Did You Know Caching Is How Perverts Avoid Downloading?

from the say-again? dept

We all know that child porn is a terrible problem -- and I have absolutely no problem with severely punishing anyone involved in the production or distribution of it. However, where things get tricky is when you start punishing anyone merely for possession. Sure, if it's a situation where someone is discovered with a ton of it, that might be a different scenario (though, I would think it's more of an issue to be handled with psychiatric help, rather than criminal prosecution), but mere possession in the digital age is problematic. Anyone can send someone an email with a pornographic picture attached, and suddenly the recipient is guilty of possessing child porn through no fault of his own. Or, you could get some malware that pops up such images. There are plenty of ways that people could unwittingly have such images on their computer, and making them criminally liable could result in some pretty awful scenarios.

Apparently, the guy the Irish government put in charge of dealing with the child porn problem hasn't thought about any of this, however. He's recommending that Irish laws be strengthened to make merely viewing child porn a criminal offense, claiming that viewing it drives demand for more such images.

Of course, if you read the article linked above, it sounds even worse. I'm hoping it's because the reporter, rather than the guy who wrote the report, is clueless, but it implies that the guy's report to the government said that child porn viewers are purposely using "caching" to avoid downloading child porn to protect them from legal liability. Except... caching is downloading. The way something is cached is that it's downloaded. So, if you accidentally go to a website that includes child porn, the images are most likely cached, meaning you're now guilty of a committing a crime. Yet, the article (which claims to be repeating what's in the report) suggests that caching is actually a nefarious technique used by technologically sophisticated folks to avoid legal liability. Apparently, the fact that almost everyone uses caching when they browse wasn't explained to someone.

Fighting back against child porn is important, but technologically clueless people going on a witch hunt isn't going to help things very much.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Claes, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:05am

    We had the same proposal here in Sweden. The Swedish queen recommended outlawing viewing which created some debate, both because of the issue and the fact that the king and queen are forbidden to involve themselves into politics. It appears that the queen as well as some commenters viewed this as such a natural direction that they viewed the statement as non-political.

     

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  2.  
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    Haggisblaster, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:06am

    Revenge on your enemies

    Sounds like a good way to send someone to jail if you ask me. Send them a link to one of the sites and then call in the feds. I wonder if this will get abused, after all who would listen to the "child porn watching freak" as he struggles to defend himself against an emotional jury?

     

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  3.  
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    TruthBringer, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:30am

    Tip o the Spear

    Don’t forget it’s always the most egregious crimes they start with. No one wants to be viewed as supporting child exploitation (obviously even Mike as he makes a large point of explaining to us that he is actually against it – get my point) so that’s a great place to start infringing on people liberties and expectations of property.

     

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  4.  
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    AnonCow, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:30am

    I think that even blogging about child porn legislation should be illegal, because I always want to download some 17-year-old girl-on-girl porn after reading an article like this.

    Maybe the whole Irish government should be behind bars because they are making me think about child porn!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    AnonCowOfficer, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:50am

    Please pay attention AnonCow

    We have your IP address. Do not leave the country until we let you know it's OK. We'll be in touch. After we do a bit for bit copy of your cache.

     

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  6.  
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    Ryan, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:51am

    Child porn laws can never be reasonable.

    Judges, prosecutors, etc are all elected - and nobody wants to be the one who appears soft on child porn.

    As long as it's a public election, child porn laws will continue to grow more and more strict and ridiculous.

     

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  7.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:55am

    The idiots are beating the drum again

    There are now so many law enforcement agencies yammering about kiddie porn that one might be concluded to think that the number of officers investigating is substantially more than the number of perpetrators being investigated.

    It seems that they have learned nothing from the Julie Amero saga -- which suggests that they are incapable of learning, as the lessons of that sorry case are quite instructive even to those of lesser intelligence and ability. And it seems that they will persist in their technological ignorance, which will have two direct consequences: first, they will continue to investigate, harass, arrest and prosecute people who are completely innocent; and second, they will continue to do the exact opposite with actual creators of child pornography.

    Oh, almost forgot: and third, they will award themselves medals for doing such a fabulous job.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    some old guy, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:55am

    Dear Mike

    You've been brainwashed. That is all.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 11:56am

    the difference they are showing in caching and downloading is the factor of accountability ... when you visit a website (maybe a child porn website, or whatever) the images are downloaded automatically, whether you want them or not. you never click "save as." so it's not actually the users 'fault' that he has child porn if he accidentally visits a website and the images are cached.

    so if someone rickrolls you with child porn, you'd probably click out immediately, and aren't actually guilty of anything, even though the images are now stored on your computer via the browser's cache.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    So how long tell someone sends Geoffrey Shannon a few e-mails with HTML attachments & links then reports them for caching child porn ?

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    A. L. Flanagan, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    The Real Problem

    All this hysteria about child porn deliberately misses the most important point. Child porn is a proxy for our fear of child molestation. However, by far most molestation of children is done by family members. Until we admit and act on that politically uncomfortable fact, we're addressing the tip of a huge iceberg.

     

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  12.  
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    dan, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 12:48pm

    Re: The Real Problem

    Thank you for at least reconizing it is a problem and pointing out some facts about it. The law is stupid, agreed. But you did not blow off the real problem. Children are being molested.

    The rest of these yahoo's seem not to care, based on their flippent attitude about the whole problem, that children's lives are at stake here.

    KMA people, better yet. f.o.a.d.

    Dan

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    interval, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Dear Mike

    "You've been brainwashed. That is all."

    No, I think we've all been Trolled. That's it.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    interval, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: The Other Real Problem

    "The rest of these yahoo's seem not to care, based on their flippent attitude about the whole problem, that children's lives are at stake here."

    So we can trample on human rights becuase... "Think of the children!!!!"

    Blow it out your suck hole. People have been using bait and switch to remove humans rights for hundreds of years. Its people like YOU who really scare me, "dan".

    Pretty much like the environment, the "danger" (and I guess you can insert whatever fantastic danger you want here, be it abuse, neglect, vaccinations, or auto-immolation) is a bit over-blown.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Cipher-0, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: The Real Problem

    The real problem is actually catching and prosecuting the sons-of-bitches who produce child porn.

    All I can see "see child porn, you're a criminal" doing is *preventing* people from reporting child porn they see in the course of their internet usage.

     

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  16.  
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    Droslovinia, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 1:41pm

    And yet another real problem

    Anyone who thinks that the "danger is overblown" has some serious self-gratification issues. I mean, if you can't even diminish your pleasure in life enough to protect children from exploitation, your view of yourself as human is a bit overblown, too. Millions of kids are sexually exploited in this world, and yes, I'm willing to give up the right to help the exploiters by participating in their schemes or protecting them from exposure and prosecution if it will put a stop to it. I can put up with the idea that you want to deny global warming so you can feel better about your lifestyle, but this one is just too much to ask.

     

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  17.  
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    Big Frankie, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    Drive Them Deeper Underground

    They would probably just get a lot of innocent schleps that way.

    I would think if a guy is really into child porn and knows two cents about computers, all he would have to do is just do a physical in/out swap of his hard drive when he uses porn. Windows format two hard drives, open case, two connections and done. To make it easier, use Linux to copy Windows. Police show up and HD is clean as a whistle (unless he is actually using it while they break down the door.).

    Again what is the stop if a guy gets a stolen lap top and uses a public WiFi network to do his downloads. Do these public WiFis have blocks on that.

    The point is that if a law came out like that, it would be easy for these guys to get around. It is probably better to be able to track them rather than driving them further underground.

     

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  18.  
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    Big Mook (profile), Dec 18th, 2008 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: The Other Real Problem

    How does one "accidentally" run across child porn while surfing the 'net? I've never seen any in my 10+ years of surfing. It seems pretty far-fetched that anyone could get these images in their cache without surfing some seriously freaky sites to begin with.

    Hail Xenu!

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Ghandi, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 2:01pm

    Worse Damage In Slave Work Shops

    I wonder which is worse?

    Kids involved in child porn, or kids working in a sweatshop slaveshop) making items for American consumers. In child porn the kids are probably smiling, in slavehops probably not. Also probably a lot more kids in slaveshops than involved in child porn.

    Maybe we should look at an entire problem instead and get rid of American consumers who are just as much a part of excessive abuse to children as the porn perverts. It is easy to close one's eyes for one situation and yet scream foul in the name of decency in another, yet by doing so, you are nothing but hypocrites.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Coises, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 2:13pm

    Part of the problem with “child pornography” laws is one of definition. Is the work of Sally Mann child pornography? What about David Hamilton? Jock Sturges? Before you say, “Of course not! That’s not what we mean!” remember that the work of all of these artists has been the subject of serious controversy. Mr. Sturges had his photographic equipment and his work seized by the FBI in 1990 (the case was eventually thrown out by a grand jury).

    Some readings of the laws of the United States have it that entirely fictional works depicting human beings under age 18 as possessing sexuality — drawings, not photographs, or even written narrative describing fictional sexual encounters involving teenagers — is illegal child pornography. (I don’t have a reference for this at hand; perhaps someone else can help?) The words “child pornography” conjure a picture of despicable evil, but the net cast in practise by authorities and crusaders is much broader.

    True abuse of human beings — no need to qualify it as “sexual,” no need to qualify it as “child” — is unacceptable. Why not concentrate on that, instead of on “distribution” and “possession” of what may or may not be the product of abuse?

    Frankly, the crusade against “child pornography” strikes me as having little to do with the welfare of children, and much to do with the angst of middle-aged men having a really hard time keeping their hands off their daughters.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Dec 18th, 2008 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: The Real Problem

    All I can see "see child porn, you're a criminal" doing is *preventing* people from reporting child porn they see in the course of their internet usage.

    all this will do is force everyone to use proxies, encrypted tunnels, and erasing tools to make forensics all but impossible for real cases.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    I'm surprised there hasn't been some mention of a mens rea requirement - most crimes require a culpable state of mind as well as the act - knowingly, perhaps? Does the state or federal govt' have strict liability in place for this? That doesn't sound right...

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    James, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 2:22pm

    zero tolerance

    These are the same bonehead, christian whackjobs who believe in absolutes and that the world is black and white in ALL situations.

    If that were true, all murders are illegal, right? Even those murders occurring defending yourself against same.

    There needs to be a reasonable test in these situations, where "some" common sense can be brought into it and determine if the person is truly a pervert or a victim themselves. Viewing something on the internet unintentionally does not drive demand for it.

    Lets not make more victims out of subject matter that generally victimizes the subjects in the matter.

     

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  24.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Dec 18th, 2008 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Other Real Problem

    How does one "accidentally" run across child porn while surfing the 'net? I've never seen any in my 10+ years of surfing. It seems pretty far-fetched that anyone could get these images in their cache without surfing some seriously freaky sites to begin with.

    http://img.4chan.org/b/

    CP is a running joke there.

     

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  25.  
    icon
    kirillian (profile), Dec 18th, 2008 @ 3:03pm

    Re: zero tolerance

    You James, must be one of those bonehead non-Christian whack-jobs who gets a kick out of making fun of them because you met an idiot who claimed Christianity (or even a group...doesn't matter). It's nice to know that you are capable of recognizing their intolerance and are quite tolerant of them yourself.

    I agree that there are a lot of "Christian" fundamentalists and other groups out there who think that legislating morality is some sort of "God's Will" or something like that...but I know that many are very leery of that for good reason - it's stupid. Whether or not it's a specific group of people pushing these senseless ideals, you are correct in that we need someone or something to hold the "crazies" in check.

    Funny it is how the crazy people seem to be the ones most motivated to get political office.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    interval, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 3:04pm

    Re: And yet another real problem

    "Anyone who thinks that the "danger is overblown" has some serious self-gratification issues."

    You have any hard numbers on exactly how many children are abused (and again, name your abuse I guess; though I think any child abuser would like to know exactly what he is getting locked up for)? How exactly much is the issue not overblown? I just have a real hard time with people judging other people with out hard facts. I have a little metaphor I like to pull out for situation like this.

    Ever see the American film Full Metal Jacket? In it a helicopter gunner is shooting randomly at villagers. Actor Matthew Modine looks at him in horror. The gunner explains "Anyone who runs is a VC (Viet Kong). Anyone who doesn't is a good VC."

    You are the gunner.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 3:05pm

    Re: And yet another real problem

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Other Real Problem

    Click an apparently innocent link here in Techdirt for robot developments, and get porn instead?

    This one is safe,
    http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/12/robots-have-a-s.html
    but there are other sites out there ready to push keyloggers, porn images, adware, trojans, or Trojans . . . you name it.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    kk, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Other Real Problem

    It happened to me just the other day. I was helping my daughter work on a school project, and I was searching for images of poor children, specifically a poor girl. I typed in "poor girl" in the search box, and all sorts of images came up that were most certainly porn. I didn't study any of them, so I can't say if any were child porn or not, but the cached images are on my hard drive now.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Drive Them Deeper Underground

    Not even that.
    Offsite Storage
    Linux LIVE CD
    They Bust in, reboot, no cache, nothing on any Hard Drives, and Memory is clean

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Lickity Split, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 4:02pm

    Re: The Real Problem

    Dude, you shouldn't use your name in your posts. If I was a cop, I would think you were protesting to much...

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Baloney Joe, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Other Real Problem

    and your daughter is scarred for life. Dude I am calling child services on you.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 5:18pm

    As someone posted somewhere and sometime else, how is it that downloading music and movies for free destroys the entertainment industry, but downloading CP for free supports the CP industry.

     

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  34.  
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    Dave, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 1:39pm

    How long?

    Why wait? Let's get started today.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    gene_cavanaugh, Dec 20th, 2008 @ 12:38pm

    Child porn

    RIGHT ON! I totally agree with what you say, and I will add a fact about human psychology that you likely thought of, but did not include:
    When relatively draconian methods are used in ways that are perceived as not warranted, it encourages the action being legislated against!
    For example, prohibition was viewed as (and was) an overly extreme, draconian reaction to problem drinking.
    The result? Drinking (and criminal behavior) were encouraged by prohibition; the results (organized crime, toleration for criminal behavior) are still with us.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    I'm trying to explain to a friend what just happen, May 25th, 2009 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Revenge on your enemies

    Sorry , I can't even think right now. I just began to enter a Yahoo chat room and was immediately attacked and mauled by about 100 of the scarriest most perverted sub-humanoidsI could never in my worst nightmare, imagine.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    dinesh, Feb 16th, 2012 @ 10:35am

    avoid child porn on net

    I agree.I think we should all come over to stop this child porn websites.

    some countries played porn cartoons in the websites including child porn oriented..

     

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