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Man Barred From Being Alone With Daughter After Informing Police of Porn On PC 777

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-much-information dept.
First time accepted submitter robably writes "A man who informed police when he found child abuse images on his computer has not been allowed to be alone with his daughter for four months. Nigel Robinson from Hull said he called police after trying to download music but instead finding pornographic images on his laptop last November. As a result social services said he 'should not have unsupervised access with his own or other children.'"
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Man Barred From Being Alone With Daughter After Informing Police of Porn On PC

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:47PM (#39277421)

    That is all.

  • by ravenspear (756059) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:47PM (#39277425)

    If you find something like that, you do NOT report it.

    It doesn't matter if you obtained it, you will likely take the fall.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:50PM (#39277461)

      Just goes to show no good deed goes unpunished.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:14PM (#39277829) Homepage Journal

        Indeed. From TFA: "Mr Robinson said: 'It makes you feel as though you shouldn't have reported it in the first place'."

        Never EVER trust the police. Any police. When I was in the USAF stationed at Dover in 1972, I had barracks duty one day and the duty sergent came to me as I was sweeping, held up a hand rolled something and said "what's this?" I replied, well, it's either a cigarette or a joint."

        "How do you tell?" I took it, broke it open, and said "It's green. It's a joint."

        So the stupid old man asks "what should I do about it?"

        I told him to throw it in the dumpster and forget about it. He said "I dunno, maybe I should report it?"

        I told him "if you do, all you'll accomplish is sitting around filling paperwork about it for two days."

        When I saw him the next day he said "you were right, I should have just thrown it away. Damned assholes treated me like a criminal and I had to fill out paperwork all damned afternoon. Now I'm behind in my real work."

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:25PM (#39278055)
          Not the police, in this case - it's social services. The police have no remit to decide whether children are at risk and whether anything needs to be done to mitigate/eliminate that risk. It's perfectly reasonable that they should refer this to the social services. It's the conclusion that the social services reached on the basis of the facts given to them that is inexcusable (assuming the reported story is representative of what really happened).
          • by jamstar7 (694492) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @04:22PM (#39279199)
            Social Services isn't bound by 'innocent until proven guilty'. Their mandate is, 'Protect the child at all costs', even if those costs emotionally scar the child worse than any unfounded allegations. You & your other half get ticketted for a joint? Pull the kids til Social Services determines the parents aren't stark raving crack addicts running a meth lab in the basement and take part in a 12 Step program for awhile to keep them off drugs. Get seen spanking your kid? Pull the kids til the parents get cleared of child abuse charges and go to anger management counselling.

            Kids get injured at foster care, or abused at foster care, or even molested at foster care? Too bad. No apology, no recourse, and Social Services is still waiting for the parents to clear themselves of the allegations. They're 'thinking of the children' so anything they do is a-ok.
        • by Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:26PM (#39278079)

          I told him to throw it in the dumpster and forget about it.

          Atrocity!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:38PM (#39278331)

          Never EVER trust the police. Any police.

          And above all, never EVER, talk in absolutes.

    • by Loualbano2 (98133) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:58PM (#39277581)

      Be careful.

      From: http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C110.txt [house.gov]

      -HEAD-
              Sec. 2258. Failure to report child abuse

      -STATUTE-
      A person who, while engaged in a professional capacity or activity described in subsection (b) of section 226 of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 on Federal land or in a federally operated (or contracted) facility, learns of facts that give reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse, as defined in subsection (c) of that section, and fails to make a timely report as required by subsection (a) of that section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year or both.

      So if you're working on a machine, see CP and don't report it, you are on the hook.

    • by softwareGuy1024 (2564569) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:10PM (#39277769)
      Indeed, you should be careful reporting anything illegal. Remember this guy [wikipedia.org]. Unfortunately many law enforcement agents would rather go after a whistle blower, who may be easier to prosecute, then build up a case against the real criminals.
    • Catch 22 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by C0L0PH0N (613595) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:32PM (#39278209)
      This is a serious Catch 22 situation. You can only report child porn if you are in possession of it or have knowledge of it. You are committing a crime if you are in possession of child porn, period. Even if you came into possession of it entirely innocently, the burden is going to be on you (probably for the rest of your life) to prove your innocence. This is one of the worst areas of the law to be on the wrong side of. The police will always err on the side of caution, which means, if you are in possession, you are a suspect. They will sort out the details later. If ever. And it appears this Catch 22 situation will only get worse for the foreseeable future. The best thing might be to zip your lip and burn the laptop, and move on. I hope this man is cleared soon, and can be a normal family man again. Very sad.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:47PM (#39277427)

    And I'll say it again. Never, ever, under any circumstances, contact the police unless your life is in danger and they are your only hope. NEVER
     
    You will only end up much worse off than you were before you called them.

    • by Fallingcow (213461) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:54PM (#39277511) Homepage

      Yep. Call them only if:
      1) You can accept that someone will be arrested, and
      2) The situation is so bad that you don't mind if that someone is you

      If being arrested isn't better than whatever's happening, don't call them. Period.

    • by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:02PM (#39277635) Homepage Journal

      At first sight, this behaviour from the police is self detrimental, because people who report stuff are useful and alienating them makes criminals safer.

      In truth this behaviour maximises the control of police over both people and their own work. Over people, because those who didn't report and are later discovered become automatically suspects, so they can be threatened. Over their own work, because nobody can accuse them of failing to investigate or succeed in their investigation after a report, if nobody reports.

      If you expect people in power finding ways to maximise control, no matter under what flag, religion, or ideology, you usually explain things better than the theory that incompetence reigns over c.

    • by Compaqt (1758360) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:04PM (#39277659) Homepage

      Yeah, you beat me to it.

      For those who haven't seen it:

      Don't Talk to the Police
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc [youtube.com]

    • by brokeninside (34168) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:07PM (#39277701)

      ``Honey, what's this on your computer?''

      `What's what? Oh! That!'

      ``How did it get there honey?''

      `Uh, I don't know. It must have gotten downloaded when I was downloading music or something.'

      ``We should call the police.''

      `Uh, yeah, we should do that.'

    • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:10PM (#39277773)
      I recently had a great experience with police. We had a break-in, and all the laptops were stolen. Fortunately we had Prey on one of them, and it tracked the thieves to a hotel in a nearby town. The local police investigated and recovered almost everything. We drove over the next day and brought them brownies.
      • by toadlife (301863) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:56PM (#39278697) Journal

        On three separate occasions, we had computers stolen from my workplace and the computers checked in with our WSUS server, after they were stolen, leaving their public IP address. On all three of those occasions we shared the information with the local police immediately NOTHING was done.

      • by boristdog (133725) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @05:13PM (#39280065)

        When I worked for IT at the state we often had memory and hard drives (small and valuable back in the 90's) disappear. My boss always made me report it to the cops (state police, in this case) rather than having anyone else in the department do it.

        Every single theft I reported I was hauled in for intense interrogation. The cops ALWAYS went with the assumption that I alone did the crime because I reported it, even though there were dozens or even hundreds of people in the department with the same access to the missing equipment. Once I was cuffed to a chair for an hour and questioned for reporting a theft. They will question you about every aspect of your life, financial, personal, professional, sexual, anything. Every time I felt like I was going to end up in prison for reporting the crime. But I did the reporting because my boss asked me to do it and she was a nice lady. She was also black, so I understood why she had me do the reporting. I was the most innocent looking, nerdy, white male in the department so they probably went easiest on me.

        Another anecdote: My wife once reported a reckless driver who ran us off the road, license #, make, model, everything. Because she admitted driving onto the shoulder to avoid him, she got a ticket for unsafe driving.

        So no, unless your life is in danger and you have no other options, do not talk to the cops.

    • by networkBoy (774728) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:12PM (#39277813) Homepage Journal

      Sadly this is true.
      We were broken into, lived in a seedy part of town, called the PD.
      They showed up and saw some glassware (what most nerds would consider basic chemistry needs) and assumed I was a drug cooker.
      I had to dig out all the science kits I bought for my kids and actually show them a basic science experiment (viscoelastic fluid using cornstarch and water), which my children happily explained to them, before they would back off on their obvious intent to arrest me.
      On the bright side I think the cop that was actually paying attention actually learned that a similar fluid is responsible for his transmission's torque converter functioning properly, as well as the fan clutch for his car's radiator.

      Go figure.
      -nB

      • by justinlindh (1016121) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @04:03PM (#39278861)

        This story reminds me of something that a friend is going through at the moment. He's a recently released felon that's trying to get his life back on track, and has routine visits from his parole officer. The PO was looking through his computer's disk drive and found a file named "LICENSE.txt". He was immediately accused of creating fake driver's licenses, and had to explain in great depth that the file he'd found was a software license (just opening the file and showing the contents didn't even placate this guy).

        A few weeks later the PO came to inspect again, and found an e-book titled "Google Hacks". It's a book on optimizing search engine results/etc. The PO accused him of attempting to hack Google and left. He was placed in a halfway home 2 hours away from where he was staying for observation until they could come to a decision on what to do with his "offense". Most of the authorities involved agreed that this was an offense worthy of revoking his parole and sending him back to prison. There were gears in motion to do just that, until someone stepped in and outlined what the book actually was and how it in no way violated any conditions of his parole. They backed off on sending him back to prison, but they'd decided he should be shipped to Texas to live in a halfway house "just in case". He's OK with this, because he's legitimately scared of the vendetta that his PO has against him at this point and will be under the jurisdiction of a different one where he's being sent; though he no longer has the option to live with his family.

        Technological ignorance and fear in those with authority is a very, very scary thing.

    • Sometimes it is necessary to contact them for insurance purposes.

      After all, how are you going to prove to the insurance company that your car was stolen?

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:48PM (#39277431) Homepage Journal

    "Hi, police, I am currently committing the crime of possession of child pornography, here's my name and address..."

    • by Meshach (578918) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:52PM (#39277493)

      "Hi, police, I am currently committing the crime of possession of child pornography, here's my name and address..."

      Also imagine if the police did nothing. Then the headline would be "Man with child pornography on his computer allowed unsupervised visits with children". I do not know what he is criticizing.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:05PM (#39277681) Homepage

        Sounds to me like social services just found the guy's name involved in a child porn investigation and assume he's dangerous. This doesn't seem to be an issue of bad police intentionally making somebody's life miserable, but rather a miscommunication that now has to be investigated, verified, checked, reviewed, and accepted by half a dozen different departments before any resolution will come about.

  • To be blunt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:49PM (#39277445)

    Never talk to the Pigs. There is never, and has never been any interaction with the police that will ever benefit you in any way.

  • Dumb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:49PM (#39277447)

    People expect reason and common sense from the authorities are dumb. I remember a friend of mine reported his roomate for child porn and the police came and took ALL the computers in the place. His roomates and his. They tried their best to implicate him as well as his roomate in the illegal pictures but couldn't quite stretch it far enough so settled for keeping his computers. He never got them back and I guess they scared him so bad he was happy not to be in jail. He said he'd never call the police again if his life depended on it.

    • Re:Dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:53PM (#39277499)

      Yep the police are not there to protect you, they are there to punish people, and keep the rabble in line. Sure sometimes some people need punishment but the police operate from the standpoint that everyone needs punishment and if they punish you wrongly well the court system is there and it will be taken care of.

      It basically all comes back to the saying "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

    • It's common sense for the police to treat the man as if he's lying. If the police assume he's telling the truth they risk putting a child in danger (and failing in their duty to protect the innocent) but if they assume he's lying then they can take measures.

  • by Crasoose (1621969) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:50PM (#39277459)
    The RIAA now has resorted to other means of enforcing their copyrights than normal lawsuits, they have opted instead to inject illegal photos into popular music torrents. More news at 11.
  • Justice (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cajun Hell (725246) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:53PM (#39277507) Homepage Journal
    He's a snitch. Of course he should be persecuted. Worst of all, he snitched one the one person who should have been able to count on his loyalty and discretion: himself.
  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:54PM (#39277517)

    On the BBC website (the link posted in the summary), and it was quite a prominent story - however, I went back to find it this morning and it's nowhere to be found, you have to use a direct link to get to it. Interesting...

    The story itself is a typical example of UK officialdom vastly over-reacting, and has been picked up by many mainstream newspapers today - I hope this bloke is absolved and compensated by social services for their idiotic behaviour.

    • On the BBC website (the link posted in the summary), and it was quite a prominent story - however, I went back to find it this morning and it's nowhere to be found, you have to use a direct link to get to it. Interesting...

      It's there, but not in a very prominent place. Go to the England part of the UK section, select Yorkshire & Lincolnshire as your local area, then click on the Humberside section. It's there, for their community to see, but not really presented to the rest of the nation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:56PM (#39277557)

    There's a new iPad. With 120% more horizantal who-gives-a-shits and a whole bunch of new big-fucking-deals available on the app store.

    And you guys are talking about this nonsense? Defending a guy with a hard drive full of child porn, that just somehow "magically" got there, he doesn't know how - a wizard did it?

    iPad people, iPad. Apple isn't paying you to defend child molesters, it's paying you to sell them more iPads.

  • by hawkbat05 (1952326) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:17PM (#39277901)
    It seems like everyone is blaming the police for this but if you RTFA, no charges or arrests have been made at all. It's social services who made the recommendation and I have NEVER heard of their decision being contested successfully. These people have the ability to apply restrictions like this to anyone with little to no evidence of an actual crime or charges being laid. For parents these organizations are far more intimidating than the police because they can make their own rules and the courts will uphold them.
  • what do you do? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:45PM (#39278441) Journal

    I can't say precisely where things went wrong, but it does look like the system goes after the "easy" cases rather than dig into the ones where children are genuinely in danger. Now we have parents who are trying to do the right thing being routinely badgered by the powers that be (not necessarily the police, who are only the arms of the bureaucrats) while we continually read of kids who were killed or severely traumatized in situations where authorities were aware of the situation but did not pursue it. It really seems like they tend to pursue the easy things. Is this to push up statistics?

    When my daughter was young (single digits, don't remember exactly) she got a rug burn at daycare that became infected. I took her to the doctor, who sent me across the street for x-rays. When I came back, there were police waiting. After much hilarity and trauma, they decided they didn't have enough evidence to arrest me and let us go.

    So, what do I do the next time she gets injured while playing? Not take her to the doctor?

    • Re:what do you do? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by IMightB (533307) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @04:08PM (#39278949) Journal

      Similar story, when I was younger my Father, sister ( A bit of a tomboy ) and I were playing catch in the backyard with a baseball. My father tossed it to my sister who missed it and it hit her square in the eye and quickly became a great shiner with a fairly decent amount of swelling. To make sure there was no serious damage we all went to the hospital to see the doctor. When asked by the doctor how it happened, my sister (Still in tears) pointed right at my dad and said "He did it!". He was promptly removed from the room for a few hours while me and my sister were asked all sorts of questions by some "Nice people from the hospital". He never really said what he was doing during this time, but I'd imagine that he was being grilled pretty well.

  • Same mistake... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @04:14PM (#39279055) Journal

    This is the same mistake made by Google in the Wifi scandal and the US military in the accidental Quaran burnings.

    You see something illegal on your own property that has hurt no one so far and no one knows about, and will cease to exist and continue to hurt no one if you destroy the evidence of it and cover it up? DESTROY THE EVIDENCE AND COVER IT UP.

  • by SlithyMagister (822218) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @04:23PM (#39279221)
    It does not matter if you are later cleared, acquitted, exonerated or whatever your local legal system calls it.
    If you are cleared, there will always be those who think that you are some sort of pervert who "got off".
    Also, if you are convicted just because there was porn on your computer, there will be (hopefully) be some people who will recognize the miscarraige of justice..

    Once accused -- guilty or not -- your live is forever changed. I will likely cost you your retirement savings to pay to a lawyer to mitigate the damage.

    Therefore, do not be your own accuser.
    If you find anything incriminating on your computer, delete it irretrievably -- if you don't know how, find out.
    Then ever afterwards, stfu.

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