Accidental Download Leading To Prison Sentence?

from the that's-a-problem dept

No one denies that child pornography is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. However, it often seems like the laws related to child pornography are targeted at the wrong thing. That's why we get laws requiring filters, rather than the shut down of whoever is producing the content, and laws against those who end up having any on their hard drive, even as that could make a felon out of someone just because they receive an email. Take, for example (as pointed out by Slashdot), this story of a man who was searching online for regular (legal) pornography, but accidentally downloaded some underage pictures -- which he immediately deleted. Though the FBI officials who eventually searched his hard drive admit that the images had been deleted and could not be accessed, he was still charged with child pornography and is pleading guilty to get a shorter sentence (3.5 years, 10 years probation, and a lifetime on the sex offenders list).

Though this article serves as a warning of why you shouldn't go looking for porn online -- it would seem that the stronger argument is why the laws on possession should change. In cases like this, where the guy was clearly not out there seeking out or collecting such content, it seems ridiculous that he should be charged and feel the need to plead guilty. Anti-child porn efforts should really focus on those who produces and distributes such content. As for those who collect it, I would assume that mental health help would be a more appropriate response than jail time. And, for those who accidentally come across it... it seems fairly ridiculous to charge them as well.

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  1. icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 3:55am

    To be human

    Never reproach another for his love:
    It happens often enough
    That beauty ensnares with desire the wise
    While the foolish remain unmoved.

    -Havamal

    I'm sorry, find a group of his peers and plead not guilty. Porn is as American as Apple Pie; Its why Sex Talk is on every night, Skinamax exist, and why "The internet is for Porn" song with World of Warcraft characters is so dam funny.

    And a Creed lyric comes to mind here as well because of how about...
    ..Sex sales. yeah the hold world is buyin'.

    Holy hell get an appeal. Life time in the the sex offenders city is no life. (have you seen the news lately)

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