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FBI Posts Fake Hyperlinks To Trap Downloaders of Illegal Porn

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the if-you-thought-getting-a-shock-site-link-was-bad dept.

The Courts 767

mytrip brings us a story from news.com about an FBI operation in which agents posted hyperlinks which advertised child pornography, recorded the IP addresses of people who clicked the links, and then tracked them down and raided their homes. The article contains a fairly detailed description of how the operation progressed, and it raises questions about the legality and reliability of getting people to click "unlawful" hyperlinks. Quoting: "With the logs revealing those allegedly incriminating IP addresses in hand, the FBI sent administrative subpoenas to the relevant Internet service provider to learn the identity of the person whose name was on the account--and then obtained search warrants for dawn raids. The search warrants authorized FBI agents to seize and remove any "computer-related" equipment, utility bills, telephone bills, any "addressed correspondence" sent through the U.S. mail, video gear, camera equipment, checkbooks, bank statements, and credit card statements. While it might seem that merely clicking on a link wouldn't be enough to justify a search warrant, courts have ruled otherwise. On March 6, U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Nevada agreed with a magistrate judge that the hyperlink-sting operation constituted sufficient probable cause to justify giving the FBI its search warrant."

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767 comments

I would have read the article before replying (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814672)

But I was afraid to click the link!

Re:I would have read the article before replying (3, Funny)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814692)

I clicked it... As soon as I did, my phone rang... I'm scared.

Re:I would have read the article before replying (3, Insightful)

Wiseman1024 (993899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814870)

4chan party van anyone?

Post JB, get people v& for taking the bait. An interesting scheme. Now the FBI is almost as bad as that which it fights. I would almost care, if I didn't think pedos deserve it.

Re:I would have read the article before replying (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814910)

JB is not CP. Seeing as how half of 4channers are 15, jailbait-clickers are just interested in girls their age. Anyway, the FBI should be trying to take down the monsters who hurt these children instead of spending millions on prosecuting people who just copy files around the internet.

Re:I would have read the article before replying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22815002)

JB is not CP Keep dreaming, buddy. Jailbait is just a nicer way of saying child pornography. Porn of anybody under 18 years old is CP.

Re:I would have read the article before replying (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814876)

You should be scared- you can have all your thousands of dollars of computer equipment and hard drives seized indefinitely just because you clicked on a link. I'm wayyyyyyyyy more terrified of the FBI than of terrorists, and I'm no criminal.

Re:I would have read the article before replying (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815016)

Good thing you didn't answer the phone - otherwise you would have heard a voice whisper:

seven days!

Rest Assured (4, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814714)

Spoofing as a link to a slashdot article would be about the least successful campaign of this type the FBI could conduct. Of all the billions and trillions of links out there, the link to an article on slashdot is going to get the fewest.

Ah, but you are the target. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814814)

Slashdot has political opposition, just the kind of people this kind of thing is designed to catch. What, you think they are going to look at the referring site and know it's a prank if it comes from here? Ha!

Re:I would have read the article before replying (2, Interesting)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815034)

If you have a child under the age of 18 click the link for you (or while you are away), is that still illegal?

Or rather without identifying the actual individual clicking the link, this seems like a fishing expedition without any reasonable restraint placed on the search (i.e. if the search warrant is for an elephant, the authorities have no cause to search through your underwear drawer or safe... Not that *I* would hide anything there...).

It seems this would cause quite an impact on a home-run business as well (such that I have in my spare time), when a third-party could have pasted the same link elsewhere without the identifying marks such as "CLIX HEAR 4 1LLEGUL PR0N!@#", such as the various goatse crap we see here. "Unsuspecting" is a viable defense -- and TFA mentions no one knows if they recorded the Referrer: header from the client in their logs...

Am I responsible for what authorities might find if they click this link on your computer? [localhost] (BTW - when I hit submit the first time, my network connection went down for 10 minutes... Coincidence?)

Stating the obvious problem (4, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814684)

So now if you develop a search engine, you get your computer confiscated?

Re:Stating the obvious problem (2, Interesting)

dlanod (979538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814746)

It's not the links that are the problem. It's the "behaviour" pattern of following the links that the FBI are using to determine who to raid.

Re:Stating the obvious problem (5, Insightful)

Zibri (1063838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814946)

Crawlers is "clicking" the links, and is indeed a part of developing a search engine.

Re:Stating the obvious problem (5, Interesting)

syzler (748241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814836)

What if your browser uses link prefetching? Will they then have enough justification to take my computers and smart phone away which would leave me without the ability to work?

Re:Stating the obvious problem (4, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814948)

They can tell if it's prefetched, if you're using a recent firefox. Firefox sends the http header

X-moz: prefetch
for prefetch requests. You can disable prefetching altogether by going to about:config and toggling

network.prefetch-next

Re:Stating the obvious problem (5, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814992)

You should disable prefetching; a little-known fact is that cookies are exchanged when links are prefetched.. if you're on unsecured wifi (like my internet during the months I'm at school) all someone has to do is present you with a link to amazon or to wikipedia or to slashdot, and you don't even have to click it for the auto-login cookie to be exchanged. Those of you with credit card info saved on amazon, beware. ~~~~

Restating a more obvious problem. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814872)

Like the department statement of the article implied, a malicious person could plant these links on other sites, like Slashdot, where people have a habit of posting malicious links. Instead of looking at someone's ass, you will get a raid. It's like one click swatting - either very stupid or very malicious of the FBI. Because this is such an obvious issue, I'm betting on malice.

Like the department statement of the article implied, a malicious person could plant these links on other sites, like Slashdot, where people have a habit of posting malicious links. Instead of looking at someone's ass, you will get a raid. It's like one click swatting - either very stupid or very malicious of the FBI. Because this is such an obvious issue, I'm betting on malice.

Sockpuppets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22815008)

You already posted in this article with your sockpuppet [slashdot.org] account. Trying to game the system?

BTW, your copy & paste strategy is not working too well.

Re:Stating the obvious problem (5, Interesting)

erikina (1112587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814982)

And lets hope that server never sees the light of day again, not only is helping people find child porn, it's in possesion. Think of the children.

On a serious note. Am I the only one that scared by these prospects? I don't mind the whole "think of the children", as I'm not a bad/evil/pedophile .. but put in the position, I might have clicked the link. Not because I'm into that stuff, but a combination of curisoity, bordem and just wondering if that stuff exists might have driven me to click it. And according to TFA the mere act of clicking the link constitues "violating federal law, which criminalizes "attempts" to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison.".

I probably should have posted this anonymously, but I'm sick of the idea that possesion of some pictures is one of the worst crimes in the world. Sure child abuse is terrible (And I'd have no hesitation against the death penality in severe cases). But having a picture of it? C'mon.

Re:Stating the obvious problem (4, Insightful)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815040)

Take this scenario....

You are a 15 year old boy who has a 15 year old girlfriend.

You have sex and take pictures of each other naked.

You break up soon after but keep the photos.

Flash forward...you are now 30 years old wacking off to those photos. Are you a pedophile?

Re:Stating the obvious problem (1)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815066)

This has many other flaws. Think for a minute that HTTP request could have been generated by: 1. Spyware that frequently displays porn controlled by a third party "through" your computer. 2. Botnets that frequently pull all kind of information, and/or perform DDoS attacks 3. Any other computer on the same network 4. Any other computer using an open or poorly configured wireless router 5. Going to any other website on the Internet that loaded that URL in a frame or iframe, or used a meta refresh, etc., loading it without the knowledge of the user 6. Anyone who happened to walk by said computer and noticed the screen saver was not locked (e.g. you can't tie the person to the crime, only the computer - or possibly only the network). 7. Web bugs embedded in email, word docs, or other flawed tools that have been known to "call home" 8. Any other machine routing through the source PC, with or without the user's knowledge 9. Any additional software the owner of the PC has loaded, that could malfunction or maliciously load such files 10. File sharing software or other software that can easily misrepresent content causing the user to download it unintentionally. The only way this would work, in fact, would be if they confiscated the computer and found the evidence in a browser history of some sort, and even then there is still reasonable doubt as to whether the click was intentional or not, and just who performed it. As much as I love to see a scumbad kiddie porn pervert thrown into jail, this technique is entirely unworthy of any technical merit.

How long until... (4, Insightful)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814686)

Compromised web sites contain stealthed links to these honeypots?

Re:How long until... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814952)

I hear that certain search engines [yahoo.com] propagate this kind of crap. Google used to with the &btnI, but they seem to have patched that. Hence I've moved to Yahoo! for this kind of activity.

- Lord Haw Haw

Re:How long until... (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814976)

Won't matter since they look at the referer id as part of the sting.

Re:How long until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22815098)

Yeah, because referrer ID can't be faked as part of the TRAP! url. :P

Re:How long until... (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815010)

Or people start posting them on slashdot. You know v&town would be a good name for a trolling group.

Re:How long until... (5, Funny)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815020)

It's gonn be the next goatse, if you thought making people look at a stretched out asshole was funny, think how much funnier getting thier houses raided by the FBI will be!

Porn?? (0, Flamebait)

thoughtlover (83833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814688)

Now why would the FBI have to sully the good reputation that porn has generated since the first woman took off her clothes for money? What did porn do the the FBI to make them the new moral police?

In all reality, this smacks of entrapment.

Re:Porn?? (2, Interesting)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814738)

You missed the bit where it was kiddie porn, so everyone can scream 'think of the children!' while they run around in circles arresting the true menace to our children, hyperlink clickers. I wonder how long it will take them to start raiding the sites where the ads show up. Guilty by vague association and all that.

Priorities (4, Insightful)

TXISDude (1171607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814700)

With BotNets, Identity Theft and other serious on-line crime, I am so glad that the FBI has the resources to protect us from porn . . . Having had my Identity stolen (the old fashion way - postal theft) and haven gotten no response form any LE - local answer - not in our jurisdiction, FBI answer - not enough $$ involved. Thinking of that - how much $$ are they investigating in this sting operation? Cyber crime will not be a priority until either 1) we get an administration with a different set of priorities (I don't see hope on the horizon there) 2) someone important gets really gouged by Identity theft or a botnet 3) a magic unicorn arrives and makes everything nice

Re:Priorities (4, Interesting)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814848)

With the "not enough money" part involved, I always wondered what it would take to steal ID's, but only put about $5,000 in debt on each ID, just enough to stay under the radar per ID stolen. With enough ID's stolen here and there, that gets to be real money...a dollar here and a dollar there adds up to a bit over time. The FBI really should look at the smaller cases and I'd bet they'd find some big fish...

Nice. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814710)

So if I see some link advertising child porn, and I click it to see if it's fake or something which actually needs to be reported to authorities, now I'm potentially opening myself up to having my computer confiscated and my life turned upside down?

Guess I'd better let the kids fend for themselves then!

tor (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814712)

So now I'm curious. Did they raid a privacy buff who is running a tor server?

Entrapment? (5, Insightful)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814716)

Ok, I'm not one to throw around the term willy nilly, but this seems like it fits the very definition of entrapment.

Re:Entrapment? (1)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814780)

that was my first reaction, but don't forget that entrapment is when you make or somehow get a person do to something that they would normally not do.

Re:Entrapment? (3, Informative)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814828)

that was my first reaction, but don't forget that entrapment is when you make or somehow get a person do to something that they would normally not do.
While IANAL, I have read that "tempting" someone to do something counts as entrapment. I think posting such a link would count; however, finding an existing link and monitoring it would not.

Re:Entrapment? (1)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814826)

That was my first thought, but TFA mentions that claims of entrapment in this context usually don't get far, because the defendants weren't "forced" or "tricked" into doing something they don't usually do.

I guess that really depends on the manner in which this 'sting' was set up, but personally, I'll just trust the article.

Re:Entrapment? (3, Informative)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814830)

"Claims of entrapment have been made in similar cases, but usually do not get very far," said Stephen Saltzburg, a professor at George Washington University's law school. "The individuals who chose to log into the FBI sites appear to have had no pressure put upon them by the government...It is doubtful that the individuals could claim the government made them do something they weren't predisposed to doing or that the government overreached."

Not that that is my personal opinion, but the article points out that lawyers have said that this almost certainly is not entrapment. Apparently, the fbi is safe behind the argument that you clicked the link under your own will without unreasonable pressure from the government.

Re:Entrapment? (4, Insightful)

pikine (771084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814852)

I think they don't use the fact you clicked on the hyperlink to incriminate you, but it's a probable cause for a warrant because you're likely to possess other child porn. It would be interesting, what would they do if they don't find any possession of child porn? Take off their hat and apologize for the inconvenience?

Re:Entrapment? (5, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815022)

apologize? The FBI? You're kidding right?

There is absolutely NO repercussions to a judge who authorizes a search warrant on shoddy evidence. Law enforcement can literally *lie* to get the warrant and, even if you can prove they were lying, there isn't a venue to file your complaint. Even if they cause damage to your property, you can't sue... they had a valid warrant. About the only people you *can* file your complaint with is the FBI.. who will action it, around the 4th of never.

Re:Entrapment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22815074)

No problem about NOT finding anything incriminating, as some associate can guarantee it soon after the source is determined.

Their game is numbers and wins, not justice.

Re:Entrapment? (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814860)

I'd say it would be pretty hard to convince a judge that a person who clicked on a link thinking they were getting child porn wouldn't normally do that.

Re:Entrapment? (4, Interesting)

cthugha (185672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814928)

No. Entrapment is where the State gets you to do something illegal and then charges you for doing that thing. The goal here AIUI was just to get evidence so that search warrants could be obtained to investigate other possible offences.

Now, that's not to say there are issues here, particularly about:

  • using deception to get people to effectively admit that they're likely to do something bad and whether that infringes the right to silence or right against self-incrimination (in some jurisdictions it might);
  • whether the onus required to get a search warrant was actually satisfied (just because you click one link doesn't necessarily mean that it's likely you've clicked similar links in the past),

but I don't think it's entrapment.

Re:Entrapment? (1)

cthugha (185672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815050)

I see from the article that one guy was charged and convicted with an attempt to download for following the link. I'm surprised this got up because of the entrapment issue, but I wouldn't be surprised if the charge was used to justify the raid after nothing else was found.

Re:Entrapment? (1)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815018)

Ok, I'm not one to throw around the term willy nilly, but this seems like it fits the very definition of entrapment.

Not if you actually know the, you know, definition of entrapment. From the (approved on appeal) jury instructions from a recent case on the matter (note the logical and logic; all of the below elements must be met for an entrapment defense to work):

[A] defendant may not be convicted of a crime if it was the government who gave the defendant the idea to commit the crime, if it was the government who also persuaded him to commit the crime, and if he was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government officials or agent first spoke with him.
U.S. v. BRAND, 467 F.3d 179, 205 (2nd Cir. 2006)

Also, the crime(s) at issue here -- not related to the link-baiting that provided probable cause for the search warrant. Any entrapment defense would not be available against crime(s) discovered during the execution of said warrants.

Abuse? (4, Interesting)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814754)

If someone started masking these kinds of links as legit links and sent them out in e-mails and such you could wind up with a lot of innocent people being raided by the FBI. And then how do you prove you didn't mean to click on the link?

What about hidden frames that open these kinds of links?

What about use of javascript, flash, java, or other embedded technology to make http requests in the background?

It just seems way too easy to get innocent people caught up in this sort of trap.

Re:Abuse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814856)

It would be a wonderful thing if some white-hat hackers started showering LEA's with all these forms of abuse, especially cybercrime investigation units and the FBI.

It would teach them how ridiculous their methods are, and hopefully it would show the scumbags the kind of ruin they bring to people's lives on a daily basis by doing this kind of nonsense instead of out trying protect people.. or finding the people who MAKE the porn.

It's yet another method to go persecuting the public, without regard to whether or not they are actually criminals.

Re:Abuse? (4, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814906)

If someone started masking these kinds of links as legit links and sent them out in e-mails and such you could wind up with a lot of innocent people being raided by the FBI. And then how do you prove you didn't mean to click on the link?

What about hidden frames that open these kinds of links?

What about use of javascript, flash, java, or other embedded technology to make http requests in the background?

It just seems way too easy to get innocent people caught up in this sort of trap.

Does anyone still even give a shit about the innocent as long as some bad guys are caught? In the wars on drugs, terrorism, kiddie porn, and all other hot buzz quests, I was under the impression that innocent people caught up in their dragnets have been viewed as "acceptable collateral damage" for quite some time now.

Entrapment? (3, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814758)

This seems like entrapment to me, they are effectively soliciting child pornography. They are not allowed to solicit in prostitution stings, the john must make the solicitation.

I'm sure they get around this by claiming you must click the link, an affirmative action on your part, but wouldn't that be the same as putting up a sign advertising prostitution? (which is illegal too I might add)

The problem is (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815044)

People get really stupid when it comes to crimes involving children. They stop using their brains and get extremely emotional. Thus, law enforcement can get away with things they couldn't otherwise. When it comes to sex and children, all logic is out the door. The best example, which unfortunately I can't find a link to right now, is two minors, boyfriend and girlfriend, (they were in the 16-17 range) sent each other naked pictures of themselves via the Internet. This got found out and they were charged with possession, production and distribution of child pornography and sentenced to prison. This was then upheld on appeal. Yes, that's right, kids sentenced to jail and will be labeled as sex offenders for life for taking naked pictures of their own bodies.

Thus even if this is entrapment, it won't matter, because of the crime it involves. Logic and due process just get pushed aside for emotion and a witch hunt mentality.

the problem is ... he was into child porn (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814766)

all the evidence is there ... he destroyed two hard drives while the agents were at his house, and he did have some thumbnail images ... c'mon the man is guilty ... no sympathy from me, I only hope they beat him up too

Re:the problem is ... he was into child porn (1)

helmespc (807573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814962)

Yea... in this case it sure sounds like he was a pedo.... and he's probably getting whats coming to him.... but the implications for many innocent people are quite disturbing.

Re:the problem is ... he was into child porn (2, Informative)

QCompson (675963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815054)

all the evidence is there ... he destroyed two hard drives while the agents were at his house, and he did have some thumbnail images ... c'mon the man is guilty ... no sympathy from me, I only hope they beat him up too
Read the article. There were two counts alleging that the suspect destroyed evidence. He was found not guilty by the jury on one, and the judge threw the other one out. So unless you believe he is guilty until proven innocent, and then still guilty, then that's not a reason to hope for violence. Feel free to advocate violence because the guy possessed two thumbnail images.

Can you say POLICE STATE (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814774)

I thought you could. Lets all say it together now. This is what the THOUGHT POLICE will do when they are trying to ensnare thought criminals. Make it so even the curious are guilty, no matter the reason for their curiosity. Yes, all those pretty little links on the Intarwebtupbestruck are there for us to click on. I mean SURELY there really isn't someone advertising child porn, it MUST be some kind of joke, right? click ...
NO CARRIER

Fucking nazi police state bastards. For god sake, protect the children. Lets ignore that little nasty fact that: About 95% of victims know their perpetrators. Source: CCPCA, 1992. http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/stats.htm#Offenders [prevent-abuse-now.com]

Yes, pictures may be offensive to many, but they do NOT correlate 100% to abusers.

People who view physically graphic bdsm pictures are not rapists.

Lets get the fact right people. A casual relationship does not correlate to cause without hard scientific fact finding to back the statement up.

This is worse than a cop dressed like a prostitute to persecute victims of that 'crime'.

I'm so sick of the one-size-fits-all use of pop-psychology to enact and enforce draconian laws.

Lets start by banning idiots from Washington DC rather than guns and work our way down from there. /personal rant

Re:Can you say POLICE STATE (2, Insightful)

countvlad (666933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814894)

Lets start by banning idiots from Washington DC rather than guns and work our way down from there. /personal rant
But then who will run the government?

Re:Can you say POLICE STATE (0)

shellbeach (610559) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815096)

Yes, pictures may be offensive to many, but they do NOT correlate 100% to abusers.

People who view physically graphic bdsm pictures are not rapists.
I thought about modding you down, but since I've seen this attitude in several posts, I think this needs to be replied to instead.

The difference between graphic bdsm pictures and pr0n involving children is that the former are fictitious creations made by consenting adults, and the latter actually happened to children unable to defend themselves. If the bdsm pictures you were viewing were taken from an actual rape incident, by viewing them you would be encouraging more rapes and supporting rapists. And this is exactly what happens with child pr0n -- these kids are not, and obviously can never be, consenting adults.

The other issue you're happily avoiding here is that most people are not just looking (and thus passively supporting) but they're paying money and actively supporting these acts. Even if the sites are free, they are undoubtedly supported by advertising that generates dollars when you visit the site. This, then, goes beyond curiosity, into a realm where the viewers are actively contributing to the continuation of child pr0n.

To make this point completely clear: if nobody viewed child pr0n on the web, there would be no market and the incidence of creation would be greatly reduced. You cannot visit a child pr0n site, and yet somehow remain isolated from the loop that promotes more and more child pr0n.

If the FBI want to take measures to stamp this out, that's completely fine by me. They should be praised, not vilified.

Entrapment. (3, Interesting)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814792)

Ok, I know there are some lawyers out there on Slashdot, so I have to ask, isn't this WAY over the line of entrapment? Or is it because they "only" raid your home that this is legal?

So basically, all that would have to happen is someone post this link on an unrelated message board I frequent disguised as a link of interest, then I get my house raided, my computers confiscated likely with no return, dragged into court preceding and there is nothing I can do about it?

Re:Entrapment. (1)

LupusUF (512364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814950)

I'm not a lawyer, but from what I have read about entrapment if they tried to charge you for viewing porn because you clicked on the link, that would be entrapment. However, they are not doing that. They are using the fact that you clicked on the link as probable cause for searching your computer. They then charge you having the child porn on your computer that is unrelated to link that you clicked. If you didn't have any porn on your computer, then you likely would not be able to be charged for clicking on the link (since you could then claim entrapment).

Re:Entrapment. (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815038)

Of course, they might have stumbled over your pirated copy of Photoshop, so even though they didn't find any child porn, they still get a bust.

referrer? (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815030)

I don't know - is that forum also somehow managing to spoof the referrer so that it appears that you clicked that link while visiting any of the sites that they themselves put that link on?

( I'm making the assumption, of course, that they're actually checking the referrer to prevent exactly the type of scenario described by parent poster, while checking referrer sites themselves to see if they might be child pr0n sites they were unfamiliar with or did not have a solid case for. )

Re:Entrapment. (4, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815056)

IANAL But I would but wouldn't entrapment be more like they made a page trying to convince you that Child Porn was Legal, Moral, and/or Not a big deal, then give you a link. In general pressuring you do the activity. Just putting a link and say it is for Child Porn, isn't entrapment because the person is actively looking for child porn, and clicks the link knowing what they are getting. Not someone who wouldn't do so except after the convincing.

On the fence (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814794)

I'm on the fence here. The Red-Blooded American (tm) in me expects to be outraged at the thought of such deliberate baiting and outright entrapment.

But I have to admit there is a second and powerful argument to be made by law enforcement and that is that if you see a link to a file called 8yo_lolita_sucking_cowboyneal_dry.avi and you deliberately attempt to download that file from a forum with known cp issues well then what can you expect.

I still think that this FBI method stinks and is probably entrapment even if the courts appear to think otherwise but I have a hard time explaining to myself exactly under what circumstances would this guy have to be under in order to convince me that he is completely innocent.

a whole new level of trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814804)

This is going to take trolling to a whole new level...

Not only do you get rick rolled, but the FBI shows up a few days later...

If I was feeling a little more evil... (4, Insightful)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814806)

This gives me an idea for an april fools joke. Now all I'll have to do is sneak over to my buddies house and browse the web and wait for the FBI to show up.

What about "accidental" clicks??? (4, Insightful)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814808)

So the people that accidentally click on these ads (like the page moves down a little and they end up clicking on the pr0n ad) will get arrested to? This is looking even worse than the RIAA's legal fiasco... What's next, putting fake torrents of movies, TV shows, and music up on the Internet, and arresting anyone who downloads these torrents????

Re:What about "accidental" clicks??? (0)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814890)

Read the summary. All this lets them do is get a warrant to raid/search your house and computer. If you really did accidentally click on those ads, then your computer/house should be clean. They can't arrest you. It'll be a bitch, but they can't arrest you.

Re:What about "accidental" clicks??? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814958)

You've obviously never seen the aftermath of the type of search they do.

A person's life is destroyed.

They lose their job.

They lose their friends.

They lose access to their kids/nephews/nieces.

They get kicked out of boy scouts/girl scouts/big brothers/YMCA/churches.

And all of this happens at the SLIGHTEST mention of child pornography.. it doesn't wait until after someone is convicted to happen.. as soon as the FBI or other LEA is at the door.. your life has been flushed down the toilet, never to be recovered.

Re:What about "accidental" clicks??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22815084)

I HOPE they took this into consideration, what I would do is post several links and have all of them lead somewhere else, maybe just regular porn? If someone was really interested in looking at child porn they would most likely click back and try all the links. Good luck trying to pass that off as an accidental click.

What about Malware? (2, Interesting)

helmespc (807573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814812)

What happens when someone develops malware to hit this URL?

Talk about scary...

This is retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814818)

Mozilla Firefox has prefetch enabled by default. So it automatically visit links.

Another side, can redirect you to that link, by like header("Location: http://www.example.com/ [example.com]");

Many download accelerators use prefetching that gets links automatically.

Re:This is retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22815102)

Thanks! I just turned that off. Why is this option hidden? It just seems ripe for abuse.

Link prefetching FAQ. [mozilla.org]

Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814842)

Rickrolling just got a whole lot more exciting!

Developer Laments: What Killed FreeBSD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814846)

The End of FreeBSD

[Note: in the following text, former FreeBSD developer Mike Smith gives his reasons for abandoning FreeBSD]

When I stood for election to the FreeBSD core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the FreeBSD project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on the same worthless schemes. Frankly I'm sick of it.

FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

So I'm leaving core. I don't want to feel like I should be "doing something" about a project that has lost interest in having something done for it. I don't have the energy to fight what has clearly become a losing battle; I have a life to live and a job to keep, and I won't achieve any of the goals I personally consider worthwhile if I remain obligated to care for the project.

Discussion

I'm sure that I've offended some people already; I'm sure that by the time I'm done here, I'll have offended more. If you feel a need to play to the crowd in your replies rather than make a sincere effort to address the problems I'm discussing here, please do us the courtesy of playing your politics openly.

From a technical perspective, the project faces a set of challenges that significantly outstrips our ability to deliver. Some of the resources that we need to address these challenges are tied up in the fruitless metadiscussions that have raged since we made the mistake of electing officers. Others have left in disgust, or been driven out by the culture of abuse and distraction that has grown up since then. More may well remain available to recruitment, but while the project is busy infighting our chances for successful outreach are sorely diminished.

There's no simple solution to this. For the project to move forward, one or the other of the warring philosophies must win out; either the project returns to its laid-back roots and gets on with the work, or it transforms into a super-organised engineering project and executes a brilliant plan to deliver what, ultimately, we all know we want.

Whatever path is chosen, whatever balance is struck, the choosing and the striking are the important parts. The current indecision and endless conflict are incompatible with any sort of progress.

Trying to dissect the above is far beyond the scope of any parting shot, no matter how distended. All I can really ask of you all is to let go of the minutiae for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What is the ultimate goal here? How can we get there with as little overhead as possible? How would you like to be treated by your fellow travellers?

Shouts

To the Slashdot "BSD is dying" crowd - big deal. Death is part of the cycle; take a look at your soft, pallid bodies and consider that right this very moment, parts of you are dying. See? It's not so bad.

To the bulk of the FreeBSD committerbase and the developer community at large - keep your eyes on the real goals. It's when you get distracted by the politickers that they sideline you. The tireless work that you perform keeping the system clean and building is what provides the platform for the obsessives and the prima donnas to have their moments in the sun. In the end, we need you all; in order to go forwards we must first avoid going backwards.

To the paranoid conspiracy theorists - yes, I work for Apple too. No, my resignation wasn't on Steve's direct orders, or in any way related to work I'm doing, may do, may not do, or indeed what was in the tea I had at lunchtime today. It's about real problems that the project faces, real problems that the project has brought upon itself. You can't escape them by inventing excuses about outside influence, the problem stems from within.

To the politically obsessed - give it a break, if you can. No, the project isn't a lemonade stand anymore, but it's not a world-spanning corporate juggernaut either and some of the more grandiose visions going around are in need of a solid dose of reality. Keep it simple, stupid.

To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors.

Future

I started work on FreeBSD because it was fun. If I'm going to continue, it has to be fun again. There are things I still feel obligated to do, and with any luck I'll find the time to meet those obligations.

However I don't feel an obligation to get involved in the political mess the project is in right now. I tried, I burnt out. I don't feel that my efforts were worthwhile. So I won't be standing for election, I won't be shouting from the sidelines, and I probably won't vote in the next round of ballots.

You could say I'm packing up my toys. I'm not going home just yet, but I'm not going to play unless you can work out how to make the project somewhere fun to be again.

= Mike

--

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. --- Theodore Roosevelt

What if? (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814850)

The person clicking on the porn link happens to be a single dad? Would he be prosecuted as a sex offender and his rights to his child taken away from him? Although this seems HIGHLY likely thanks to TV, I choose to follow a different line of reasoning:

Who likes gay porn? A gay person
Who likes child porn? A child, of course!!

Well, I will attempt to sleep at night tonight with the consolation that atleast the kid got what he deserved for promoting child porn. Separation from Dad who will proceed to be a registered sex offender for 15 years seems apt. But I still feel sorry for Dad as his only crime was to set his NetNanny passwords to 'I3teensluts'

the legal documents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22814854)

the documents shown in the article have the actual urls listed. what would happen if, in a showing of mass civil disobedience, thousands of people entered those urls on anonymized machines in public places?

would that ruin their case against this guy?

So what? (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814866)

They will waste time and money on habitual spyware installers, but otherwise they have probable cause.

I could conduct stings for the fbi (2, Interesting)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814916)

I'll get a folder and write "CHILD PORN. HOT TOT ACTION" on it then I'll walk around trying to hand it to people while saying "This is child porn." Anyone that takes it from me will be instantly arrested and charged. I bet I could trap plenty of random people.

Re:I could conduct stings for the fbi (4, Informative)

QCompson (675963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815012)

I'll get a folder and write "CHILD PORN. HOT TOT ACTION" on it then I'll walk around trying to hand it to people while saying "This is child porn." Anyone that takes it from me will be instantly arrested and charged. I bet I could trap plenty of random people.
Except that if you weren't actually employed by the FBI, you could be arrested yourself. The "pandering" provision of the PROTECT Act makes it illegal to claim you have child pornography, even if you don't.

Click here (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814930)

Click here to order prescription pain meds.

Click here to hack into banks.

Click here to print fake checks.

Click here to order your fake ID.

Click here to cast your vote.

Watch out, Google! (1)

mnemotronic (586021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814954)

All those spiders out there, following links. How will they tell the difference between a human and automation? And don't forget this is the FBI - they just heard about this "Internet bag of pipes" thing a couple years ago and thought someone was talking about bongs.

rickroll (2, Insightful)

Hydian (904114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814984)

You could probably kill entire online communities by simply rickrolling them with these honeypot URLs. Through widespread application, we could raise the collective IQ of the internet by a good 10 points in one shot.

So I'm left wondering... (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814986)

what did these people see when they actually clicked the link? Was it a page with a big FBI logo and the message "You just got PWNED perv!"?

This doesn't bode well for the intrawebs (4, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22814988)

While this particular investigation may not raise many eyebrows, this could be a very bad precedent for future investigations. Once courts and juries routinely accept that clicking on links believed to be child porn=being a child pornographer=molesting children, anything goes. Literally anyone could be tricked into being directed to such a link. You'd have blanket permission for the Feds to get a search warrant for anyone they want, and no one would dare question it, for even questioning child pornography laws instantly draws suspicion.

A search warrant based on clicking links is very troubling. Before obtaining the warrant there was no evidence whatsoever that the suspect had ever even viewed child pornography, and of course the link the Feds provided didn't actually link to any.

The war on child pornography is expanding every year. More police are hired to investigate it, more funds are allocated for it, and penalties are made ever-harsher. In Arizona it's up to 10 years for each picture someone possesses. Other states consider burning pictures to a CD to be "manufacturing". People are being sentenced to 10, 20, even 200 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/6399471.stm) years in prison for possessing pictures.

At some point you have to wonder whether the damage this zealousness causes (throwing college students in jail for decades for possessing some pictures) is worth the benefits. The argument that child porn possessors are creating a market for the material grows ever more tenuous, as fewer investigations seem to be centered around people who pay or provide other compensation for child pornography, but rather are focused on downloaders and traders. Unfortunately, it seems there will be no rational discussion about these investigation techniques or the laws themselves anytime soon, since it seems that there is an army of millions who froth at the mouth anytime they hear the words "child pornography" and cannot or will not draw distinctions between viewing pictures and videos and actually committing sexual abuse.

Plan to get rid of annoying neighbor: (3, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815042)

1) Disconnect from my network.

2) Connect to his unsecured wireless router.

3) Visit FBI sting site (and also maybe do some Google searches for child porn topics to build a browsing history with the ISP they'll find worth checking out).

4) Sit back and wait.

So these people just need to get wise, (2, Interesting)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815062)

Shouldn't masking IP addresses via common utilities like a proxy server do the trick?

Doesn't meet Constitutional tests (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815068)

There are LOTS of problems here, but in particular (no pun intended), this does not meet the "particularity" test. Courts have also repeatedly held that an IP address does not "particularly describe" a person OR a place, or even a thing. In order to be Constitutional, warrants have to "particularly describe" the person or thing to be seized.

I could have any number of computers on my Comcast connection. I could have open wi-fi and be serving Internet to my neighbors... it would show up as my IP.

This whole thing is a crock of shit.

justification too low to enter someone's home (1)

ephedream (899351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22815086)

Someone's home has the greatest level of protection under the constitution (versus say, protection from unreasonable search in your car or walking in a public place). There are so many ways in which a visited hyperlink could be misconstrued that going into someone's home based on this flimsy evidence is totally unjustified. For one thing, what about all the people who leave Wi-Fi networks open (deliberately or otherwise)? If someone visits a honeypotted link, does that mean you deserve to get raided and have the sanctuary of your home violated?
What about if you have a worm on your computer?

This seems ridiculous to me. The standard of evidence for intrustion into someone's home seems way too low in this case.

First they came... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22815090)

First they came...
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