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"Accidental" Download Sending 22-Year-Old Man To Prison 1127

An anonymous reader writes "Two years ago, Matthew White searched Limewire for porn. He was looking for 'College Girls Gone Wild,' but ended up downloading some images of child pornography. This was accidental, according to White, and he quickly deleted the images. A year later, the FBI showed up on his family's doorstep and asked to search the computer. After thorough sleuthing, the FBI found some images 'deep within the hard drive.' According to White, the investigators agreed that he himself could not have accessed the files anymore. Matthew now faces 20 years in jail for possession of child pornography. On advice from his lawyer, he intends to plead guilty so that he will 'hopefully' end up with 3.5 years in jail, 10 years probation and a registration as a sex offender. 'The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately. They may confiscate your computer, but it's better than the alternative.'"
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"Accidental" Download Sending 22-Year-Old Man To Prison

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  • Anonymous Coward (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:23PM (#30335554)

    Absolutely ridiculous

  • by bobdotorg ( 598873 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:25PM (#30335568)

    What's a district attorney to do when someone anonymously sends the D.A. an email with kiddie porn attached? Technically, the D.A. downloaded it.

  • Call the FBI? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phase_9 ( 909592 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:26PM (#30335572) Homepage
    "Oh HAI, I just downloaded some kiddie pron... by mistake of course you understand"
    yeah, I can see that one working out well...
  • Public Defender (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:27PM (#30335580)

    Matt is pleading guilty on the advice of his public defender in hopes of getting a three and a half year sentence.

    In other words, he doesn't have the money to actually fight this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:27PM (#30335586)

    Sure. And go to prison like this guy. Personally, I'd take my chances and just throw the hard drive away.

  • Bad Ideas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:27PM (#30335590)


    Worst idea ever. If you actually have undeleted CP on your computer you will get 20 years.
    The only safe thing to do is destroy the hard drive.

  • Don't plead guilty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:28PM (#30335600)

    Should always maintain your innocence in these type of cases because the guilty plea will haunt you the rest of your life. 3.5 years is still ridiculous.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:29PM (#30335604) Homepage

    Start a witch hunt to find who sent it. Remember, attack is the best defense.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:32PM (#30335624)

    Oh and the advice of going to the FBI is stupid. Don't talk to the police!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc [youtube.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:32PM (#30335632)

    I'm gonna have to take a Heston on this one. From my cold dead hands.
    If I ever accidentally download kiddie porn which unlikely, I'll delete it and that will be the end of it.
    The fucking hell if I'm going to call the police or the fbi about that shit...

  • Re:Call the cops (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GvG ( 776789 ) <ge@van.geldorp.nl> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:33PM (#30335634)
    Typically, neither do people who are innocent.
  • self-incrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:33PM (#30335644) Homepage

    'The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately.'

    At which point you've just confessed to trafficking in child porn. No, the proper thing to do is have a secure file deletion utility to nuke all evidence on your system.

  • Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:34PM (#30335658)

    Child porn has just become way too much of a boogeyman these days. Even if he had downloaded the images to look at - what harm would it have caused? He didn't ruin some girls life by looking at pictures that already exist.

    Personally, just to get around stupid cases like this, I'd say that simple POSSESSION of child pornography shouldn't even be illegal. The point is the harm done to the actual children. By that token PRODUCTION should be illegal as that's when the harm is done. BUYING it (through cash or barter) should also be illegal as it finances production of more material. Other than that? Having a picture or video on your hard drive hurts no one, and it isn't going to turn someone into a stark raving mad child molester anymore than playing GTA turns them into a murderer.

    If simple possession were not against the law then every one of these borderline gray area cases like this would go away.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:36PM (#30335676)

    Please someone answer me as honestly as they can: even if that guy happened to willingly watch child porn images, what damage does that do to society? Obviously exploiting children to take those pictures is a bad thing. Yet, we are talking about a random person who never harmed or abused a child. He even downloaded them from a P2P network, which means that he didn't indirectly supported harming children by financing it. How will society improve itself if the justice system throws that man in jail for yeas to come? What is there to be gained? // Posted anonymously to avoid all that social stigma that is promptly associated with those that question society's knee jerk reaction regarding child pornography.

  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:39PM (#30335712)
    In my opinion, it's irrelevant whether or not he downloaded the images on purpose. The connection between downloading an image off of limewire and the sexual abuse of a child is so tenuous it's absurd. The only way people can justify it is to make up crazy hypotheticals and market demand theories which are used in no other context.
  • Oops (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:42PM (#30335742)

    I was on wikipedia and I accidentally went to the page about the German rock band "Scorpions" and looked at their album "Virgin Killer"
    Then, I turned on the TV and what did I see? "Romeo & Juliet" (with 15-yr old Olivia Hussey showing off her boobage)
    do I turn myself in now?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:43PM (#30335752)

    Get a different lawyer.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:45PM (#30335780)

    Why? Because the prosecutor and judge will tell the jury that the law makes no distinction between accidental possession and intentional possession.

    Although the jury has the legal right of nullification, the judge and prosecutor will tell them that "this is what the law says you have to do" and the jury will convict, thinking they HAVE to.

  • If you don't have a warrant, you don't get entry.

    If you want to go fishing, go fish yourself somewhere else, not on the taxpayers dime.

    On advice from his lawyer, he intends to plead guilty so that he will 'hopefully' end up with 3.5 years in jail, 10 years probation and a registration as a sex offender.

    Fire the lawyer. No jury will convict. "Deep int he hard drive" - it is to laugh. Must have been a really old hard drive - most of them are pretty shallow nowadays.

  • Re:Call the cops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dissy ( 172727 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:47PM (#30335798)

    The summary states that if you accidentally download kiddie porn you need to call the cops asap. Typically, people who are guilty or trying to hide something don't call the cops on themselves.

    Yes but the summary also states that accidentally downloading child porn will get you 22 years in prison.

    No thank you, I will not be calling the cops to have myself sent to prison for 22 years for not doing anything wrong.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:48PM (#30335808) Homepage

    You are assuming you would get a sane jury, and not one like:

    Prosecutor: "Is it true the FBI found child porn pictures on your computer?"
    You: "*Deleted* pictures"
    Prosecutor: "And you admit downloading these files via Limewire"
    You: "By *accident*"
    Prosecutor: "I rest my case"
    Jury: "He admitted downloading child porn, where's the nearest tree to hang him?"
    Judge: "You can only give him 20 years in prison"
    Jury: *grumble* "Well, 20 years it is then"

    Seems like one of the most dangerous things you could possibly do in the US these days is search for something like "sex" on P2P and just set the whole bunch to download. I mean clearly anyone who'd do that is so perverted they deserve life in prison.

  • by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:48PM (#30335812) Homepage

    I would think that it is more important to find the perverts that produce this crap and throw the bookcase at them. Arresting someone just because they happen to have kiddie porn on their computer without considering HOW it got there (they could have been HACKED) is a misscarrage of justice. Just wait till some congressmen gets caught in a such a bind (maybe the Chinese or the Iranians hacked his computer) and the NY Times gets hold of the story.

  • Appalling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:48PM (#30335814)

    This is shocking and appalling and must stop. This sort of thing makes it impossible to be able to even look at webpages on the net. What if one accidentily clicks on a link without knowing what it goes to and ends up with these files in their web browser cache? Clicking on a link is not enough to show intent, we cannot go on a wild witch hunt where everyone is assumed guilty until proven innocent. Under the law, it is the act of taking pictures of children in a sexually suggestive way is what should be considered illegal. For some time it has been argued that those who were purchasing such material were helping to contribute to this. However, an accidental download of such a thing does not contribute in any material way to it whatsoever and in most cases, such as we see here, is completely accidental. There are serious problems with this. This is like arresting a person for seeing a blank sheet of paper on a sidewalk, picking it up and noticing that on the other side there was child porn, since they had simply picked it up and held it. The notion is so outrageous and this is exactly what is going on here. This has nothing to do about protecting children and these prosecutions are not protecting children. That is NOT what this dragnet is about. They are NOT protecting children but they are attacking and destroying the lives of completely innocent people. In fact, many childrens lives have already been destroyed because they took a picture of themselves and simply had the picture on their cell phone. This is about thought control and precrime, because by accidentily downloading this, no one anywhere has been harmed, all it is a copy of bits. Really, this massive abuse of the law needs to stop.

  • Re:Call the cops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Collapsing Empire ( 1268240 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:50PM (#30335832) Journal

    The law makes no distinction if the child porn you possess was obtained accidentally or intentionally.

    Its just like buying a used car from a drug dealer and going across a border checkpoint.. The sniffing dogs smell some dope that got stashed underneath the seat and YOU are the one who gets put in prison.

    I'm not a libertarian but even I can see how utterly broke and immoral the system has become to get to such a point.

    Calling the cops is a complete gamble. The cops will likely say "you have child porn, I am required to arrest you and charge you with possession, you can explain it to the judge".

    Best thing to do is a low-level multi-pass format, or a new HD. But that is if you *know* that you downloaded CP. If you don't know, cops may bust down your door some months later, seize your computer, then charge you once they find a thumbnail in some cache folder that was deleted 4 months ago.

  • The FBI is lying. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:51PM (#30335836) Journal

    The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately

    There is NO requirement to "call the authorities". Delete it, preferably with a file shredder that opens up the file, overwrites each block with random bytes, closes the file, flushes the cache, THEN deletes the file. "Nothing to see here." Their "l33t toolz" (which are really just some perl scripts) won't recover it.

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:51PM (#30335842)

    Simply deleting a file doesn't remove the bits from the drive.

  • Re:Call the cops (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:54PM (#30335874)

    The cops are not your friends. If you accidentally downloaded child pornography, then you downloaded child pornography and you are in possession of child pornography. Intention doesn't matter, as can clearly be seen in this story. If you then call the cops, then you're basically confessing. Do not do it.

  • by LSD-OBS ( 183415 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:55PM (#30335888)

    If images of child porn are so evil, how about entire MOVIES about genocide!

  • by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:56PM (#30335894)

    Indeed. Child porn is one of the few, if only, criminal act that is illegal to even SEE in picture. You can see pictures of murder, you can see pictures of people breaking into buildings, you can even watch movie into this stuff, but the second it's a naked child BAM you're a criminal. Hell, some people might even look it up not because they're a sick kiddie fiddler but because because they're just curious to what something like that would look like... and that isn't so strange, given how casually shock pornography is pasted everywhere, I mean, even goatse is something people just casually laugh about nowadays.

  • by surferx0 ( 1206364 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:56PM (#30335900)

    Do you really forget accidental child porn on your hdd for a year ? If you do "forget it there", you belong where law says you should be at. Every normal person would delete the file after opening it.

    He did delete it, it even says so in the summary, as well as the article. The FBI did a forensic data recovery of the hard drive to find the deleted file from a year ago. I don't know where you got "forgotten it there" from as that phrase is not even written anywhere in the summary or the article.

  • Re:Public Defender (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:59PM (#30335956)

    Matt is pleading guilty on the advice of his public defender in hopes of getting a three and a half year sentence.

    In other words, he doesn't have the money to actually fight this.

    Many public defenders are lawyers called upon by the courts and they're not making the billable hours they need by doing it. So, the quicker they get rid of the case the more apt they are to get back to business.

    Regardless of what happens now. The kid's life is over. His name is all over the place and employers who do any sort of background check will find this.

    He will have to spend the rest of his life on some sort of public aid. He may become a bitter angry person that cannot contribute to society even if he wants to contribute. What a goddamn waste.

  • Orwellian... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jburton71 ( 1137291 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:00PM (#30335958)
    Just another example of the prophecy of 1984. If anyone thinks that this sort of activity will diminish in the future then they are just kidding themselves. It will get worse, much worse. Big Brother wants to know what you are doing, where you are doing it, when you are doing, and even why you are doing it - at all times. As other posters have said - destroy the drive if you ever THINK you might have accidentally downloaded ANYTHING that your respective Government considers illegal. Preferably with acid, although a sledge hammer would do nicely.
  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmytheNO@SPAMjwsmythe.com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:06PM (#30336012) Homepage Journal

        But, over two year and at least one or two defrags (I'd hope), the data would have been overwritten and unrecoverable.

        I'd suspect that it wasn't just one file that was old. The FBI doesn't just show up to random people's houses to look for child porn. They had a lead, which I'm sure was more substantial. To get the search warrant, they had to prove probable cause to the judge. That warrant has to be specific to what they are searching for. It wasn't just a blanket "we think he's bad, we're going to find why". Nor was it "he downloaded College Girls Gone Wild 99.wmv, we want a warrant".

        They don't talk about the specifics of what they already had on him. I'm sure it was relevant though. It definitely wasn't a courtesy check for kiddie porn. By the time they show up and start asking questions, they already have a case, they're just completing their investigation.

        The sheriff's department showed up to my ex-mother-in-law's house a couple years ago. They wanted to search her computer, along with any other computer in the house. They took her computer, and brought it back a few days later. The case was, she had a tenant in her spare room. He had used her computer. They already had a list of things which is what brought them there. Unfortunately, she didn't know about the pending investigation, and I was there between the time they knew there was a problem and the time they showed up to investigate. While I was there, she was complaining that her computer was slow. I did a sweep for malware, cleared the browser cache and history, and defragged the drive. I don't know that there was anything to find. I told the investigator exactly what I had done. They weren't able to recover anything related to the case, because it was now clean. The most they found was my searches for flight times and weather reports, and items related to her work, all of which happened after I cleaned the machine up. I didn't notice anything while I was cleaning, but I also wasn't looking for tracks of kiddie porn.

  • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:07PM (#30336016)

    This is were the Internet shows its evil side.

    There was no internet in 1692.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials [wikipedia.org]

    No, this is where HUMANITY shows its evil side.

  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:09PM (#30336034) Homepage Journal
    My post [slashdot.org] below is relevant to your interests.

    The FBI malware is invisible until it causes your wipe to fail (pay particular attention to wiping the recycle bin, even if there's nothing in it). In that case, the best solution for a failed wipe is to format and then wipe the entire drive.

    As others have wisely noted, calling the FBI would be a bad idea. Those bust-hungry thugs would interrogate you and then twist your words into a confession of guilt before making a media circus of the whole thing. You'd think they'd be busy with real crime.
  • by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:10PM (#30336046)
    Depends where and the jury. If the guy was married and dling regular old porn and lived in a bible belt. There is a high chance the jury will ping the guy with guilty because of moral outrage alone. Juries are there to decide how guilty someone is, often that extends beyond what they happen to be guilty of.
  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:16PM (#30336128)

    Do you really forget accidental child porn on your hdd for a year ? If you do "forget it there", you belong where law says you should be at. Every normal person would delete the file after opening it.


    This was accidental, according to White, and he quickly deleted the images.

    Not a new low for slashdot, but still depressing that people can't even finish reading a sentence they have begun to read. Even worse, you actually read the FA to get that "forget" part of your post. Maybe you just skip randomly around.

    It's bad enough that viewing child porn can throw you in prison for 20 years when most who view aren't interested in making it, which is the real crime. But even the FBI says he couldn't have accssed these pictures easily. For that we trade his tax paying job for a tax paid term in prison which will also make it hard for him to pay as much in taxes afterwards. Then there's the ridiculous cost of this investigation.

    Whheeee ... the modern police state, where you can be arrested for anything at any time, regardless of how stupid it is.

  • Re:do the math (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:17PM (#30336138)

    Hmmm. How about using a virtual machine to watch porn then? One that resets every time you use it?

    I'm being serious.

  • by Em Ellel ( 523581 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:20PM (#30336172)

    As much as I think child porn is bad (including possession), I think US law, for better or for worse, is built upon giving individual rights to protect themselves from self-incrimination, otherwise the legal system can run amok - as evidenced by this case (if we choose to believe the guy).

    So I kinda like the Neal Stephenson approach of having a strong magnetic field in the door frame wipe any drive passing through it. Surely in this day and age of portable electronics it may cause some issues, but not unresolvable ones ;-)

  • Re:Bad Ideas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _LORAX_ ( 4790 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:22PM (#30336178) Homepage

    Not really.

    In the UK possession of a firearm is a crime. He found a shotgun, held on to it for 24 hours, called the police but didn't tell them what he was bringing in, took public transportation with a loaded shotgun, showed up at the station, and plonked an illegal weapon on the front desk. He was an idiot and he will probably face some jail time for his ineptitude. He should have left the crime scene undisturbed and called the police. The UK police have dealt with other situations and even had citizens take possession of firearms when they were in dangerous locations ( playground ) and there were no charges in those cases.

  • by teg ( 97890 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:24PM (#30336188) Homepage

    Indeed - there's a few studies that show that excessive prison sentences don't act as a deterrent. Only increasing the likelihood you get caught does.

    Also, for the worst crime - murder - neither is much of a deterrent. The murder rate is low here in Norway., but almost all of the ones which do happen are done by mentally unstable people - e.g. during or after a breakup, or when just plain mentally ill. For these, there is rarely any calculation at all where either the length of the sentence or the chance of getting caught (almost 100%) are considered.

  • by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:25PM (#30336198)

    Who runs (most of) the high schools?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:25PM (#30336202)

    There's a good way to avoid this - don't live in the Bible Belt. Note that the jury will be morally outraged by his downloading porn, then go home and fap to it themselves. The South is one of the largest consumers of paid online porn sites in the US; one wonders if that's not because they are too fucking stupid to get it for free...

  • by DrBuzzo ( 913503 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:31PM (#30336260) Homepage
    Interesting that they would suddenly come by his house two years or more later. How exactly did this happen? They somehow managed to sniff all the traffic on a major filing sharing network, then they found the IP's of everyone who had downloaded a certain file and then they just sat on it for two years before going after someone who had downloaded it? First of all, that's bullshit to go after someone who downloaded it once, when they really should be going after the producers and the distributes of this stuff. On a p2p network, mislabeled stuff always is going to lead to mistaken downloads. If someone downloads this stuff several times and shares for long periods of time, that indicates that they actually are into this shit and not just some poor sap who's cruising the net for some regular porn.

    Secondly, if this is their typical method of going after people, it assures that they will ONLY catch the casual browser and never catch the actual distributes or even producers of this stuff. Anyone who is a habitual cyber criminal is going to know better than to keep stuff like that on an unsecure hard-drive for any period of time. They'll likely securely delete and wipe their drives regularly. These idiots were so completely out of it that they thought it was a good idea to suddenly consider it urgent to go after someone who once did something two years ago and has apparently not done so since?

    Well, if there was any chance that I'd ever report anything I saw online to the FBI, it's now gone. If I were to download a RAR file that was supposed to contain a service pack update and I find it's full of illegal images, complete with the address and phone number of the person who produced them, I probably would have, at one time, turned it over to authorities. Now, there's no way I would. I'd go get a new hard drive and take an acetylene torch to the old one
  • by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:33PM (#30336276)

    The true moral of the story, is quit breaking the fucking law, and if you see someone else breaking the law (like distributing child porn) fucking tell someone. Do those two things and you'll be fine unless someone decides to railroad you. Then you could be screwed, but your record will be your best defense.

    In the land of many laws we are all lawbreakers.

  • by Nephaestous ( 594737 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:34PM (#30336280)

    Well of course, we latin americans are basically evil. We will do anything for money, as opposed to the pure and pious white people who do each other no harm.

    And they dare to say racism is over in the US. Thank god I don't live there.

  • Re:FBI bait? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by berzerke ( 319205 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:41PM (#30336348) Homepage
    Yes, but the US government is a "do as I say, not as I do" government and is either immune to or ignores their own laws. I remember reading somewhere that the largest distributor of child porn is the US government - they use it as bait.
  • Unfortunately, when there's secret laws, and so many laws that lawyers have to specialize in small sections of the law, and still get it wrong, it's impossible to be a law-abiding citizen.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:52PM (#30336466)

    It's bad enough that viewing child porn can throw you in prison for 20 years when most who view aren't interested in making it, which is the real crime.

    By viewing you are creating a demand for it which someone will fill.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:52PM (#30336478)
    > As others have wisely noted, calling the FBI would be a bad idea.
    > You'd think they'd be busy with real crime.

    From the article: "The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately. They may confiscate your computer, but it's better than the alternative."

    They want free PCs. That's why some of them placing baits everywhere. I bet they don't even know the context the images were viewed.

    If this guy was really someone with a child porn habit the FBI would likely have found:

    a) a big collection of child porn
    b) encrypted drive(s)
    c) nothing

    If they only managed to find ONE deleted image, this guy is definitely not someone who views child porn.

    It's bullshit to send people like him to jail for decades.

    posted anonymous because I don't want to be linked with anything to do with child porn even linked to talking about it.
  • Re:Public Defender (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:54PM (#30336502) Homepage Journal
    How would they discover that the malware phones home to FBI agents? You think the malware just sends all its data to fbi.gov? Any foreigners who are in the know would most likely be cooperating law enforcement who aren't going to run around and tell every crook on the net.
  • by greenbird ( 859670 ) * on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:58PM (#30336542)

    Fire the lawyer. No jury will convict.

    They almost certainly would. The prosecutor just has to make it clear that the only relevant fact is that he did download the images. It's completely irrelevant to his guilt or innocence that he immediately deleted the images. These laws leave absolutely no wiggle room with regards to intent.

  • Re:the real lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:05PM (#30336614)
    Since warrants are easy to get, the correct response is to press a button mounted near your doorknob that initiates the thermite destruction of all your drives, which are of course encrypted.
  • So let ordinary citizens defend people who can't afford lawyers and who are getting screwed over by public defenders.

    If you have the legal right to represent yourself even though you're not a lawyer, why don't you have the legal right to have another non-lawyer who you have more confidence in represent you?

    I've gone up against experienced lawyers (including the government 3 times) at least half a dozen times - I've won every time. From my experience, most lawyers don't even know all that much law. They just know how to draft and file motions with the right words, and how to navigate the court system. It's not that hard, there are already too many lawyers, and we need to get these blood-sucking ticks out of the legal system if we want justice instead of "the law."

  • Absolutely.

    If you're innocent and your lawyer says "cop a plea" your next words should always be "you're fired". Same with any plea bargain. Don't even consider it. You don't know what society is going to be like in 20 years - maybe that innocent plea bargain will make you eligible for compulsory military service or organ donation. Stranger things have happened.

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:18PM (#30336740) Journal

    > I'd suspect that it wasn't just one file that was old. The FBI doesn't just show up to random people's houses to look for child porn.

    They don't. But they can show up when people click on bait links that the FBI themselves plant:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-9899151-38.html [cnet.com]

    So Mr Smythe one day accidentally clicks and downloads a child porn image. He deletes it.

    Then maybe a year later, Mr Smythe is looking for porn, and clicks on various links, and by mistake (or curiosity) clicks on "Minors having sex".

    And the next day the FBI kick down his door, and search his computer for child porn.

    They find nothing, except one _deleted_ child porn image.

    From the article - the FBI won't provide any files: "The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images."

    Think that can't happen? Why not? The "Justice System" has been merrily charging children for "distributing child porn" when they consensually send each other nude pics of themselves.

    They love to say they are protecting the children. But it's clearly a lie!

    How can you say you are protecting children when you are charging _children_, threatening them with decades in prison and actually sending some of them to prison for _consensual_[1] sex.

    Which do you think will scar the child more and for longer? Being "touched" by the Government or being touched by the average pervert?

    [1] How do you think you would feel if you were a 14 year old girl, have a 17 year old boyfriend, and you two have sex a few times (hey it feels good right?) and then sometime later, the cops take him away and The Government sends him to prison for a few decades and everyone says bad things about him and that he did a very bad thing to you. So who is scarring who for life here? If it was clearly consensual, maybe just let the minor decide whether it was rape or not, when the minor achieves legal adulthood.

  • Re:Call the cops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:19PM (#30336754) Journal

    Innocent people are more likely to be flustered, etc., when confronted with allegations of a crime.

    They'll act guilty, whereas the true crook will look you right in the eye and lie. He or she has nothing to lose by lying.

    The old story of "liars can't look you straight in the eye" is a lie. Crooks do it all the time. An honest person would be ashamed tha people would even *think* that they did something wrong, which is why they act in ways that pop psychology says "they're acting guilty."

    "No warrant, no entry. I have nothing to hide, but I do value my privacy, and you should be spending your time catching crooks, not trying to weasel around the law like a crook. Have a nice day."

  • by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:21PM (#30336768) Journal

    The true moral of the story, is quit breaking the fucking law, and if you see someone else breaking the law (like distributing child porn) fucking tell someone. Do those two things and you'll be fine unless someone decides to railroad you. Then you could be screwed, but your record will be your best defense.

    The problem is that we have so many laws, and even the most innocent thing can bring down the law. We had a case here with a roadside coffee stand on a farm. The law says you can operate a concession incidental to the farming use. Well, the way the economy tanked, the farm quit making any money. In the meantime, the coffee shop is still selling lattes, and pretty soon, it's the major money maker for these folks. OOOOPS! Here comes the law, they have a "nonconforming business use" and have to get laywers to keep from getting fined, shut down, have liens put on their property, all because their farm income went into the crapper.

    Another case: A guy builds a model railroad, one of those that you can ride on, where the cars are about 12" high. He gives rides to neighbors and such. OOOPS! The state comes down on him for having an illegal amusement park. All because he wanted to share his hobby with his friends. And they actually made him dismantle the whole thing.

    So, do you have any hobbies? Any side income? Do you do anything at all? Then you're probably breaking the law.

  • by pipatron ( 966506 ) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:25PM (#30336812) Homepage

    posted anonymous because I don't want to be linked with anything to do with child porn even linked to talking about it.

    Thoughtcrime, anyone?

  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:26PM (#30336826) Homepage

    Get a different lawyer.

    Because we don't have nearly enough people in prison that we have to start going after the truly marginal cases like this one. If the FBI could recover the files, then they could also recover the fact they were old and the kid tried to delete them.

    There are two cases the law needs to change to consider:

    - Something truly accidental, like this case. Or some malware infection that tracks it in. Intent has to figure into the equation somewhere.

    - Sexting where teens are sending photos of themselves.

    Those cases weren't envisioned when the laws were drafted and putting these kinds of people on a sex offender registry dilutes the effectiveness and intent of that tool. This and that stupid law that says if you tap into an unencrypted wifi spot you're breaking the law. Insanity.

  • by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:28PM (#30336846)

    Yes, but at what point do we stop with all this overreaching by authorities and say "F- you, get out of my life and back off with the BS laws"? How long do we keep tolerating this, and how far do we let it go?

    The worst part is the attitude of the FBI here ... not "gee the system is fscked", but just "hand yourself in to the nearest authorities if this happens to you, you guilty citizen". Ridiculous ... if I'm not harming anyone, then nobody has any business what bits lie in the deleted areas of my hard disk, least of all some useless morons who happen to be employed by government.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:29PM (#30336852)

    If you make possession of it painfully illegal then that *will* cut down on production of it because demand for it will be reduced.

    Really? How is that "War on Drugs" working out for you? I hear USA has the highest percentage per capita of jailed individuals in the world, many in for-profit private prisons and most for drug-related offences. I assume drugs are therefore next to impossible to obtain there, no?

    This is precisely such moronic "logic" as you have presented, main purpose of which is diversion of money and power to the "holy crusaders", elimination of civil liberties to enable the witch-hunters to operate "efficiently" ... and creation of ever-more-profitable and violent black market, which is used to justify this spiral of insanity.

  • by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:35PM (#30336922)

    Bull, that is only true if you are purchasing it ... and if you post an ad saying you'll pay for it. Viewing it in your own home does absolutely jack shit to anyone or anything. A crime must have a victim, period.

  • by pipatron ( 966506 ) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:45PM (#30337014) Homepage

    By viewing you are creating a demand for it which someone will fill.

    Citation needed. This fact would make RIAA and MPAA dancing of joy. By just downloading all pirated movies and music from the net, you would help them with an incentive to create more products.

    I don't believe this is true, at all. I can't remember where I read it, maybe it was on wikileaks, but some IT admin in the "child porn" business explained a bit that most of the real abuse cases are just from sick parents. The abuse is their main driving force of doing it.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:48PM (#30337044)

    She had previously mentioned a gateway theory, ie. that less access to child porn results in fewer child molesters,

    This "theory" has pretty similar validity to that of the "phlogiston theory".

    If it were true, images of all kinds would promote all sorts of other behaviours. Vanilla porn would cause wide-spread rape. Images of murder, warfare, terrorism etc (all which appear hourly on TV and are watched by hundreds of millions of people) would lead to daily rampages of thousands of axe wielding murderers running through the streets of any country with large cable TV reach like, say, Canada. Murderers competing with thousands of bomb-totting terrorists, followed shortly by whole armies of home-grown para-military-militias fighting each other ... and on and on.

    The truth is much simpler: as someone pointed out on this thread, "fighting" child molestation is a sure-fire short-cut to political power as mentioning it has the apparent effect of completely disabling higher brain functions in majority of the populace, and its no different than any other drummed-up bogeyman of the days past used for this purpose by truly evil charlatans, like fifth-column Communists, witches, demonic possession etc and so on.

    She pointed out that the ample psychological harm caused by kid rape is compounded by the victim's awareness that depictions of the act are being spread and "enjoyed." What's your take on this?

    Total bullshit. Children age and become adults and the simple fact is that human brain's facilities for facial recognition are insufficient to maintain recognition without any other circumstantial links (research shows that we recognize our old acquaintances based on other cues such as a series of contextual memories across time). This is why police has to use computers to "age" photos of children gone missing for more than a few years - people simply cannot recognize them. And if you cannot be recognized, any claims of "compounded harm" are simply a result of suggestions of the "holy warriors" and "therapists" whose business is to ensure that any and all claims are suitably exaggerated, logic and empirical evidence be damned.

  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:49PM (#30337052) Homepage

    And frankly, and I say this as Democrat, Huckabee's decision wasn't wrong. 100+ years for the crimes was crazy. Even letting him out via parole wasn't unreasonable.

    He then apparently went crazy. Actual mental illness, which he didn't have any sign of when they were letting him out.

    The point he should been locked up is when he ended up in police custody again a while back. It would have been nice if someone had noticed he was batshit insane at that time, held a competency hearing, and locked him up on that while he was helped.

    But we stopped caring about the mentally ill in this society a while back.

  • Re:Call the cops (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:49PM (#30337056) Homepage

    Yup... The SPs/MPs will happily do a free sniff of your recently purchased used car. Can't beat a good training opportunity.

    And if their free sniff finds some hidden drugs, what then? Will the congratulate you on your honest, or arrest you for possession of illegal drugs? Hopefully the former, but do you want to bet the next N years of your life on that?

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:52PM (#30337078) Journal

    How about curiosity?

    There were lots of people who received email with attached encrypted zipfiles containing malware ( http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,39147909,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk] ), and would enter the included passwords to access and run them. Some even feel a sort of compulsion to do it.

    Then there's the case of "Traci Lords". She was a porn star who lied about her age and appeared in porn films and even Penthouse magazine when she was 15. So guess how many people might possess child porn unknowingly? Apparently those pictures and films are considered child porn by US laws.

    Also think before you google for "Traci Lords" or similar stuff. Nowadays it is common for Google to automatically include pics as part of search results. I wonder how accurate the filters are at excluding stuff that is legally considered child porn in jurisdictions that you might wander into one day.

    Do you feel lucky?

  • Re:the real lesson (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:16PM (#30337306)

    Absolutely. If asked, say no. If they have a warrant, they won't ask.

    In general, ALWAYS politely but firmly refuse to be searched. If they have a warrant, they won't ask.

    NEVER talk to the police. It's just giving them evidence. Even if you are innocent, or believe you are innocent. They are, by definition, looking for a way to charge someone, including you.

    If you are arrested, keep your mouth shut. Tell the police you are exercising your right to remain silent, and that you want a lawyer. NEVER resist. Follow instructions and go quietly and contact a lawyer ASAP.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:19PM (#30337318) Journal

    That is why I always have East Tec Eraser [east-tec.com]. Hell this is the Internet, you never know when some maladjusted troll is gonna pull some sick shit thinking it is his version of a Rickroll. I'd love to see them recover something I deleted with East Tec, since it does a 7 times random wipe as standard and even wipes the free space is you so desire.

    That said TFA sounds fishy to me. Either the guy has a lot more shit on there than TFA, his lawyer sucks balls, or he is an idiot. I know that when a friend of mine got drug into some bullshit thanks to his vicious bitch ex-wife (who got the 15 year old stepdaughter to say he grabbed her tits in return for promises of a car) it cost him a $100,000 home that had been in his family 3 generations to clear his name, even though the bitch kept changing stories and even the cops thought she was lying, so sadly this poor bastard may be going to jail simply because he doesn't have enough money to fight. In most places the "public pretenders" are a joke, and will tell you to plead guilty to anything rather than have to deal with a trial, at least that is the way it is around here.

    Welcome to America, where deleted images can land you in prison and where there isn't any justice without $$$$. I'm just glad my grandfather who fought in WW2 against evil fascist shit isn't around anymore to see how far we have fallen. Hell you could probably power the entire south with the revolutions that man is turning in his grave.

  • by jmcvetta ( 153563 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:31PM (#30337424)

    One does not need to be any sort of anarchist to question whether or not it is a good thing that we have this particular "justice" system.

    A coherent, non-corrupt, and temperate systems of laws and their enforcement is, to my thinking, an obvious public good. Today's American legal system does not meet these basic criteria.

    Our laws retain considerable internal coherence; but so many and various legal fictions have a accreted in the system that it has lost touch with external reality. The question of corruption is less clear, tho there is strong evidence that financial interest of the prison-industrial complex fuels the demand for more "crimes" and more "criminals" to fill prisons. Most disturbingly, the US law enforcement system seems to have thrown overboard any vestige of temperance, moderation, or concern for justice.

    Thus the social utility of our legal system is rapidly declining. In some areas of the law it may already have reached a negative level of utility. It no longer serves the public interest.

    We must beware of misleading questions like "isn't our legal system better than nothing?" The obvious alternative to injustice is not anarchy, but justice. Civil society must use its budgetary control over the law enforcement apparatus to reign in abusive prosecution. The police and prosecutors must be reminded that they are paid by the taxpayers to serve the interest of the community, not the interests of their caste and industry.

  • Re:Call the FBI? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dougmc ( 70836 ) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:34PM (#30337452) Homepage
    God, calling the authorities is the WORST thing you could do.

    First, they're going to take your computer and scour it with a fine tooth comb. Anything else that's illegal, they're going to nail you for. Got any other porn? Let's hope it's all GILF porn, because if somebody even *looks* that they might be under 18, they're going to try to nail you with it. Even if it's deleted. Perhaps *especially* if it's deleted. And they may try to nail you with your normal porn -- after all, it could be obscene. Got any emails where a friend mentions smoking a joint? Now they have cause to harass him.

    And that assumes that they believe that it was an accident that you downloaded this. If they don't believe you, they'll nail you, and use your confession against you. (Yes, it's a confession. You also consented to their search.)

    Even if they believe you and don't find anything else, you may never get your computer back. Or if you do, the drive may be wiped bit by bit -- after all, they can't give you the child porn back.

    Seems to me the best thing to do is to delete it with something that overwrites every bit, like shred. And move on with your life. If the police do show up down the road, ask for their search warrant. If they don't have one, send them away. In any case, don't answer *any* questions beyond your name until you've talked to your lawyer. "Were you using your computer the night of Jan 12th?" "Um, I have nothing to say to you until I've spoken with my lawyer".

    And if they do show up, get a lawyer. And if Matthew White's public defender is suggesting that he plead guilty (and there's not more to the story), MATTHEW WHITE NEEDS TO GET A BETTER LAWYER! Put himself into debt for years if he has to, but it's far better than getting convicted for this crap.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:52PM (#30337594)

    14 year olds are too young to be having sex, whether they think it is fair or not.

    "Old enough to bleed, old enough to breed."

    Is it healthy? No. Is it a good thing? Depends who you ask. Was it common practice in "olden times", even in the bible for people to start having sex as soon as they grew some peach fuzz? Of course. Do people nowadays legally have consensual sex with minors (in what we consider to be third-world countries)? Absolutely.

    I'm not supporting underage promiscuity, I'm simply saying that biologically, these kids are ready to rock and roll, and the only thing keeping them from doing so is protection of society/civilization. Their hormones are screaming "go for it!", while their parents tell them not to. Sometimes nature wins, sometimes nurture.

    Posted anonymously to prevent the insane amounts of hate spam I'll get for simply stating anatomic and physiologic facts.

  • by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:54PM (#30337626) Journal

    I wonder how many women would survive?

    Depends. If the women were armed, most or all of them would probably survive. Their abusive husbands/boyfriends might not though. If both are armed, at least the woman has a fighting chance. If he's drunk and she's sober, my money is on the woman.

    Gun control leaves women more vulnerable than ever. My wife is 5 feet tall and just over 100 lbs. (152cm, 47 kilos for the metric-oriented here). I am a foot taller, and close to twice her weight. I am much faster and stronger. If she were unarmed and I (or someone my size) were to attack her, there is damn little she could do about it.

    A firearm is a great equalizer. A small 9mm pistol takes down an attacker the same way whether it is fired by a little old lady or a weight lifter. No offense, but Portugal's drunk wifebeaters might be less of a problem if your country didn't prevent the women from fighting back effectively.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:58PM (#30337668)

    The fact that they already have the truth, and are in denial.

  • by way2slo ( 151122 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:59PM (#30337678) Journal

    Just get a new HD. Why risk _everything_ when you can be in the free and clear for a very well spent $100 and a few hours re-install. You think that guy wouldn't pay $10,000 now to make all his troubles disappear??

    It's the unforgivable crime. If that stuff winds up on your drive, smash it, then toss it, and get a new one. Tell whoever that the HD died and you need a new one. Even if you have to put it on a charge card or borrow the money. Don't even mess around with shredders or wipe programs. Why take any chance at all??

  • by StarsAreAlsoFire ( 738726 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:01PM (#30337702)

    -- Or Bernie Madoff, who stole BILLIONS of dollars - wiping out whole families, I suppose he should just get a slap on the wrist eh?

    No, he should be forced to work until he dies, paying as much as can possibly be paid back to the people he swindled. This works better than us paying 40+K a year to keep him in prison.

    -- The point of prison has never been to punish the prisoner.
    It may not have that effect, but the ultimate *stated* point of non-life prison sentences is punishment and deterrent.

    -- The only real purpose of prison is to remove the people who harm society from the society they harm.
    If this were the case there would only be life-sentences. Removing an individual from society for a few years (at a cost ~40K a year) does *provably* far more harm than good, if you're only consideration is 'getting the off the streets'. Remember, that 40k does not include the benefit of having a productive member of society in jail. And most people who end up in jail for a year or so are generally not jobless, and almost certainly aren't jobless *and* stealing/doing 40K or so worth of damage/theft per year while out of prison.

    -- So repeat after me
    What a disturbing phrase.

    The reason our sentencing laws are so draconian is because too many people ignore them, and have never stopped to consider what would happen to their life if they spent even one week in jail on charge to which they'd been found guilty. A significant percentage of Americans would find that they'd been fired, can't get hired at a similar job, their credit has been affected, and that it's all legal. So they can't make their mortgage, can't pay their debt etc etc. Extrapolate the curve.

    Prisons exist in America as they are today because we've allowed the prison industry to become profitable. The regulations now exist to serve the private prison industry, because the only industry that pays any attention to the prison system is the private prison industry. It is *NOT* that we don't have regulations in place. It is that normal Americans just aren't paying attention - as we are wont to do - and a capitalist response has filled the vacuum. I'm not against capitalism in any way, I'm just stating a fact. Also, I'm blaming 'us', the citizens who are not paying attention, not the corporations - despite the fact that I think every company I've every looked into which makes money off of prisons is disgusting.

    I will admit that the advertising seen whenever a major prison bill comes up always appeals to exactly your viewpoint. The advertising paid for by the prison industry, that is.

    To summarize:
    Prisons and draconian sentencing laws exist because of a desire for profits.
    The conditions which have allowed industry to add even more stupidly long sentencing has been, in order.
    - Citizen apathy.
    - A general lack of empathy in our society - we rarely attempt to 'put ourselves in their place' before making snap judgments, which we then stick to.
    - Voter ignorance, combined with.
    -- appeals to fear (get them off my streets!)
    -- appeals to vengeance (Punish those bastards! See second point also).
    -- 'not my problem', or worse
    -- 'MAKE THIS not my problem'.

    I specify vengeance, not punishment or 'justice'. Nobody screams 'Punish them!' unless that which they truly desire is vengeance.

    It is really easy to tell if you are punishing someone or are extracting vengeance: if you feel good about it, it's vengeance. Try punishing a three year old for trying to start across a street without looking if you don't believe me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:15PM (#30337838)

    Dude, you are my hero.

    Most people with a life or a job, don't want jury duty. I was a full-time employee once, and I *wanted* to do my jury duty to see what it was like, but my employer said they wouldn't pay me for that time. Which means outside of the rare exceptions like yourself, the jury is mostly filled with people with nothing better to do, or who couldn't get out of it. Not exactly a jury of your peers.

    But this raises an interesting question in our justice system. If a judge instructs the jury to *only* decide yes or no, whether or not the defendant broke this statute, therefore he is guilty, or whether the jury has any room to consider the validity of that statue to begin with, or extenuating circumstances that alleviate his responsibility, even if the statue was broken. I assumed the jury had that latitude in determining a verdict.

    I was watching a policy discussion from the Cato Institute concerning three strikes. A two-time felon was replacing his carpet, and found an old bullet underneath, and set it on his dresser. The police asked to enter for suspicion of an unrelated charge, found the bullet, and he got like 20 years for mandatory minimums on his 3rd strike for possession of the bullet. No guns or boxes of ammo, just a single bullet he found under his carpet.


  • Re:the real lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:34PM (#30338004) Journal
    and when you get out you are not on the kiddie fiddler list so you at least have a chance of having a life off public assistance.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zspdude ( 531908 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:35PM (#30338010) Homepage

    Even if he had downloaded the images to look at - what harm would it have caused? He didn't ruin some girls life by looking at pictures that already exist.

    He didn't ruin the life of the specific girl in the photos. But he incremented the download counter, giving that much more encouragement to the suppliers, letting them know the market was at least one person greater than otherwise.

    Maybe after downloading, he was in a conversation where the subject came up and he didn't feel justified in saying, "It's wrong". And so there was one less conversation where it was discouraged. If he justifies it to his own self, the same justification he feels will leak out, just as all the other aspects of his person come through to other people.

    All of this adds up to the ruining of the life of a girl - not in the past - but in the future. The next girl.

    My comment is hypothetical, because this gent was railroaded, but there exists another fellow for who this does apply. On a macro level, the dynamic holds true. The harm done is that evil propagates itself, and it is worse when it does so in subtle, unquantifiable, yet undeniably real fashion.

    What is the justification for (knowingly) having it, and not destroying it? In this case he did destroy it (pay the man respect), and that is why everyone is upset.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:38PM (#30338044) Journal

    Possession of photos or videos (like Brooke Shields' Pretty Baby) shouldn't even be considered a crime. Whoever CREATED the image should go to jail, because he/she directly injured a minor, but not the possessor who did not harm anyone.

    "The War on Images" is as insane as the War on Drugs..... except even dumber. It's reached the point where you can even draw *cartoons* of children having sex or masturbating (think Japanese hentai/anime). Where's the victim in that case? No where.

  • by WCguru42 ( 1268530 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:48PM (#30338122)

    If images of child porn are so evil, how about entire MOVIES about genocide!

    You haven't heard, sex is much, much worse than violence. People weren't truly up in arms about Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas until Hot Coffee came out. Before that it was simple mutterings of violence is bad.

  • Win,Win,Win (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:48PM (#30338124)

    What a victory for the tax payer. First we have the thrill of supporting some lard assed FBI personnel. Then we have the joy of paying for a trial as well as the prosecutor's time. And then for the next wonderful thrill we get to pay a huge sum to put this poor guy in prison! And then we get the absolute joy have having him on a sex offenders' list so that he will not be employable or able to get housing for the rest of his life which will trigger welfare and public support until the poor schmuck is dead.
                          So the guy gets his entire life trashed and the public gets a whopping expense. With a logic stream such as this one the people behind this kind of law should have been in charge of the war in Vietnam. Entire new definitions of victory abound!

  • by m.ducharme ( 1082683 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:51PM (#30338142)

    [citation needed] No seriously, I googled it, and I couldn't find anything remotely resembling a credible study staying that Britain had the highest crime-rate. I found a super-popular map that put Iceland at the top, but that sounds very odd to me.

  • by holymartyr75 ( 1087377 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:53PM (#30338158)
    First of all, he was talking about Western Europe and at least according to this statistic http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita [nationmaster.com] there is not a single one of them ahead of the US, certainly not Great Britain.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:56PM (#30338178)

    They wouldn't have asked. Asking first is stupid because it could tip off the suspect that they were under investigation and they'd then have time to destroy evidence and such.

    So that they asked means they either realized they had insufficient evidence to get a warrant, or they'd already tried to get one and the judge said "No, you are fishing and I'm not signing off on it."

    The police do things like this, try to go search when they lack the evidence to get a warrant. Many people are cooperative so it works well. Happened to a friend of mine. His roommate at the time was a problem many ways, and ended up getting himself arrested. However the police thought my friend might be involved as well. So they came back and said they wanted to search the house. My friend told them to get lost, which annoyed them, but there was nothing they could do. They didn't have any probable cause that he was doing anything illegal, they'd never get a warrant, but they could ask and if he said yes they were free to go.

    It is amazing how often tricks like that work. A county attorney I know says he loves lineups. Reason? Because he asks the question "Would the guy who did it please raise his hand?" and people do! He's gotten the same person with that on more than one occasion. If crooks are willing to make it easy for the police to get them, well expect the police to take advantage.

    So if you've done nothing wrong and the police come and ask to search your house, your answer should be "No, come back with a warrant." That'll most likely be the last you see of them, they wouldn't have asked if they had probable cause for a warrant. Remember: The 4th amendment is made for protecting innocent people. If we could rely on the police to be a perfectly noble and just group who would only ever search criminals, well then we'd not need a 4th amendment. It isn't there to protect criminals. However we can't thus we have one to protect innocent people from being harassed and inconvenienced.

  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @05:07PM (#30338270)

    Oh really? Tell that to the face of the child in the image he downloaded.

    This is exactly the type of reactionary nonsense I was talking about. That emotionally-charged statement does nothing to explain why the connection between downloading an image off of limewire and the sexual abuse of a child is not tenuous.

  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @05:39PM (#30338512)

    Most juries are pretty smart - I was on one, and the few dumbasses among the jury candidates were all weeded out. They are made up of the average joe citizen and despite what you may think, you yourself ARE the average joe citizen. You are not a legal expert, but you are a reasonably intelligent person perfectly able to recognize most bullshit when you hear it.

    Also, the requirements for conviction are note "I think you dunnit", they are things like A.)Intended to possess child porn, B.)actively sought out child porn, C.)actually did keep child porn in his position for a reasonable period of time. There may be more for child porn, but those are similar to the types of requirements for the felony theft case I sat on.

    Furthermore, the judge makes it very clear that you must believe each one of those criteria beyond a reasonable doubt. That's not "I'm pretty sure it's true", that's "There is no reasonable alternative". It also applies to each one individually, 2 out of 3 doesn't cut it. It does not mean it is impossible for it to have happened differently, it just means there is no other reasonable alternative. If there IS an alternative, and it is reasonable, there is no option but to aquit. You may be certain he did it, but his guilt has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Last but certainly not least, jurors are definitely aware that, with the stroke of a pen they are sending a man to jail for years. You are influencing the future of a man's life with this action, and it is not taken lightly. Even a case where a guy might get off in 6 months with good behavior, it's still heavy.

    Certainly innocent people go to jail, even with all of this. Evidence can be looked at more than one way, and sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. If the truth of what happened doesn't seem possible, the defendant is in jeopardy. But the odds are stacked against this, and are system is designed to prefer letting an innocent go free than sending a guilty man to jail.

    That's why I think this guy is full of shit. If what he says is the full truth, a third grader could keep him out of prison. A lawyer, even a public defender, doesn't tell you to take a plea unless he thinks you are screwed, and he certainly wouldn't think that if all this guy did were accidentally download a kiddy porn pic. Hell if what he said were true he could go to court, plead not guilty, and just sit there the entire trial, with no representation and never saying a word and the jury would almost certainly find him not guilty.

    In fact, if that deleted download were all they had against him, the Grand Jury would not have thought there was enough evidence to go to trial, and would have told the prosecuters to go pound sand.

    That he is pleading guilty instead of defending himself, especially when there hasn't been a plea bargain, tells me that he is guilty as sin and just trying to mitigate the damage by playing the victim.

  • by Kaboom13 ( 235759 ) <.kaboom108. .at. .bellsouth.net.> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @05:50PM (#30338600)

    The presumption of innocence IS THE CORRECT ATTITUDE. Humans have an illogical tendency to jump to conclusions, presume guilt, and go on witch hunts. Presuming innocence until proven guilty by facts is the best way to stop that irrational behavior and protect the innocent. Someone who like child porn and intentionally seeks it out (and is therefore believed to be directly or indirectly a danger to children, the whole reasoning behind child porn being illegal in the first place) is not going to download one video, delete it, and never download it again. Everything about the circumstances points to his story being correct, Limewire is famous for misnamed files, and its not the first time I've heard of there being kiddie porn on it. He did not have a collection, nor did he have it even saved, it was clearly deleted. There is no evidence he distributed it, sought it, or wanted it. If there is more to this case the FBI needs to reveal it, of course they won't have to because they have used the fact the legal system is rigged in their favor in this kind of case to scare him into a plea bargain.

    I know someone who is happily married, with 2 children. Their family has a very difficult time finding a place to live. The reason? When the Father was 18, he had consensual sex with his future wife, who was 16. Her family found out and pressed statutory rape charges. As a result, he is on the sex offender list, which is especially ironic because the "punishment" now hurts the supposed victim, and her children. The state has done far more harm to her then he ever did.

    The police have no interest in justice. Every time you see a policemen, do not think he is there to protect you, or seek justice. His sole purpose is to be a crony to a politician, whether that politician is the DA, or the Mayor, or the governor, or the President. His job is to implicate as many people as possible in as many violations of the law as possible, to be used against them at his masters discretion. Every politician wants to look tough on crime, especially on pedophiles, and keep the population certain that HE is the one standing between their children and the groping hands of molesters. So the police are encouraged to round up as many people who can be labeled pedophiles as possible, and make sure the public is constantly reminded they are walking amongst them.

    Just look at this article. The FBI tells people if you download child porn accidentally, call the authorities immediately. Presumably so they can offer you a plea "bargain" like this guy for turning yourself in, and only give you 3.5 years, plus 10 years parole, and a lifetime of discrimination on the sex offenders list. It is the exact opposite of what any competent lawyer would tell you to do, which is never admit to anything, never talk to the police, never allow them in your house, car, or computer without a warrant.

  • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @06:58PM (#30339092)

    I think the only people who claim racism is over in America are the racists.

  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @07:20PM (#30339288)

    As for your wife, she could easily defeat an attacker. A screaming woman will actually stop most attackers,

    That is just plain stupid. By claiming that screaming will easily defeat an attacker, you are claiming that all the 90 thousands some odd rapes [fbi.gov] a year were not violent crimes, but in fact totally legal consensual sex. You are one sick puppy.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @07:22PM (#30339308)

    I did read his comment, which was full of outright lies. Lies like claiming that crack cocaine was eliminated due to introduction of ever more draconian laws, which is utterly laughable to anyone with even passing knowledge of the US drug scene. "Recreational drug" consumption has been steadily growing all throughout the "War on Drugs" and shows no signs of slowing down, although some morons have mis-interpreted decline in use of older types of drugs which were being replaced by newer, more potent or more fashionable ones as a "victory" resulting from their brain-dead "demand reduction" campaigns.

  • by TangoMargarine ( 1617195 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:19PM (#30340124) Journal
    We're talking about drunken husbands beating on their wives, and now you want to argue about whether it would be better if they had FIREARMS? Is this really what our society has come to?
  • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva@noSpam.gmail.com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:28PM (#30340178) Journal

    The advice to call the FBI and turn yourself in is the MOST RIDICULOUS I've seen in all that ridiculous case. They're either going to laugh at you or sue you like that poor guy. And the real advice is: never admit having done anything. Even doing something by mistake. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence.
    Remember the magic words: "I don't recall." Those words sufficed to get a few war criminals off the hook.
    McKinnon is getting the same kind of bullshit -- and it would never have happened had he not admitted doing anything wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:52PM (#30340308)

    (think Japanese hentai/anime). Where's the victim in that case

    Art? Dignity? Our humanity? ...yeah, yeah, bad taste shouldn't be a felony, etc.

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:03PM (#30340372)

    Agreed. But consider that a politician doesn't get elected by championing the rights of "child molesters". Demonize, dehumanize, standardize (lump child rapists and drunk public urinators and statutory rapists together), persecute, eradicate.

  • Death (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:31PM (#30340546)

    The best thing to do would be to have the FBI agents and Judge killed. And their families and their friends. In public. By rabid, starving dogs.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:38PM (#30340580) Journal

    >>>When the Father was 18, he had consensual sex with his future wife, who was 16. Her family found out and pressed statutory rape charges. As a result, he is on the sex offender list, which is especially ironic because the "punishment" now hurts the supposed victim, and her children.

    I hope the mother and father-in-law feel guilt for how they've ruined their own daughter's and granddaughter's lives. Not being able to find a home is the in-laws direct fault

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @11:21PM (#30340790) Homepage

    She would never get a gun, carry it around or learn to use it. Remember, many don't even try to escape, they would be too afraid that he would find out, or still "think" they're in love with them (ever listened to Better Man?), etc.
    Besides, in a small house (most of them are), she wouldn't have the space to fire a clean shot before he grabbed her.

    And there's one victim even more problematic: the kids. They get beat up too, but guns would never help them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @11:43PM (#30340892)

    That MIGHT be their Job, but it's not what they're doing- especially in this day and age. All one has to do is look on YouTube at all the taserings and other misconduct to realize that this is more true than you're apparently willing to admit to.

    What they're doing is more often than not very much akin to what the GP poster's claiming they do.

    Once you run afoul of one or more "law enforcement" officers misusing their authority for their own and the politician's agendas you'll be singing a differing story. Trust me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:00AM (#30340964)

    The problem I have with your reasoning, is that the "repercussions of the activity" seem to largely be caused by overreacting psychotics like you. So it's sort of a circular argument: underage sex is bad! Why? Because of the repercussions! Which ones? The ones that society heaps on the offenders! Why does society heap repercussions on the offenders? Because underage sex is bad! Why? Because...
    Now, of course, there are other potential repercussions, mostly disease and pregnancy, which are almost entirely mitigated if the practitioners use proper protection. Trouble is, the parents and 'concerned citizens' who are most crazy about underage sex also tend to be against teaching kids about safe sex.
    The real truth is that sexual activity, even in early adolescence, is not inherently damaging. Billions (try to claim that number is an exaggeration) of children have 'played doctor' over the years without ending up damaged from the experience. I'm sure there are some who have been damaged by the experience too, just as there are those who are damaged from climbing trees, playing hide and seek, etc. I'm also certain that the frontrunner's of those damaged by the experience are the ones caught by unsympathetic parents and traumatized, driven from their home, etc. by their parents actions.
    As for simple regret, there probably are plenty of young people who have sex before they've reached the age of consent who later regret the experience. Then again, there are plenty of people who have sex after the age of consent and regret the experience. The question to ask is, is there a higher percentage from the underage group who later regret having sex than from the of age group who later regret having sex? I would say that there probably isn't. It's the same as the driving age, in my opinion. Statistics show that 16 year old drivers are the most dangerous so people keep demanding to raise the driving age. Many people claim that it's because the minds of 16 year olds aren't developed enough and the driving age needs to be raised. Bu, in places where the driving age is 17, 17 year old drivers are the most dangerous. So forth with places where the driving age is 18, 19, 20, whatever. The thing is, 18 year old drivers are more dangerous in places where the driving age is 18 than 18 year old drivers in places where the driving age is 16. The reason is obviously because 2 years of driving experience makes people better drivers (and, yes weeds out the most dangerous drivers by killing them). The two biggest factors are practice and also the realization of ones own mortality, which are things that one gains through experience. Some people gain the wisdom to start out driving safely from reason and listening to the advice of the more experienced, but for the vast majority of people experience is not only the best, but the only teacher, and they only learn caution from close calls, or worse.
    So, the law says, you can't have the experience of sex until the age of consent, but you don't become magically able to deal with it responsibly at 12, 13, 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 (I think 21 is the highest age of consent anywhere in the world at the moment) or whatever the local government says the right age is. Just like with driving, some people may take advice and develop the necessary maturity before they start experiencing sex, but most people develop that through experience. Those whose growth is stunted through strict laws or sheltering parents generally go through all the same growing pains and problems when they're finally free as those who start early.
    In any case, this is all academic. The simple fact of the matter is that, in the US, the majority of adolescents have had full sexual intercourse before whatever the local age of consent is. Realistically speaking, a good 25% percent of the US population is guilty of statutory rape under current laws (not necessarily under the laws of the time, since they've become so much harsher and more restrictive in just the last decade).
    Anyway, you don't explain how your belief that 14 years

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:13AM (#30341014)
    "He didn't ruin the life of the specific girl in the photos. But he incremented the download counter, giving that much more encouragement to the suppliers, letting them know the market was at least one person greater than otherwise."

    On peer to peer networks, there are no meaningful download counters. Download counters do not create money for the people who produce these images. The FBI is wasting its resources looking for people who are downloading this material; they should be looking for the people who are supplying it. Get the producers, build a strong case against them, and show the world that we are putting the people who are harming kids in jail, rather than focusing on their audience while they continue to produce child pornography.
  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:03AM (#30341208)

    Those women could also choose to just walk away from those abusive husbands/boyfriends, and report them to police. Saves a lot of violence both ways. But for some reason most of them tend to say. Why that is I truly don't know nor understand.

  • by LongearedBat ( 1665481 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:09AM (#30341238)
    A peaceful little woman is unlikely to want to carry a gun around, much less use one. Would she even be capable of using it, against say, her own violent husband, when even trained soldiers in war often can't bring themsalves to shoot the enemy while under direct fire?

    A violent perpetrator is much more likely to carry a gun with him, as part of his toolset for doing nasty things.

    So much for an equaliser.
  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:25AM (#30341300)
    It's a sad day when politicians don't get praise for campaigning for the rights of American citizens.
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:11AM (#30341470) Homepage Journal

    Around 1999 when the high-volume spammers really got going, russian child porn spam was very common. The first few times I forwarded them to the FBI (at the time they had email addies on their web sites) along with the full headers of the emails, but never received any response, then I wised up and realized that actually forwarding them on could prove me guilty of possession - of something I unwillingly received. Now I don't report any kind of scams, illegal porn, or anything else that might come through as spam or I might stumble across on the web. It's not worth the risk of getting into trouble when just vainly trying to get a bureaucracy to put a stop to it at the source. (thanks to ASSP though, I don't get more than 1-2 spam messages a week so I don't even know if that kind of spam is commonplace anymore)

  • Re:No (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:16AM (#30341488)

    I agree that the guy is probably innocent, and would hate to be in that position too, but what precedent does it set to allow it? Now pedo's everywhere will get the green light to download and purge, because it gets them off the hook. I'm not saying that it's right, but that's probably where they're coming from. I'm really surprised no one has brought this side of the argument up.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @08:37AM (#30342616)
    Britan is widely held to be the highest crime rate in the western world, and the rest of Europe isnt that much better?
    Where in the world are you pulling that from?
  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @10:19AM (#30342990) Homepage

    In all 3 of those cases, its morally wrong and reprehensible of the Police/DA to charge the guy. I know this goes on but its wrong and those who so abuse the system should themselves be punished.
    1) If there is no evidence, then they shouldn't charge him - you know, perhaps he didn't do anything wrong. He evidently deleted the files and did so in a manner he couldn't access them any longer, what else is someone supposed to do?
    2) If they have a fucking quota, then let them bust people who deserve busting - or they don't deserve the funding. Why does everything in Gov't cost so damn much again? Oh right, its because people protect their personal "empire" first and foremost and do their job only secondarily much of the time.
    3) If he pissed someone off, and someone has a personal agenda they choose to pursue regardless of any legal violations, then they should be put in fucking jail themselves. If he had tons of copyrighted stuff - charge him with that, that won't leave him with the lifelong stigma of being charged for child porn. Charging him for the child porn he immediately deleted (assuming he did so), is purely vindictive, and should be heavily punished when its abused by a government official in any capacity.
    I think he ought to get the EFF to help him. While of course I haven't RTF (this is /.), this sounds like a gross miscarriage if the summary is correct at all (and at the risk of repeating myself this is /., so who knows).

  • by August_zero ( 654282 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @10:38AM (#30343074)
    Of course it isn't moral, but the problem is humans, especially humans with an agenda, are not rational beings and will bend/break rules or violate the spirit of a law (or the law itself) if they think that the ends justify the means. I highly doubt that the agents/officials that are part of the prosecution are sitting around laughing about how they sent some fat kid to the slammer for kicks, I would wager that most all of them think that what they are doing is the absolute right thing.
  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:32PM (#30345592) Journal

    I know, let's criminalise breathing oxygen. I'm sure that we can trust the police to only use the law against the "bad guys", and we can conveniently do away with the need for pesky things like evidence. And I'm sure than no innocents will be caught by having to meet their targets for catching "people who breath oxygen". If the worst comes to the worst, they can always bring in some guy who taped something off the radio, and sentence him to decades in prison!

  • by whereisjustice ( 1133753 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @07:38AM (#30351258)
    It really doesn't matter whether you downloaded something accidently, a vicious ex-wife planted it, or a cyber child porn collector stored the stuff on your computer unbeknownst to you, if someone reports to the FBI that you have child porn on your computer, you are going to jail. You'd have to have some serious cash to get out of it - I'm talking millions to hire the experts you'd need to prove you were innocent. I know what I'm talking about because my son was set up by his ex-wife during a custody battle. Despite the fact that the stuff was hidden, never accessed by his computer, downloaded at times he was working, and he didn't even have software capable of viewing the stuff if he had known it was there, a jury is not going to understand any of that, and would convict Jesus Christ after watching a couple hours of really nasty stuff. The FBI is fully aware of how easy it is to plant anything on your computer, but this is how they prove what heroes they are - they put these "child pornographers" in jail. At least that's their story. Never mind that the people they put in jail are innocent, and the real child pornographers are out there laughing their asses off at them. You are correct, there is no justice anymore.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming