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.