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

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the do-not-pass-go dept.

The Courts 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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Anonymous Coward (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335554)

Absolutely ridiculous

Re:Anonymous Coward (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Anonymous Coward (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335752)

Get a different lawyer.

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335826)

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.

Re:Anonymous Coward (4, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335842)

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

Re:Anonymous Coward (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335960)

Yeah, the blurb says the guy did erase it. The investigators found it in a "deep" scan. Which means they just used a block editor.

FWIW, there are loads of ways you could have this happen to you. Like this for instance [consumerist.com] I recall a story where a church bought a new computer and it was full of porn too, but I can't find the story.

BTW, posting as AC to tell my story. This happened to me once and I wasn't even looking for porn. I've had two downloads through bittorrent that weren't what they claimed to be. One was a cd full of kiddie stuff claiming to be an engineering application. Terrified me! I deleted it and used bcwipe about a dozen times. [jetico.com]

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335966)

Seeing as how this is Slashdot, and cases like this are talked about and speculated on, on a regular basis, I thought what you had stated was common sense around here. Apparently I had thought wrong.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335870)

You missed the part where they said he COULDN'T EVEN ACCESS IT HIMSELF. They had to do more than just an undelete.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335872)

Did you even read the blurb? He deleted it; they recovered the deleted file.

Re:Anonymous Coward (2, Insightful)

surferx0 (1206364) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335560)

W00t!

What's a district attorney to do... (5, Insightful)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:What's a district attorney to do... (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335604)

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

Call the cops (-1, Troll)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335614)

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.

Re:Call the cops (4, Insightful)

GvG (776789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335634)

Typically, neither do people who are innocent.

Re:Call the cops (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335758)

Especially when it's just a simple mistake. You download a shite game demo. Deleted. I don't need the cops, even though I live right next to them, to come check my damn work.

Re:Call the cops (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335824)

ostensibly, they're not wanting to check your work - they're wanting to trace back where you got the child porn, so they can prosecute those people.

But yeah - no one does this. Like I want to lose my computer, and a substantial portion of my life, just because someone bundled X with Y.

Never volunteer anything to the cops (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335792)

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 (5, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Call the cops (5, Insightful)

Collapsing Empire (1268240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335832)

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.

Re:Call the cops (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

But they are allowed to do anything.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335672)

Like WTC7 collapse:

http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/wtc7.html [whatreallyhappened.com]

Warning: Will absolutely convince you WTC7 was demolished. Haven't heard about WTC7. That's because the government doesn't want you to know.
What was in WTC7? Oh, just FBI and Secret Service headquarters, with tons of evidence and email-databases suddenly "lost forever".. Lots of cases had to be dismissed because of this.

Prison Sentences (5, Interesting)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335738)

Whatever the (dis)merits of the application of the law are here you Americans really, really need to shorten your prison sentences.

Where I live (Finland), it's hard to actually be imprisoned for 20 years even if you murder someone. Sure, technically killers get lifetime sentences, but they are mostly let out after a decade or so.

And despite us technically having lots of killers and other criminals on the loose, this country is very safe. I believe the science actually says that prisons manufacture and "enhance" criminals.

Re:Prison Sentences (5, Informative)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335984)

Politics drives it. In the US, no politician dares look soft on crime. Advocating ridiculously long sentences is a quick and easy way to bolster an image. And failing to be tough is an even quicker way to end a political career. Huckabee is getting flak because one man he let out early has shot and killed 4 police officers. Type "Dukakis" into a search engine and one of the first things that shows up is Willie Horton.

Re:What's a district attorney to do... (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335864)

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.

Well the DA is part of the legal system. Of course THEY are exempt from these laws!

Call the FBI? (5, Insightful)

phase_9 (909592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335572)

"Oh HAI, I just downloaded some kiddie pron... by mistake of course you understand"
yeah, I can see that one working out well...

Re:Call the FBI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335718)

no kidding.... what the heck!
I think a better alternative would be
"If child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to smash his hard drive into little tiny pieces and buy a new one, it'll save time and money."

Are there any lawyers here? Something doesn't add up here-
If I were to accidentally speed on the highway 1mph and if the automotive computer had the capability to store it on flash, could the authorities later, long after the record of me speeding 1mph was overwritten, recover that "deep in the" flash, recover that, and charge me for it? Should I call the authorities if I accidentally speed?? If I were to accidentally smoke in a non-smoking area should I alert the authorities?
The internet is full of this child porn crap, even on legitimate sites - there's no flag or warning that comes up on adult related ads before they pop up that states "Oh by the way, this ad/image/video/whatever has child porn in it and you are screwed and should call the authorities right away.

20years for a picture (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335574)

wow...eat me you fucking nazis

Public Defender (5, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Public Defender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335606)

Yeah, and it's true justice that one should have copious amounts of cash laying around for such a rainy day scenario.

Re:Public Defender (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335880)

It's only a matter of time til companies start offering "legal insurance" ala "health insurance." loopholes, exception, and insane rates included. /i may be behind the times on this one as it is

Re:Public Defender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335720)

Poor Guy, he is screwed.

If he pleads guilty the Judge with the way public opinion is these will "throw the book" at him.

The FBI sounds like a really dodgy organisation.

There whole way of doing things seems to be about creating traps and then encouraging/assisting people to commit crimes.

Then they book the person and have the perfect trial.

Re:Public Defender (5, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335766)

There are trojans released and monitored on Limewire by the FBI. They are designed to ensnare people who search for certain keywords in the hopes that they will have downloaded other "objectionable content", which is why LEO usually waits for the marks to collect more "evidence" to be used against themselves. The trojan is designed to catch people who would download objectionable content and then immediately delete it, as TFA indicates.

The trojans cannot be deleted. They cannot be seen, even if the user has full administrative access including the ability to see and modify hidden and system files. The trojans may be found accidentally when a wipe on a hitherto unknown file fails. The trojans run on Windows.

tl;dr - Don't run Windows if you need horrific pornography to get your rocks off. And no, the above did not happen to me.

Re:Public Defender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335834)

there is a little thing called "antivirus" that will ensure that your computer remains trojan free.

Re:Public Defender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335922)

lol, what makes you think that the antivirus companies would put in the signatures of FBI's evidence collection tools?

I can guarantee you that the major LEO's have agreements with all the major antivirus vendors to exclude their evidence-gathering tools.

Re:Public Defender (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335946)

A virus and a trojan are different by definition, I'm going to assume you're suggesting that an anti-virus program will also detect and block trojans. Good, in theory, however if it's a piece of malware that hasn't been detected and had it's signature added to the program, or if you're a conspiracy nut, was intentionally left out of the program to assist LEOs, the "antivirus" won't help you.

Re:Public Defender (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335964)

I am fairly certain that the anti-virus software makers would have been approached by the FBI and told not to detect their particular trojan's signature.

Re:Public Defender (1)

rliden (1473185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335860)

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.

And I'll add that his public pretender could have a deal going with the DA's office. The DA gets this case and the public pretender gets another important case of his. Win-win for everyone, except the defendant in this case. It probably sounds like some wacky conspiracy theory until it happens close to home.

Re:Public Defender (5, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Used drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335582)

I just wonder if i should ever buy/use a used HD again ?!?

Re:Used drives (3, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335664)

"I just wonder if i should ever buy/use a used HD again ?!?"

DBAN it for a few days if that worries you. Electricity is cheap.

http://www.dban.org/download [dban.org]

"call authorities immediately" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335586)

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

Bad Ideas (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335590)

DO NOT CALL THE AUTHORITIES

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.

No (2, Informative)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335668)

Why wouldn't a jury believe you had no intention of downloading kiddie porn when you were the one who reported it to the cops? Calling the cops sends it up the line to who you got it from.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335740)

If you've made it to court and you're sitting behind a jury, you're damn well going to be wishing you had never called the cops. Don't go to government for anything. Let them come to you. At best you're in for a time-consuming hassle, and at worst? I think you know the answer to that.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:No (5, Informative)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335892)

Because the words "Child porn" deactivate the cerebral cortex.

You can't expect thought on the subject. You can't expect a rational examination of the arguments, actions or context. People are stupid enough to begin with; when you bring this subject into the fold any trace of intelligence completely disappears.

Re:No (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335930)

Why wouldn't a jury believe you had no intention of downloading kiddie porn when you were the one who reported it to the cops? Calling the cops sends it up the line to who you got it from.

It isn't a matter of the jury believing you or not.

If you told a lie and purposely downloaded child porn, thats life* in prison.
If you tell the truth and accidentally downloaded it, that too is a crime that gets you life* in prison.

If the jury believes you or not both carries the same sentence.
There is no 'intent' written into those laws, for this very reason.

*life - Yes technically it is 20 years in prison, but within the first month or two the police will set things up so the other 7 people in your cell are under the impression you enjoy molesting children, and will not come for a few hours after they hear the screams of your beating and death.
Dying in prison at the whim of the guards and inmates is for all intents and purposes a life sentence, since you will die in prison.

Re:Bad Ideas (4, Informative)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335680)

I was thinking the same thing.

I remember that story a few weeks ago... Someone found a shotgun in their back garden (this is the UK) and called the local police station to tell them he is bringing it in. Well anyway long story short because it was loaded and the box also had ammo he ended up getting a minimum of I believe three years.

Yet another story, this time from the US.... Someone finds Meth, attempts to turn it into the police... Gets hit with possession of drugs. This anecdote was on a cops-like show no less.

So too bad for us that common sense fails so often even in a legal system that is designed to have "common sense" designed into it at at least three levels (Police, Prosecutors Office, and Judge). They love to use the excuse that they enforce the laws as written (when in reality laws are meant to be interpreted so exactly this kind of thing doesn't happen!).

Re:Bad Ideas (1)

arpad1 (458649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335804)

Umm, because you got a lazy public defender or even a lazy private attorney who'd rather you take your chances with a plea bargain then do their job?

Man "accidedentally" stretches his ass (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335598)

Re:Man "accidedentally" stretches his ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335706)

Doesn't work any more. Sorry.

Don't plead guilty (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Don't plead guilty (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#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]

Re:Don't plead guilty (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335808)

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.

the real lesson (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335610)

If the FBI shows up at your door and asks to search your computer, the correct answer is 'No.'

the user needs to call authorities immediately (1)

Fenax (1094827) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335616)

Sure, now every 4chan user have to give his computer to the authorities and never ever see it again. 'Cos if you see a CP thread, you first downloaded the images ! But maybe 4chan is harder to monitor than a P2P network.

From the article: (2, Funny)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335620)

"One day, you're going to get a knock on the door and have your child taken away for many years," he said.

No one sees any problem with letting German existentialists design our laws until things like this start to happen.

Good job Kafka!

Asshole.....

Meanwhile.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335628)

Real child predators are out roaming the streets.

This is complete BULLSHIT! Apparently, this guy is not a danger but our tax dollars will be used to ruin his life.

Don't Talk to Police (5, Informative)

Philotomy (1635267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335636)

Re:Don't Talk to Police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335916)

Yeppers. Even the police agree that 99% of the time, even if one is innocent, a person will say enough to hang themselves.

It happens (3, Interesting)

Dartz-IRL (1640117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335638)

Spammers on a worksafe imageboard I occasionally visit sometimes upload it to the place. I report it to the board's administrator via IRC....which is logged... and purge private history. It is such an easy thing to have happen. Hell, a google search with safesearch off can do it.

This is 'won't somebody please think of the children' gone way to far.

And the public defender encouraging him to plead guilty? That lawyer should be fired for incompetance. How can someone be guilty of a crime they never had any intention of committing, and took active steps to actually avoid committing it?

I mean... I've bought second-hand HDD's that have been zeroe'd and formatted. Could I be potentially liable if the previous owner had been a kiddie-porn freako? The images might still be buried deep in the disk after all.

Re:It happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335778)

"I mean... I've bought second-hand HDD's that have been zeroe'd and formatted. Could I be potentially liable if the previous owner had been a kiddie-porn freako? The images might still be buried deep in the disk after all."

Not good enough, apparently. The authorities have set a pretty clear precedent with cases like this. Thus, all second-hand HDDs should be zeroed, formatted, and then purged with cleansing fire to meet their high standards.

Re:It happens (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335882)

Could I be potentially liable if the previous owner had been a kiddie-porn freako? The images might still be buried deep in the disk after all.

The previous owner doesn't need to be a "kiddie porn freako" for that to happen; just someone that downloaded a bad p2p file like this guy apparently did.

self-incrimination (5, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335644)

'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.

Re:self-incrimination (3, Interesting)

rliden (1473185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335936)

'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.

No. Just buy a new hard drive and destroy the old one. Open the old hard drive and use a sawsall to cut the disks in to little pieces and scatter them.

Insanity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Honest question: watching pictures is wrong? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Honest question: watching pictures is wrong? (2, Insightful)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335812)

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.

FBI bait? (3, Interesting)

joetheappleguy (865543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335684)

I bet that's what the guy downloaded, given the description of how the FBI just shows up and knows exactly what to look for.

If so, the good luck explaining your way out of that.

Re:FBI bait? (2, Interesting)

MakinBacon (1476701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335732)

I've always wondered, if the FBI tries to lay bait, would that make them guilty of distributing child porn?

"Call the authorities on yourself immediately!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335690)

My Ass!

Dariks Boot and Nuke [dban.org] +Replace [newegg.com]

*BSD is Dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335710)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Another victim in the war on child porn (5, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Another victim in the war on child porn (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335858)

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.

I feel the same; how does downloading the porn, much more "stealing" the porn, no matter what kind it is support it at all? You're not paying anyone for it. Well, maybe these guys are the same kind of people that use Free Software or support Free Culture like myself and want to distribute the porn for free in the first place, and downloading would fuel this, but who knows?

What I want to know is whether or not he was seeding the file at all, and whether or not it mattered. Was he using an encrypted connection? Was he using a peer blacklist or something similar? A proxy? Darknet? Something that might conceal the fact that he even had it at all even the tiniest bit?

Re:Another victim in the war on child porn (2, Insightful)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335888)

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

Re:Another victim in the war on child porn (2, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Another victim in the war on child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335898)

Let's not forget the right of the abused child to privacy.

Re:Another victim in the war on child porn (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335976)

Even better - what about turning around the MAFIAA's arguments. Since he didn't pay for the download, he clearly damaged the revenue stream of the kiddie porn peddlers. They should give him a medal!

I think the right move would be... (5, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335722)

... to fire his attorney and enter a plea of not guilty. If I were him I would fight to the end to avoid the felony conviction. They said he is in his early twenties with no criminal record - why screw that up now? Even if he spent years fighting the charges, and drove himself to bankruptcy in the process, it would still be less of a problem to his future than taking the felony conviction and serving 3.5 years in prison.

I do all surfing/download from a VM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335724)

Do a fresh install into a VM. Clear your caches/history. Then you snapshot the VM in a pristine state.

Whenever you get a malware nasty or other nonsense, you just restore to your pristine snapshot.

To avoid the possession, you could add some secure erase utility to the management to the snapshot file so there is no remainder of the "dirty" snapshot for the FBI to find on your host filesystem.

They're going too far (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335736)

This has to be one of the worst examples I've seen of law enforcement over stepping their boundaries. Nobody can argue that child porn is bad stuff BUT taking your computer if you accidentally dl it is almost more outrageous than 20 years in prison for possession. Wouldn't it be better if you were trying to download something of dubious origin to save it on a USB thumb drive? Just bypass the hard drive until you're sure it's safe.

Oops (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Oblig. (2, Funny)

omuls are tasty (1321759) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335770)

Pics or it didn't happen!

Appalling (4, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

The FBI is lying. (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335836)

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.

do the math (5, Informative)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335852)

Do the math. What's the most popular porn? Girls as close to 18 as possible. Combine that with user submitted porn. Combine that with typical porn viewing habits, i.e. way too much. Now do some stats. Who's leftover that doesn't have something illegal in their cache? No one who looks at lots of porn, that's for sure. Face it. If someone doesn't like you, they can mess your life up financially, politically, emotionally, really anything they fell like if they are malicious.

Wow is this scary (2, Interesting)

labradore (26729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335878)

I don't know about you, but some times I've come across porn that I think of as a little bit marginal. I also don't like the idea of someone digging up deleted files on my hard disk. It seems like a good idea to have a tool that scrambles all the bits on the free space of your hard disk overnight and during idle periods. Does anyone know if such a thing exists?

Re:Wow is this scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335970)

Nope, it's impossible because the bits in your hard drive never really go away, technically hard drives are quantum mechanical super machines. Anything that has ever been on it can be brought up again with a few simple keystrokes.

The tapping of the tubes is complete (4, Interesting)

Dunkirk (238653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335886)

What this speaks -- loudly and clearly -- to me is that the national tapping of any and all communication lines is complete. And, when things are slow and the FBI can't find a terrorist cell or -power group to take down, they troll their logs, and look to hang someone that no one would defend.

I'm sure that both the EFF and the ACLU will jump in here any minute now...

It just makes the case for using cryptography in everything you do online. I don't know how far it goes though. It may be that they finally laid off Zimmerman because they have enough horsepower to break anything that bubbles up to the surface as potentially interesting.

My $.02 (5, Informative)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335906)

I posted something similar to this in the comments to the article, but I thought I would start the discussion here too. For those of you who are inclined to rip on the public defender for letting this guy take the plea, bear in mind that the PD is probably handling about a thousand other cases (no exaggeration), not to mention that he barely makes a living wage. Public Defenders' offices are criminally underfunded compared to the DAs, who have the full backing of the State.

Matt White's attorney probably had no choice but to take the plea and dispose of the case quickly. The system is designed so that the PDs can't take anything to trial on account of the sheer volume of cases they have to manage; they're forced to plead everything out and pray they get a good deal. (If they took even a small fraction of their cases to trial, their other clients would be waiting for years to have their cases heard, and there's this pesky little piece of paper that guarantees people the right to a speedy trial. (Of course, it also guarantees the right to effective counsel, but the bar for what constitutes "effective" is ridiculously low.)

It's a win-win for the people who matter: the DA gets to scratch another kill mark into his desk, the prison system gets another warm body it can use to justify its budget, the politicians who depend on prisons to keep the headcounts in their districts high get another "constituent" who can't vote, plus they get to claim they're "tough on crime" and are "protecting the children".

The fact that an (arguably) innocent man has his life ruined as a result doesn't even factor into the equation. He and the public defender are pawns. It's not that the $ystem hates them, it's that, to the people who run the show, they truly, truly do not matter.

So the moral of the story is: if you accidentally download CP, pull the plug on the computer, rip out the hard drive, and destroy it immediately. (Okay, maybe you can leave it powered up for the time it takes to back up your documents, &c., but no longer. It's hammer time.)

Wow, not to be confused with WoW (1)

toggaM (189118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335908)

Surely there must be more to it than that? We had a guy busted for downloading Child Porn at work. He was monitored for months and charged. Seized his home and work computers. After all said and done he only got 14 days (Military)!

I am not an officer only work for them so didn't any of the procedure/court hearings but when I found out I was shaking my head in disbelief.

If you’re ever concerned that she looks unde (2, Informative)

andrew554 (1649757) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335910)

...best to
  1. Delete all files
  2. Clear your browser cache
  3. Burn the hard-drive
  4. Move house
  5. Phone the FBI and tell them that you definitely haven’t downloaded anything.

Government. (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335918)

The arguments against anarchy start to where thin once you realize that the government isn't some savior-organization out to stop evil but is just a really strong rogue faction that does what it pleases. You sleep safe at night, knowing there's a government out there?

Malware & Spam (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335932)

What if you computer is or has been part on a botnet that transfered that kind of picture to your hard drive, without you ever be aware of that? What if spammers or botnet hoarders starts to send mails with child porn attached to millons of email addresses? Or worse, what if someone sends to a rival a simple anonymous mail with such picture and then call the cops?

software for self protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335940)

since there is a plethora of software to remove virus from computers, I am wondering if there is software available to the public to find and remove (all traces) of pornography on a computer. In particular the public should have access to the software the FBI uses to find pornography. Consider this scenario you take a job and are assigned a computer ( previously used) later pornography is found on the computer and you are fired or worse.

He Should Argue (4, Interesting)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30335948)

Hasn't the music industry spent billions of dollars in advertisement and legal fees trying to convince us illegal downloading of music harms the music industry?

If so we should be thanking this man for harming the supporters of child pornography. Even if it was unintentional and immediately deleted.

Now I am going to destroy any credibility I had by quoting Captain Jean-Luc Picard. "I don't know how to communicate this, or even if it is possible. But the question of justice has concerned me greatly of late. And I say to any creature who may be listening, there can be no justice so long as laws are absolute. Even life itself is an exercise in exceptions. "

Happened to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335950)

This happened to me, after $4,500 spent on a lawyer it went away.

Orwellian... (2, Insightful)

jburton71 (1137291) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

I wonder who decided to hunt him down and why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30335978)

Remember when the cops used to lant pot and guns on people?

Maybe now they are planting porn ..

This report still looks like a "yes men" prank.

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