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back to article Found phone leads to paedophile ring

A phone found on a Newcastle bus has led to the conviction of five paedophiles, and ongoing investigations into a total of 70 people. The investigation, code named Cammell, was launched after a phone belonging to one Michael Fraser was found on a bus last February. The driver discovered child sex abuse images on the phone while …

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Good work

Glad to see the scum caught.

So, OT, who needs an ID card scheme to track criminals when a combination of supermarkets and mobile networks seems to cover a reasonable proportion of the country's population already?

This is either very good ... or very bad. I can't make up my mind.

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Anonymous Coward

Easy.

Very bad for everyone who doesn't deserve it. And since this is part of a moral panic, it'll get worse. And then spread to other ``fields''. Like, oh, people owning pictures of people littering or letting their dog poo in the wrong spot. The naughty bastards!

I for me would be perfectly willing to let a few dirty picture fanciers go to ensure everyone else's privacy and right not to get frivolously put behind bars. To me the crime is in actually harming kids, not in owning phones full of bad-by-law pictures. That leaves plenty of ways to find the pervs that do the harm to the kids, which is the important point.

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Unintended consequences

I suspect if you were "caught" with a photo on your phone of someone's dog taking a dump, that would immediately be classified as extreme porn. While the dog owner might get a small slap, you would end up in jail.

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WTF?

@Easy AC

No wonder you are AC. Pay attention when you read, at least.

"Fraser admitted nine counts of possession and five of making indecent images of children"

So, "making indecent images of children" is a "frivolous" reason to be put behind bars and does not count as "actually harming kids", eh? This isn't ancient Rome or Greece anymore, I believe. Or do they mean he drew cartoons? (which, sure, would be silly to sent to jail for -- although he still had the real abuse images) The article does not specify, but it does not seem to me like they were drawings.

So I guess if someone makes and/or possesses some "indecent images" of your kids, they are fine to go, AC? According to your "reasoning", no harm done, right?

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Paris Hilton

Misleading terms

The term "making" has, for years, included the act of downloading an image to a computer. It all started in the early days, when prosecutors were stretching existing laws to fit computers. Getting the law interpreted in that way enabled them to confiscate the computer, just as they has been able to confiscate cameras or printing presses.

I don't have a problem with the computer being confiscated, and your response isn't stupid, but you are showing the dangers of this particular piece of legal history being continued.

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FAIL

logic fail.

With that logic you can justify anything at all, as long as whatever you do you end up finding something the alleged perv will admit to. In the middle ages they did exactly that, and preemptively using torture to make sure *something* would be admitted to.

Yes, he admits to making naughty pictures, which under the current regime may include kids of 14, fully clothed. What girl of that age doesn't want to pose in something that shows off her figure? It may be actual child porn too, but it doesn't say. It probably isn't pictures of cartoons, though. But that's about all we know. So, you're using this as a stick to hit me when you don't even know what the pictures are the guy actually admitted to making. So though neither you nor I actually know, yet it's enough to villify me by proxy. I see someone panicking here. Thank you ever so much for illustrating the point.

However, the comment was about a situation you in your panic are keen to not discuss, namely that at the point where he wasn't found yet all they had was a phone with naughty pictures on it. At that point you don't know who made them. This isn't a case of failing to read, but a case of deliberately restricting the evidence. Contrast with what you're doing; justifying actions ex post facto. Obviously you can ``take down'' anyone if you look for things to hang them for hard enough. Let's just lift you off your bed at oh-dark-thirty and grill you for naughty thoughts you had in your teens. Had you had a camera phone back then, oh actual evidence. Dammit, you're a grown man now, you should've known better! Right, off to jail you go. Fair?

So, I did what judges often have to do. Taking only those things known at that time, and weighing the actions and the implications, yes, I stand by my comment. All of it.

I'm leaving the ad hominem uncommented; you already had no reason or logic left to show. But it's a good illustration of how you can't reason with moral panics.

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"Making"

The word in this context does not mean 'instigating child abuse and then recoding the crime' as you might expect, it can be applied to something as inconsequential (by comparison) as copying a downloaded phrohibited image to a CD.

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Anonymous Coward

"Making" Does Not Mean Making

"Making", as in "making indecent images of children", does not mean making. Not in the way you're probably thinking, anyway.

"Making indecent images of children" includes making copies of existing images of children, including temporary, transient images, such as on a computer screen when browsing the web. Possession includes being in possession of the temporary, transient image that briefly exists on your screen. I'm not talking about image files here (though they also count), but about the literal, physical, visible-with-your-eye images that exist right in front of you on your computer screen.

If someone sends you an image file, or a link to such an image file on the web, which you know to be an indecent image of a child, and you then choose to display that image on your screen, you are literally "making" an indecent image of a child, since you are literally causing the visible, visual image to exist on that screen.

Of course, "making" also includes pointing a camera at a child and taking a photo.

As for what I think was "Easy" AC's main point, about foregoing some opportunities to catch the baddies in order not to deprive the majority of their basic rights, I must ask you to consider the policy of having CCTV in everyone's homes, in all the rooms, to make sure that abusers have no opportunity to hide their abuse behind domestic privacy. Would you support such a policy? Or would it be too extensive an interference in everyone's basic rights to be justified?

Harm to society - which of course includes children - is not minimised when the measures intended to reduce harm actually do more harm to society (in other ways) than the prevented harm would have done. It's not that a little bit of child abuse is a price worth paying for our rights and freedoms, but that the price of preventing all such abuse can end up harming society more than the abuse itself, and isn't a price worth paying. (The law of diminishing returns applies here.)

Would you let ten children avoidably die by diverting resources away from them to save just three other children from abuse?

Having said all that, I don't agree with "Easy" AC on everything. Abusive photos of children do actually form part of the abuse.

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WTF?

"Making"

Well, I had no clue people used "making" as not making! That is weird. I mean, as far as I understand the English language, people use making as in producing, so... Which one was the meaning intended in his case after all?

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah right

"The driver discovered child sex abuse images on the phone while trying to find out who owned it"

The driver was trying to find out who owned the phone, by looking through the photos on it. Does anyone actually believe that?

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Wuuuuurrll ...

>The driver was trying to find out who owned the

>phone, by looking through the photos on it. Does

>anyone actually believe that?

Well, given that the police had to resort to linking it to an actual person via a supermarket loyalty card, it's reasonably to assume there was nothing on the phone itself (stored numbers for Home, Mum, Work, etc) tying to down to anyone.

Assuming an honest driver, once s/he had exhausted the obvious data sources (addressbook, etc), it's not too much of a leap for them to make to see if there might be identifying information elsewhere. I.e. in the phone's photos.

But I agree - totally *possible* that s/he nicked it, took it home, saw the photos and then "remembered" to hand it in :-)

Well,

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Uhm, yes, actually....

It's a quite common technique among photographers to snap a picture of a business card or other printed contact information at the beginning of a roll of film or a data card. Then if the film or card ever gets lost or separated from other identifying information, then there's at least a HOPE that someone finding it would be responsible enough to use that contact info to return the item. Looking through the photos for such is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

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Pint

Title? I don't need no stinking title!!

Common among photographers, not the general public. Considering that the phone had to be traced via a "customer loyalty" card I don't think the owner wanted it to be easily tracked back to him.

I suspect the driver was looking for porn, not a big deal in my book. Don't want people looking at the pictures on your phone you should lock it with a password.

Kudos to the driver, when he found the KP he did the right thing and turned it over to the police. Other people might have just dropped the phone in the bin because they didn't want to get involved.

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Fourteen phones?

Pay As You Go phones that store photos seem to start at about £30. It's an expensive way of storing images.

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FAIL

Great

Oooh a banning order from texting and a slap on the wrist.... just shoot them in the face

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Too quick

Just cut off their hands and balls, and tattoo PAEDO to their forehead.

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wait what

banned from receiving images ? so if email him a jpeg, he goes to prison ? that seems crazy.

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Interesting

a nice example of how one failure (not paying in cash) leads to the compromise of an entire network ... and our "security" services regularly leave complete laptops on trains, buses and 'planes.

You can snicker because in this case it was the perv's who got caught - but it's a great example of just how easy it is to trace almost anyone these days not matter how careful you are (and I'm sure that many of the people caught thought that they were being very smart and careful)...

I wonder, out of the 70 people investigated, how many were:

a. active pedophiles and got caught

b. active and didn't get caught - phone untraceable.

c. innocent bystanders.

This story should make you think...

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Title!

It wasn't his credit card that nailed him, it was his customer loyalty discount card used to purchase time for the phone.

Even dumber.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

chocolate teapot justice rules

"receiving a three year community order and a ban on sending or receiving images over mobile phones or computer networks (Sex Offenders' Prevention Order), along with the usual entry on the sex offenders' register"

and how may i ask is the ban on sending images going to be monitored?

it is totally unenforcable unless someone grasses him up

peter

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Terminator

Hmmmm.....

Shooting is too quick........live, televised hangings or something equally medieval would be popular. Great Saturday night family entertainment, there would be a phone in....build by oohhh Dale Winton perhaps and then it's curtains at 8....early enough for the kids to watch !

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Anonymous Coward

Bring back hunting with dogs!

For peados dipped in aniseed, thats my idea of 'care in the community' for these sickos

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Silver badge

Seriously. Never, ever lose your phone

It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to envisage a situation where some michief maker (or even a subordinate trying to create a vacancy, or revenge) "borrows" a phone, sticks some nasty stuff on it and then hands it in to the police. Net result - your phone, complete with evidence just begging to become exhibit #1 in your trial. The (in this case true) claim of "I've never seen these images before" simply wouldn't wash - now that paedophilia has become the new witchcraft with evidentiary standards to match.

Even if, my some miracle, you are acquitted I can't see any company being willing to retain such an employee and anyone who needs a CRB check can say goodbye to any prospect of working, ever again. Even worse, I would fully expect that everyone in your contacts list would be given the third degree, too. If by some cruel twist of fate, any one of them happens to have any sort of dodgy material, then at least you'll have someone to talk to in the slammer.

I think I've just scared myself enough to conclude that a mobile which does anything more than call a number you key it each time, which has any sort of built-in storage, camera, graphics screen or connectivity is just too much of a risk. Now, where's that old Motorola F3 that I was given free with a bag of crisps?

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especally if you have CP all over the place.

yes, while that is why I normally have a problem with prosicuting someone with one device. Normally someone else turned it in, who could be just setting them up. OTOH in this case the OTHER SIX PHONES full of kiddy-fiddling images are kinda a stronger bit of evidace it's not a set up.

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Boffin

Forced to browse in Lynx

All aalib from now on baby

Say "Yes Paul"

O

/\__O

> > \

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Badgers

Browsing in Lynx?

(>^_(>O_O )>

Gay Kirby? Extreme ASCII?

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Troll

Poor IT awareness

So a suspected paedophile didn't use a password on the phone with auto-lockout, which would be worthwhile given the contents. Then said suspect used a store card linked to his home identity to pay for mobile top-ups. Either this guy is an idiot, not the real criminal or a weakest-chain-link paedo.

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Thumb Up

Every little helps...

^^ That is all.

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Grenade

Driver charged

Why hasn't this driver been brought to justice? Clearly (s)he was in posession of said images AND viewed them!

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Black Helicopters

Not in the public interest

"Not in the public interest"

Same reason as a computer forensics expert investigating illegal images is technically committing an offence by possessing and viewing images but is not charged by the CPS because it is "not in the public interest".

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@Pete 2

If it was just the phone you lost that had the kiddy-fiddling pics, then chances are pretty good that you *could* be set free, assuming your lawyer is even halfway awake.

But when they trace you and find that you've got a half-dozen other phones in your possession with dodgy pics on as well, and of the people you've talked to recently on those phones, a whole bunch of them also have dodgy pics - well, arrange the words "you're f*cked" to form a well-known phrase or saying.

And would you like to substantiate your claim that people are being imprisoned for kiddy-fiddling without adequate evidence, or are you just venting?

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free - eventually, but still smeared

Yes I agree that in practice, after a lot of hassles (including I would suspect, a periiod of being held against your will) you probably would be found not guilty, though I can't see charges being dropped. As this sort of case, like witchcraft trials, is far too emotive to just "go away". The problem is that all you've done is been rather careless with your phone - the consequences of which are hugely disproportionate to your alleged "crime". What's worse is that you are then in a position of having to prove your innocence against a knee-jerk reaction that falsely links you to the incriminating material.

Hence my headline: never, ever lose your phone.

To the AC below, how didn't even have the character to identify him/her/itself. Take a deep breath, go back and read the very first sentence. Then consider that it means this is a hypothetical situation. The whole point of it is to illustrate what _could_ happen and how you _could_ get caught up in a situation, even though you are entirely innocent of doing anything wrong. The amount of effort needed to put enough material on a found phone is very small and could easily be done anonymously - you don't even have to hand in the phone yourself. Just doctor it, then leave it in a public place for someone else to discover and hand in - or just send the stuff to the contact list entries. However the amount of inconvenience, personal and career damage it _could_ cause is huge. One of the reasons so many people are concerned about having their privacy eroded is due, exactly, to the possibility of false positives (such as a speck of dust being solely used to convict an innocent person). While no-one's saying that sex crimes aren't serious, there is also a lot of hysteria surrounding their reporting and, as your reaction exemplifies, the way people regard them. Under those circumstances, I doubt that an innocent person who was stiched up would get anything like a fair trial - especially if you were on the jury.

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WTF?

@free - eventually, but still smeared

If you are so worried about people you know stitching you up when they "borrow" your phone you should also be concerned about:

1) Someone dropping kiddie porn through your letter box.

2) A friend visiting who slips kiddie porn in a book on your bookshelf.

3) Or slides it down the back of your sofa.

4) Someone who borrows your digital camera leave kiddie porn in another directory on the memory card.

5) Leaving kiddie porn in a directory on the music player you leave on your desk at work.

By all these measures you are screwed. At the end of the day, you don't know the details of this case. Kiddie porn on the phone got the cops the search warrant. A house full of the stuff (and some of it super serious level 4 - so not the 14 year old kid in provocative clothes that some muppet further up the thread suggested) got the guy arrested and properly investigated. My impression here is that there wasn't really any invasion of privacy, and there isn't really anything to excessively worry about.

And Pete 2 - if you are worried about someone doing something with your phone when you leave it on your desk at work, might I suggest getting some new friends or a new job - it sounds like your current lot are rather worrying.

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Flame

@Seriously. Never, ever lose your phone

Typical dickhead overreaction. Anyone can be framed. I can come to your house and dump 10oz of coke in your sugar pot and grass you up to the cops or some other nonesensical scenario.

Fact is this guy's phone lead the police to check his house out and consequently found more evidence.

You guys who are obsessed about your privacy from law are deluded. The only people that benefit are the criminals. Period.

Go and have an affair with the local slapper. Thats not criminal and there is no come back. Go and watch some FFM, MMF, MMM, FFF, etc porn. Thats not criminal. Stratch your arse, stick your finger up your nose - noone cares.

Sounds to me like common sense policing caught the right person. A crap lot of people will be on his phone list. Some will be his pervy friends , others will be the local plumber or washing machine engineer. The police will check all the leads including mr plumber and washing machine engineer. Thats called police investigation. If you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to worry about.

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Stop

actually...

you were in front until your final sentence... which is pretty much as delusional as they come.

Good effort until then tho'

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Don't panic and remember your towel

Look, i doubt anyone here is seriously suggesting that obsessing about privacy law is more important than dumping a hot, steaming pile of justice on some pervo's face, but there IS a reason to be concerned about the future and nature of individual privacy.

We're fast approaching the end of the wild west of information and we need to tread carefully lest we trample on some very basic rights. It's not panic, it's informed concern.

Such things often start out small and granular (almost insignificant), but once the ball gets rolling, it becomes ever easier to pile up precedents into one big happy clusterfuck.

What i'm saying is that imho such a debate IS important.

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Title!

"If you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to worry about."

So why post as AC? You must have something to worry about.

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Troll

title

Yeah we can just watch some good honest kinky MMF or FFM porn or some BDSM between consenting adults or just look at some dirty cartoons ... oh wait scratch those last ones.

Troll? Possibly.

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WTF?

@ AC 11.46 28th May:

I mean, "To me the crime is in actually harming kids, not in owning phones full of bad-by-law pictures" - sorry but WTF? "bad by law pictures"? You mean child pornography?

I know you've obviously never thought this through but in order to make child pornography you have to abuse children. Whether you're "prepared to let a few dodgy picture fanciers go" or not is completely besides the question, I am especially glad you're not in charge of the situation so that kids can get abused by "picture fanciers" who like "bad by law pictures" in order to preserve the contents of your torrent folder from prying eyes.

Euphemism, anyone? Even the term "Child Porn" is a euphemism for pictures of children being sexually abused; but I'd rather people used it.

This privacy advocacy is getting blind and shrill and pretty out of hand: I value my freedoms, fine: but to say that privacy is worth some collateral child abuse? You need your fucking head examined mate; please explain for our benefit how you would balance the privacy issues versus the kiddyfiddling, I'm sure that will be an interesting read.

The fucked up thing about how ridiculous the paedo hysteria crowd look is that it encourages this blind, stupid approach to privacy where people seem to hear hysteria being ridiculed and then decide that it sounds like a cool position to take, so they're in there no matter what.

Let's get this straight: regardless of hysteria, child abuse is a serious problem. I'll take the privacy issues on a case by case basis, but if you have images of child abuse, I'll err on the side of arresting you; apart from the frankly ridiculous hypotheses advanced in this thread (has a single person here ever actually been framed, blackmailed or otherwise fitted up? I doubt it) there are very few ways to accidentally wind up with it.

The extreme pornography law is bullshit and I want it gone: but I'm not so jaded as to allow that to make me think child porn is something that can be used as a political trading card.

I agree with AC 14:17 may 28 - dickhead overreaction by people who are so interested in looking clever they forget what's under discussion.

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Big Brother

Let's Abolish Privacy!

"This privacy advocacy is getting blind and shrill and pretty out of hand: I value my freedoms, fine: but to say that privacy is worth some collateral child abuse? You need your fucking head examined mate; please explain for our benefit how you would balance the privacy issues versus the kiddyfiddling, I'm sure that will be an interesting read."

You're right. You're absolutely right.

We should abolish privacy altogether. Otherwise, abusers will still be able to exploit privacy to hide their abuse of some of the most vulnerable and innocent members of our society: children.

I'm sure you'll agree, we should have state-monitored CCTV installed in every room of every home, covering every corner, alcove, nook and cranny, so that would-be abusers have no where left to hide their abuse. Privacy, after all, is only of use to criminals. If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, and have nothing to fear.

Right?

You agree with that, right?

You agree with having CCTV in every room of every home, no privacy from the State at all, right?

Because if it saves even one child from abuse, it's worth it, right?

You're not so selfish as to value your own privacy over innocent children's safety, right?

Right?

...

Why are you posting as "Anonymous Coward"?

Have I just been trolled?

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@Pete 2

This is where using the right phone comes in, Pete 2.

If someone were to 'borrow' my phone, they would find it completely and utterly useless, find that I could track it by the built in GPS and that it keeps a nice log of everything that happens, which I can make it send to my home PC.

So you'd steal it, I'd notice it was missing, call the cops and tell them exactly where to find it (To within about 5 meters, usually) and have a nice list of everything that has or is being done to it.

Then again, most people don't use Android phones.

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Just one thing ...

Pete 2 was positing a situation where someone had access to your phone legitimately as well as illegitimately.

You loan your phone to a co-worker so they can make a few calls while your in a meeting. Its unlocked and can be tampered with. Aforementioned co-worker plants images on your phone and then makes an anonymous report that he "found" inappropriate images on your phone.

As Pete 2 pointed out, even if you don't get charged it will still sully your reputation and affect your future prospects.

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IT Angle

Hurricane?

"80 of which were considered category four (one of the worst possible)"

Hey, I didn't know they classified pr0n like they do hurricanes in Merka...

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Reminds me of "Twister".

Category 5? Finger of God...

Eww.

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WTF?

"imprisoned for kiddy-fiddling without adequate evidence,"

"would you like to substantiate your claim that people are being imprisoned for kiddy-fiddling without adequate evidence,"

"has a single person here ever actually been framed, blackmailed or otherwise fitted up?"

Those who are unaware of Operation Ore might want to go read about it, otherwise they risk looking silly if they make comments like the ones above. There are quite a few references even here on The Register.

Child abuse is indeed an extremely serious crime, and unlike most members of the public, I actually personally know a family that has been affected. As with most cases of child abuse, the culprit was not a stranger but someone they knew well; it is usually family, priest, something like that. Remember that, please.

Fortunately the "evidence" in the current case sounds a bit more substantial than in the Operation Ore cases.

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Unfortunately, you might be mistaken on one point

Unfotunately, personally knowing someone affected by just child molestation is probibly far more common then you know, and I'm not even consider non-sexual child abuse. Knowing that you know on affected is another matter, as most of those who are harmed don't particularly want to talk about it.

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Gold badge

And how much do GCHQ want to "Master The Internet" ?

As a Newcastle bus driver seems to have done a rather better job.

It's interesting that when *real* paedophiles are caught they don't bother with stupid "Squid sex" photos. No RIPA, no "Spooks" still CCTV, ARPN nonsense.

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Anonymous Coward

Indeed...

My first thought when reading the start of the article was GCHQ +pickpocket = the Cheltenham foreign office earning their keep for once :P

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Joke

Newcastle ?

Was it a why-Iphone, pet?

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