Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ex-judge Gets 27 Months on Evidence From Hacked PC

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the lesser-of-two-evils dept.

Security 610

netbsd_fan writes "A former California judge has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for possession of illegal pornography, based entirely on evidence gathered by an anonymous vigilante script kiddie in Canada. At any given time he was monitoring over 3,000 innocent people. The anonymous hacker says, "I would stay up late at night to see what I could drag out of their computers, which turned out to be more than I expected. I could read all of their e-mails without them knowing. As far as they were concerned, they didn't know their e-mails had even been opened. I could see who they were chatting with and read what they were saying as they typed."

cancel ×

610 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Waits for it.. (4, Funny)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106192)

Oh sure, blame Canada.

Re:Waits for it.. (1)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106668)

I blame the ex-judge.

I can see why he is an EX-judge. If he is too dumb to get convicted on stolen evidence, he deserves to be in jail.

Not to mention he could have easily claimed the paraphernalia was placed there by the hacker. Who are they going to believe, a judge, or a hacker?

I guess the judge just wanted to get caught.

Lousy summary (5, Informative)

StrongGlad (687909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106200)

The summary is misleading on multiple fronts... First, according to the 2002 story, the "hacker" spent considerable time writing the trojan used to access the judge's porn stash---he's hardly a "script kiddie," as the summary dubs him. And "anonymous"? The guy was identified by name in both of the TFAs: "Brad Willman, the Canadian hacker, forwarded the information to an anti-pedophile watchdog group, which then sent the information to Irvine police detectives." "Dubbed 'Citizen Tipster' by police, Brad Willman, spent night after night writing a Trojan Horse program that gave him complete control over every computer that downloaded it. "

Also... (4, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106218)

This was not the sole evidence. The hacker mearly tipped off the authorities. The judge also admitted that he stored the images.

On /. it used to be that you didn't RTFA, but now I think that it is now time you didn't RTFSummary! Editing and summarising are just crap!

By "writing"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106224)

...Do you really mean "creating" his crimware by using some VisualBasic Virus-and-trojans-by-numbers toolkit he d/led from teh intarwebs?

The script kiddy part... (5, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106408)

The hacker in question was referred to as a 'script kiddy' solely for the fact that upon hearing of his success in implicating the former judge, he immediately blogged his victory on myspace under the appropriate title of 'PWN3D!'. Ergo, this title is moreso an indicator of maturity than his technical skill level, and furthermore, an indicator that he lives in his parents basement.

Re:The script kiddy part... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106474)

Yeah, imagine someone who spends considerable amount of time on the internet using internet lingo! It's appalling!

Re:The script kiddy part... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106596)

What the fuck is "internet lingo"? There are a lot of people who have been using the internet a lot longer than you, and yet they do not talk like retards. Imagine that.

Re:The script kiddy part... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106696)

What the fuck is "internet lingo"?
I believe the term you are looking for is "iLingo"

Re:The script kiddy part... (4, Funny)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106478)

an indicator that he lives in his parents basement.
From TFA:

"And don't tell me about meeting girls -- boy oh boy."

He is now working hard to launch a computer security career and thinking about moving out of his parents' basement to assume a new identity so he can hack again.

He is, in fact, living in his parents' basement. This guy's a slashdotter for sure.

Re:The script kiddy part... (5, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106566)

I'm a slashdotter, as well; I didn't read the article and posted about it anyways.

Never in my life has blindly applying a stereotype yielded such positive results! I laughed at first, and then it hit me. As irony would have it, the double bladed sword in this case is that I just blindly applied a stereotype, that hit the nail on the head through the dark, only to realize that I just made fun of the very guy that the world sees me as.

Oh cruel irony! It doth smite me mightily! Twice.

More vigilantes please (1)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106206)

This is exactly what we need.
Traditional law enforcement is powerless against this kinda stuff.
Hooray for vigilantes.

Re:More vigilantes please (5, Insightful)

DoktorTomoe (643004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106400)

You scare me ... you know, first this is against kiddie porn, then terrorism, and in a not all-too-far future, it is for the war on tax evasion or for finding that Bittorrent files you have...

There should be limits on what can be done legally. And that script kiddie should be jailed, too.

Re:More vigilantes please (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106660)

Yeah, wait'll the RIAA picks up on that idea.

His/her tune will change before you can say 'mp3'.

Re:More vigilantes please (5, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106756)

Traditional law enforcement is powerless against this kinda stuff.
For good reason. In fact, it's insane for this to be legal for ANYONE. I mean, some not-so-legit group of people may go and hire some kids to get some dirt on people they don't like (or plant it, if so needed) and then submit it as proof when it shouldn't have been legal to take in the first place.

I know it's hard for the thinofthechildren masses to comprehend it, but there is a reason there are limitations to what the police can do, and they are not "those commies hate kids!"

Bust the buster? (5, Interesting)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106208)

Isn't the hacker in legal trouble for downloading the same 3,000 pictures? (How else did he know the content was illegal?) He had to download them to his computer to view them, thereby committing the same crime as the guy he outed.

Re:Bust the buster? (5, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106252)

Good point. What's the difference between possession with intent to expose someone and possession with intent to masturbate? It's still possession, right?

Could I have worded that any worse? :D

Re:Bust the buster? (2, Insightful)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106270)

RTFA - he wrote a script that displayed an image that the users had already downloaded to their hard drive and circulated it where pedophiles gathered.

Still very shady legally, and you can't have a society where people just trespass for whatever reason. However, he did very intelligently target it and accomplished a good thing. He was a better man than those that make us have laws, and that says something. At least, so far.

Re:Bust the buster? (1)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106288)

For it to display on his computer, it must have been loaded in cache or at least in RAM, therefore being on his computer.

Re:Bust the buster? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106312)

It sounded to me more like the download was actually a program, not a picture. Once downloaded, when the user tried to view it, it actually just displayed an image already on the 'perps' hard drive. So the kid never had or posted any illegal pics, just the trojan. That is how I read it... or am I missing something?

Re:Bust the buster? (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106420)

Yes you are missing something. How did the kid know that the pictures were child-porn? From the names? By just taking a flying guess that they were? Unlikely. Chances are he viewed them. Obviously, he didn't break into people's homes and sit at their machines. He did this remotely. This means the data streamed across the net and landed in his computer and then was displayed on his screen. So yes, vigilante also possessed the child-porn, at least for a moment or two.

Re:Bust the buster? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106500)

Yahhhh.... never mind... should have went to bed an hour ago.

Re:Bust the buster? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106626)

So by the same logic should we also bust police who raid a child pornographer's house and view the images to prove that it is in fact child porn?

The judge who has the evidence alone with him in his office during the trial?

Your logic is flawed.

Re:Bust the buster? (3, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106672)

Obviously, the possession laws don't apply to the police. They are considered confiscators, not possessors. For example, cops find a joint on someone, collect the evidence, and arrest the person. They aren't in possession of marijuana in the illegal sense, they are in possession in confiscatory sense.

Re:Bust the buster? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106682)

Technically, they can be prosecuted for viewing it. They just never are. It's the same with people that work in Internet cafe's if they catch someone downloading that sort of stuff.

Re:Bust the buster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106632)

Again, like was suggested two posts above, RTFA. He focused on their journals and email, not the images they had.

It's a damn trojan ... it makes guesses ! (4, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106656)

How did the kid know that the pictures were child-porn? From the names? By just taking a flying guess that they were? Unlikely.


The program is a damn trojan ! Most of the other virus/trojan software that use dat on victims' hard drive to disguise themeselve make wild guess based on file name and file type and pull mostly random MS Word .DOC files to build the text used to spread copies of the virus. Sometimes this algorithm puts out pure random bullshit, but there are enough situations (and gullible idiots) so that strategy is good enough for the virus to spread in the wild. And that are only viruses taking random office files and sending them in the hope the files land into co-worker inbox who might, by chance, be working on the same subject.

Now in this case we're speaking about a very specific situation. You know you're looking for JPEGs. You know those JPEGs may have "kid", "sex", "naked" or similar keywords in their file names (at least 1 file out of the 3000 is bound to have such a name). You know other messages in the same thread read by preps have similar name.
It's just enough that in some case the program will display an image (and given that at least 3000 of the JPEGs are porn, surely a huge percentage of all JPEGs, there's a huge chance that, just by luck, the trojan will find one of them). Even if finally it's a wrong image (some of those funny joke-pictures circulating on the net), there's still a proportion of users who'll think "Hm... It's only one of those jokes. Too bad, I already have one", instead of suspecting something.
Too little users will realise that there's something wrong and too little will alert the other readers of the thread. By then, several people will have executed the trojan. Then if the hacker have posted a lot of different mails using several different identities and on more than a few threads, the number of the victims will be high enough.

If it works with viruses pulling random DOC files (where the chance is little that the two person will work on the sme subject), it's bound to work in this case (huge proportion of the JPEGs are genuine porn, all readers of the thread are potential pronographers).

(It's like writing a trojan that spread it self on the mailing list of linux kernel developpers, and maskarade itself using ".c" or ".diff" files found on victims hard drives. It's bound to work).

Re:It's a damn trojan ... it makes guesses ! (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106704)

Police caught onto Kline after a Canadian computer whiz hacked into the judge's Irvine home computer and discovered sexually explicit images of young boys and a diary that revealed Kline's fantasies involving young boys. A subsequent search of his court computer revealed more images and more Web sites.

Brad Willman, the Canadian hacker, forwarded the information to an anti-pedophile watchdog group, which then sent the information to Irvine police detectives.
From TFA. It sure sounds like Brad viewed the images although I suppose if you want to be pedantic, you could say he assumed they were illegal based on filenames. I just doubt that.

Re:Bust the buster? (2, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106712)

Yes you are missing something. How did the kid know that the pictures were child-porn? From the names? By just taking a flying guess that they were? Unlikely. Chances are he viewed them. Obviously, he didn't break into people's homes and sit at their machines. He did this remotely. This means the data streamed across the net and landed in his computer and then was displayed on his screen. So yes, vigilante also possessed the child-porn, at least for a moment or two.
  • As you say, 'chances are he viewed them' - we cannot know for sure (TFA doesn't explicitly say, unless I missed it). As an alternative to viewing the pictures, he could have just read emails, diary entries, etc. - which TFA does explicitly say he did. After all, he knew these people downloaded his trojan from a kiddie porn site - so he knew they were, in all likelihood, people with kiddie porn on their computers. Anyhow it seems he was mostly interested in seeing whether they intended to hurt children, not just view pictures (hence reading all their email, and their diaries).
  • Even if he did view a few images to see if they were indeed kiddie porn, this might not be the same - legally - as storing hundreds of images permanently on his hard drive. I say 'might' because IANAL.

Re:Bust the buster? (4, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106432)

You have to have a copy of the information at some point, and AFAIK no program can determine whether an image is child pr0n or not, so whoever blew the whistle saw the images. I don't know the exact language of the applicable laws is, but I'm sure it's got some questionable elements---both ways, too. The meaning of "to have" is just too hazy a concept when it comes to digital information.

Re:Bust the buster? (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106766)

Still very shady legally, and you can't have a society where people just trespass for whatever reason. However, he did very intelligently target it and accomplished a good thing. He was a better man than those that make us have laws, and that says something. At least, so far.

He's an informer of the worst kind. What's the difference between this guy and people who spied on their neighbours for the gestapo and stasi? He did it for the children? Keep telling yourself that when your frienda and neighbours start getting hauled away on fantasy charges.

Re:Bust the buster? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106294)

RTFA. This isn't about pictures. Some of these guys were *real* perps, and not just someone downloading fourth-hand images.

Re:Bust the buster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106346)

You RFTA--he was charged with possession of the pictures. So it WAS about the pictures too. Besides, mere possession of the pictures is illegal, so the hacker is in legal trouble regardless of why the Judge was busted.

Re:Bust the buster? (5, Insightful)

antiphoton (821735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106296)

Not to mention having access to 3000 other innocent people's systems including police and military personal. Not only that, but he could also view any email correspondence by that judge, which could have included sensitive court material.

While his actions are most likely altruistic, he should be punished for his deeds and then be enlisted by some the Canadian police and do it legally.

Terrified on both counts. (4, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106480)

Not only that, but he could also view any email correspondence by that judge, which could have included sensitive court material.

Show me a judge who handles sensitive court correspondence by e-mail and I'll show you a judge I dearly want to smack in the face really, really hard.

he should be punished for his deeds and then be enlisted by some the Canadian police and do it legally

I wouldn't find it at all more comforting that the guy who has the job (self-appointed or not) trolling through private e-mails has a badge. Wouldn't that make him *more* dangerous to the average privacy-loving John Q. Whatever?

Re:Terrified on both counts. (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106638)

Show me a judge who handles sensitive court correspondence by e-mail and I'll show you a judge I dearly want to smack in the face really, really hard.
Probably the type of judge who downloads 3000 illegal images.

E-Mail isn't secure (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106556)

An e-mail is as secure as a post-card (anybody along the path it takes to reach its destination can read the text and, if it isn't encrypted, can understand it).

If the judge uses plain text email for transmitting sensitive information, *he* is the one to be blamed. Anybody at any server that did relay the message had full access to the text (at least the judge's SMTP server and the recipient's POP/IMAP sever. Sometimes even more than that).

If you have sensitive information to transit, at least encrypt it or use secure channels, damnit ! Then you can complain about access to secret data.

Re:Bust the buster? (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106376)

The hacker could have just as easily uploaded the 3,000 pictures to the judge's computer.
Is this type of evidence really admissable? It's not like the hacker can be trusted, after all he DID illegally hack into computers. Perhaps it was his intent to incriminate somebody. He was able to monitor a large number of computers and it just happenned to be an ex-judge's computer that had the pictures? It may be true, but it's a damn big coincidence.

Re:Bust the buster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106576)

RTFA - the judge just as well as admitted that he had downloaded the pictures. Also, his evidence was not the only evidence, but it did tip off the police.

It's not the pictures, it's the diary (4, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106588)

The judge kept a detailed diary of his actions.

Not only has the judge admitted the diary was genuine BUT ALSO a former victim came forward and spoke AND the police found the diary to seem real enough.
At no moment did the judge contest the fact and pretend to have been victim of some spyware/virus.

Therefore the ex-judge can be judged, even if the hacker will also be :
- Told (once more) to stop breaching into people's computers because it's illegal.
- Told to get an actual job at the police to be able to do it legally.

Re:Bust the buster? (5, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106486)

What I want to know is where do you draw the line when it comes to taking down child molesters?

Whenever a politician wants to push some privacy invading law he has only to utter the magic words "kiddie porn" and there's no rebuttal. If a hacker invades your privacy and reads your e-mail that's terrible; unless he suspects you're a child molester, in which case he's a "hero".

One of the funniest, most well adjusted people I know was molested at six; it doesn't scar you for life, a savage beating from bullies just might though. Why do we practically encourage bullying but go to any lengths to stop child molesters?

Obviously here I have to clarify my stance, or people will start taking out their pitchforks.. Child molestation and kiddie porn is revolting, but what about getting stabbed? What about being forced to take addictive drugs and prostitute yourself to earn them? What about privacy?
No-one in power has the guts to say "we're going too far", because then they'll be labeled as a sympathizer.

What about the child prostitutes that everyone knows about, but won't donate money to build good orphanages to put them in? We go to any lengths to stop the abuse of children, unless it costs us money. If Brett is such a anti-child molester hero why not get a job, and donate money to take kids off the streets?
Because Brett just wants an excuse to get a rush from "hacking" (ie installing a trojan on gullible users computers, the nirvana of incredible hacks). He's just like loads of other "hacktivists"; working and donating money just isn't as exciting.


I'm not saying the evidence shouldn't be counted, but I do think calling Brett a "hero" for reading thousands of peoples e-mails for years on end is absurd.
Out of those thousands of people were any of them not child molesters? I'm guessing the majority weren't, since he has only a couple of arrests attributed to him. Would you call Brett a hero if you were one of the people he had been monitoring for years? Personally I'd want to lodge the end of my boot up his asshole.

Re:Bust the buster? (3, Funny)

computational super (740265) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106514)

What about the child prostitutes that everyone knows about

WHERE? I mean... that's terrible...

Berlin zoo. Paris Gare du Nord. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106680)

I could come up with more. The first time I got asked if I wanted to get a "pipe" (fellatio) for a twenty (euro) it was revolting and I went at length to the police and phone to infancy protection. Apparently for nothing : 6 Monthes after I saw the same kid (I think it was her) a bit older and a bit more "thin".

You WHERE might sound funny to people not being confronted to child prostitution, but once you get asked if you want sex favor from a 12 year old your life is not the same afterward, and you tend to see the world with darker shade of gray. And it is even worst when you realize that you cannot do much.

Re:Bust the buster? (0)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106724)

Paedophiles are this century's witches. Burn them, buuuuurn theeem!!!

I find child molesters as obnoxious as the next person, but let's get it into perspective. There are actually many worse things. And frankly, society's attitude to the phenomenon is making the problem many times worse, by a) stigmatising the victims into believing that an irredeemably great harm has befallen them, and b) by making the crime so beyond the pale that it actually becomes attractive to those people that need to seek out that kind of thrill.

Hard is it may be for many to stomach, the problem would go away a lot faster if we all just said: "meh."

Re:Bust the buster? (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106752)

I'm not saying the evidence shouldn't be counted, but I do think calling Brett a "hero" for reading thousands of peoples e-mails for years on end is absurd.

I think the evidence shouldn't be counted. It was obtained illegally, by a vigilante. What kind of a precedent are we setting here. That some self righteous group of private citizens will take it upon themselves to police everyone else. There's a recipe for disaster if ever there was one.

Brett isn't a hero. He's a zealot. A criminal zealot. I don't care how may witches^Dpedophiles may or may not walk free. Frankly I will trust the pedophile before I trust vigilantes, because at least with the pedophiles you know where they stand.

Vigilantes are just hungry for blood and power. Guilt, innocence and even the crime itself are secondary concerns to them.

Re:Bust the buster? (0, Redundant)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106520)

Isnt breaking into someones computer with a Trojan illegal?

Maybe he put the kiddie porn on the judges computer...

Re:Bust the buster? (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106670)

Isn't the hacker in legal trouble for downloading the same 3,000 pictures? (How else did he know the content was illegal?) He had to download them to his computer to view them, thereby committing the same crime as the guy he outed.
Not only that, but the description of the guy sounds like he could easily be in denial and attempting to compensate for it by going all out in the reverse direction -- in the same way that so many fire-and-brimstone anti-gay preachers and politicians turn out to be exactly what they hate the most.

Of course it could just be the reporter exaggerating for effect.

Either way, here's the relevant part of the second article:

Dubbed "Citizen Tipster" by police, Brad Willman, spent night after night writing a Trojan Horse program that gave him complete control over every computer that downloaded it.

Alone and in the dark, he sat for up to 16 hours a day monitoring hundreds of targets, secretly reading their e-mail and tracking their every step online.

He started keeping files on the targeted users. He tracked them for almost three years --recording everything. The majority of his targets were ordinary people -- but some in the files included priests, social workers, soldiers, police officers and justice officials.

He catalogued each file by degree of risk and focused on suspected child-porn producers and molesters.

This was his life. He had no friends in school and skipped the prom. Even these days, his only entertainment away from the computer is going to the odd movie, alone.

The son of a coffee shop owner, Mr. Willman, a.k.a. Omni-Potent, finds if hard to socialize and rarely answers the telephone. He can only be himself online -- staring at the screen and chewing sour candies.

Re:Bust the buster? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106714)

Isn't the hacker in legal trouble for downloading the same 3,000 pictures? (How else did he know the content was illegal?) He had to download them to his computer to view them, thereby committing the same crime as the guy he outed.

No. In most countries, and I think Canada is included, you're legally clear as long as you don't keep copies, i.e. you take necessary steps to report to an appropriate authority (not usually legally necessary, but you would be allowed to do it) and then wipe them from your computer's disks. Making sure you get any cached copies. You have to have intentionally created or kept copies, in knowledge of the contents, for the relevant laws to come into play.

Illegal evidence (4, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106222)

And how the fuck you can convince someone on evidence that got obtained in an illegal way?

And why the script kiddie isn't in jail? Spying and breaking the privacy of many thousands of people (the blurb suggests it was way more than 3000) isn't something to shake a stick at.

Re:Illegal evidence (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106250)

And why the script kiddie isn't in jail? Spying and breaking the privacy of many thousands of people (the blurb suggests it was way more than 3000) isn't something to shake a stick at.

Once the ex-judge's computer had been hacked by "some guy" the state of that system should be considered to be tainted. Who's to say that Brad Willman wasn't using that system as a proxy?

Re:Illegal evidence (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106262)

Huh? What are you talking about? This is CHILD PORN! The normal rules don't apply! The hacker is a hero! Burn the evil judge! Think of the children! Don't you know a little boy screamed in agonising pain EACH AND EVERY TIME one of those digital images was copied and transferred? Evil evil child porn pederast evil evil EVIL EVIL!!!!!

OK, Back on planet earth, I agree with you 100%. This is a travesty of justice, not a vindication.

Re:Illegal evidence (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106272)

For exposing the illogical, I sentence you to 50k seperate pieces of child pr0n. Now, stop telling people about what we do, and I might even remove you from my botnet. Maybe.

Or, I can plant these and turn you in... YOUR CHOICE.

Re:Illegal evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106334)

And how the fuck you can convince someone on evidence

Illegally obtained evidence is extremely convincing ...

... convicting some one. That's the tough part.

Re:Illegal evidence (2, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106366)

"And how the fuck you can convince someone on evidence that got obtained in an illegal way?"

Yeah, like that doesn't happen in the "drug war". Besides in this case the cops obtained the evidence legally since the guy gave it to them volantarily, they could also drag his arse into court if they wanted to be politically "brave".

OTHOH: The politics of peodophelia makes this a very neat cover for anyone in the industrial espionage or black-mailing bussiness.

Re:Illegal evidence (2, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106370)

And how the fuck you can convince someone on evidence that got obtained in an illegal way?

Well... just because evidence was gathered illegaly doesn't mean it can't be admited. IANAL but I seem to recall provisions in the law for this. If you are law enforcement... then they are obligated to obey certain rules of conduct. On the other hand, ordinary citizens are not required to. I also seem to recall the fact that wiretaps cross boarders are totally admissible... at least according to moaning canadians who were concerned over the US gathering evidence via illegal wiretaps back in 2000 or so. While I disagree with this practice for matters not related to national security, America seemed to have opened a can of words with a double edged sword.

Now... dispite the fact that the ex-judge was spyed with kiddy porn, something which is a huge no no, I believe that the regular laws of telephony devices should apply. I feel that this should be considered to be an illegal wiretap. Good intentions or not it's as serious a violation of privacy as tapping someone's telephone.

Can government outsource investigations ? (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106722)

Several governments already "outsourced" some of their prisons into private hands. Can they outsource investigations too ? That way the evidence could be obtained illegaly without explicit order from the state and will be admissible in the court. And while at it private investigators can make use of little torture too. By "inviting" suspect in Syria for example. There is no big step from private prisons or mercenary working for government to private investigator working for government.

Dumbass! It's the USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106440)

Don't you know that sex is obscene, and takes priority over any other crime? Oh, why won't somebody please think of the children?!

Oh, wait...

Son of a ..... (5, Funny)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106232)


The son of a coffee shop owner, Mr. Willman, a.k.a. Omni-Potent, ....

And he stayed up all night .. night after night ... I wonder what kept him awake ?

Re:Son of a ..... (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106344)

He's....Tweek! I can just see the nervous twitch now, "oh god! Naked people!"

I'm curious how you people think about this (5, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106240)

Because obviously the hacker is guilty of more crimes than that judge

-> clear violation of privacy of thousands of people
-> use of that information for private gain
-> passing off vigilante-collected information to the police
-> (plus or minus) collecting that same porn

All this obviously without a court order, or even being in the police force.

This is also seriously worse than the riaa has ever done. So what should the punishment for the hacker be ? Clearly he cannot go free, despite having caught this criminal.

Re:I'm curious how you people think about this (4, Interesting)

quantaman (517394) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106328)

Because obviously the hacker is guilty of more crimes than that judge

-> clear violation of privacy of thousands of people
-> use of that information for private gain
-> passing off vigilante-collected information to the police
-> (plus or minus) collecting that same porn

All this obviously without a court order, or even being in the police force.

This is also seriously worse than the riaa has ever done. So what should the punishment for the hacker be ? Clearly he cannot go free, despite having caught this criminal.
Ahh but you forget, child pornography was involved, one of Bruce Schneier's four horsemen of the information apocalypse. You can be assured that no right is safe, nor investigative method over the line, when one of the horsemen is involved.

Re:I'm curious how you people think about this (1)

niconorsk (787297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106426)

Hmm, what would the other three horsemen be. one wonders. Terrorism is one of them, obviously, but we need another two.

Re:I'm curious how you people think about this (1)

NTiOzymandias (753325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106528)

Copyright violation (piracy), obviously. And could the fourth one be video game violence?

And I wonder if those horses they're riding are made of wood. ;)

The Four horsement of the Information Apocolyps (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106690)

The Original Quote was

Beware the Four Horsemen of the Information Apocalypse: terrorists, drug dealers, kidnappers, and child pornographers. Seems like you can scare any public into allowing the government to do anything with those four. -- Bruce Schneier
I'd be inclined to collapse drug dealers, kidnappers in to Crime and add in Digtial Pirates to the list. They may not be as scary but there just as good at getting the Goverment to do stupid shit.

Re:I'm curious how you people think about this (2, Interesting)

seyyah (986027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106532)

I'm guessing there will be legal repercussions for the hacker (as there should be). He will most likely get a slap on the wrist as a token acknowledgment of having committed a crime.
And then he will have a lot of job offers for computer security work. People will trust him.

Re:I'm curious how you people think about this (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106496)

Because obviously the hacker is guilty of more crimes than that judge.

Indeed. What makes this one case interesting (at least with respect to the judge) is that it worked out fine and A Bad Guy got snared. Considering the general nature of the crime(s), I'm inclined to overlook or even dismiss everything else. It's for a good cause, right?

On the other hand, it's fair, reasonable and probably customary for someone committing a crime for a greater good to be charged with those crimes, leaving it to the discretion of the court to decide mitigating factors and sentence the defendant appropriately. That most definitely didn't happen here, and by the tone of the two articles, such judicial concepts strangely aren't even part of the conversation. If the subject was a different one, he would be regarded as a first-class felon.

I'd be more interested in the other 3,000 "investigations", just as I'd be interested in knowing WTF a 19 year old kid is spending his formative years exclusively focused on the subject of dirty pictures and possible crimes against kids, and his pursuing vigilante justice. It's possible he has saintly qualities, but my guess is there's something serious wrong with him, just as there's something unseemly about what he was doing and trying to do.

The whole thing stinks, doesn't it? A strange kid working with a vigilante group writing trojans and rummaging around in people's personal lives. Everyone has something they'd prefer to remain private, just as everyone is probably guilty of committing crimes large and small at one time or another. I know I'd be more comfortable if people like him were behind bars.

Re:I'm curious how you people think about this (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106710)

This guy has risked being put into prison for years ruining his life for something he believed to be wrong. How many other people would have just moved on instead of stepping up to report this?

I think thats the action that should be celebrated even though you are quite correct that this guy is not exactly an angel but then how many of us are?

Re:I'm curious how you people think about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106762)

This is also seriously worse than the riaa has ever done.
I guess we know where he works now

protect children (2, Insightful)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106244)

So he is giving out child porn with a Trojan Horse embedded, and then illegally trespassing onto the (3000) infected computers.

This sounds about as bad as it can get.

From the article:
"He... ignored police threats that if he didn't stop he'd be arrested for breaching privacy"

I guess since "His motives was always to protect children who can't protect themselves", it is all ok.

Re:protect children (2, Insightful)

PoopDaddy (1064616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106518)

Like just last week - I robbed a bank at gunpoint, but I gave the money to an orphanage so it's totally fine. It's all about the kids.

Try reading the F***ing Article...... (1)

budword (680846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106558)

I know it's a tradition to post comments without taking the time to RTFA, but it clearly says that the perp or target only thought they were downloading an image, but in fact any displayed image came from their own hard drive. As for worrying about their privacy, this kid is not a cop, so if he violated your privacy by poking around looking for child porn please fell free to take him to civil court. I would rather have the police spend some time trying to find the people making the child porn, rather than harass a white knight in a black hat. Some things are worth spending time and money on, some aren't. Good judgement is knowing the difference. It's hard enough to get the police to go after stolen laptops when gifted with the ip address of the thief, don't ask them to waste their time and money trying to make a point against a lonely kid doing some good. More good than you've done in the last few years, I'm willing to bet.

Ohhhhhay (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106248)

Now I'm not trying to make light of the CP charges, but why isn't this guy getting in trouble for hacking computers?

Re:Ohhhhhay (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106322)

He should be. That doesn't clear his US "victims", though, cause for some reason, evidence obtained through illegal search and seizure is OK as long as it isn't the government that obtains it that way.

Hacker Must be Prosecuted for Committed Felonies (4, Insightful)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106320)

I'd toss out the conviction of the judge based on an illegal search and seizure, prosecute the hacker through the DCMCA and general wire-tapping laws, and allow the judge to file a civil suit for property invasion. You can't spy on everyone possible where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy to see if they might be doing something illegal. You need a search warrant when American citizens are involved. So while breaking and entering into the judge's computer and finding data contraband, who knows what personal details of other people's lives, financial data, credit card numbers, etc. that this criminal has gathered while repeatedly breaking and entering into other people's property. I can't trespass into your home to see if you have drugs or child porn or what have you. Even if I find something illegal, I've already broken into your home and searched it top from bottom, without your knowledge, consent, or a search warrant, and I've broken into thousands of other houses and found nothing. This is the same thing; the hacker is a one-man brownshirt, with no respect for the rule of law or due process.

Obligatory Simpsons (1)

snafu109 (852770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106488)

the hacker is a one-man brownshirt, with no respect for the rule of law or due process.
Oh, you Americans with your due process and fair trials. This is always so much easier in Mexico.

Re:Obligatory Simpsons (1)

Virtual_Raider (52165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106730)

Hey now! At least we still have Habeas Corpus enshrined by the constitution and some semblance of respecting it :P

Re:Hacker Must be Prosecuted for Committed Felonie (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106552)

You're right that the kid is probably guilty of violating some of the US hacking-related laws, but:

You can't spy on everyone possible where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy to see if they might be doing something illegal. You need a search warrant when American citizens are involved.

That is not entirely true. The police need a search warrant. I don't need a search warrant to, say, leaf through your drawers if you invite me inside for a drink.

The real question, and one somebody much more knowledgable in the area that I will have to answer, is whether if I found something while I was leafing through your papers, then told the police, whether they could use that evidence. Or more appropriately to this scenario, maybe I stole your papers out of your drawer and gave them to the cops.

The act of spying itself, private citizen to private citizen, is not necessarily a violation of the law. (Voyeurism, breaking and entering, unlawful entry... these sorts of things may apply, but they aren't the same thing.)

Re:Hacker Must be Prosecuted for Committed Felonie (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106740)

I'd toss out the conviction of the judge based on an illegal search and seizure,

Illegal search & seizure is the wrong grounds. First, the search was conducted by a Canadian who was not acting as an agent of US authorities, therefore isn't bound by US law. I'm not sure, but I think the court that overturned the decision that it was illegal is correct.

But, the fact that he installed the trojan on the PC the images were found on means that we must trust that he did not place the images there himself. Now, the fact that the judge admitted the offence in the end means presumably he did not, but there would likely be no clear way of telling in the case that he hadn't.

Obligatory biblical quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106324)

"Judge not, lest ye be judged."

You know what I would like to do? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106330)

One of these days, what I would like to do is make some sort of super-virus. Something that is ridiculously infectious, multi-vector, polymorphic, all the tricks. I'm a pretty good programmer, I'm sure I could come up with something pretty good.

What this virus would do is infect as many computers as it could, and then implement some kind of basic bittorrent protocol, and download GIGS of child porn onto every single computer it touched. Thousands of images. Thousands of videos. The more the better.

Maybe then, and only then, we'd see an end to this type of case - destroying an otherwise harmless old man's life just because he had some fricking images on his HD. I don't know how Americans can keep a straight face when we say we favour free speech on one hand, but on the other we can talk about "illegal pornography" .. what a fucking joke. Free speech is free speech is free speech and if an image CAN be illegal then we do NOT HAVE FREE SPEECH. And I don't even LIKE kiddie porn. It's the pure fucking principle.

So, watch out for this virus, if I ever do make it. I might call it "Ashcroft" ...

Shocking that this is allowed (3, Insightful)

d_jedi (773213) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106342)

The "hacker" should be punished. Out of the 3000 or so systems he has infected with his trojan.. how many have contained illegal content? Why has he not been charged for violating the privacy/tresspassing/etc. for (at least) those whose computers are "clean"?

Re:Shocking that this is allowed (2, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106530)

At the very least, this person should be sued into non-existance by the victims of the hacking. I'm quite certain that even in Canada, by his own admission, has has likely broken many laws associated with terrorism, breaking and entering, tresspassing and any number of laws associated with privacy and computer security.

bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106380)

Obviously he's being paid by law enforcement to do shit that is illegal for them to do.

Justifying it by saying he's busting criminals is fallacious. If the police think someone is breaking the law, let them get a warrant and take them down.

in defense of the hacker....... (2, Interesting)

sr. bigotes (1030382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106386)

The story does say that he embedded his trojan program into "several usenet groups used by pedophiles". This may not be the only place he hid the thing to be downloaded, the story's unclear there, but I think that could be considered "reasonable search and seizure". The "news story" is a bit light on content and heavy on hagiography, but he may have legitimately have been trying to catch bad guys here.

If one hacker does it for 'good' (4, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106402)

Then you can be sure there are one hundred doing it for ill.

But similar to what posters earlier have pointed out - How can we solely trust a trojan writer? How do we know that the hacker didn't simply set people up? Once he had taken control of their computers he could have planted the files himself.
Not to mention the fact that he must have broken into a great many innocent people's computers and read their emails. I wonder if they will be so happy of the methods that this superhero used.

If he knew the places pedophiles frequent, why didn't he just forward that info to the authorities, he can't claim that they weren't putting enough effort into fighting child pornography.

Evidence was labeled inadmissible (3, Informative)

zoftie (195518) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106406)

http://www.irvineworldnews.com/Astories/oct30/klin e.htm [irvineworldnews.com]

Constitution is a good thing, even if it protect liberties, even in this case. However when government wants to overstep their boundaries its fair game anyway. However overstepping their boundaries won't work, because it won't let them successfully prosecute criminals, as it will fly in the face of the constitutional rights.

How can you find them guilty..? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106412)

This idiot thought he was doing the authorities a favor by finding evidence of what he saw as wrongdoing.

To do this he broke into systems and spied without a warrant, probable cause, or any authority whatsoever. Most of the people he did this to were innocent, but in any case the 'evidence' he found cannot be used to prosecute with. I doubt if he has much concept of the 'chain of evidence' anyway, so it will be inadmissable for all sorts of reasons.

'Never mind', you say, 'he has gained valuable intelligence. The authorities can mount a raid later and do things properly'.

But by his own admission these target machines have been hacked by a person anxious to 'find' kiddyporn distributors and users. Surely this makes ANYTHING on that system suspect thereafter? When accused, all the judge has to do is claim that he has never seen these photos before, and they must have been placed there by the hacker. Indeed, from TFA I think that is a credible possibility.

Not only has this idiot committed a nasty computer crime by hacking into innocent people's machines, he has messed up the possibilities of any future prosecution of people who may or may not have been involved in an actual crime.

{irony}
Of course, the above is only going by the Constitution. Everyone knows that nowadays the rule of law is suspended whenever:

Patriotism is mentioned
Children are mentioned
Global Warming is mentioned
Security is mentioned
Road Safety is mentioned ....... .......

{end irony}

None of the cases he's uncovered will ever succeed (4, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106446)

He's found a judge with child porn on his computer. This judge will hire a competent defense attorney who will argue that Willman put all of the images there. After all, Willman had complete access to the machine, by his own admission. "Willman is a lone wacko who's obsessed by child porn," the attorney will argue.

And every single child pornographer he's uncovered will do the same. Many of them will get away with it, and precedent will be set.

There's a reason why we have search laws. Willman has now tainted the evidence in thousands of child porn cases, by his own admission. That's pretty much the definition of "well meaning idiot."

Re:None of the cases he's uncovered will ever succ (2, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106494)

I have to agree with much of what you say... that future cases involving this guy should be abandoned by prosecution.

However, I think you didn't read the article. This matter is closed without appeal. He plead guilty. It's over.

A lesson to be learned here... (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106458)

... if someone hacks your network to 'gain evidence' the counter-claim should be that the hacking was done to PLANT evidence. Force an end to the assault on your freedom and your character before the struggle itself becomes your downfall.

Reasonable doubt then has a good chance to keeping you free. If evidence is not properly gathered from the very beginning, how can proof beyond a reasonable doubt ever be presented?

This guy copped a plea, though, so much of the background is moot at this point. But I have seen many other cases (typically surrounding divorce where the woman would like to secure custody of children and such) where people's lives had been ruined on the basis of an accusation that could not be defended easily enough. As the article shows, this guy's whole life fell apart during all of this and while the resources of the prosecution are unlimited, the resources of the accused deteriorated and suffocated while he defended against the charges.

We, the public, will never know the full truth of this. A confession after all the strife he faced is nothing short of coerced and tainted.

Re:A lesson to be learned here... (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106692)

... if someone hacks your network to 'gain evidence' the counter-claim should be that the hacking was done to PLANT evidence. Force an end to the assault on your freedom and your character before the struggle itself becomes your downfall.

Nit-pick: That's a defence, not a counterclaim.

Not YRO? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106498)

I'm surprised this wasn't "YRO" based on the usual Slashdot liberal bias (AKA. fired IBM employee deprived of "rights" to view pornography on company dollar).

Logical, since you have *no right* in the first place to view child pornography in this country in the first place.

Que the next YRO article, where someone claims the "right" to commit a crime. Go call ACLU/PETA/NMBLA.

Learn this lesson, folks... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18106524)

Smart pedos don't use Windows!

Did the Judge ever touch a child? (3, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106574)

In the big picture of things, If he didnt touch a child... is he really guilty of anything?

The hacker could have placed the pictures there...

I think this is way too shady.

Even if they were his pictures... isnt it a thought crime?

Re:Did the Judge ever touch a child? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106754)

In the big picture of things, If he didnt touch a child... is he really guilty of anything?

Based on the article, he possibly did, but the evidence against him was inadmissable due to the length of time that had passed (some kind of legal protection, presumably intended to protect people against testimonies from false memories).

This is a really old story... (-1, Redundant)

coleridge1834 (1067140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106640)

....even for slashdot. This happened back in 2002/2003. The case was thrown out of court because the evidence was obtained illegally and was therefore inadmissible.

Must be a very slow news day to report on such an old story.

Re:This is a really old story... (3, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106768)

Do you want to try reading the article. It's dated yesterday, and describes how the 'illegal search & seizure' conclusion of a lower court was overturned by the federal appeals court, following which the judge admitted the offence.

LOTF (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18106744)

Welcome to the Land Of The Free, where you can be locked up for two years for looking at pictures.

Yeah, mod me flamebait because I didn't think of the chiiiiildren. It's still a fact that we yell and cry about the horrors of tyranny if people are forbidden from reading any book they like, but in our own culture people don't have the freedom to look at any pictures they like. And there are cases where people have been sentenced for child porn that was created digitially, with no actual childs harmed.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>