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Stalker Jailed For Planting Child Porn On a PC 368

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-do-I-love-thee-let-me-plant-the-ways dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An elaborate scheme to get the husband of a co-worker with whom he was obsessed jailed backfired on Ilkka Karttunen, 48, from Essex in the UK. His plan was to get the husband arrested so that he could have a go at a relationship with the woman. To do this he broke into the couple's home while they were sleeping, used their family computer to download child pornography, and then removed the hard drive and mailed it anonymously to the police, along with a note that identified the owner."

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Stalker Jailed For Planting Child Porn On a PC

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  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:35AM (#31706208) Journal

    >>>"then removed the hard drive and mailed it anonymously to the police, along with a note that identified the owner."

    You don't provide proof that you broke into a private house.

    Instead you go home, wait a few weeks, and then send an anonymous tip that the homeowner has been asking for underage photos on the net, and you suspect he downloaded child porn too. Let the police take it from there. THEY will do the breaking-and-entering, remove the drive, and investigate.

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:35AM (#31706212)

    The difference between for you getting put in jail and separated from your children for a week and you getting put in jail and separated from your children for a decade is the sloppiness of the guy framing you.

  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:38AM (#31706230)
    I believe the only thing saving the family was the investigation of the stalkers house (and shed). Without that search warrant into a third-parties house, or without the retardedly self-incriminating evidence stored on his computer, the man accused would have been devastated.

    Wait, this is UK, do they even need a warrant?
  • It is too easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:38AM (#31706238)
    It's too easy to have someone's life ruined. Even being cleared of charges this person will still have a stigma attached to them. Poor family. To be ripped away like that from your family, your home because some psycho wanted a go at your wife. Investigation wise, they didn't find the hard drive with the man or trace any wrong goings online directly back to him, yet they still charged him with the crime. This seems out of whack to me. Grey area to be sure but to just take the anonymous at their word seems scary.
  • by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:43AM (#31706280)

    Exactly.

    It's trivial to ruin someone's life at this point using child pornography. Cracking a WPA password isn't nearly that complicated.

    Also, note how the guy he was trying to frame was still arrested, and still barred from seeing his children, after someone sent the police a hard drive they claimed belonged to the guy. Of all the obvious frame jobs, this was dead sloppy, and yet the victim was STILL victimized by the authorities. I'm surprised they aren't summarily castrating people without proof these days. After all, won't someone think of the children...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:44AM (#31706296)

    I am a forensic investigator and it terrifies me that most people I meet in my field don't seem to care who goes to jail as long as somebody goes to jail.

  • by Manip (656104) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:47AM (#31706328)

    Exactly.
    I bet almost everyone in Slashdot could frame someone in such a way so even a police "expert" (who basically looks at modified, accessed, and created dates) couldn't tell it was fake. I've watched some of the computer crime cases on the Crime Channel and to be honest I find it scary that people can be convicted on such easily faked evidence.

    e.g. Boot into Linux, mount the NTFS partition, add illicit images, and child porn sites to "index.dat." Then manually change the dates on the files (very trivial with the drive mounted like this). If you're really good you could add shortcuts into recently viewed documents and create a fake IE history.

  • Strict Liability (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:48AM (#31706342)
    Since the UK has "strict liability" laws (which IMO are exceptionally unfair and should be changed) he should have left the hard drive in the system and tipped of the police anonymously. In the UK, simply being in possession of child porn or a gun is enough for a conviction regardless of how it came to be in your possession.
  • Re:It is too easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:49AM (#31706346) Journal

    Investigation wise, they didn't find the hard drive with the man or trace any wrong goings online directly back to him, yet they still charged him with the crime. This seems out of whack to me.

    You're not THINKING OF THE CHILDREN! Why haven't you turned off your critical thinking abilities yet, we're talking about kiddy pr0n here! KIDDY PR0N!

    Now, less hyperbolically, it's a bad situation. If there's really child abuse involved, most sane commentators want the situation dealt with as soon as possible. That's what drives the impulse for a snap arrest, just to freeze the situation and "save the kids". But the urgency works against "innocent until proven guilty", and spills over in a policy sense into thinking that prevention is even better than rapid response. (Think "pre-crime".) I think that's the psychological basis for the push against simulated kiddy pr0n. "No real children are harmed, but who knows what real children WILL be harmed which Sicky Sickington decides to act on his perverted fantasies."

    It's a bad deal, and the only bright spot is that loltard planting kpr0n on an innocent man's PC has earned the special wrath of The System, which really really hates it when you play It for a fool. And maybe someone can start the rumor in prison that he really is a kiddy-fiddler; I hear tell those guys get "extra special" treatment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:51AM (#31706362)

    Trying that sort of thing in the US is quite likely to get one's hide peppered with lead.

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:51AM (#31706374)

    It is not even that hard.

    1. Turn on computer.
    2. Download illegal material.
    3. Turn off computer.
    4. Wait a few days.
    5. Call police.
  • by adosch (1397357) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:52AM (#31706390)

    So this crazy dude goes to extreme lengths to get a husband put behind bars to have an adulterous relationship with the fellas wife? One of the big flaws was taking the hard drive out of the PC and mailing to the authorities. I think an anonymous tip would have been just fine.

    Regardless, it's really amazing what mental states people can put themselves into and trick their own mind into thinking their crazy actions are somehow good in nature and worth pursuing. However, I can't help but realize the wife's involvement in this? Something she did or may have innocently done caused this guy to think there was something there... or maybe there was some under-the-table stuff happening. Too many fish in the sea to be doing that, IMHO.

  • Re:1st April (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:55AM (#31706410)

    The Article was dated 1st April - so we don't really know it's true.

    Which is part of the reason why I object to serious news outlets participating in April Fool's jokes.

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:59AM (#31706444) Homepage Journal

    Why would you assume the wife did anything at all? A lot of guys are just crazy and let wishful thinking go to extremes. Likewise, it's sometimes easy for people to misread a friendship as something else.

    Given that this guy was nuts enough to try a scheme like this and the woman is married, I'd assume that the guy is entirely in the wrong.

  • by elucido (870205) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:02AM (#31706464)

    If someone does not like you, whether they be informant, stalker, or corrupt law enforcement, they can plant the gun, the drugs, the child porn into your possession and then arrest you for possession. This is why all laws which involve possession of an object, are fundamentally flawed because it does not make a difference is the possession is voluntary or involuntary.

  • Re:Geez. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sznupi (719324) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:03AM (#31706484) Homepage

    At least the good guys caught the bad guy here.

    And do you wonder already how many times that wasn't the case? Sure, this time the perpetrator was sloppy...but it's relatively trivial to frame people like that "properly"

    A witch accusation of our times, it seems.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:09AM (#31706536) Homepage

    It is a difficult situation for the police. On the one hand, it has "frame job" written all over it, on the other hand, what if it isn't? Arresting him was probably overkill, but limiting contact with children until the whole thing is cleared up makes some sense. The police clearly made more than a usual effort investigate at least, but still. I dunno what you'd call the "right" answer is here. (Except, obviously, don't have a sociopath break into your house and frame you for a difficult to defend against crime)

  • by ckaminski (82854) <(moc.xobop) (ta) (iksnimakc)> on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:13AM (#31706572) Homepage
    Not sure about in the UK, but innocent until PROVEN guilty used to mean something across the pond.

    It's just the dumb-ass media castrating police departments the world over. The media is all about front-page spreads ruining someone's life, but they're never about front-page spreads about what they printed ended up turning into blatent libel.

    Fucking hypocrites.
  • Re:Geez. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NoSPam.barbara-hudson.com> on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:14AM (#31706584) Journal

    All he had to do was somehow get word to the wife that "your hubby is into child porn". But like all loser nerds, he had to go the overly-complicated route.

  • Re:It is too easy! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:19AM (#31706634)

    This scenario is precisely why lawyers and due process rights are so, so, so important. And yet, most people think lawyers are the scum of the earth and that criminals don't get punished for crimes. But the truth about due process isn't necessarily the broad abstract principle that every man deserves a fair trial because that's fair, it's that every man deserves a fair trial because we're aware of how easy it is for something like this to happen.

  • Unless... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by leuk_he (194174) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:20AM (#31706646) Homepage Journal

    Suppose you have a password on the PC. You see, without that linux "hack" it would be impossible to to the downloading. And the timing would be off also, since the owner might be able to prove show he was not at home at the time of the downloading. Then there is always the point that you will have to make a reasonable gues who was behind the keyboard at the time of the offense.

    Last point "call the police" is not anonymous as well, since the telephone company keeps log who called who (and in case of a cell phone: where).

    Planting fake evidence is not as easy as it seems if you want to do it perfect. Watching CSI does not help because the reality is much more complex.

  • by Migraineman (632203) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:26AM (#31706708)

    Arresting him was probably overkill, but limiting contact with children until the whole thing is cleared up makes some sense.

    So let me get this straight - if someone broke into your house and swiped your car keys, then sent them along with an empty whiskey bottle to the cops, accusing you of DUI, you'd be just fine with having your driving privileges suspended while the cops investigate? I mean, after all, this completely circumstantial evidence *might* be true, right?

    Law Enforcement's "chain of custody" is a tremendously important concept. The "evidence" the police received is horribly tainted, and shouldn't have merited more than a knock on the door and a conversation with the man being joe-jobbed.

  • Re:Unless... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:28AM (#31706730)

    Suppose you have a password on the PC.

    Uh...Windows? Safe mode. Linux? Single-user mode. Passwords don't stop someone with physical access to your computer from accessing your account. Full-drive encryption, sure...but who does that?

  • by Grygus (1143095) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:30AM (#31706744)
    My way of thinking about this is that if the wife was open to an adulterous relationship in the first place, he didn't really need to frame the husband to start that. His actions only make sense if she spurned his advances and he was trying to remove a real barrier: not her husband, but her love for her husband. He didn't murder the guy or set him up as a thief; he set him up as something a wife might reasonably be shocked into rejecting completely. To me, she seems very likely to be blameless.
  • by stonewallred (1465497) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:32AM (#31706764)
    Not when the children are involved. A mere phone call, anonymously made in NC, is enough to get child welfare/SS, and/or the police knee deep into your ass, oops, life, if the phone call alleges child porn/sexual abuse. Unless of course it is a catholic priest being reported. As a licensed counselor you get to make a judgment call about a client threatening violence upon another person or suicide, but any mention of sexual exploitation/abuse of a child, even if it was 50 years ago, is a mandated report. Even if it is a 90 year old man saying when he was 20 years old he had sex with a 16 year old girl, who he later married and stayed with until she died at 75.
  • Re:Unless... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stonewallred (1465497) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:39AM (#31706850)
    Duh. There is child porn on drive. Drive is the framed person's possession. You faked the date to show it was downloaded when suspect was at home, which is trivial as you can see he was home on "x" day and make the date/time match that. America, we don't have cameras at every phone booth and street corner. And there is child porn on computer. Grand slam conviction of a child molester. What DA is going to spend any time trying to discredit anonymous tip, and what jury is going to believe Mr.Computer Expert witness for the defense, when the cops' expert witness says it was the perp's, and the DA has splashed horrible pictures of children being violated sexually? Because no one with any sense is going to frame with a naked picture of a kid. They will use the hardest and most shocking crap they can find. This is America, innocent until proven guilty, unless it is child porn, and in that case, bend over and get ready for the reaming.
  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:50AM (#31706958) Homepage

    "Not sure about in the UK, but innocent until PROVEN guilty used to mean something across the pond."

    As I've already said elsewhere, that axiom relates to conviction, not arrest (on either side of the pond). Always had, always will. Half the time evidence required for conviction isn't found until after arrest. You can be arrested on any strong suspicion backed by reasonable evidence (like a hard drive which is clearly yours and clearly full of kiddy porn). It's not the job of the police to convict you, it's their job to collect evidence and arrest you once a sufficient amount exists. Does it suck? Yes. You got a better idea? No arrests till after conviction should work very well I'm sure.

    One of the big problems with the current system is the assumption by many people that arrest is the same as conviction. This leads to: 1) People like you assuming that people can't be arrested until they've been proven guilty and 2) People who have been arrested for crimes that they were later found innocent of or even found to have had no involvement in at all becoming social pariahs. That's a completely separate issue though, and not related to this story.

  • by OhHellWithIt (756826) * on Friday April 02, 2010 @12:01PM (#31707070) Journal

    I'm not sure who exhibited more stupidity, the guy who mailed the hard drive, or the police, who didn't stop to ask who could have removed the hard drive in the first place before jumping on the husband.

    The simplest course would have been to plant the photos and then give an anonymous tip to the wife.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday April 02, 2010 @12:13PM (#31707218)

    I don't want to downplay the financial threat that the MPAA (and other copyright enforcement organizations) could pose, but they're nothing compared to the threat a child porn lawsuit would pose. I'm a married man with two kids and a respectable job. If the MPAA accuses me falsely of downloading/uploading movies, the worst that can happen is that I need to declare bankruptcy. Yes, that's bad, but my family might be able to survive it.

    If, however, I'm accused falsely of possession of child porn, my reputation would be ruined with friends/family, I'd likely be fired (and nobody else would hire me), I could be forbidden from seeing my kids, my wife might even divorce me (though I'd hope she'd believe I was innocent). And that's even before I'm convicted of anything!

    If the MPAA realized their mistake, I might get legal fees back. Otherwise, I'd be out my own legal fees. A hefty bill, but not something insurmountable.

    If the child porn charges were dropped, I'd have still lost months of time with my kids, my job may or may not rehire me and people in my community would still think of me as "that guy that had child porn" (regardless of my acquittal). In short, my life would be in shambles and I'd have to rebuild virtually from scratch.

    Yes, the MPAA/RIAA/etc can do great financial harm, but they can only dream of the "whole life" harm that a child porn charge can carry.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @12:14PM (#31707230)

    Not sure about in the UK, but innocent until PROVEN guilty used to mean something across the pond.

    Yes, but that was before Reagan promised to "get the Government off the backs of the People" and made us all prove that we weren't drug-abusing illegal immigrants every time we applied for a job.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday April 02, 2010 @12:17PM (#31707270) Homepage

    Now you're blaming the victim. *Should* they have run a more secure system? Probably, but that's neither here nor there. Running an insecure home system is not a crime. breaking into someone house to take advantage of that lack of security is. This is all completely incidental to whether they should have arrested him or not.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday April 02, 2010 @12:30PM (#31707400) Homepage Journal

    Maybe we should do away with the IQ caps for police?

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday April 02, 2010 @12:38PM (#31707474) Homepage Journal

    Maybe they did?

    OTOH, who do you report it to? Officer, my HD is missing, please send someone right round. Thank you.

  • by sjames (1099) on Friday April 02, 2010 @12:58PM (#31707684) Homepage

    Barring him from seeing his children was absolutely NOT appropriate. Now, his children have had the trauma of seeing the police come and take their dad away for no reason (as far as they're concerned, after all, he didn't do anything wrong) and being kept from even seeing him after. They will never again feel as secure as they did before the incident.

    As for the evidence, they did have cause for concern, but they also had nothing like an intact chain of evidence. They had a hard drive that was in the possession of an anonymous person for an unknown period of time. The fact that an anonymous person had the drive to mail proves that an unauthorized person had access to the computer and the home as well. They had perfect evidence of child porn (it was on there after all) but terrible evidence as to who downloaded it.

    It was a difficult situation, but unless they want to be routinely used as a weapon against innocent people, they need to tread very lightly until they have solid evidence. Considering how insecure most people's PCs are and how rampant bots and spyware are, PC based evidence is particularly low quality anyway.

    There have been a few incidents of anonymous "tips" about drugs being used in similar ways here in the U.S. The police have a habit of practically destroying a home when they search for drugs, so it is possible to cause someone a terrible trauma and many thousand in damages for the cost of a pay phone call. Innocent people have gotten killed due to false reports here.

  • If there's really child abuse involved, most sane commentators want the situation dealt with as soon as possible.

    I'm sane and I don't think that. Personally, I'm sick of hearing people moan on and on about child porn. If some guy has CP on his computer, I honestly couldn't care less at this point. I'm jaded of the hysteria past the point of cynicism.

    I think people need to adopt this attitude if we are ever to get back the (relatively) sane and sober society of the 1990's where people's rights actually meant something.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Friday April 02, 2010 @01:28PM (#31708020)

    He not only committed burglary. He not only possessed child porn. The stupid knave DISTRIBUTED child porn--in addition to perverting justice.

    Hope he gets a few years to think about it!

  • Re:1st April (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RapmasterT (787426) on Friday April 02, 2010 @01:44PM (#31708238)

    The Article was dated 1st April - so we don't really know it's true.

    Which is part of the reason why I object to serious news outlets participating in April Fool's jokes.

    No shit. I love how everyone says "oh just lighten up, it's only one day for jokes". Except that the Internet doesn't work that fucking way. Everything released into the wild on April 1 stays out there forever, it doesn't just evaporate on April 2.

    Not to mention the fact that on April 1, you have no damn idea what stories are real, or just clever fakes.

  • by Gabrosin (1688194) on Friday April 02, 2010 @01:50PM (#31708288)

    Interesting. We could pass a law requiring that any time a newspaper is forced to print a retraction (not a simply typo clarification, but a real retraction for cause), that it has to take the same amount of space on the same pages as the original story/stories. That might make them a little more careful about what they run.

  • Re:Unless... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s0litaire (1205168) on Friday April 02, 2010 @01:59PM (#31708372)

    in the UK all you would need to do is place an encrypted volume on the system and the software on the machine (don't need to worry about a weak or strong password.) or it's contents:

    1) The police ask him for the password.
    2) He refuses because he does not know the password and asks for a Solicitor.
    3) Police think he's lying due to CP allegations
    4) ???
    5) Police charge him with withholding passwords
    6) He spends up to 2 years in jail...
    7) Stalker wins :D

  • by blair1q (305137) on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:49PM (#31708816) Journal

    LE don't have "guilt" as a rule of engagement.

    They base their actions on "evidence," "probable cause," and "reasonable suspicion."

    It's the job of the courts to determine if the suspect is guilty.

    Too often, they all do it using muscle-memory rather than logic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @03:03PM (#31708974)

    There is no justice in the justice system. Even if you make it through without being found officially guilty your life will be, at best, severely damaged by the financial and social costs. In this new era of global persistent memory via the internet an arrest does not go away. The most obviously example: When this guy applies for a job his potential new employer will find out that he was once arrested for child pornography. Less obvious is that anyone he gets close to in any way will likely find out. He will start to become friends with someone, they'll google his name one night and bam: WTF he was arrested for kiddie porn?!?!
    His life will never be the same.
    I think most people discussing this post here aren't quite aware of just how things work in this regard. The guy who set up the frame no doubt was aware that it didn't have to be a perfect frame job. It just had to be good enough that he didn't get caught as the framer. He failed at that, but otherwise he completely succeeded in fucking this guy over.
    What the justice system really is is an injustice system. There is not guilty, which is the minimal injustice of financial and social punishment, and then there is guilty which carries punishments that often do not match the crime (e.g. 15 years of being ass raped in hell for selling pot to a narc).
       

  • by ckaminski (82854) <(moc.xobop) (ta) (iksnimakc)> on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:12PM (#31709520) Homepage
    I understand that - I think my point was that the media then takes this arrest, parrots their latest "ZOMG child molestor" and when it turns out there's nothing there to substantiate the claims, they aren't forced to eat their words, while the victim (the original suspect) is now burdened with his name forever being linked to every google search on child pornographer.

    I understand and support the arrest process, on reasonable suspicion, but there has to be suitable repercussions for people involved in fucking up.

    Like the idiot police departments who shoot up grandma in a no-knock drug raid based on faulty intel. Those people need to do hard time. Personal responsibility is GONE when it comes to police departments and the media, and we as citizens are expected to have any? Okay, I know I digress, but you're right, except where you think I think people can't be arrested. I'm mostly arguing for your point #2.
  • Re:Geez. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by temojen (678985) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:30PM (#31709668) Journal
    Problem with that is to know which site is which, you'd pretty much have to either be into kiddie porn yourself or be in law enforcement and assigned to KP patrol.

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