Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government The Internet News Your Rights Online

Viewing Files on the Web Considered Possession? 719

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the only-if-the-site-charges dept.
Packet Pusher writes "A Georgia lawyer is taking a case to appeals court to prove that the mere act of viewing a website does not constitute possession of the materials that were automatically cached on your hard drive." While the case in question involves pornographic photos, the implications of such a declaration could reach far further.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Viewing Files on the Web Considered Possession?

Comments Filter:
  • Holely Cheese (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fembots (753724) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:08PM (#12837991) Homepage
    What if someone "Save As" illegal images into "Temporary Internet files" folder?

    I thought if someone knowingly viewed some illegal images, he should at least have the commonsense of clearing the cache!
    • Re:Holely Cheese (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timothv (730957) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:13PM (#12838026)
      I thought if someone knowingly viewed some illegal images, he should at least have the commonsense of clearing the cache!

      This technical know-how shouldn't be required to stay clear of law enforcement.
      • Re:Holely Cheese (Score:2, Insightful)

        by aussie_a (778472)
        This technical know-how shouldn't be required to stay clear of law enforcement.

        Luckily it isn't. Not breaking the law is required to stay clear of it (NOTE: parent was talking about people KNOWINGLY looking at illegal images. I see knowing how to clear the cache akin to knowing how to clean blood from the floor so it leaves no marks).
      • Re:Holely Cheese (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sancho (17056) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:38PM (#12838165) Homepage
        Generally, if something you own or that is under your control causes something that results in some form of law-breaking and/or civil problems, you are considered accountable. If your car breaks go out and you hit someone, you're almost certainly going to be considered at fault. Same thing goes for animals under your control, and any number of other examples. In general, you are expected to be knowledgeable enough to control/maintain your possessions, or hire someone who can do so for you. Why should computers be any different?

        Furthermore, there's hell raised on Slashdot about how "people should have a license to use their computer" when threads about Microsoft insecurity causing worms to run rampant and cause networking problems...people often rally a call to hold anyone who cannot maintain/patch/protect their machine accountable. Then we come to a thread like this, and you see a number of posts suggesting that it's not their fault if they don't know how to do something on their computer.

        Please! At least the precedence of the law is on our side for holding people accountable for their possessions.
        • Re:Holely Cheese (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Fallen_Knight (635373) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:56PM (#12838274)
          there is a diffrence with computers, where most poeple dont' understand how they work at all and can only do basic things. Most people understnad cars need to be kept up, and take them to mechanics to keep them safe. But computers are not like that. they could be spyware ridden and still work. And as long as the computer works no ones life is in dager and they are not going to pay.

          this is important, because you dont' always know wtf a link points to before you click on it. And if you computer chaches a copy of something you where mislead to into viewing, should you be at fault? no.

          and then theres that multiple people use any given computer. and that theres no way to prove who looked at or saved what.

          There are many reasons why computer should be diffrent. existing laws do not take into account computers at all and many need to be changed.

          it is not the end users fault for haveing spyware, i think most people blame MS, and the spyware companies (another palce where new laws need to be taken written)

          So PLEASE, take note that computers DO require diffrent laws bceause they are TOTALY diffrent from anything else.
        • Re:Holely Cheese (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jp10558 (748604) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @10:10PM (#12838344)
          Oh, I agree you should know how to maintain your computer.

          At first glance, this looks like a Heck ya. However, it brings up an interesting point - were the people watching the superbowl's "wardrobe malfunction" in possession of a nipple picture?

          I think the issue is that you can end up places you don't expect to be on the net. Especially if using IE. Now, 400+ pics in temp internet files... that's a lot IMHO. It's suspicious.

          I can't see a non techie claiming I'm currently "in possession" of this slashdot page in any meaningful way. I'm viewing it, but there's no exposed way for me to go back to it unless I actively save the content.

          Also, if I'm in possession of everything I see on the internet, isn't that a big copyright violation?

          I don't think you could reasonably claim files that your browser caches, without your input, as files you have possession of. They are like claiming a TV broadcast is in your possession. Now, I can see using them, in a case like this, to prove/prosecute for *viewing child porn*, but not being in possession of it.
        • Re:Holely Cheese (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Frodrick (666941)
          At least the precedence of the law is on our side for holding people accountable for their possessions.

          Quite so. And I agree - NO ONE accidently looks at 150 kiddy porn images in one night. But the question being raised is whether or not the images in question can truly be said to be under his control as defined by law. He didn't attempt to store the images for his later use.

          The only reason they were still on his machine was that he was too clueless to clear the cache - a trait that he shares in common

        • Re:Holely Cheese (Score:4, Insightful)

          by syousef (465911) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @10:59PM (#12838616) Journal
          Generally, if something you own or that is under your control causes something that results in some form of law-breaking and/or civil problems, you are considered accountable. If your car breaks go out and you hit someone, you're almost certainly going to be considered at fault.

          You're talking rubbish. If the car brakes go out after 2 years of not servicing the car, yes you're likely to wind up being found negligent. But if you were doing everything right and had it serviced days or weeks beforehand and the mechanic made a mistake the mechanic would be charged, not you.

          Furthermore, there's hell raised on Slashdot about how "people should have a license to use their computer"

          A few loud zealots do not "hell raised" make.

          Then we come to a thread like this, and you see a number of posts suggesting that it's not their fault if they don't know how to do something on their computer. /. is a varied community where individuals hold different points of view. It is a not an unforgivable authoritarian police state that will charge you first and ask questions later.

          I hate child exploitation. I have no problems with putting people who make the rubbish in jail. But viewing a web site - any web site - should not result in jail time. Not if you value your freedom!

        • Re:Holely Cheese (Score:5, Interesting)

          by RedWizzard (192002) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:39PM (#12838808)
          If your car breaks go out and you hit someone, you're almost certainly going to be considered at fault.
          Actually unless you're found negligent it is unlikely that you would be found to be at fault. It's even more unlikey that criminal charges would result (let alone a conviction). Your analogy doesn't support your argument.

          Here's an analogy of my own: say you write to a company requesting a mail order catalog and they send you some illegal donkey porn instead. The police (for some reason) search your mailbox and find it. Should you be criminally charged? How about if you do see the donkey porn, but throw it away and they find it in your rubbish? I say 'no' in both cases, and I say 'no' in the case of the browser cache.

  • They're going to try the "my friend put the crack in my glove compartment" line. It doesn't work in the real world; it won't work for data on a hard drive, either.
    • Hello, I am your friend, the link you clicked without knowing exactly where I would lead you. I do work, otherwise you wouldn't be in trouble now.
    • Re:Same old story (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:14PM (#12838033)
      They're going to try the "my friend put the crack in my glove compartment" line.

      This would be more like the cop finding rocks of crack stuck in the treads of your tires.
    • Re:Same old story (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hays (409837)
      Umm... it does work if your friend put crack in your glove department. Sure the burden of proof might be on you at that point, but that IS a valid excuse.

      Anyway, that's a bad analogy.

      The key question here is- does the fact that someone has browser caching on instead of off make something drastically more illegal.
    • Re:Same old story (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Transcendent (204992) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:49PM (#12838237)
      But if a malicious site uses JavaScript or any form of redirection to force you to view such a website, then is it really your fault?

      That is what I think these people are trying to defend against. Just because a software program on your computer loaded material on to your computer, does not mean that YOU intentionally did it. Sure you run into the "my friend did it" situation, but this is an actual legitimate defense since you can control your friend easier than you can control a malicious piece of software or website.
  • by Synbiosis (726818) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:10PM (#12838003)
    "He said most of the pictures were viewed between midnight on Dec. 2 and 4 a.m. on Dec. 3 in 2003."

    I think it's absurd that someone could face 20 hours in prison for viewing illegal pictures for 4 hours. But that's just me.
    • Most murders killed their victims within 2 minutes.
    • by RickPartin (892479) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:31PM (#12838129) Homepage
      There are two things to consider

      1. By viewing the images of exploited children you are creating a demand. Higher demand means more kids life's are ruined to create more pictures.

      2. Punishments generally reflect how hard it is to catch a crime, not how much damage it causes. This is why you can go to prison for 209320938 years just for copying a movie for your friend.
      • by pHatidic (163975) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:48PM (#12838228)

        1. By viewing the images of exploited children you are creating a demand. Higher demand means more kids life's are ruined to create more pictures.


        Except that this doesn't apply in a post scarcity economy. If you buy apples, then you create demand for more apples. But by your logic then if you download music from a p2p site then you are creating demand for more music and thus more music will be created. However, in reality it is very hard to determine if this is the case, and if anything the opposite seems more likely to be true. But in any event, this many didn't 'use up' any of the pictures so by downloading them there aren't any less pictures for others to download, so no new ones need to be created.

        • by alan_dershowitz (586542) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @10:58PM (#12838608)
          Come one, that's obviously wrong. By that logic, a popular web site would never have to update it's content because the current content never gets "used up." That's demonstrably false.

          You have a finite amount of content on a site, and a finite number of visitors. Even if the content isn't "used up" for real, the consumption of the same content by a visitor has a diminishing return, and the visitor demands new content or they leave. You can run a site without adding content as long as you have a steady flow of new users, but it's not sustainable. If you want people to come back, you add new content.

          Either the perv is paying for the site, and if there's no new content he stops paying, or if it's a free site, the advertizer stops paying. Either way, the site owner needs to find some way for people to keep paying, and that way is by adding new content, which in this case is pictures of children being molested.
      • By viewing the images of exploited children you are creating a demand. Higher demand means more kids life's are ruined to create more pictures.

        I just flipped through a Crutchfield catalog. Did that do anything for the demand for car radios?

        Seems like terrorism and child pornography are hot button issues that require logic be checked at the door at all times.
      • by adoarns (718596) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @10:08PM (#12838332) Homepage Journal
        Punishments generally reflect how hard it is to catch a crime, not how much damage it causes.

        But is this justice?
    • 20 hours in prison?

      Heck, I'll call it a day of..
    • by mangu (126918)
      I think it's absurd that someone could face 20 hours in prison for viewing illegal pictures for 4 hours


      You think that's "viewing"? FTA: A federal agent said Barton's computer contained more than 450 pornographic images


      From my computer:


      $ find graphics/xxx/ -name '*.jpg' | wc -l

      25584


      Now, That's what I call "viewing"!

  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:13PM (#12838027) Homepage Journal
    to Temporary Internet Files :)
  • A good example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Telastyn (206146) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:13PM (#12838031)
    Of why -acts- should be crimes, not simply states or possession.
    • Re:A good example (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pHatidic (163975)
      I agree completely. If I have pictures of airplanes on my computer, it isn't the equivalent of hijacking an airplane and flying it into the world trade centers. If I have pictures of my front lawn, that isn't the same as making a fertilizer bomb and blowing up the federal building. But for some reason having pictures of naked kids means that you are going to commit child rape. Granted, I think kiddy porn is disgusting myself, but 20 years in prison seems a bit excessive. People who rape actual kids get less
    • Yep. The two elements of a crime: actus reus and mens rea. Guilty act and guilty mind. I am 100% opposed to "strict liability" crimes. However, possession is more than a state. Possession, properly defined, is the knowing or intentional act of possessing something.

      But that's not the issue here. The issue is what constitutes the act of "possessing" something. Without explicit language to the contrary, I strongly believe that looking at a web page does not constitute possessing its content simply by
    • Re:A good example (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jd (1658)
      States can be crimes? Can we criminalize Florida, pleazzzzze? :)
  • Spyware? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eggman9713 (714915)
    What about malicious web sites or programs that secretly install said content on your computer? Porn Dialers?
  • This is going to get nasty. At some point--not in my lifetime. We won't have to deal with privacy issues or idiot lawyers trying to make a fast buck. Ambulance chasers--I tell ya...
  • Accedents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by a_greer2005 (863926) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:14PM (#12838038)
    What about accedents? I remember not so long ago typing .com instead of .gov would have nasty consequences, I understand and totaly support prosecuting (and then promptly castrating) child porn perveiors and those with large "collections" but should clicking the wrong link in Google or entering the wrong domain on accedent, which could result in massive ammounts of other sites launching, spy/ad/porn/shitware installing and so on be criminal?

    I agree with the lawyer in so far as the cache should not be considered property.

    • Re:Accedents (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fourtyfive (862341) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:42PM (#12838193)
      Obviously 4 hours _isnt_ an accident, so your point is moot. I didnt read the article (this is slashdot!) but if all he's getting is 20 hours of prison time, thats a joke. This person needs intensive therapy (10-15 hours per week). Sexual predators have a mental illness that disconnects them with the emotionality of sex and focuses them intensly on the sexuality. I'm tired of seeing sex offenders (so called "perverts") being stuck in prison and then released back into society. These people do not need prison time, they arent criminals (except by law), they are persons with _mental disabilities_! And as such they need counseling to assist them in seeing why they're wrong instead of just sending them to prison.
      • Re:Accedents (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @10:05PM (#12838322) Homepage Journal
        I'm tired of seeing sex offenders (so called "perverts") being stuck in prison and then released back into society. These people do not need prison time, they arent criminals (except by law), they are persons with _mental disabilities_! And as such they need counseling to assist them in seeing why they're wrong instead of just sending them to prison.

        It depends. If they violated another person, they need both prison and counseling. Looking at a web page is another matter though.
      • by VidEdit (703021) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @10:19PM (#12838383)
        Dude, he is getting 20 years not 20 hours! The man may be scum, but he is going to get longer for 4 hours of web browsing than most murders or actual child molesters get. He is being charged with a separate count for every image that his web browser displayed.

        This is very, very dangerous. With typosquatting domains that make money of of pr0n pop ups and use endless "on exit" java script loops, anybody could wind up with illegal pr0n on their computer--and Walker County could prosecute you for each and every image as a separate count, regardless of whether you meant to download it.

        This case is much, much bigger than the one person charge here. Charging people with possession for the mere act of seeing something is positively Orwellian.
  • How to go to jail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jarich (733129) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:19PM (#12838058) Homepage Journal
    Step one, install Mozilla and turn on the background prefetching.

    Step two, go to Google and search on something

    Step three, Mozilla will immediately start fetching the pages in the background and storing them on your machine.

    Step four, get arrested for having every link on the results page cached on your machine. Even the crazy pornographic (and illegal) pages that you didn't click.

    • Any odds out there on how long it will take some lawyer to actually trie this precaching defense?
    • But the problem is showing the lawmakers (and interpreters) that this is how the world works. Their unfortunate and common misconceptions about how the technical world works is what causes this shit in the first place.

      It also causes people to get off on technicalities when they are surfing illegal porn.
    • Re:How to go to jail (Score:2, Interesting)

      by aussie_a (778472)
      Step one: Buy some kiddy porn

      Step two: Find out when someone's house is about to be searched.

      Step three: Place said kiddy porn in their house.

      Would the person then be charged? I don't think so (assuming the cops learn that the person didn't deliberately obtain the porn). Should be the same case with the internet.

      If I have a page I've viewed that is obviously for porn (either accidental click or the google thing) and I don't click on any other links, it's fairly easy to prove I didn't deliberately view t
    • Re:How to go to jail (Score:3, Informative)

      by hacker (14635)
      "Step one, install Mozilla and turn on the background prefetching."

      As I'm sure you've been told already, prefetching DOES NOT fetch hrefs, it fetches

      <link ../>
      tags, when specified. I'd wager that less than 5% of all web designers are actively using these.
  • by dj245 (732906) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:19PM (#12838061) Homepage
    Visitors to Shrubbery Porn [rogertheshrubber.net] may be in for a rude awakening when their bosses fire them for possesion of shrubbery porn on company computers.
  • People click links (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jason1729 (561790) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:24PM (#12838084)
    Just look how "popular" tubgirl and goatse are. I doubt many of the people with those images in their possession on their hard drives viewed them on purpose.

    I have a link in my sig. If there are illegal images there, should the people who follow the link be subject to prosecution?
  • by NetSettler (460623) <kent-slashdot@nhplace.com> on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:26PM (#12838093) Homepage Journal
    This all begs the question of why viewing anything should ever be illegal. Who is the victim here?

    Sure, if someone creates porn from actual people, unwilling to or unable to consent, that's something the creator has done. And maybe if someone has paid to fund that, there's an issue. If this guy has paid, they should go on the money. If he's not, I don't see how they have any good cause even though they may have a case.

    When you start to admit victimless crimes, the whole algebra of causality is turned on its head and lots of strange things result, not the least of which is this case.
    • While I generally agree on victimless crimes inevitably corrupting the legal system, there _is_ a clear victim here -- the pr0n subject. And a direct causal link to the viewer. the viewer represents a valuable resource -- a potential customer. They might be enticed by free samples.

    • by SuperDuG (134989) <be @ e c l ec.tk> on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:51PM (#12838247) Homepage Journal
      Welcome to the world of paternalism and Mill's Theory of Utility. I'd give a nutshell, but knowing what I know of Mill's a nutshell would do no one any favors. For those interested ... start here... [utilitarianism.com]

      Needless to say this poses the question of "Harm" and how we as a society can protect ourselves from harm. The slippery slope that is the enforcement of morality.

      Where can you make sure that any law can be passed? Do it for the protection of the innocent and impressionable children. Illinois just recently PASSED a law that will ban the sale of violent video games to minors. Obscenity laws can be found on the federal to township levels.

      Does any of this make sense? Do drug laws, obscenity laws, prostitution laws, marriage laws, sex laws, liquor laws, or a slew of other laws make sense? If you ask Mill's or a number of libertarians, no. The only laws that make sense are those that protect against harm. Physical harm can be easily identified, it's the mental harm that people get so cloudy on.

      If I do drugs am I harming anyone (assume that in this case that drug making, transportation, and selling is legal)? Am I harming anyone when a willing partner is ready to sell their sexual services and I take them up of the offer (assume that in this case protection is used ... etc)?

      Don't get me wrong, I'm agreeing with you and not assuming you don't know about Utility, just trying to expand on your claim a little further.

    • by mblase (200735) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @10:24PM (#12838412)
      This all begs the question of why viewing anything should ever be illegal.

      No, it raises the question. Begging the question [wikipedia.org] is another thing entirely.
  • Consider newsbots...a user downloads massive quantities of material with a software. He doesn't know what he downloaded until he looks/hears it, because the whole point of newsbots is automation.

    And, I haven't read the case the case, but what is the user supposed to do about cache/swap/temporary folder?
  • by redelm (54142) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:28PM (#12838105) Homepage
    This goes to an underconsidered area of the law -- establishing intent. For many laws, the forbidden act alone (actus reus) is not enough to convict. Proving a guilty intent (mens rea) is also necessary. However, some offenses do not require mens rea.

    In this case, if possession of kiddie pr0n requires mens rea, then the lawyer has a good argument. Most lusers do not know that the browser has caches and so did not know they possessed the offending material. The /. '1337 couldn't get off that easily :)

    The prosecution can easily prove they viewed pr0n, but that may not be illegal. To posess something requires an act of knowingly taking possession. IANAL.

    • The prosecution can easily prove they viewed pr0n, but that may not be illegal. To posess something requires an act of knowingly taking possession. IANAL.


      I should hope so, otherwise it is possible to get anyone sent to prison just by emailing them a kiddy-porn JPG. By the time they see it, it's already on their hard drive and thus they are "in possession"...

  • This is serious. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pedantic bore (740196) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:28PM (#12838110)
    If you RTFA you'll see that this is a very serious question with broad implications. Many laws are written in terms of possession, and there isn't a good definition of possession that works for things like browser caches.

    Whether what this guy did is morally or ethically wrong is a different issue than whether what he did is illegal. If you have kiddie porn in your browser cache, do you possess it? What if someone mails you some raunchy spam and your mail client caches a copy on your disk -- do you possess it? In either case, planting evidence that could get someone serious jail time suddenly becomes trivial! I could put a link to an obscene photo on my home page and with a small amount of effort make it invisible to you but trick your browser into downloading (and possibly caching) it. Or I could wait until the Google crawler comes by, and then extort a little cash out of Google because now I can show that they possess this photo, etc. (The links don't point to my site; there's no evidence that I've ever possessed the photo.)

    This is far from simple.

  • Can't Tell (Score:4, Funny)

    by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:33PM (#12838137) Homepage Journal
    This is a pretty tough one. I won't be able to decide until I see the evidence.
  • by heretic108 (454817) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:34PM (#12838145)
    How to frame up someone you don't like:
    1. Set up a political blog intended for your political opponents to read.
    2. Host it overseas under a false name, and be sure to use Tor when uploading stuff onto it
    3. Populate it with political material, designed for repeat visits
    4. Replace all full-stop characters on the page with img tags for child pr0n, sized to 1x1
    5. A few days later, change the IMG tags back to full stops
    6. A few days after that, rework the entire site to make it look like a typical pr0n site
    7. Send emails to law enforcement agencies reporting the IP addresses of the visitors, and complaining that these people used false credit card info when accessing a legitimate adult site
    8. Get a carton of beer, and gather round CNN, ABC, or Fox etc with a few friends and wait for the scandal to break
    • by Ih8sG8s (4112)

      1) Web cache would show changes in the site over time. Easy money for defense.

      2) You think there would be any proceedings without finding the site owner? They may seem to be a consumer, but you would be the provider. They would hunt you down sooner than him/her.

      2) In order to even try it, you would have to get your hands on kiddie porn. In this case, you should be publically gutted, after ebing castrated first.

      Fun to read, but a weak strategy.
  • by WolfWithoutAClause (162946) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:35PM (#12838147) Homepage
    I mean, as an example, if I stuff drugs into your hand on the street- are you possessing? I would say not, you're only holding it. On the other hand if you look at it, and carefully put it into your pocket, then you possess it; or if you just paid for it, holding it in your hand is enough to possess it. I would argue that holding it in the cache is like holding it in your hand.

    If it's something you take, then accidentally seeing something on the web doesn't imply possession.

    On the other hand, deliberately seeing something means that you are clearly taking it to your computer.

    It's a subtle difference, but it seems to me important here.

    Here, particularly, it seems to me that he took possession of many files, he was clearly deliberately possessing them.

  • View rate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by redelm (54142) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:42PM (#12838188) Homepage
    One small tidbit -- the article mentions that the accused viewed 450 images in 4 hours. That's a lot of hard surfing even for broadband 30sec/ea. Were these thumbnails?

  • ... but why didn't you mention it was about pedophilia?
  • by Free_Trial_Thinking (818686) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:43PM (#12838198)
    What if this link [illegalimages.com] contained said illegal images, all 20 of you who clicked it are now criminals since your browser would have loaded an illegal image and cached it (most likely).

    Doesn't seem fair, does it? You were just curious where the link went.

  • Google Images (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:45PM (#12838207) Journal
    I bet they are in possession of a whole lot of illegal porn. An ISP that operates a squid cache might be liable too.
  • It's about intent. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spiritraveller (641174) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:47PM (#12838227)
    If they showed that he knew what they were and downloaded them intentionally, then he is guilty, regardless of whether he knew they would stay on his harddrive.

    This is no different than borrowing someone else's kiddie porn magazine and reading it. Even if it's temporary, you intentionally had possession at some point. That makes you guilty.

    Whether he knew the copies would remain on his computer is irrelevant if he intentionally accessed them, knowing they were pornographic images of children.

    If there was no evidence that he intentionally accessed them, knowing what they were, then he should get off.
  • by yagu (721525) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Thursday June 16, 2005 @09:57PM (#12838278) Journal

    Why do I get the feeling that suddenly there are a few extra terabytes of free disk space across the country?

  • Virtual Crimes.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Seminal (698722) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:15AM (#12838993) Journal
    This makes zero sense to me, we are going to lock people up in jail and pay for their incarceration for looking at something.

    For all the people, before there is a holy war, let me set some things straight. If a person arranges to meet someone underage, send them to jail. If a person chats with someone underage and tries to solicit sex, send them to jail. I am all for sending people to jail who harm others.

    But when it comes to looking at something, should this be a crime?

    I am afraid the direction we are going in. Are we protecting children, or are we making ourselves feel like we are protecting children because we locked up people who looked at the wrong websites?

    This is an issue that is only going to get worse. What about websites with instructions on how to make bombs? What about websites that don't explicitly tell you how to make a bomb, but give you all the information in a way that anyone could figure out?

    Okay, so you want to talk about intent. What is the intent of the person looking at a website? What is the intent of a person looking at a website with a naked girl? Are we going to start measuring the sexual excitement a person has?

    If the real goal is to protect children, how about going after the website owners? Why not spend the money which would lock up joe sixpack for his browser cache violation, and use that money to find and hunt down the people who abuse the children? It seems to me that hunting down the website owners, and those who commited the violent act is much more effective than spending money on joe blow because one morning at 2am after drinking all night he went on the web and found the wrong website.

    I feel like it is so difficult a position to defend, yet if we want free speech, free expression of ideas, then we have to draw a line when it comes to throwing people in jail, to those crimes that harm someone or something.

    I would hate to see what society would do to Newton if he was alive today. There is a guy who 100% would look at anything and everything, and probably not be able to tell the difference of right and wrong. How he figured out calculus between the fits of emotional turmoil and pychological collapse is beyond me. Maybe we can have a wing of the prision for thinkers, people with an IQ over 140. Wait... that might be a bad idea.

  • by N3wsByt3 (758224) <NewsbyteNO@SPAMfreenethelp.org> on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:40AM (#12839836) Homepage Journal
    As I have recently said, this is the way it begins; not by huge and obvious destruction of citizens' rights, but by small, insidious steps, portrayed as the 'next logical step' for fighting whatever the state seems to think will manage to get little resistence.

    I mean, what, you're not soft on childporn, are you? You don't want terrorist roaming around and using the internet without punity, do you?

    If it's emotional and self-righteous enough, they know few will dare to oppose. Think of the children! think of 9/11! Ok, and now agree to our huge privacy invasion, because, you want to stop those people doing it again, don't you? Or are you pro CP and terrorism?

    With such demagogic tricks they can fool the public almost every time.

    Is retaining the best way to go? Does it actually help at all? Is the very unlikely possibility of stopping a relatively few worth the privacy invasion and the further degradation of civic rights of millions? Nowhere is that question ever raised by those that propose these laws. Instead, they continue to use platitudes: "We need the way to stop terrorists!" But as I said before:

    Ah, yes, but who are the 'terror suspects'? Everyone reading books the state deems dangerous? Everyone using the internet? No? Then why should their privacy be invaded? Why not adher to decades of legal provisions, where it used to be that you could only be 'tapped' when you were considered a suspect, and AFTER a court agreed to it. Nowadays , everyone is a suspect, and the courts don't come into play anymore when your communications are being tapped.

    Eroding ones' privacy and other rights because one is merely 'suspected' is the right way to go, if you want to end up in a policestate.

    But, we ALL know the state will ONLY use its powers for the purposes it is meant, without ever abusing it. History has shown this already numerous times in the past, no?

    Besides, 'if you have nothing to hide, why care that your private life is being invaded', right?

Real Programmers think better when playing Adventure or Rogue.

Working...