Feeds

back to article Acquittal of US man who viewed abuse images overturned

A man who admitted using his computer to view pornographic images of child abuse cannot go free just because he did not deliberately save the images, a US court has said. The ruling overturns a previous acquittal of the man. A full nine-judge hearing of the Pennsylvania Superior Court has said that it was no defence for the man …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Who else can they prosecute

If the only images were in his cache (which he claimed to not know about), does that mean that they can prosecute all of the ISPs out there who run transparent caching proxy servers.

I'm thinking orange in the UK (certainly when I last used them, they were called wanadoo at the time), google is another obvious target... I'm sure that they cache some unsavoury images. Onspeed are next on the list. I'm sure there are hundreds of companies who have kiddy porn in their cache without knowing.

On another note, what self respecting male only has 370 pornographics images in his cache? That's only a couple of pages of tgp, or were they not counting thumbnails?

Disclaimer:

For the record, no I'm not saying that kiddy porn is OK, just that the argument of "it's in his cache so he must have chosen to look at it" is ludicrous. The article gave the impression that he coughed to willfully viewing said images, but not to saving them, in which case he is still scum of the earth, just not for the reasons given.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Anyone could get caught out like this!

The two stories I've read on TheReg today are this, and the typosquatting one. I've accidentally typed bad urls before now and it's not always simple adverts that come up, allsorts of dodgy stuff can appear - and then it's in your cache and goodness knows where else on your HDD. There's probably thousands of wholly innocent people with this kind of crap in their cache right now.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

the law is a donkey

there is no proof that he DID view the 30 images - yes they appeared in his browser cache but it could have been a couple of dodgy pop-ups over several months browsing, which he closed as soon as he noticed them. How long does it take to download 30 jpgs with a broadband connection ? really its nothing even if they were all downloaded in the one session (highly unlikely surely)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Prosecuted for viewing?

"In the UK the Protection of Children Act can be used to convict someone found to be viewing images of child abuse, regardless of whether or not they downloaded the files."

Surely they mean deliberate viewing? Or does this mean some poor PC World 'Tech Guy' can be banged up and put on the sex offenders register if he boots up a customer's computer to discover the wallpaper is kiddy porn?

0
0

Caches

The ISPs in the UK (and probably further afield) were rather worried about this sort of thing when the government was looking at legislation in the late 90s (though at the time it was primarily related to copyright). I'm pretty sure that it was acknowledged that the content of user-driven caches could not be controlled by the ISPs. In the US such devices would almost certainly come under "carrier status" regulations.

Google probably have more concerns (though again as it's all automated).

0
0
Anonymous Coward

re: Prosecuted for viewing?

"Surely they mean deliberate viewing? Or does this mean some poor PC World 'Tech Guy' can be banged up and put on the sex offenders register if he boots up a customer's computer to discover the wallpaper is kiddy porn?"

It wasn't very clear in the article, but under the Act you have to be in possession of the images (whether photos, magazines or computer files) with the intent of distributing or showing them - viewing them yourself would come into the latter category. By not mentioning this possession element, those final lines of the story lacked context.

Under the Act, a techie finding such images on a customer's machine wouldn't be liable for prosecution just for viewing. Those with long memories may remember that this is how Gary Glitter got his collar felt - i.e. took his laptop in for repair and techie reported him to the police.

However, you have touched on an area that was fraught with difficulties for those working in IT - and it might still be for all I know. According to various research/surveys (and I think El Reg has covered this) if IT staff found illegal porn on a machine, they were often reluctant to bring the authorities in. One reason was in order to keep the evidence, they would have to make a copy themselves - something that not many were willing to do, as this meant they were breaking the law and didn't want to take the chance of this backfiring.

Sure, you could say 'well, Mr Plod will understand why', but you could equally ask why weren't legal safeguards arranged in the first place to ensure there was no comeback who someone was acting responsibly?

I don't know if there has been any changes in the law concerning this, but I remember a few years ago that the powers that be were making encouraging noises to those working in IT and suggesting procedures to follow when someone (e.g. a fellow employee) is found to have illegal porn on their computer, which would enable the allegations to be followed up without any fear of reprisals for the IT bod... from a legal viewpoint anyway.

0
0

@ Everyone

How about you all try reading an article before rushing in to post a comment? First Line First paragraph "A man who admitted using his computer to view pornographic images of child abuse” he SAID he used his PC to look for and view images of children being raped (and in the process increased the demand for fresh images), just cause he didn’t chose to save them that’s OK?

0
0

Establishing Possession

After reading this story last week my thoughts turned to the "controlling of" the illegal porn. That appears to be what the Penn Supreme Court stated; by having the illegal photos appear within the confines of one's web browser makes one culpable of possessing illegal porn. So, by this logic, does one control & possess *everything* (legal or illegal) that appears in one's browser?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

re:@ Everyone

Bryan, how about you reading all the comments before rushing to slag everyone off with a 'one-size fits all' accusation?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@Bryan

Don't tar everyone with the same brush...

Ignoring the third post, everyone is complaining just about the legal precedent set, not whether this particular person is guilty.

In fact, if you read the end of (my/the) first post you'll find:

"The article gave the impression that he coughed to willfully viewing said images, but not to saving them, in which case he is still scum of the earth, just not for the reasons given"

Surely that summed it up enough?

0
0
Bronze badge

"Admitted viewing the images"

If he willingly set out to get said images as the article implies, then his goose should be cooked.

If his defense was that they were in his cache perhaps due to popups, a mistyped URL or similar inadvertant action, then the prosecution would have to work harder to disprove his defence and secure a conviction.

The test in any such case would be whether the prosecution can prove he actively sought out such images. It is whether there is control behind getting the pictures that is the test of guilt or innocence.

0
0

Scum

Yes, this guy is scum for watching kiddie porn on purpose. However, the issue here is that by writing the opinion in this manner, the court has set a precendent that says "if you're operating your computer at the time that kiddie porn comes up on the screen (and thereby into your cache, then you're a kiddie porn watching scumbag, and we're going to put you away"

Now, I can't tell you how many times I've had family members searching for song lyrics or some other innocuous thing online, suddenly and mistakenly end up at a porn site. By the same reasoning the court used here, those people would all be just as gulty. Never mind the implications of having some kind of malware on your machine that constantly pops up porn site ads. The point is that this court ruling casts a very wide net that a lot of innocent people could be caught in.

0
0

So

So , the regular use of free software called Ccleaner or other system temp/trash file cleaners to remove the unwanted browser storage crap that IE6/7 stores and fresh Windows Install every three to six months is the go!

Another alternative is to use Knoppix no install Linux which only uses active ram , so on power off ,oops no trace or log files exist !

Mind you , I once ran some excellent trash removal software on one poor laptop and I actually regained some 4 gigabytes of hard drive space by deleting all IE cache files , this enabled the system swap file to grow in size and along with 50% more ram , the boot from cold start was improved out of sight !

0
0

Re; Scum

Michael,

Im not sure i completely agree with your second paragraph there. When your doing innocuous searches and pop-ups appear you might get inundated with a few shit porn images (you never get the good stuff for free on those occasions!) and/or links to a porn site but you need to actively enter said porn site to get the proper porn images.

Having never been to a kiddie porn site (& with ZERO plans to ever go there!) i imagine that they're the same as most regular porn sites. Which if you happen to get inundated with pop-ups from the site a) they are not going to show kiddie porn - i mean it's a bit of a give away about the content available on that site and it would get dobbed into the cops pretty quick i would think. and b) From talking to my sister (who's a fed) most kiddie porn is available only on sites that you have to enter through a maze of passwords, etc. So someone just doing innocent browsing is hardly likely to try and fight there way through all that security to get to the kiddie porn BY ACCIDENT, are they?

I think your family members are safe whilst browsing!

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.