made sure the hits were coming from *that* website and not any other source with a different file description.

    I can see it now, thousands of FBI agents descending on Mircrosoft, Google and Yahoo for spidering those urls.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2008 @12:51PM (#22821000)
    On the forefront of the "child abuse and abduction" scare is Dr David Finkelhor and his "Crimes against Children Research Center".

    Which.... ironically... was created to write scary articles and publish scary research about "ritual cult abuse".

    Finklehor was actually an "expert witness" in the McMartin case, for the prosecution.

    And now, his research is cited EVERY DAY by the child abuse industrial complex. In fact, he was testifying in front of congress recently when they considered new laws such as the ones that made these arrests possible.

    Interesting? Interesting.
  • by elucido (870205) on Friday March 21, 2008 @12:55PM (#22821048)

    The war on drugs is about the felonization of drug addicts. First the prisons are built, later on laws are passed and crimes are invented in order to fill the prisons.

    Now once again we have lots of new prisons being built. And don't be surprised when our government declares a war on the internet.
    Certain websites will be illegal to access. Then you'll have internet addicts in the prison with drug addicts, and their cellmates will be pedophiles and serial killers.

    The goal is merely to fill the prisons up. This is equal to opening up a smoke shop with a big sign which says "free marijuana inside" and then waiting for all the drug addicts to enter and then arresting them one by one. Nevermind the fact that you advertised the shop all in magazines, on the internet, and in places where you know they hang out. Nevermind the fact that you created TV ads. If they go to the smokehouse, the swat team enters and gives them 10 years in prison.

    This isn't about child porn. It's about the war on the internet.

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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