Did Shaquille O'Neal Raid The Wrong Home For Child Porn Over Mistaken IP Address?

from the besting-Terry-Gilliam dept

And you wonder why they say truth can be stranger than fiction? We all know that IP addresses are notoriously unreliable in tracking down who may have committed an online crime. Most of the time, we see this in civil cases filed by the entertainment industry where they accuse someone without enough evidence or (better yet) without a computer at all. However, sometimes, the myth that an IP address identifies you has bigger consequences. A year ago, reminiscent of the computer bug in the movie Brazil that created a mixup over whether or not someone named Buttle or Tuttle was responsible for a crime, a Cox Internet employee gave police the wrong info about an IP address, leading a completely innocent couple in Wichita, Kansas to be accused of distributing child porn. It seems that a similar situation has again happened, this time in Virginia, where another wrong IP address resulted in a family having their house raided in search of child porn. This was pointed out by Radley Balko who notes that the story gets even weirder when you realize that basketball star Shaquille O'Neal may have been a part of the raiding team. The original report doesn't mention the Shaq connection, but others do, and a separate report does say he participated in an attempt to execute a child porn warrant that weekend in that county. So, beyond the question of why Shaq is apparently participating in such raids, can we ask no one does things like double check IP addresses or, say, look for additional evidence that a particular household is guilty of a crime before sending in people with guns drawn? The same report that suggests Shaq was a part of the raid also notes that "Shaq did some computer work" with the team. Anyone know if Shaq is familiar with the way IP addresses work?

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  1. identicon
    Libertate, 23 Oct 2006 @ 5:35pm

    Good for him!!!!

    1. My understanding re: Shaq is he is actually quite intelligent and in fact went back to school to complete his college degree. Did not realize it was in Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice.

    2. If the man after making millions and could likely spend the rest of his life sitting on his @$$ decides to put his life on the line fighting one of the worst crimes imaginable and putting the trash involved under the jailhouse then KUDOS to Shaq.

    3. Someone needs to get a clue about how the internet works. Both the investigators AND the judge.

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