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Child Porn As a Weapon

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the guilty-until-proven-innocent dept.

Crime 774

VoiceOfDoom writes "Want to get rid of your boss and move up to his position? Put kiddie porn on his computer then call the cops! This was the cunning plan envisaged by handyman Neil Weiner of east London after falling out with school caretaker Edward Thompson too many times. Thankfully, Weiner didn't cover his tracks quite well enough to avoid being found out — earlier boasts about his plan to friends at a BBQ provided the police with enough evidence to arrest him for trying to pervert the course of justice. Frighteningly, however, between being charged with possession of indecent images and being exonerated, innocent (if 'grumpy') Thompson was abused and ostracized for eight months by neighbors and colleagues. With computer forensics for police work often being performed by 'point 'n click'-trained, nearly-retired cops, or languishing in a 6-month queue for private sector firms to attend to it, the uncomfortable question is raised: how easily might this trick have succeeded if Weiner had been a little more intelligent about it?"

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774 comments

Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you do (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163106)

Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you don't f* with the people who handle your food!

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163118)

Did you miss the part where the IT guy got caught, shit for brains?

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163180)

I resemble that remark, micropenis boy!

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163436)

I resemble that remark

Only an English person would find this "still" funny after several decades. I assume it's originally from Only Fools and Horses or something like it, given the people I know who say it. How we laughed.

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (1, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163542)

Groucho Marx and The Three Stooges used the line long before that show ever existed. Though it's speculated to be a pretty old vaudeville joke.

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163286)

Did you both miss the part where this guy was a janitor?

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163346)

That's probably why he didn't get away with it. As the old saying goes: Do not meddle in the affairs of Admins, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163370)

There's a difference between an IT monkey and a janitor? Since when?

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163316)


Did you miss the part where the IT guy got caught, shit for brains?

Not surprising, the culprit is an MCSE.

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163494)

I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.

Re:Don't f* with the IT guy like at restaurant you (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163600)

Even if a 6 year old gives you permission to photograph them naked doesn't mean it is right or socially acceptable.

First off... (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163114)

...the obligatory Weiner name.

Moving on.

The idea of this is sick...it's no different than accusing a teacher you don't like of rape. Even if you are found innocent, there is still a stigma attached to you that will never fully dissipate within your community. People around you will always have this accusation in the back of their minds.

Whatever happend to using a whoopie cusion, or putting a flaming bag of poo on someone's doorstep?

Re:First off... (5, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163224)

People around you will always have this accusation in the back of their minds.

Not only that, but quite often while the initial coverage of the case is headline news, by the time the wheels of justice have ground out a verdict of "not guilty" and the false accusation has been proven, coverage is much less prominent.

Re:First off... (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163276)

The idea of this is sick

Yes, but it's nothing new. Anyone could more easily put an ounce of cocaine in his desk and call the cops, no computer expertise needed. What's sickest is someone willing to download, let alone look at, child porn just to get someone in trouble.

Re:First off... (2, Insightful)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163408)

You ever been to a picture board?

I avoid them like the plague now for the easy "accidental felonies" available when someone posts child porn as a joke, which will then put the illegal material in your browser cache, history, and in the server logs downloading it. Trolls on 4chan do this all the time, and moderators can never be fast enough to catch all of them.

Re:First off... (1)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163468)

It helps that the UK chlid porn (to capitalize or not?) laws are absurdly draconian, to the point where a guy who tries to report someone else's possession of it can be done for having seen it himself.

Re:First off... (1)

LihTox (754597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163486)

Isn't it a lot easier to get child pornography than to get cocaine? If I recall correctly, it doesn't have to be an actual photo to be child pornography: drawings count, and perhaps doctored photos? Never mind the aforementioned 4chan source.

Re:First off... (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163378)


Whatever happend to using a whoopie cusion, or putting a flaming bag of poo on someone's doorstep?

Nowadays they put a flaming bag of kiddie porn on someone's doorstep. When the victim is stomping the fire, they sneak in and plant kiddie porn on the victim's computer then light the computer on fire. Then light the smouldering bag back up and make good their escape.

Re:First off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163404)

...the obligatory Weiner name.

Moving on.

The idea of this is sick...it's no different than accusing a teacher you don't like of rape. Even if you are found innocent, there is still a stigma attached to you that will never fully dissipate within your community. People around you will always have this accusation in the back of their minds.

Whatever happend to using a whoopie cusion, or putting a flaming bag of poo on someone's doorstep?

I put a woopie cushion under a flaming bag of poo on the doorstep of the teacher who raped me.

Re:First off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163420)

Whatever happend to using a whoopie cusion, or putting a flaming bag of poo on someone's doorstep?

Those things don't get your boss fired, which means you still have to deal with him the next day.

Getting your boss arrested means you get to keep your job but don't have to deal with the boss you don't like.

Seems pretty obvious to me.

Re:First off... (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163480)

Oh I don't know.....

A few years ago my boss wanted to get rid of me (two departments merged and she had too many people), but she couldn't do it because of a signed 6-month contract, and only 1 month had passed. So instead she made-up a bunch of lies (you were watching porn) (no I was not), and other nonsense like saying I was eating too much food at lunchtime. She then used these false claims to file for breach of contract and terminated me. I would LOVE to sneak into her office, offload some porn from a USB, and then report it. She deserves to get fired for how she treated me.

Another guy I'd like to get revenge upon is the Motel 6 Manager who kicked me out, because he didn't want to give me the 10% sale price the central Atlanta office had applied to my reservation. He too made-up a bunch of lies about how I was yelling at maids (false) and having sex with one of his clerks (hardly-she was not only fat but also ugly). I'd like to fill his work computer with some porn too.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Methodically.

Re:First off... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163508)

I had something similar happen to me. I was a volunteer at a youth center monitoring a computer lab. Each kid was permitted 30 minutes, and there was much fighting about using them. One of the girls didn't like my policy and decided to tell my supivisor that I slapped her on the butt. This accusiation initially only got me suspended, but the local atorney decided to pick the case up. I was forced to get a lawyer to look into the case. After many delay the child was interviewed a total of 3 times over 8 months. Each interview was more scandalous than the last (eventually claiming that I grabbed her breasts). A few days before I was to appear in cort, the atorney decided to look at the case, and simply dropped the case after realizing that the girl was lying. I didn't have the energy to prusue the case any further so I simply accepted the couple thousand dollards of lawyer fees and went on my way. However, when I went to get an internship later, my background had an issue, where the case was still open. It only took a polite visit to the cort house to get it offically closed, but that still delayed when I was going to start work by a month. I did end up going back to my volenteer work for a short while, but things just seemed to be different, an uneasy atomphear; I decided to call it quits a month later.

Interesting that you mention teachers (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163624)

A friend of mine is a high school teacher, and has been accused of abuse 3 times in 10 years. No truth to the charges, just vindictive kids trying to get revenge for imagined injuries, but each time was extremely stressful for him.

It's amazing how many people will believe the worst of someone they don't know just because some a-hole has laid false charges.

very (3, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163126)

very very easy... every time I here about someones brother or uncle got caught with it on their computer I always try and explain how easy something like this would be and we shouldn't jump to conclusions. But they always do anyway.

Re: very (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163254)

very very easy... every time I here about someones brother or uncle got caught with it on their computer I always try and explain how easy something like this would be and we shouldn't jump to conclusions.

Given how many compromised computers there are out there, I'm surprised it's possible to convict anyone on the basis of anything on the computer.

How many of us know what's on our computer? Yours might be serving up kiddie porn, stolen credit card numbers, or trade secrets right now.

Re: very (1)

marika (572224) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163334)

a lot about these convictions are more about how one tries to conceal this information than about having it. but then again it's a case by case thing.

Re: very (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163342)

Yours might be serving up kiddie porn, stolen credit card numbers, or trade secrets right now.

Probably not. But then again, other than my laptop (which I reimage periodically just in case) I don't have any Windows systems running and everything else is as tight as I can make it. No guarantees, of course ... but Mr. Weiner would have had a harder time with someone who takes a few precautions. Hell, that caretaker would have probably been safe from his handyman's depredations if he'd just passworded his desktop.

I'll bet he does now.

jurys most of the time are to dumb to think of tha (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163350)

jurys most of the time are to dumb to think of that.

We need smarter jurys on computers or some to say in the jury room that any one of your can be in the same place for just 1 pron or other pop up.

Re:jurys most of the time are to dumb to think of (0, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163424)

Says the person who can barely write sentences more intelligible than a 3 year old.

Re:very (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163352)

Every time? You speak of this like it's some common occurrence.
If something like that his happening around with with that degree of frequency, I'd be more inclined to suspect that something was in fact wrong.
And no... not with people "planting" stuff, but with these people actively engaging and trading.

Re:very (2, Interesting)

Chrononium (925164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163354)

Is it really so different that the offending items are electronic than if they were physical?

Consider this scenario:
(1) Disgruntled person A wants to get person B in trouble by planting child porn in B's work desk.
(2) A calls the cops on B.
(3) Cops find the porn in B's work desk.

Do the cops automatically jump to the conclusion that B owned the child porn? Or do they try to investigate further to establish how the material likely got there? If yes to the latter question, then perhaps the basic problem is that cops don't get the desktop metaphor: anyone who has access to the desk can put stuff on it. There isn't an invisible shield permeable by only the desk's owner. Computers are literary no different and thoughts of equivalent magic shields around the computer's hard drive only impede justice.

Re:very (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163382)

While I'd agree with you in general on your attitude about 'innocent until proven guilty' and I personally have never ran across this situation once IRL. However, I'd consider some life changes if I kept running across personal stories of such type, like you seem to have had.

Devious (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163140)

The weapon of the future. The more things we make illegal, the more things we can use as legal weapons. marijuana, kiddie porn, anything that they can outlaw they can also plant it in your house and stick you for it.

Re:Devious (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163172)

The weapon of the future. The more things we make illegal, the more things we can use as legal weapons. marijuana, kiddie porn, anything that they can outlaw they can also plant it in your house and stick you for it.

Frylock: "All right...just don't be suprised if I call the cops on your ass."
Ignignokt: "Fryman, we have hidden four kilos of cocaine in your room."
Frylock: "..."

Re:Devious (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163426)

You have a point though. Instead of using child porn, he could have planed drugs, an illegal weapon, a bomb etc.. Of those examples, child porn seems to raise the most concern and the authorities seem to get more leeway with questionable evidence and forensics and the public seems to go along with it. My god man, think of the children! Let's fail safe and assume he is guilty. Anyone trying to defend this guy or look further into the real evidence might be considered one of them!

I wonder (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163144)

how many governments get rid of "undesirables" by planting child porn on their computers.

Throwing a baggie of pot behind your toaster is just so passé these days...

8 months? (5, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163148)

He's lucky he wasn't murdered while the cops were messing about.

As for "how easily might this trick have succeeded if Weiner had been a little more intelligent about it?", I'd bet it has succeeded in the past, repeatedly.

Re:8 months? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163264)

It could be worse, they could be charging people for child porn when said porn is perfectly legal. ...

Oh, wait. They've done that too.

How do you know... (2, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163160)

...people aren't successfully pulling off this "trick" already?

Re:How do you know... (2, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163266)

I can guarantee people are pulling this off successfully. I know of a case where it wasn't until the 2nd appeal that they figured out that the computer was infected with a rootkit that was downloading/uploading the stuff.

My only thought is that, generally speaking, most people can cause 'probable doubt'.

A benefit is that 'most' people don't know how to get the CP in the first place without leaving tracks. It takes more effort than simply crying 'rape', that most people don't think of it.

Re:How do you know... (4, Interesting)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163504)

As a college student I was hired as a co-op. Soon after joining I saw the politics of the group and the team. The team I was on disliked one of their members so much that pornography was "found" on his PC during a routine IT sweep. We all knew the team lead did it, being he was sitting at the trouble maker's PC during the late shift when co-ops were working, but I was happy to have a job after starving in college for so long to say anything. My first ethics dilemma and I failed. After all I couldn't prove that happened, but it was odd to see the team lead on his PC late one night. The trouble maker was fired and nothing else was said. I was happy once that team lead moved on.

"grumpy handyman" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163192)

oxymoron, no?

how to stop this from happening? (2, Insightful)

meow27 (1526173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163206)

use an encrypted drive and lock down your machine when you arent using it?

Re:how to stop this from happening? (2, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163388)

What if they put it on an unencrypted partition? Maybe just toss a thumbdrive into your stuff, then report it to police?

Heck, the case that resulted in conviction that I know of was the result of a rootkit - it was mere luck that somebody finally noticed that the machine was making requests it shouldn't. Even then it was something of an uphill battle.

Re:how to stop this from happening? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163534)

You know, that may be even worse. One of these days you're going to forget to lock your computer/logout/etc., and then proving "Yeah, it was on my encrypted drive that only I can decrypt -- but it wasn't me!" will be hell.

Re:how to stop this from happening? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163556)

I'm sure my government employer wouldn't care at all that I encrypted my entire hard drive and won't give them the keys. I'm equally certain that the other 10 or so other employees in the administrator group would never be so dishonest as to misuse their administrative logins while attempting to frame me for a crime I didn't commit. Not that I think my fellow employees would do such a thing, nor that I mistrust them at all really; but if I was concerned there'd be a minimal amount I could do about the situation. even given that I'm an administrator on my own box (which a lot of people aren't in the working world). If the auditing on your system is tight you might be able to prove that you didn't put the images there, but a really intelligent attacker with admin access to your PC could still fake it.

I'm not denigrating your solution per se. It's great for a home PC and I totally recommend it, but from a business perspective it's not going to be horribly effective for most people.

dont get caught (5, Insightful)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163228)

In most states, you'll be a registered sex offender for taking a leak in public -- i.e. down a dark alley after a few too many pints. Should it be illegal? Yeah probably. Should it be ambiguous whether you raped a kid or couldn't hold your bladder? I dunno, I don't write laws so I shouldn't have an opinion. Maybe the slashlawer can opine on why these are similar things.

Re:dont get caught (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163292)

In fact I believe that a few years back, someone was killed by a vigilante who discovered a "sex offender" living nearby and decided to take care of the problem themselves. Turns out that he was on the list for public urination. So the guy was killed for taking a leak outside.

Re:dont get caught (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163558)

I couldn't find that example, but there is no [nytimes.com] shortage [go.com] of other [calcoastnews.com] examples of "vigilante justice" based on finding people listed in sex offender registries, and, yes, you can get added to such a list for public urination.

Re:dont get caught (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163358)

Because penises are evil - The Christian Nation of America.

Re:dont get caught (3, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163398)

Public urination involves a level of "indecent exposure." It's more like flashing, but without the same intent (probably). Should being a flasher get you a "sex offender" rap? I guess, if we're going to have the term "sex offender," a flasher would be one.

Basically, I think that if there is no intent to commit a crime, then that should be taken into consideration in sentencing, if the jury doesn't realize what an asinine state of affairs they've been roped into and acquit. Peeing down an alley beyond a dumpster, making a good-faith effort not to be seen and having the un-luck of a cop coming down just before you zip up is completely different from exposing yourself to kids on the playground humming 'aqua lung' to yourself.

Re:dont get caught (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163460)

Do you have ANY idea how much public urination happens ? Hell, at Roskilde Festival this year, I saw literally THOUSANDS of men pissing in the bushes or anything stationary. And not a single fuck was given. Its pretty much guaranteed to be on the news at 6pm prime time, full frontal nudity shot. Dont be so god damn prude. Its a Penis, half of us got one. Geez.

Bloody USians. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163612)

Here in UKia (not the most sexually liberated country in Europe I have to say) whenever I participate in an organized race they have men urinals in the open, any passerby can see what is going on.

In Barcelona women that sunbathe topless in the beach are as many as the ones that don't, and it is not uncommon that both men and women use the showers in the beach (no curtains, so you are in full view of everybody) fully naked.

And so on and so forth.

When did you guys lost all sense of proportion?

Sex Offenders Register (4, Interesting)

VoiceOfDoom (875772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163584)

According to The Independent [independent.co.uk], the judge has added Weiner to the Sex Offenders Register for the specific purpose of causing the general prison population to identify him as a pervert and make him suffer, even though there is no indication that Weiner possessed this material for any purpose other than to screw up Thomson's life.

I think Weiner is a scumbag who deserves to go to prison, but he is *not* a sex offender and does not need to be kept away from children's playgrounds when he is released. I certainly don't agree with this tactic by the judge - surely placing people who are not sex offenders on a list of sex offenders renders the list meaningless for any monitoring or preventative purpose? And since when was justice about eye-for-eye revenge in this civilised society?!

well... (5, Insightful)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163230)

First off, it sounds like his "trick" DID succeed. The guy's life was hell for 8 months...

It's scary to think about, but it wouldn't be all that difficult to frame someone like this. You wouldn't even have to get access to their computer. I imagine it would be as easy as getting an anonymous pay-per-use cell phone, texting someone illegal pictures for a few days, and then reporting them to the police. Maybe they wouldn't get convicted, but their life would still be ruined by the allegations.

Something like this could even happen by accident. God forbid someone rummage through your cache after you spend an hour browsing /b/. Do you know what was in all of those thumbnails that you scrolled past? Do you even WANT to know? ;)

Re:well... (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163452)

It doesn't even take any particular malicious action. Operation Ore in the UK fingered all sorts of people, including The Who's Pete Townshend, who were in fact innocent and victims of online credit card fraud. Once you get the name "kiddie porn lover" it's very hard to get rid of.

The problem here is that the cops and the media have created a mad child porn frenzy completely out of proportion to the problem. Innocent people are railroaded through a system that cares more about showing large numbers of accused flowing through than about quality of evidence.

The fact is your average cop doesn't have the know how to analyze forensic evidence. Any competent IT forensics expert is first going to check to see if the computer has been rootkitted, is going to check to see if the credit card has been stolen, etc. and so forth, but between the missionary's zeal to stamp out all child porn and incompetence you don't get that. Operation Ore was a good example of how things can go terribly wrong, and shines a light on how innocent people can even be manipulated into admitting guilt if they are given the choice between jail time and a lesser sentence.

In other words, cops are often moronic bastards, and anyone accused of anything, or taken in for questioning on anything should not say a goddamned thing to them and refuse any co-operation until a lawyer is present.

Re:well... (3, Informative)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163462)

Something like this could even happen by accident. God forbid someone rummage through your cache after you spend an hour browsing /b/. Do you know what was in all of those thumbnails that you scrolled past? Do you even WANT to know? ;)

In my socialist utopia country Norway, there was actually a court ruling that found a man who had child pornography in his browser cache not guilty. The reason was that he did not download them (but he did in fact confess to have purchased them intentionally) and that regular people should not be expected to know that the browser caches images from the web. In effect, the ruling actually means it is legal to surf child pornography in Norway. I don't have any English links about this, but any norwegians reading this post can check out this DB article: http://www.dagbladet.no/dinside/2003/07/05/372987.html [dagbladet.no]

Just. Encrypt. Everything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163250)

Just encrypt everything, and refuse to disclose the passphrase. No matter whether you are innocent or guilty, this makes sense.

Not only will malicious people be less able to sneak material onto your system, but should this kind of shit happen, cops will be unable to decrypt your system.

Re:Just. Encrypt. Everything. (1)

6031769 (829845) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163386)

Except that this occured in the United Kingdom where failure to disclose the passphrase is an imprisonable offence with an unlimited tariff (it's in the terrorism legislation). So no, don't try that one.

Re:Just. Encrypt. Everything. (1)

Eevee (535658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163544)

So...if the guy had planted the pictures and an encrypted file, the victim would still be in jail? Bloody wonderful.

Re:Just. Encrypt. Everything. (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163552)

I don't think the idea of encrypting is to prevent the police from looking as much as it is to prevent someone getting the data on there in the first place.

Re:Just. Encrypt. Everything. (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163446)

But since this case was in the UK....

If you *DON'T* tell the police your passwords for encrypted files / folders when arrested / charged then it's an automatic "Go directly to jail do not pass GO and do not Collect $200" for up to 2 years (or untll you tell them the passwords!)

Re:Just. Encrypt. Everything. (1)

LihTox (754597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163550)

Steganography is the way to go: if the police don't know that there's something there, they can't ask you for the password.

Since there's no way of knowing whether someone truly knows/remembers a password, the UK law is really just a variant of thoughtcrime. Appropriate for the land of Orwell.

How easy? (5, Informative)

Kirin Fenrir (1001780) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163258)

EXTREMELY easy. I'm surprised it hasn't started happening frequently already. As much as we (as a society) demonize people for even being suspected of this crime, I'd hesitantly say it does happen frequently already.

It would not be easily discovered as everyone in the chain of justice is quick to assume the defendants are guilty, and may not do as thorough a job as they should looking for evidence of a setup. Easier to parade around your captured "predator" and get good press, then to search for the truth.

I've seen it firsthand; an old buddy of mine admitted one day that when he was 19, he got drunk at a party and slept with a girl who lied about her age by a single year. She was 17, not 18, which is under the legal age in my state. Today, he is a registered sex offender, cannot vote, has trouble finding work, and cannot live in most communities. He has to inform the communities he is allowed to live in, which makes everyone immediately assume he's some kind of monster after their children.

Was my friend kind of an idiot at 19? Absolutely. But does he deserve to become a lower class of society for the rest of his life over his (ultimately harmless) mistake?

Re:How easy? (5, Insightful)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163402)

I posit your friend WASNT an idiot, just a normal teenager. I dare to generalize that even most 19 year olds are not monsters for sleeping with 17 year olds.

Re:How easy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163500)

"he got drunk at a party and slept with a girl who lied about her age by a single year."

that's the thing that pisses me off the most, people lying and getting other people in trouble. did it come out during his trial that the girl lied? if so then he should have been acquitted.

Re:How easy? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163628)

You will sometimes run up against malicious prosecutors who want to make a name for themselves or use some poor bastard to make an example. Look at the kid being charged with distributing child porn for "sexting". Fortunately that one was eventually quashed, but sometimes these outrageous things will slip through the door.

Re:How easy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163520)

Every time I hear something like this, I always ask myself: Are we at the point where we have to 'card' everyone we sleep with?

Re:How easy? (2, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163616)

This stems from the completely broken Christian concept that children are innocent and therefore must be protected at all costs from anything and everything. Many laws are predicated from this concept. And yet, many laws now allow for the prosecution of minors as adults. Accordingly, this means the laws are specifically built to both protect and brutally punish "innocent" children.

So which is it? Are they innocent or so evil we must prosecute them as bad adults? The fact these conflicting laws exist is more or less proof a legal system is broken. Fix the legal system and you won't have need for completely contradictory laws.

Just food for thought... according to current laws, as little as 100 years ago, some 30% of the world industrialized population were pedophiles. I would bet that some half the population would be criminals in one way or another if the laws were retroactively applied.

Its easy to see why prisons are the fastest growing government service in the US and why the US has more prisoners than many industrialized nations have citizens.

And then there is zero tolerance which is a fancy way of saying, "I'm so dumb, I can't be trusted to perform my job correctly yet I have a gavel or a gun and badge with ultimate control over everyone else's life." Again, zero tolerance is a fancy way of saying the the system is completely broken.

Obvious consequence (1)

riker1384 (735780) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163268)

This guy should get the same sentence that the guy he framed would have gotten. However, this is the obvious consequence of severe punishments for simple possession of something that is easy to obtain, and a commodity as opposed to things like guns which can be identified, traced etc. I'm sure people do this with drugs.

Re:Obvious consequence (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163366)

This guy should get the same sentence that the guy he framed would have gotten.

Possession of child porn?

Pretty sure he will get that. In addition to distribution...

Re:Obvious consequence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163406)

Married father-of-two Weiner, 39, of Dagenham, east London, was convicted of perverting the course of justice and two counts of possessing indecent images of children, each by a majority of 10-2. He was placed on the sex offenders' register and remanded in custody, and warned by Judge David Paget that he faced a "substantial custodial sentence" when he returns to the court on September 23.

It's so easy to RTFA. It is, really.

Re:Obvious consequence (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163488)

He should get a much more severe punishment, including a massive fine payable to the victim.

Faking this kind of thing should be a 10 year minimum stretch plus a minimum 100,000 dollars payable to the victim.

scary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163294)

More over, how many times have you followed a link, opened a web page, or pulled down a torrent that wasn't what you expected it to be? if you're not super savvy, chances are that you still have some data from those encounters lingering in your cache or elsewhere on your HD. Should such a thing really lead to the destruction of your life?

Hooray! (1)

986151 (986151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163310)

Oh great! Another forensics-bashing thread. I predict a well-informed and reasoned discussion of the issues facing law enforcement computer forensics in the UK. No, actually I think a whole load of uninformed rubbish about Truecrypt and forensics folk being completely lost when faced with anything but a Windows box with a directory labelled "CP is here" is far more likely. I wonder how many of Happy as a Monkey's commentard stereotypes [wordpress.com] will appear.

Why just that? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163320)

Why bother with child porn.
Judging by the stories that have been posted on here over the last few months, you only need to post some thing like “I’m going to bomb X” on a message board under a false name.
Before you know it, the target will be held under anti-terror laws that make being prosecuted for the possession of child porn look like a viable and preferable option.

- - I'm a bit worried about typing bomb and X in a message board as it is. Bye all.... .. .

CmdTaco, watch out... (1, Funny)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163324)

VERY easily. In fact, I'm tired of Taco not approving my posts. From here on out, I'm posting k1dd13 p0rn with his alias and cc:ing the Feds. Just you wait. Just you wait. I'll show you now, Taco! HAHAHAHHAHAHHA!

Anonymous prosecutions/defendants. (3, Interesting)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163328)

Recently there was a big stir caused here over proposed plans to make the defendants in rape cases anonymous [bbc.co.uk]. For some reason it was decided that this would be terrible, as anyone accused of rape is obviously guilty and so deserves no protections... Something about this strikes me as simply wrong - and it applies in this case as well.

The way our society is geared up we don't just have trial by court, but trial by media; if the media decides someone is guilty, then it doesn't matter what the court decides, the defendant is screwed. In my opinion, defendants should have the right to anonymity especially in "socially disgusting" cases such as most sex-based crimes.

Of course, these days child porn over here could consist of stick figures, so the actual laws themselves could do with a serious overhaul - remind me again why mere viewing of material should be illegal?

Why privacy laws matter (3, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163338)

This kind of stuff is exactly why we need to care about privacy even "if you have nothing to hide". The law is not perfect. We need to build in safeguards to prevent it being abused, not just to catch the criminals.

We take great pains (1)

SolarStorm (991940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163362)

To protect minors when accused of a crime. Yet the public has NO understanding of a charge and a conviction. This all too easy to accomplish. And what is worse is that it is so easy. At least with drugs, the "planter" still has to purchase and carry them. With the internet "Doing it with Goats" will provide lots of ammo for the would be planter. With the way people guard their passwords the planter doesn't even have to hack in or carry the material at all, nearly 0 risk. With Remote desktops, you don't event need to physically be at the computer.

So now when someone is accused, they are plastered all over the news without being convicted. The public paints them as guilty, and the accused, innocent or not, is ostracized.

It makes me wonder if we should protect the names of accused in cases like this until a conviction. Then again, a lot of the people charge are often in a position where I would really like to limit their access to our youth. A tough call either way.

It would be hard to even go after the guy alerting the police to the charge. It could simply be the IT admin doing a routine audit finding something that was "planted" by the janitor.

I think the only real defense is not to p!ss people off enough to go to these lengths.

Re:We take great pains (1)

ajrs (186276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163530)

I think the only real defense is not to p!ss people off enough to go to these lengths.

Then there is no defense; some people are just crazy.

Do not..... (1, Insightful)

Beer_Smurf (700116) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163364)

"Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not... fuck with us. "

ask Julie Amero about this and that was over softw (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163412)

ask Julie Amero about this and that was over software that the school failed to pay on time to keep it up to date.

Julian Assange, and others similarly situated (0, Redundant)

timothy (36799) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163414)

Julian Assange might be a bad example, precisely because such a dirty trick would I think look just one shade too obvious.

But ... Character assassination, or coercion with that as a threat, is all too big a threat, either as a means to smear a person generally, or to coerce a confession (regardless of its truth).

I suspect there are a lot of things I would / one would / you might confess to, if the alternative was unshakable opinion by everyone you meet that you *actually* raped a 4-year-old last year, and that your computer is loaded with pictures of that, and that the FBI can prove it, because, after all, they're the good guys with smart forensics teams. Arson? Yeah, sure, I did that, if you say so -- that's probably one you can eventually get past. Embezzlement? I needed the money! But having child porn? No way -- not me.

(Deny it? Of course you do, you sicko. People like you make me sick to my bones. You ought to be castrated, and put in jail, where they'll treat you like you deserve, you evil freak.)

Ahem.

timothy

Here come the kiddie bombs. (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163454)

Remember email bombing? Thousands of anonymous emails with gibberish. How about spam? Now we have kiddie bombing.

It's time we treat child porn as an internet virus and create antivirus scanners which detect child porn and automatically delete, wipe, and report any image saved in the backround with limited user interaction. I don't want to and should not have to risk being prosecuted for possession of something which was sent to me by mistake, uploaded to me, or otherwise infiltrated by trickery, hacking, or anything of that sort.

If we treated child porn as a virus then the only people left who would have large collections of child porn would be the individuals who actually like child porn.

Frightening indeed! (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163464)

All it would have taken is for the villain NOT to talk about it. That's all! In other words, any psychopath would have pulled this off and utterly ruined the poor bastard's life.

Re:Frightening indeed! (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163554)

What's worst is that it's totally possible that the guru had to perform maintenance duty on his superior computer and really found out the pictures there, and reported him anonymously.

But, because of the anonimisity, he's automatically found guilty.

When in high school, 12-15 years ago, some friends and I were discussing about planting kid porn on the director computer and report him. What if they found some kid porn on it, or that without even planting it we found some and wanted to report him ?

That's a really dangerous area..

It's all bits and bytes... (4, Insightful)

flajann (658201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163514)

If you know what you are doing, all bets are off. You can finger anyone with kiddie porn and leave no obvious trail behind. All you need is physical access to the computer. Unless the hard drives are encrypted, they are open and vulnerable. And even if they are encrypted, they are still vulnerable if the computer is left running unattended.

This is primarily why it should not be illegal just to possess a certain set of bits and bytes on your machine. You can make it so you can fool the best of forensics experts. And most law enforcement who does the analysis simply use lame-brain software to scan for the kiddie porn files.

It would be easy, for instance, to write a virus that would spread to your machine, download kiddie porn, create fake tracks that would fool forensics, and then delete itself without a trace. Can you imagine if something like that got out and infected millions of computers with kiddie porn?

Well, for one, it would probably end this nonsense of destroying people's lives simply because they had the "wrong" files on their computer!

Not to mention nailing people for files on their computer does NOTHING to stop the production of kiddie porn. As always, law enforcement is focusing on the wrong end of the problem. They should be going after the guys who pervert children in making the kiddie porn. Why don't they do this? Oh, I get it -- too much work. Poor kids. Too much bother for Law Enforcement to go after the REAL perverts. Sorry, kiddies.

The idea of this is sick (1)

tamvunb (1872684) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163540)

the obligatory Weiner name. Moving on. The idea of this is sick...it's no different than accusing a teacher you don't like of rape. Even if you are found innocent, there is still a stigma attached to you that will never fully dissipate within your community. People around you will always have this accusation in the back of their minds. Whatever happend to using a whoopie cusion, or putting a flaming bag of poo on someone's doorstep?

Guilty 'till proven innocent (2, Insightful)

kjshark (312401) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163548)

As someone who has worked in child protective services. I can tell you, as mentioned in the article; the mere accusation of being involved in child sex will ruin your life. I'm not commenting on his guilt or innocence, but look how many people were willing to believe the worst about Michael Jackson before any facts got out. I mean "the guy's successful and weird, so he must like little boys”!

Related news (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33163610)

There's a big shitstorm [digg.com] over political news submission skewing over at Digg, but the related bit is the online actions of one of the alleged co-conspirators-- namely, falsely accusing those involved in a Youtube youth group of being pedophiles [digg.com].

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