Cuomo's New Plan: A Good Idea Or A Chance For More Grandstanding?

from the that's-not-ridiculous dept

As part of NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's grandstanding against child porn, he's mostly been making silly threats against the wrong parties in ways that don't actually help stop child porn (and could make it worse). However, his latest announcement actually sounds a lot more reasonable. His office is putting together a database of offending photos, and letting social networks compare uploads to the database to try to stop the uploads of known offending photos. I would imagine that it also records who was trying to upload that content. Some care would need to be taken to make sure that this effort really does focus on actually offending images -- one thing that makes such an effort tricky. I also do wonder if it makes sense for a gov't agency to be putting together the database, rather than having it done by the industry itself. On top of that, given Cuomo's earlier grandstanding and his usual methods, you have to expect that it would be long before Cuomo would start threatening any social network that doesn't use his system with some sort of bogus (but very, very public) legal threats. In other words, when the gov't (especially someone like Cuomo) sets up a system like this, how long until he starts acting like it's mandatory, rather than optional?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    MadderMak (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 12:18am

    I think they would have to be very very carefull how they implement. I just read that as "child porn in a searchable archive".

    Hopefully they would only store hashes or digital fingerprints but just how many pixels/metadata would need to be changed before a comparison would fail??

    Most sites have an abuse button or mechanism for reporting inappropriate or illegal content and most legitimate site communities I have no doubt would use it. Maybe making an effective (and rapid) framework for traceing and passing such an images use to the authorities would be more usefull in the long run?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2010 @ 12:36am

    Maybe it work, lets see how they implement the thing first.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      Maybe it work, lets see how they implement the thing first.

      Oh, gods help us all.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re:

        Oh come on, what could possibly go wrong?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Perv42069, Jun 18th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Introducing Child Porn Heaven! My brand new website doesn't store any images, it just pulls thumbnails from a government database and displays them to our customers who can then click through to view the entire database. This is for smaller social networking sites that can't afford to do automated comparisons of uploaded pictures, but need to to manual checks instead.

          Welcome one and all!

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2010 @ 1:53am

    So it's kinda like a social network version of AMW. Sounds interesting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    DS, Jun 18th, 2010 @ 3:24am

    Oh my...

    So this would only identify photos that were already identified, categorized, and placed in a database?

    Not only does it sound like a great job for pervs, but shouldn't the focus be on people that are creating the child porn in the first place?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2010 @ 4:08am

    so,uh, his idea is to give child porn to people to compare to other child porn, and then remove the child porn? 2 wrongs dont make a right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 4:12am

    "His office is putting together a database of offending photos..."

    He wants it all for himself?

    It should be destroyed, not saved somewhere for someone to hack.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2010 @ 4:35am

      Re:

      If it does go live, how long before it's either hacked or some government employee leaves the database on a train somewhere?

      Place your bets: 0-30 minutes or 31-60 minutes?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      John Duncan Yoyo (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 4:46am

      Re:

      Problem is you need to keep the data as evidence to prosecute the miscreants.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    a-dub (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 5:17am

    The database will only work on files that have not been modified. If the gov is putting it together, I would bet that simply changing the file name would be enough to circumvent it. The idea is good, but I wouldnt expect it to be very effective.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      nasch (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 8:48am

      Re:

      I would bet that simply changing the file name would be enough to circumvent it.

      I'm not saying this would necessarily work, but I doubt they would be THAT stupid.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Overtkill (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

      Re:

      My thoughts exactly. They need to find a way to nail the perps/perv's instead of collecting and tagging their version of a stash. They are not the DEA, and need to realize it.

      As a SysAdmin, I frequently get the unenviable task of searching corporate firewalls for undesirables like these, using search criteria against the firewall logs.

      Perhaps they should try an alliance/contracting with a search provider like Google to do the same?

      My $0.02 anyway. :)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jun 18th, 2010 @ 5:24am

    Hmmmm

    This effort sounds dicey for sure! There is A LOT you can do to a photo to make it different and still keep the content. Sounds like some well meant effort but it will fail.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    WammerJammer (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    Slow it down

    Wow! How many pictures in the database? Holy cow! Lots of pixels to compare. Think this will slow everything down and suck up bandwidth?
    Child Pornography is a bad thing and should be prosecuted. But when you have a crime crusader you usually have a small group trying to force their will on the rest of us (prohibition). While socially responsible and caring people just ignore whatever we find offensive. Face the facts Attorney General(s) that Prostitution, Drugs, Gambling and looking at pretty girls naked is not going away and you will never stop it because it is a choice and always will be. You either go there or you don't.
    Concentrate on real internet crime like fraud, con games, defamation of character and slander. Earn your keep and stop hanging with the fringe groups.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      nasch (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 8:54am

      Re: Slow it down

      Face the facts Attorney General(s) that Prostitution, Drugs, Gambling and looking at pretty girls naked is not going away and you will never stop it because it is a choice and always will be.

      The crime he's going after is not the problem. Reasonable people can and do argue that prostitution, drugs, gambling, and porn should be legal. I'm sure you're not saying child porn should be legal though. It really is terrible and really should be fought against. It's just that this particular method of doing so is questionable. And Cuomo's motives are very much in doubt.

      Concentrate on real internet crime like fraud, con games, defamation of character and slander.

      All important, but I don't agree with your implication that child porn is not a real crime and/or should not be addressed by law enforcement.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    LumpyDog (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 6:48am

    Good luck with that

    A gov't database of kiddie porn? No possibility of abuse there at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Russ (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 8:55am

    Talking Point

    That was my first reaction. Develop a 'legal' database with all the child porn. The question would be when not if it was hacked.
    Then I thought about it a little deeper and realized for the program to work, not only would there be a database, but it would have to be an open database accessed by any ISP/Website for comparison purposes.
    I now doubt that they ever expect this to become reality but as a campaign talking point (no way it could go into effect before November) it has value.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jun 19th, 2010 @ 8:04pm

    I'm curious; The FBI will go after any regular person who even accidentally ends up looking at child porn, like a starving pitbull going after a steak, so why does his office get a free pass to not only go looking for it, but to also compile a database of it?

    If I tried to report a web site for having child porn images, they'd have me charged before I even finished explaining how I found them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    DataShade (profile), Jun 20th, 2010 @ 9:07pm

    I don't think the industry could put together a database, since that would mean possession of child porn. I'm surprised the FBI would let a state agency compile such a list.

    Last I knew, even the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children doesn't have their own database of images, they work with the FBI.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This