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Fighting Porn Vs. Ruining Innocent Lives 815

Posted by kdawson
from the overzealous-is-an-understatement dept.
After news of the conviction of a substitute teacher for endangering minors — because porn popups, possibly initiated by adware, had appeared on her computer during class — comes the even sadder story of 16-year-old Matt Bandy. His family's life was turned upside-down when he was charged in Arizona with possession of child pornography, even though the family computer was riddled with spyware and Trojans. After the intervention of ABC's 20/20, Matt finally was allowed to plead to a lesser charge (namely, sharing a Playboy magazine with friends) and just barely escaped being labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life.
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Fighting Porn Vs. Ruining Innocent Lives

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  • by fatduck (961824) * on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:38PM (#17621900)
    The clueless parent:
    "It means that computers are not safe," said Jeannie Bandy. "I don't want to have one in my house. Under even under the strictest rules and the strictest security, your computer is vulnerable."
    The "internet expert" isn't much better:
    "If you have an Internet connection, high speed, through, let's say, your cable company, or through the phone company, that computer is always on, and basically you have an open doorway to the outside," said Tammi Loehrs. "So the home user has no idea who's coming into their computer."
    Or you could secure your wireless router and stop installing Top 100 Mouse Pointers!!!!.jpg.exe.

    Oh here's my personal favorite quote from TFA:
    ...toss innocents into a living hell intended solely for sexual predators.

    Admittedly the prosecution's behavior in this case is excessive, especially the part about pleading to an obscenity charge for a Playboy magazine, but it doesn't have to be another excuse to spread FUD about the evil "here there be dragons" internets.
    • Come On (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JohnnyComeLately (725958) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:44AM (#17624934) Homepage Journal
      I think the naysayers are a bit full of themselves until this actually happens to them. There was a car analogy, but how about a direct gun analogy?


      - Drug dealer (convicted felon) says you have guns and tips DEA (possibly to lessen a charge against themselves..so they can later make money).
      - Criminal (Ibid) puts malware out on the internet (possibly just to make money).


      - Homeowner leaves for work
      - Computer owner leaves for work with computer on


      - District Attorney has no clue but proceeds with warrant
      - Ibid


      - See the article (RTFA)
      - Agents surveil the house, wait till you leave, serve a "no-knock" and pull the front door off the house. Dog/cats are taken to the pound, house is ransacked and left in shambles, and your perfectly legal and $4,000 gunsafe is destroyed in the process of getting inside.


      -Countless legal battles to
      A: Figure out what the hell just happened
      B: Clear yourself of the charges
      - Ibid


      The first one is the article I just read, the second happened to a neighbor two blocks away.

      I've had a computer since 1983, using a TRS computer and a Hayes Smartmodem (300 baud, course) and I've got Sun certified in running hundreds of Solaris systems. I went most of those 23 years without a virus-scanner (just being very careful and patching), but still got bit. YouTube bit me. 23 years experience and a protected/patched system was still defeated. Never downloaded a wallpaper or any attachment for that matter. I played with the malware a little before fixing the system, and it was interesting watching the malware disable and render the AV software inept. In one case, it sat there by itself, just feeding, until I wacked it. A few moments later it re-spawned and this time protected itself from whacking. The other mal-ware blocked the port for updating the AV software...seems ironic the virus is smarter (remapped URLs to localhost) than the AV.


      Oh well....after reading this it's just one more reason to switch over to the Mac when I have the $$$ (yeah, it's still vulnerable....but a lot less attractive to malware).

      So what's my point? Even with all the knowledge and training, you will still get infected. You can scoff at YouTube, or MySpace, but you will eventually get bit. The upside: You'll figure it out quick and patch (hopefully).

      I'll likely get modded as flamebait but to be blunt: You're just as naive as those you scorn if you think the average person is capable of stopping it and "got it from downloading screensavers." I don't think there's a single computer I've seen in the last 5 years that wasn't a Windows OS-installed screensaver. Wallpapers? Yeah, I see those on occasion...

  • by codepunk (167897) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:42PM (#17621946)
    Now let's figure ruining your life into into that total cost of ownership.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:42PM (#17621948)
    "If you have an Internet connection, high speed, through, let's say, your cable company, or through the phone company, that computer is always on, and basically you have an open doorway to the outside," said Tammi Loehrs."So the home user has no idea who's coming into their computer."

    Call me crazy, but can't this last issue be fixed by locking your door? If you keep your doors locked, then it's really not too hard to figure out who's coming into your computer. Although, I've got to say that coming into one's computer gives new meaning to Intarweb porn. Maybe she should teach her son that there are safer places to come.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:15PM (#17622342)
      Call me crazy, but can't this last issue be fixed by locking your door?

      Of course! But Windows only comes with a screen door, and very few people realize they need a better door, let alone know how to install one. And even if they did manage to get a better door installed, they wouldn't be able to figure out how to operate the lock!

    • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:35PM (#17622594) Homepage
      Call me crazy, but can't this last issue be fixed by locking your door?

      At the risk of the infamous lousy analogy, consider this:
      • You have a Masterlock brand deadbolt on your front door.
      • You head out for Las Vegas Friday night at 9:00 pm, lock your door.
      • Unbeknowst to you, at noon on Saturday a guy with a lockpick breaks in -- turns out your lock is easily cracked in 30 secs by anyone with a pick and 3 minutes to spend on google.
      • From the moment he breaks in up till 10:00 pm Sunday night, the guy sells crack to anyone who walks in the front door.
      • At 10:00 pm, he cleans up and clears out -- you'd never he had been there.
      • You arrive home on Monday at 7:00 am and lounge about resting before heading back to work the next day.
      • Tuesday afternoon, you come home from work and are arrested -- it seems some kid got pulled over for speeding and during the course of the traffic stop, the cops found the crack. Kid "cracks" in fear and fingers your address as the place where he bought the drugs.
      The question is, should you be convicted based merely on the fact that your house was used without your knowledge and permission to perform illegal activities? Sure you locked the door but any luser idiot would know that a Masterlock isn't true security. Why should it matter that you didn't actually sell crack -- it's plainly your fault for keeping such an insecure home.

      What we're talking about in the real case, is someone whose property was used to commit a crime and faced life in prison (9 consecutive 10 year sentences) merely because their property was used without their permission or knowledge. That's flat fricken wrong.
      • by Grishnakh (216268)
        The question is, should you be convicted based merely on the fact that your house was used without your knowledge and permission to perform illegal activities? Sure you locked the door but any luser idiot would know that a Masterlock isn't true security. Why should it matter that you didn't actually sell crack -- it's plainly your fault for keeping such an insecure home.

        Here's my position:
        If Masterlock(tm) is a large and respected brand of door lock, but it can be shown that they knew that their locks were
        • by werewolf1031 (869837) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:05AM (#17626094)
          Here's the problem with your assertion: The product itself did not cause any harm. Rather, a third party -- not the product creator/vendor -- caused the harm through their direct action by exploiting weaknesses in the product.

          Now, I'm not defending the well-known security holes in Microsoft's operating systems. And I have no problem with the creator of a shoddy product being held liable for direct harm caused by their product. I do, however, have a problem with Entity A being held responsible for the actions of Entity B, under any circumstances, no matter who those respective entities may be -- individuals, corporations, whatever. Should Microsoft be held liable for the known security holes in their operating systems? Absolutely. Should they be held liable for how others with malicious intent exploit those holes? No.

          Addressing products that are less than 100% secure does not address the underlying problem: Human behavior. Obviously, if everyone were honest, there would be no need for physical locks, computer firewalls, and so on. However, because of the malicious actions of many people, we do need those security measures. And those measures can never, ever be perfect. No padlock, no steel door, no software firewall, no router -- anything that is designed to let "some" stuff through and block the rest -- can ever be 100% secure.

          If, as you state, "a software company can be shown to be grossly negligent about the security of their operating system software", then they should certainly be held liable for their own negligence, but not for the actions of others. Ever.
    • Just unplug (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:36PM (#17622606)
      Most people have very little reason to be connected to the internet all the time, or have their computer on all the time. Save the environment: turn off that computer!
  • Unproportional (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linuxci (3530) * on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:43PM (#17621962)
    Not very good that when the prosecutors couldn't convict him for the porn they still wanted to stick some conviction on him! What's the idea that someone handing copies of playboy to their friends be convicted of a crime? There's nothing illegal in that magazine. The US have some weird attitudes to tits and nudity (playboy ain't really porn).

    As for computers, things like this show why we need better education. Make sure people know to keep things updated. Tell them about Firefox, suggest that they get a Mac next time. They're not going to be 100% safe this way, but at least when you add it together with common sense safety measures then they're going to be significantly safer. Like it or not, the fact is all these people who get computers have been given the impression that it's so easy but they get the least secure system out of the box. People need educating about the dangers plus knowledge of the alternative choices.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      The US have some weird attitudes to tits and nudity (playboy ain't really porn).

      Because the religious right and grumpy grannies run our politics.
               
    • Re:Unproportional (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kaufmanmoore (930593) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:57PM (#17622154)
      There's nothing illegal in the magazine, but you have to be 18 to have one. He got thecharge on the same type of laws that make it illegal for minors to possess cigarettes and alcohol.
    • Re:Unproportional (Score:4, Informative)

      by foreverdisillusioned (763799) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:23PM (#17622434) Journal
      I believe that the catch is, while it's technically not illegal for a minor to read Playboy, it's not legal to GIVE a minor a playboy ("corrupting a minor" or some such nonsense.) Even though the kid was a minor himself, it's still technically illegal for him to give the Playboy to another minor. Similarly, if two 16 year olds have sex, they can both be charged with statutory rape, though typically either they are only threatened with arrest, or only the boy is arrested.

      Note that I'm not DEFENDING this bullshit--just explaining it.
      • Re:Unproportional (Score:4, Informative)

        by jeff4747 (256583) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:37PM (#17622622)
        Similarly, if two 16 year olds have sex, they can both be charged with statutory rape

        Just to be complete: in lots of states there's a provision in the statutory rape law that says if both parties are "old enough" (usually 16-ish), and close in age (usually 2 years), then it's not a crime. This appears to be the new and trendy way to modify the statutory rape laws.

        Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, yadda yadda yadda, check your local laws before trolling for jailbait.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770)
      What's the idea that someone handing copies of playboy to their friends be convicted of a crime? There's nothing illegal in that magazine.

      Not to defend the US laws too much, but playboy is here in Europe too a pornographic magazine, I can't show it to your 8yo daughter without getting in trouble and you probably wouldn't want it any other way. Technically, a 16yo is legally responsible for his own actions and handing it to a minor is illegal, even if it's his buddy. It's just that in practise, it doesn't ha
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, better education on computer security would be good, but i think the real lack of proportionality here is the very Puritanical view of sex and the out of control "Won't someone think of the children!!" style laws.

      I agree that child porn is bad and should be punished (especially if one actually means kids as opposed to 16 year olds), but i don't think that someone who is found with child porn on their machine, even if they actually downloaded it, needs be labeled a "Sexual Predator" the same way a seri
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:44PM (#17621976)
    lesser charge (namely, sharing a Playboy magazine with friends)

    Wow. You USAians really live in a fucked up country if you can be charged with showing your mates a playboy.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Remember, the US is still a very young nation. It's history as a country only goes back 350 years or so. Even then, present American culture only really took off after World War II. So it hasn't even been 70 years since what we consider "American society" took root. Compared to the history of even just European society, for instance, that's virtually nothing.

      So it's no wonder that they still have an aversion to boobies. It's something they'll grow out of, likely once the first generation of people exposed t
    • by QuasiEvil (74356) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:59PM (#17622828)
      "OMG little Johnny saw a boobie! Armageddon is upon us!"

      We crazy-ass Americans have such bizarre hangups about sex... Jesus, folks, get over it. We all think about it, most of us do it fairly often (/.ers excepted, especially those of us old married /.ers like myself), and it's just stupid to be so repressed about the whole deal.

      The liquor laws piss me off enough (whaddaya mean it's a dry county?), but all the puritanical sexually-repressive moral crap that's in law has just got to go.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by starX (306011)
      No, no, no, you're missing the point entirely. He's not really being charged with passing the Playboy; although it is widely known that Playboy is a subversive magazine that has published such smut as Farenheit 451, the Playboy is just a symptom, and since the only thing we see are symptoms, that's what we punish. The crime that we're actually trying to get at is sex in general. The people who make these laws know what horrible, fucked up perverts they really are, and in trying to protect us from horrible, [wikipedia.org]
  • No common sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sinistre (59027) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:44PM (#17621980) Homepage
    Seems common sense is abscent.
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:46PM (#17622010)
    It appears, as in most cases like this, the prosecutor was trying to make an example of this boy. The judge actually suggested that the boy's family appeal the decision, as the judge could not believe why the prosecutor wanted to keep the "Sex offender" charge even though he had dropped the child pornography offense. This boy finally cleared his name, but not without horrendous legal wrangling. Sad, very sad.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984)

      It appears, as in most cases like this, the prosecutor was trying to make an example of this boy.

      And instead, he made an example of Arizona. Applying unjust law, if there's enough press, sheds light on injustice.

      Suppose you were hiring someone to take care of your kid. You found a candidate for the job, but you learned they were a convicted sex offender against minors. "Oohh, I guess that rules out this per-- oh wait, they were convicted in Arizona, where "child molester" doesn't actually mean anything

      • by Qzukk (229616) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:50PM (#17622762) Journal
        "Oohh, I guess that rules out this per-- oh wait, they were convicted in Arizona, where "child molester" doesn't actually mean anything. Ok, you're hired."

        Until TV news anchors show up at your door demanding to know why you're hiring a convicted sex offender, and both of you get fired because protesters are making your company lose money over your decision. Watch TV some day, fucking up everyone's lives is quality prime time material!

        Arizona just undermined itself. Be ridiculous with labels, and you end up only labeling yourself.

        Pfft. The label has been ridiculous from the start. Public indecency in many states is a sex offense, and you're added to the registry on the second time, whether a minor sees you or not. Alabama will register you for "obscene bumper stickers" (what about those popular truck mudflaps sporting a woman's silhouette, are they "obscene"? Miller test time! Who wants to ruin their life to see whether shitty beer is shitty or not?) Googlized version of pdfd version of an excel spreadsheet (yay!) listing registrable offenses by state. [64.233.167.104]

        Add to that the fact that as far as "being a sex offender" goes, raping 3 year olds is apparently just as heinous as having sex with your 17 year old girlfriend, or taking home a 24 year old who didn't seem drunk until she woke up and had no clue where she was or who you were, and the whole thing turns out to be a horrid mess, but somebody has to think of the children! No matter how ridiculous it gets, no politician will touch it, because anyone who does would be opening the floodgates for monsters to rape your little girls.
  • by spywhere (824072) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:49PM (#17622046)
    WHen a Windows machine gets really infested with spyware, it's tough to sort out the chickens from the eggs.
    Did a user to to a porn site that downloaded spyware that brought down kiddie porn, or did somebody intentionally go to a kiddie porn site?

    I've never found pictures of kids on a customer's PC (thank God), but I have done some investigations on "porned" and infested PCs: it's hard enough for an IT pro to figure out which came first. When the cops are doing the investigating, I expect they'll come to whatever conclusion makes the suspect look guilty.
  • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:52PM (#17622080) Journal
    this wouldn't be an issue. There are ways to determine (using system logs, install logs, and the vast information available in the system registry) when content arrived and by what method. When it was determined that the system was being remote-controlled, the boy was spared a lifetime of embarrassment.

    It' sad to think that the prosecutor was more interested in the conviction than the truth.

    As a forensic computer examiner, I'm not always given the opportunity to come to the correct conclusions based on evidence because that's not what I'm asked to do (and if I go beyond what I was asked to do, the client just won't pay for the extra work.) The legal system in this country rewards those who win, who are not always those who tell the truth.
  • Funny.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moehoward (668736) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:52PM (#17622084)

    Funny, but noboby gets labeled a "murderer" for life. Murderers are released from prison every day. In fact, hundreds of them. They serve their sentence and move on. No reporting themselves to their neighbors. No exclusion zones. No "registered murderer" lists.

    I'd actually rather live next door to sex offenders rather than next to convicted drunk drivers. Why am I not notified when a convicted drunk driver moves in next door? Probably a lot more dangerous to me and my kids. Right?

    The really weird thing is that neither side of the political spectrum dare oppose the whole "sex offender" legal agenda thing. Its a bit like global warming. Groupthink.

    "Think of the children!!" Wait, I didn't mean it THAT way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fatduck (961824) *
      That's because sex offenders are unholy merchants of sin, corrupting our children with the devil's ways. Next you'll want notification when a priest moves into your neighborhood.
    • Re:Funny.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Guuge (719028) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:20PM (#17622400)
      The really weird thing is that neither side of the political spectrum dare oppose the whole "sex offender" legal agenda thing. Its a bit like global warming. Groupthink.

      You got it backward. Global warming is contested by politicians, but accepted by the brains in the field. Sex offender registries are contested by the brains but generally accepted by politicians.

      Furthermore, you don't seem to know what 'groupthink [reference.com]' means. I don't mean to pick on you personally, but it had to be said.

    • Re:Funny.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bckrispi (725257) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:37PM (#17622612)
      Funny, but noboby gets labeled a "murderer" for life. Murderers are released from prison every day. In fact, hundreds of them. They serve their sentence and move on. No reporting themselves to their neighbors. No exclusion zones. No "registered murderer" lists.
      In Arizona, if you're convicted of a Child Porn crime, you're lucky if you even *get* released to be put on a Sex Offender's list. If the pictures in question are of a minor under 15, that means that every picture found will draw a ten year sentence - minimum to be served consecutively. If you posess ten pictures, you're going away for life - case closed. Several years ago, a school teacher went to trial for posession of 20 CP images. There was no evidence that he did anything beyond this. He didn't share, he didn't molest, he didn't produce, he just posessed. He is now into the fourth year of a two-hundred year sentence.

      Maricopa county prosecutors (especially Reichsmarshall Andrew Thomas) use this fact to extort harsh plea bargains (with this, among other crimes). So if you want to protest your innocence, you have one of two choices: Risk a trial where a loss means you never see the light of day again, or cop a bargain, regardless of your guilt, which will usually still keep you in prison for 10-25.

    • Re:Funny.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dhalka226 (559740) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:45PM (#17622714)

      The really weird thing is that neither side of the political spectrum dare oppose the whole "sex offender" legal agenda thing. Its a bit like global warming. Groupthink.

      I don't think it's really a matter of group think. Some of it is, of course, and some more of it is the fact that you can score cheap political points by saying "let's torture all sex offenders to death, huzzah!"

      The problem is you, and me. It's the public. If a politican said something like, "I think we should re-think our sex offender laws," can you imagine what would happen? Pundits, talk show hosts and everybody in the opposing party would instantly paint them in a way that basically amounts to "they have nothing against somebody raping your child." It doesn't matter that that is not what he said. It doesn't matter that he might have been talking about cases like two 16 year olds who videotaped themselves having sex being brought up on child pornography charges or something similarly absurd, rather than legitimate sexual predators. Once he's hung with that label, he's in deep trouble.

      "Senator Jones doesn't care about your children. He proposed a re-examination of the laws that put child sex offenders behind bars and require you to be notified if one moves in next door. Vote for Bob. He knows exactly where he stands on sexual predators. (Paid for by Parents Who Love And Protect Their Children.)"

      And it would work. Partially because people get hysterical whenever they hear the words "sex offender." Partially because people are so horribly uninformed that if they saw an ad like that, they wouldn't bother to see what the other side of the story was--they'd just figure their Senator needed a new job. Partially because it's good television to skewer the Senator by bringing his most rabid opponents in with his official spokesperson to give "fair and balanced" coverage--conflict sells, and always has.

      There are lot of places where blame can be placed, but it ultimately has to be placed right at the feet of the voters. Voters who don't vote at all. Voters who don't care to see two sides of the issues. All of the things I mentioned are horrible, and they come from different sources--tv networks, politicians, political action groups, etc--but the bottom line is if it didn't work, it wouldn't be done.

      We, as a collective voting body, don't allow free thought. More importantly, we don't allow complex opinions. Your opinion may not be any more complex than you can fully explain in a 10 second sound bite. This is, very unfortunately, the attention span of the average American voter as it relates to the people who will be representing them in government.

      As sad as it is for me to say so, when so many people act like that, we deserve the politicians we get. We deserve the stupid laws we get.

  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:53PM (#17622112)
    But is it plausible to convict a 16y old for child pornography?

    Next they'll be prosecuting young mothers breastfeeding their kids on sexual molestation charges...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chrax (782154)
      I would say it should depend on the sort of pictures. Are the pictures likely within a year or two of himself? If so, then he's displaying fairly normal sexual attractions, and there seems little reason to consider him a threat to children. If the images are clearly of prepubescents, or if he's still looking at ~14-16 year olds when he's 21, then he displays deviant sexual attractions.

      Whether it's convictable, I don't know. Under current laws, I would have to say if the pictures are of prepubescents (a 16 y
    • by Cadallin (863437) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:25PM (#17622450)
      Yes, Absolutely! In fact, according to one study cited on Wikipedia, the age group most charged for Child Pornography offenses is young males aged 15-20. Note that the law makes absolutely no distinction between pictures depicting an 8 year old, and pictures depicting a 16 year old. Both are "Child" Porn, both get you convictions resulting in registered sex offender list for life. Which, yes indeed, means that two 16 year olds (who may very well be consenting depending on jurisdiction) can have sex with each other, and thats fine, but if they videotape it, or take pictures, they can end up with felony Child pornography convictions.
      • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:15AM (#17625552)

        Note that the law makes absolutely no distinction between pictures depicting an 8 year old, and pictures depicting a 16 year old.

        There's a reason for that: it is not relevant.

        The purpose of sexual hysteria laws is to cause hysteria - by causing hysteria, you turn otherwise healthy, normal people against each other. People who fight each other are easier to control, manipulate, and tax. Injecting "sense" or "reason" into such laws is counterproductive for the most vocal mouthpieces who support them (in their current state).
  • by superwiz (655733) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:02PM (#17622212) Journal
    I'll just let my signature speak for me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:10PM (#17622290)
    Would it still be that wrong? Why would a sixteen-year-old find a forty-year-old-woman attractive? At that age, you still develop an attraction to other 16 and 15 year old girls. But anyone featured in pornography under the age of 18 is considered child porn.

    These things should be looked at with relativity. And some lawyers and politicians need to remember that they were kids once. Rediculous, "possession of a playboy." I can understand cigarettes or alcohol, but it's illegal to be curious now?
    • by tOaOMiB (847361) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:52PM (#17622772)
      The reason child porn is illegal is not because being attracted to minors is a crime, not matter what your age. The reason it is a crime is because you are feeding an industry that is preying on children. Children under 18 are not considered old enough to make the decision to appear in porn. So sure, at 16, it's perfectly reasonable to be attracted to girls his age. But supporting those girls as they start a pornography career (under the influence of others) is what's wrong!
      • by bky1701 (979071) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:12PM (#17623642) Homepage
        One must seriously question *why* it is considered wrong. Surly much of what is bad about it comes from the fact it is so illegal and taboo that the only way it can be done is in the most painful way to those involved. If it was legal, it would become a business like any other (and thus regulated, unlike the black-market crap that goes on now) and I predict that much of the secret photographing/abductions/etc would stop because they would be too costly and hard compared to the legal way.

        Prohibition caused much more crime then it stopped, and always will, just look at the "war on drugs" and people killed in gun fights or because of drugs laden with toxins every day. When there is a demand for something, making it illegal to produce it in an ethical way will simply make it's production non-ethical, this has been proven many times in history and isn't changing any time soon.

        You can say that some 14 year old can't make an informed decision- maybe they can't, I can't speak for them and nether can you. But I can say that it's certainly the lesser of evils.

        *Waits for down modding and FBI to show up at door*
        • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:17AM (#17625564)
          You can say that some 14 year old can't make an informed decision- maybe they can't, I can't speak for them and nether can you. But I can say that it's certainly the lesser of evils.
          Well, if they picked up a sniper rifle and killed someone we'd definitely consider them responsible for their decisions, It wouldn't matter if they had an IQ of 82 and had been beaten in the head with a shovel. But if they layed down with a 30 year old, then they're a victim, a mere wisp of a child, the picture of bucolic innocence, and it would be the end of civilization as we know it to recognize their capacity to decide for themselves whether or not they want to have sex.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 49152 (690909)
        >Children under 18 are not considered old enough to make the decision to appear in porn.

        That argument falls flat on its face if you consider a 16 year old enough to understand he should resist his perfectly normal urge to watch nude girls in order to prevent the pornography industry exploiting 16 year old girls.

        Either a 16 year old is an adult or a child, make up your mind it cant be both.
  • by sauge (930823) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:13PM (#17622320)
    Just think of what terrorists could do with this sort of reaction?

    Key people could be coerced or exploited simply out of fear of what the American judicial system would do should they be reported about stuff they don't even know about. I will readily admit in the gigabytes and gigabytes of data on my hard drives(s) there are some directories I have never been in - and I am a friggin programmer.

    Huge swaths of people could be put through the grinder by so many "save the children" politician prosecutors that finally it would reach a point where people either ignore child porn or become disillusioned with the judicial system distressing innocents. Either way it is hard to support and trust such a government.

    The idea of "don't help the man, all he will do is fuck you over for some shit you didn't do" and "so much for good intentions" will build up year over year throughout the population. Already there is an incredible distrust in government regarding taxes and intelligence gathering. What happens to our society when we begin to distrust law enforcement and the judicial system - become like east L.A.?

    This kind of nonsense with unfriendly people in other countries could in quite a quiet manner - damage the society and fabric of the United States.
  • Remember Kids (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:29PM (#17622512) Homepage
    Nudity and sex are Evil, but blowing someone up because they live near someone we think is bad is Good.

    All research on the subject says quite clearly that seeing sex and nudity isn't harmful to kids. Until very very recently, most children were conceived while their siblings were in the same room. The vast majority of children in the world see their first female breast within about 5 minutes of birth. Kids don't make a big deal about it, it's adults for whom its a big deal. Laws against showing porn to minors are really to protect adults from the idea that their kids might understand sex, not to protect kids.

    The problem is that lots of people who understand these things, but no one has the balls to stand up and say in a political campaign that they're fine with children seeing adults and other children naked.
  • by GnomeCarousel (981149) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:30PM (#17622520)
    Here http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2791529&page=1 [go.com] is an interview with the DA of this case.
    Very interesting read.

    Quote:

    "JIM AVILA: So there was a huge amount of evidence that in fact, this kid was not involved in a sex crime. And yet, your office and
    you yourself continue to believe and put him through two years of hell, because you continue to believe despite lie detector
    tests, court psychiatrist reports, a report from the computer expert who said it could have come from anywhere...you
    continue to say..."

    NDREW THOMAS: (Overlap) Well...

    JIM AVILA: ...that he did it.

    ANDREW THOMAS: Well, I...again, I...I'm not sure that that's totally right. But you gotta...

    JIM AVILA: (Overlap) Halfway right?
    "

  • by viewtouch (1479) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:01PM (#17622852) Homepage Journal
    The solution to this problem, and to virtually all of the problems that are associated with computer ownership, is simple and inevitable. Do away with the personal computer.

    For most people it is completely unnecessary. For most people all they need is a graphical display terminal with a rich user interface environment that is attached to the Internet and software which is streamed at them, whether in a browser or, as in the case of X, served up to their graphical display terminal.

    No hard drive to worry about, nothing police can find in your possession to investigate, charge, prosecute and punish you for, no viruses, no spyware, no adware, no trojan software.

    Nobody every got in trouble for watching the most raw, stimulating, raunchy porn on TV and nobody will ever get in trouble for watching what is streamed to their graphics display terminal. After its viewed it just goes right off into the great void. Any software that the average person needs in the future will be streamed directly to their graphics display terminal which is connected directly to the Internet without the need for a local operating system, storage, massive bank of RAM or local copies of application programs.

    Users can go anywhere in the world, walk up to any graphics display terminal and have the same software experience regardless of who they are, where they are. No need to download songs or movies, just stream them right to you, just like Television. You don't need a PC to have a TV, you don't need a PC to have a phone, you don't need a PC to receive streaming software. You just need a graphical display terminal. No mess, no fuss. The PC, for the average person, is an unnecessary, expendible component of the software experience in the era of ubiquitous access to the Internet and versatile graphical display terminals.
  • Disgusting. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jartan (219704) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:05PM (#17622904)
    This kind of thing makes me want to vomit. Leave aside all the technical stuff for once. Personally I would really like to know what the hell is going on with the judges in these court rooms? I'll admit to far too much ignorance on the powers of a judge but surely they have some? Don't they have SOME sort of book to throw at these low life prosecutors?
  • Jury nullification (Score:3, Informative)

    by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:31PM (#17623202)
    Folks who are against that kind of abuse of law: make sure to serve on a jury. If the case is something like that, I'd even be tempted to lie to get on the jury. Remember, it only takes one juror in most states to block a conviction and prosecutors are hesitant to retry in the case of a hung jury. Plus you can try to convince other jurors not to convict. In addition to judging the accused, jurors are required by quite a few state constitutions to judge the law itself.

    -b.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:37PM (#17623284)
    as someone that has gone through this system on this.

    Many moons ago I went out to meet this gal I met online, I knew she was under 18 but I was early 20s and stupid so I went out to meet her and I got busted as I walked in the door, tossed in jail and got a lawyer and got out on probation.

    5 years, 2 lie detector tests, 2 years of mandatory therapy, tens of thousands of dollars spent out of mine and my families pocket, 1 career, 1 fiancee all lost along the way because I never really did anything but I thought with my love whistle insetad of the head on my shoulders.

    So now I'm labeled a pure hardcore sex offender. I'm on the website here in my state, my glorious picture is up there, they put posters all around my white color suburbanite neighborhood, my neighbors who knew me couldn't believe it, the ones who didn't' saw me and pulled their kids aside like I was going to eat them alive when it was the farthest thing from the truth. I've had people spit upon my father who has a lawn business, mom who gets harrassed at her school from other teachers cause of it, my friends got hassled and dropped me like the plague. I got to see who my true friends and people were. People who were still there, still loyal, looked past my stupid mistake and realized "Hey, he did something really dumb, but he didn't rape some kid or kidnap a school bus full of girl scouts."

    So here I sit here after I got all my ducks in a row, got a consulting job because companies hire business' not people so no background check, going to school out of state because they don't require registration or signup stating that some kiddy raper is attending their school, I live in a place that's in a decent area but the county is trying to squeeze people like me out because the community thinks we are all 'horrible representations of society' or some nonsense. I had to grow up alot along the way and I learned alot about the legal and criminal system and know there are thousands upon thousands of guys like me that are out there that really won't be able to be 'themselves' for 20yrs or so until it's all cleared up in the system and maybe a pardon for the governator.

    I'm sorry for what I did to my family, to my friends, and to that lil child whom when I saw her in court I would've never done a thing to as she looked like my lil 12 yr old sister.

    Do I feel my debt to society has been repaid? You be the judge on that. I'll let you know in 10 more years.

  • by JourneyExpertApe (906162) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:17PM (#17623676)
    ...by mentioning his full name in the article, /. made sure that any searches for + "sex offender" will turn up hits for decades to come. Nice work.
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:25PM (#17623740) Homepage Journal
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: the worst thing for a legal system to do is to convict innocents.

    Let's think about the purpose of the legal system for a while. Why do we want laws at all? Why, we want to make sure people can just live their lives, without being robbed, killed, raped, and whatnot. So we make robbery, rape, murder, etc. illegal. Now we have two categories of people: innocents and criminals. The innocents are the people we want to protect, the criminals are who we want to protect the innocents from. So we must arrest and convict the criminals. A legal system that does not result in criminals getting caught is useless. But a system that results in innocents getting punished is worse than useless, because it does exactly what it was intended to prevent: harm innocent people.

    From what I've heard, the whole crackdown on child pornography is mostly punishing (severely!) a lot of people who are not harming anyone, while the people who do harm others (the criminals _and_ the law enforcers) mostly run free. That can't be good.
  • by mqduck (232646) <mqduck@mqd[ ].net ['uck' in gap]> on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:31PM (#17623794)
    I'm surprised no one else is interested in knowing how the authorities discovered this child porn.
  • by hengist (71116) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:34PM (#17623822)
    It seems to me that the problem with over-zealous prosecutors could be that they are elected in many places. They need to get a certain number of convictions for certain crimes to show that they're "tough on kiddie porn/drugs/terrorism/jay-walking".

    This means, of course, that there will almost inevitably be abuses of the prosecution process, with people like this 15 year-old the victims.

    The long-term solution could be to stop electing the prosecutors.

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