Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Julie Amero Gets More Time To Explain To Judge How Porn Popup Trojans Work

from the a-break-in-the-action dept

Back in January, there was a story about a substitute teacher, Julie Amero, facing 40 years in prison for apparently exposing children in her classroom to pornographic pictures on the classroom computer. Over the last month and a half, as more details have come out, it's becoming abundantly clear that the jury and the police involved are quite confused about what actually happened. The details certainly suggest that there was some kind of spyware that caused a series of pornographic pop ups to show up on the screen. The teacher claims she was told not to turn off the computer and didn't even know how to do so. However, she did try to shield the computer from the children, which was facing away from the children already. However, the local newspaper reports and the police involved insist that she's absolutely guilty despite plenty of evidence suggesting that she's the unfortunate victim of some nasty malware on a computer and plenty of ignorance about how computers work among those accusing her of doing something wrong. As the case has received more and more attention, Amero has added a new lawyer and received a ton of support (especially from the computer security community).

In that link above, the police detective working on the case insisted that the transcripts would show that all of the supporters of Amero were barking up the wrong tree -- but those transcripts are now available and they only seem to support the ignorance of those condemning Amero -- insisting that she must have looked at the porn intentionally, when there's plenty to suggest that's not true at all. The prosecution also keeps shifting what it's trying to prove, from her intentionally surfing porn in front of kids to the idea that because she didn't unplug the computer (which she had been forbidden from doing) she is guilty and deserves 40 years in prison. Either way, neither the local newspaper reporters nor the detective on the case seem willing to admit that they may have made a mistake in condemning this woman. However, the good news coming out recently (sent in by John) is that, at least, the judge has agreed to delay the sentencing for a month to give the new lawyer some time to get up to date on the details of the case.

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  1. identicon
    Enrico Suarve, 2 Mar 2007 @ 3:29am

    Some facts about the PC

    OK - I'm not even going to comment on the fact that the best advice from someone whose website is 'securityusa.com' is that she should have covered her monitor and is presumably implying she is therefore guilty

    oops

    Some other facts re the case

    1) The PC involved was running Windows 98 SE
    2) The PC was running IE5
    3) The PC was running a very out of date virus checker
    4) The teacher had been TOLD not to turn off or log off the machine, since as she was a teaching sub someone else would have had to log it back on for her as she did not have a log on
    5) The evidence from the defense security experts (including evidence of malware designed to open links) was deemed unadmissable as the prosecution argued there had not been full disclosure

    All told there is liability but I think that rests firmly with the schools IT dept, or whoever deemed that such out of date kit should be allowed on the internet in a school

    I think it also highlights questions re the prosecutor and detectives basic competance in even allowing the case to come so far

    Finally - even if the teacher had opened porn links intentionally 40 years is ridiculous - some of the Nazis involved in the holocaust were put away for less than that!

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