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posted by janrinok on Wednesday September 17 2014, @12:13PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the gotta-play-by-the-rules-and-thems-the-rules dept.

AP reports that a federal appeals court has overturned a civilian's conviction for possessing and distributing child pornography because he was found out by a military investigator who used a high-powered software program in 2010 to search computers throughout the state of Washington. When the program picked up two child porn images and a video, the agent contacted the FBI, which tracked down the suspect's name and address. The naval office then got in touch with local police, who obtained a search warrant. The Department of Homeland Security later got a federal search warrant, and the suspect was charged in federal court.

When the search was challenged, the government argued that the search was justified because there are military bases in the greater Seattle area, and it's a crime for military members to distribute child pornography. Those actions, the three-judge panel said, violated the Posse Comitatus Act, the 1878 law that prohibits the U.S. military from taking part in civilian law enforcement activities. The ruling said the search was so sweeping, it shows "a profound lack of regard for the important limitations on the role of the military in our civilian society." It noted "abundant evidence" that the Navy frequently hacks into civilian computers to search for evidence of child pornography and turn it over to the police if the computer owner has no relation to the military. "This is, literally, the militarization of the police," says defense attorney Erik Levin. "They have enough funding that they can go out and stray from the core mission of national security and get into local law enforcement."

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @12:55PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @12:55PM (#94517)

    Repeatedly cut their budget until they stop spending it on actions outside their scope.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Ethanol-fueled on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:08PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:08PM (#94523) Homepage

      Parallel construction -- it's no longer just your friendly NSA.

    • (Score: 1) by Tanuki64 on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:16PM

      by Tanuki64 (4712) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:16PM (#94528)

      Careful what you say... Just because you hide behind 'Anonymous Coward' you think you are safe? Think again... This time I let it slip and only add you to the 'no fly list', but next time....

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:25PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:25PM (#94534)
        Surely you are joking. You'd have a "duplicate record" error if you weren't. (oh wait I am a different AC, scrap that)
        • (Score: 1) by Horse With Stripes on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:51PM

          by Horse With Stripes (577) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:51PM (#94546)

          Duplicate record errors are the domain of the department of redundancy department. They are generated every time they do anything. We'll just file another report with them and wait for the appropriate error result.

          • (Score: 2) by Alfred on Wednesday September 17 2014, @02:20PM

            by Alfred (4006) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @02:20PM (#94557) Journal
            And paid by the hour to wait for that report. Good thing they have windows solitaire and smartphone for the wait time.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Bot on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:22PM

    by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:22PM (#94532) Journal

    Charging for distribution, surely, possession, possibly (what if I put a scaled 1x1px porn image in some website? it gets cached fullsize and can put anybody in jail). I'd concentrate on punishing production, though, and fanfare about picking out the consumers of CP seems at odd with proper infiltration to catch the producers.

    I am writing this because I guess the producers don't give the stuff for free, so some money trail must be there after all, and if such a money trail can't be followed, then the NSA-like blanket surveillance of people which happens worldwide looks a bit hypocrite. It is like waging the war on terror after paying the futures that were put against airlines in 9/11. Does not compute.

    --
    Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JNCF on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:12PM

      by JNCF (4317) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:12PM (#94580) Journal

      (what if I put a scaled 1x1px porn image in some website? it gets cached fullsize and can put anybody in jail).

      Fun fact: there is almost certainly child pornography encoded in the Bitcoin blockchain. I've seen forum posts where people have linked to specific transactions which they claimed to have stored child porn in, but I've never actually checked to make sure. Files can be stored to the blockchain [righto.com] in a couple of ways, but the classic one is just sending coins to a series of addresses that aren't real. Put end-on-end, the fake addresses form whatever bits of data you want to store.

      So all of corporate mining operations, all of the true believers, they're all storing child pornography. It's a bit scary to think that those in power could use "think of the children" as an excuse to shut down Bitcoin.

      • (Score: 1) by bornagainpenguin on Wednesday September 17 2014, @10:03PM

        by bornagainpenguin (3538) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @10:03PM (#94696)

        Fun fact: there is almost certainly child pornography encoded in the Bitcoin blockchain. I've seen forum posts where people have linked to specific transactions which they claimed to have stored child porn in, but I've never actually checked to make sure. Files can be stored to the blockchain in a couple of ways, but the classic one is just sending coins to a series of addresses that aren't real. Put end-on-end, the fake addresses form whatever bits of data you want to store.

        So all of corporate mining operations, all of the true believers, they're all storing child pornography. It's a bit scary to think that those in power could use "think of the children" as an excuse to shut down Bitcoin.

        Of course there is, who do you think put it there, expressly for the purpose of tainting the entire currency by association and for eventual use to justify its future illegality?

        Sad thing is, I find myself paying much more attention to the crazies as more and more often it's turning out they're right about many things. Scary thing, when I consider some of the things I still scoff at to have that small voice in the back of my head going 'What if they're right about $insane_theory too?' and I sometimes wish I could go back to the days when so much of the current reality was called cyberpunk fiction not predictions of a future yet to come...

        Not bothering to post Anonymously since it is increasingly meaningless these days.

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by JNCF on Wednesday September 17 2014, @10:49PM

          by JNCF (4317) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @10:49PM (#94709) Journal

          Of course there is, who do you think put it there, expressly for the purpose of tainting the entire currency by association and for eventual use to justify its future illegality?

          I'm not saying that the government wouldn't do that, but I think the paedophiles might have beat them to the punch. I'm not sure which motive I find creepier.

          Sad thing is, I find myself paying much more attention to the crazies as more and more often it's turning out they're right about many things. Scary thing, when I consider some of the things I still scoff at to have that small voice in the back of my head going 'What if they're right about $insane_theory too?'

          There are three types of conspiracy theories: the ones which are correct, the ones which are incorrect but well meaning, and the purposeful fictions. If I were a government with an absurd black budget and a history of conspiracies, I'd want to spread some purposeful fictions around to make the facts and falsehoods harder to tell apart.

          Which (non-proven) conspiracy theories do you consider to be within the realm of reason?

          I sometimes wish I could go back to the days when so much of the current reality was called cyberpunk fiction not predictions of a future yet to come...

          Dystopian cyberpunk fiction. But really, we've been heading in this direction for the last 5000 years or so. So it goes.

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @11:50PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @11:50PM (#94732)

            I'm not saying that the government wouldn't do that, but I think the paedophiles might have beat them to the punch. I'm not sure which motive I find creepier.

            I think you guys are missing a third and much more likely option - somebody did it for the lulz. 4chan has a history of that sort of thing, there were even rumors of people finding FBI "honeypot" websites and embedded images from them on 4chan in order to trick people's browsers into accessing the honeypot and getting in the FBI's logs of people to persecute.

            • (Score: 1) by JNCF on Wednesday September 17 2014, @11:56PM

              by JNCF (4317) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @11:56PM (#94733) Journal

              Yeah, that's probably fair.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by nukkel on Wednesday September 17 2014, @06:57PM

      by nukkel (168) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @06:57PM (#94656)

      The police/politicians don't give a shit about the producers. What they want is a mechanism to implement censorship on the internet and to preempt anonymous and pseudonymous speech on the internet. Child porn (whatever the definition) is the ideal vehicle to push this agenda with minimal backlash from the public opinion. Once the mechanism is in place, it won't be long before it's being used to ban/censor other kinds of 'unfavorable' speech as well.

      There's nothing irrational about this -- why go after the producers and kill off the scapegoat?

      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Thursday September 18 2014, @04:29AM

        by anubi (2828) on Thursday September 18 2014, @04:29AM (#94800) Journal

        Exactly.

        They are sharpening the axe they will be needing to control sedition when the shit hits the fan ( economic meltdown ).

        But, for now, child porn is the training wheels, funded by the very ones who are going to get nailed by this technology.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday September 18 2014, @03:17AM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Thursday September 18 2014, @03:17AM (#94778) Journal

      Talking to a friend that works on this I can tel ya that...yeah they do give it away for free, in fact most of the CP websites they bust are simply recycling videos and pics they got for free from Pedos who trade it with other pedos. What will really piss you off? Almost nobody is bothering to even attempt to bust the actual producers, you know the ones actually raping kids? Yeah that usually means crossing jurisdictions and so there won't be any glory for Mr prosecutor so they won't authorize shit that leaves their jurisdiction.

      This is why my friend is trying to get another job, he says the whole thing has become a sick farce. instead of actually going out there and trying to protect kids from the real monsters they spend all their time busting social retards and porn junkies passing around shit that is as much as 50 years old, he likened it to busting some junkie on a street corner with a nickle bag and giving him life while ignoring the drug cartel bringing the loads because "that is just too much work, not enough glory".

      And the really fucking scary part? Prosecutors are so fucking hungry for busting pedos so they can use the "think of the children" tagline on their election campaign they have tried to continue after people after its shown they have a virus accessing content faster than any human [digitaljournal.com] because "he could have come up with the virus himself as an excuse"...riiight. this is why I still argue we need to throw out these laws and start over as they were badly written, vague as hell, and as they stand now your 1x1px example, hell even shit that nobody in their right mind would consider CP like Japanese manga and dirty cartoons like Tijuana Bibles, can get you as much time as actually raping a child. I don't care how much you are for protecting kids, I have 2 so I can relate but that is fucked up and does NOTHING to actually protect any kids.

      But if you want to see how little the ones actually making money off it have to fear the law you can go to Wikileaks and read an article by an actual CP website owner, I think its called "confessions of a CP producer" or something like that where he lays out step by step how his operation works because "what are you gonna do about it?", hell he even brags about picking some poor bastard at random that visits one of his legit sites and using the virus trick to fill his PC full of CP and then dropping a dime on him because he thinks that's funny and he likes how he can make the cops jump like trained dogs. Reading his article you get the feeling he is the kind that would enjoy throwing kittens off an overpass but as he says "cops will never touch me" because he lives in one country, the servers in another, and his money goes through 3 or 4 countries before it ever gets to him so law enforcement will never bother. Its depressing but after reading it you'll see he's right, the only "busts" you see are some nobody looking at the shit while he rakes in the cash.

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by modest on Wednesday September 17 2014, @02:54PM

    by modest (3494) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @02:54PM (#94570)

    high-powered software program in 2010 to search computers throughout the state of Washington.

    I'm surprised nobody has questioned "high-powered software program". What are we talking about here, perusing bittorrent or something NSA I haven't heard of yet?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:53PM (#94593)

      The software in question is RoundUp, a fork of the Phex Gnutella client. [dfrws.org] Phex is GPL, but RoundUp is only distributed to law-enforcement. Distribution comes with the source, I suspect that it also comes with a GPL-violating requirement of non-disclosure. The government has gone to court in order to fight a request by defense attorneys to reveal the source code. [blogspot.com] I think that's bullshit because not only is it possible that RoundUp mis-attributes files to the wrong IP addresses, I think the users have incentive to leave any such bugs unfixed because it would over-estimate the number of criminals which would be good for their budget.

      • (Score: 1) by modest on Wednesday September 17 2014, @05:13PM

        by modest (3494) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @05:13PM (#94620)

        Ah! Thank you, very informative.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Gravis on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:49PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:49PM (#94591)

    "abundant evidence" that the Navy frequently hacks into civilian computers

    this is what needs A) a full investigation resulting in criminal prosecution B) to stop

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jasassin on Wednesday September 17 2014, @04:33PM

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 17 2014, @04:33PM (#94606) Journal

    I'd like the navy to do what it's supposed to do. Blow up enemy planes and ships, and the occasional coastal assault. Who the hell is the CO of this wanna be "Punisher"? The CO should get the bitchslap worse than the officer, for allowing him to use military resources for a gnutella witch hunt. This is nothing short of misappropriation of military funding. To be frank, it pisses me off. There should be a massive backfire! At the very least, there should be a few naval officers with the puss of a post Looney Tunes cigar explosion.

    --
    jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by metamonkey on Wednesday September 17 2014, @05:44PM

      by metamonkey (3174) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @05:44PM (#94625)

      But there won't be because think of the children. The American people simply don't give a shit about separation of powers in government, compartmentalization of roles, the dangers inherent in militarizing police or policifying (I made that word up) the military. Do not give a fuck. And that's just in general. These are the same people who think they can sign some petition on whitehouse.gov for free candy or whatever and the president's a king who can just waive his scepter and make it happen. But when you're talking about child porn? Fuck, the government can do anything they want. The average American would have no problem with the Navy investigating pedos. They'd want the program expanded. Since it's the navy, fuck, go ahead and wire that shit up to a tomahawk cruise missile at launch on detection.

      You always have to watch what they do to pedos. What they do to pedos today they do to drug dealers tomorrow and the rest of us the day after that.

      --
      Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday September 17 2014, @06:20PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 17 2014, @06:20PM (#94637) Journal

      This isn't about the NAVY per say.

      In fact I'm amazed the Judge made this ruling, as there is evidence that NCIS is not JUST a military organization [wikipedia.org] any more.

      In 2000, Congress granted NCIS civilian special agents authority to execute warrants and make arrests. Virtually all NCIS investigators, criminal, counterintelligence, and force protection personnel are now sworn civilian personnel with powers of arrest and warrant service. The exceptions are a small number of reserve military elements engaged in counter-intelligence support.

      See also here for Congressional approval [cornell.edu]
      And the bill authorizing this is here [congress.gov]

      Since NCIS has been given authority by Congress, but apparently is still part of the DOD, the Judge appears to be striking down one law by applying another law. (IOW: This isn't a Constitutional issue, merely a current ~ 2000 law that is contrary to 1878 Posse Comitatus Act). He is using the old law to strike down the new law. He's on shaky ground here.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.