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03/21/2008 04:15 AM ID: 69453 Permalink   

FBI Sets up Fake Child Porn Links That if Clicked Trigger Armed Raids on Users


A new technique to catch people looking for child pornography online has been approved by the courts and has already been used in three states. It involves posting bogus links to illegal videos that automatically triggers an armed raid on the user.

Doctoral student Roderick Vosburgh was caught this way last year. Agents got him to come outside after asking him about his car. He faces 10 years behind bars, a lifetime ban on being a college instructor, and 15 years as a registered sex offender.

Vosburgh's lawyer said, "I thought it was scary that they could do this. This whole idea that the FBI can put a honeypot out there to attract people is kind of sad. It seems to me that they've brought a lot of cases without having to stoop to this."

    WebReporter: caution2 Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  Fine with me!  
Sounds a lot like that show "Bait Car," where police rig up a car and track people who steal it, only this is better. You could argue that someone who might not otherwise steal a car would succumb to the temptation of a hot ride with the keys in the ignition; you can't argue that if somebody clicks on a kiddie porn link, that's exactly what they're looking for.
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 04:52 AM     
  one less perv to worry about  
lets hope we can catch more with clicks, then these fools actually getting their hands on one of our kids instead
  by: zevner   03/21/2008 04:53 AM     
  The judge who OK'd this...  
Is retarded.

Zevner, l'anglais:

You should check this site out! HILARIOUS videos!
  by: edya   03/21/2008 05:50 AM     
Shall I explain the difference to you between clicking on a blind link and clicking on a link entitled, and I quote (while my stomach clenches) from the source, "" and promises "toddler, some oral, anal"?
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 06:02 AM     
  prob... better than a click  
they prob have a thing where u can join and pay money, simply clicking you could argue in court as a accident. if you
"join" or pay then they know who to arrest... Say 4 people live at a house, Trigger flipped, Who do they arrest? you 15 year old son, you ???? your wife ect??? If you joined then you would leave then a air tight case.
  by: zortona   03/21/2008 06:06 AM     
  The worst part..  
What if someone finds these links and decides that they are going to copy it, put it on another website and name it something else or mask the address. I hope they have a fail safe method of keeping that from happening.

I do think it's a very good idea, but there are still some big flaws in it.
  by: otsir   03/21/2008 06:10 AM     
You missed the point entirely.

Here, read this article on linking/social engineering on the web:
  by: edya   03/21/2008 06:13 AM     
Courts have found in the past that, and I'm going to steal the theme from the Cnet discussion, IPs aren't IDs.

Like I said, the judge(s) involved usually stupid/don't understand technology. Juries aren't too bright either. You would hope that normal citizens would be more tech savvy in 2008 but most people wouldn't even know what an IP is if you asked.
  by: edya   03/21/2008 06:19 AM     
  armed raids in states increasing like wildfire  
next weeks headline
  by: dilated   03/21/2008 06:22 AM     
  What Screwed Him Is .....  
....... that two images of nude underage girls in suggestive poses were found on the HDD and or USB drive(s) that he attempted to destroy as the Feds apporoached his home.

Were it not for that (images & attempted destruction), I don't see how the case would have stuck. Seems he would have to have the files that he supposedly clicked on within his possession (the ones l'anglais referred to - I'm glad to see at least one other person read the article!).

But then, just look at the RIAA suites, seems that an IP address is all that is needed for positive identification in the legal system. Imo, that isn't right considering how many ways that scenario can go wrong. Kinda like, convicting a man for robbery based someone giving his plate number that a neighborhood kid borrows at nights for his car which had no plate.
  by: Discarded Vet   03/21/2008 06:23 AM     
He was actually found NOT guilty of destroying evidence.

"and possessing a hard drive with two grainy thumbnail images of naked female minors (the youths weren't having sex, but their genitalia were visible). "

Thumbnail. Grainy. Man, that's soooo BULLET PROOF evidence.

I wonder... If someone handed me microscopic, grainy photographs and I kept them because I thought they were cool (microscopic photographs ftw) and then someone looked at them with a microscope and found out that it was child porn...

What am I saying? This guy probably IS guilty. But this isn't the way to do it.
  by: edya   03/21/2008 06:32 AM     
I'm REALLY glad to see one other person read the article...

  by: edya   03/21/2008 06:33 AM     
OK, I see what you mean -- any link can be advertised as anything. But these links are being advertised as sources of child pornography.

That's the point. From the source, it says that *attempting* to download child porn is a crime. If you click on a link that is supposedly for child porn, you've committed a crime, whether it really links to porn, or to

I thought you meant that anybody could be fooled into trying to download child porn, if a link were given for it but advertised as something else. But the law forbids even an attempt to acquire child porn -- not just the act of actually downloading it. So yes, I think this is a great program. On a related matter, I think attempted murder should be punished the same as murder. Just because you're a bad shot, for example, doesn't mean you didn't have the intent to kill someone.
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 06:34 AM     
  @ edya  
Make no mistake about it, I never said this is the way to do it, in fact, in my relating this to the RIAA, I even said this is wrong.

The fact that the images are grainy and are thumbnails are irrelevant. The law does not so much as imply that the pictures to be guilty of should be of at least a minimum size nor of a minimum pixel. Tantamount to - weather a dude grabs a little girls groin outside her jeans, or the dude puts his finger inside the little girl - both are child abuse.

I brought up th destruction of HDD, guilty of it or not, because it was brought to the court, and whether he was charged or not, the fact of him doing this weighed in on his sentence. And if I am not mistaken, the jury DID find him guilty of the HDD destruction, but the judge dropped that aspect (I may have that backwards, I'm tired).
  by: Discarded Vet   03/21/2008 06:43 AM     
Sorry, you still missed my point... XD

It was that: You don't always know where links will take you.

The links I've posted could have been the sting links.

You wouldn't know. You would still be logged as having accessed it though. They would have the green light for a warrant to raid your house, take your equipment, and arrest you while they look for anything incriminating.

So, what if I Google for "yo yo video" and it happens to catch """" as DV mentioned.

I might read that on the Google results and think, 4 yo-yo trick sucked? I wonder how he screwed up. (Actually, I have watched yo-yo competition videos... XD Man, freakin' intense. If I attempted to do those tricks with so many yo-yos at the same time I'd be a goner in an instant.)
  by: edya   03/21/2008 06:43 AM     
Didn't a jury find OJ innocent?
  by: edya   03/21/2008 06:44 AM     
  I'm confused...  
when did this become against the law... Vosburgh faced four charges: clicking on an illegal hyperlink...

But yeah, as the source says "There's no evidence the referring site was recorded as well, meaning the FBI couldn't tell if the visitor found the links through Ranchi or another source such as an e-mail message."

All it takes is a jackass with a forward or misleading link directing someone who doesn't know better and suddenly they are screwed... Now if they could show that the person on the site clicked two levels deep, after seeing what the site was, nail them, but simply getting to a site doesn't mean that is what they are looking for.

I know there has been a couple times at work when I click a link that should be work safe, and when it shows up it isn't. You of course close it as quickly as you can, but yeah...
  by: tellgar     03/21/2008 06:44 AM     
And guess what? If you checked your temp folder, you'd have those NSFW pictures.

=) If one of those just so happened to be "illegal" you'd be screwed over completely.

Which is why this whole thing is retarded.
  by: edya   03/21/2008 06:47 AM     
  Thoughtcrime entrapment!  
Nice police state! Today, pornography, tomorrow, whatever the FBI feels like.
  by: H. W. Hutchins   03/21/2008 06:47 AM     
  Oops, DV  
I should have added @DV to my last post too as it addresses your thumbnail counter-argument.

You can easily have a thumbnail automatically created of files you've never looked at. You can have pictures saved in your temp folder from websites you closed immediately (as per tellgar's example), and you can misinterpret file names.

This is why this is so wrong. It's so flimsy and yet the FBI have been given SO MUCH power with it.
  by: edya   03/21/2008 06:57 AM     
  @ edya  
"....Didn't a jury find OJ innocent?...."

OJ is irrelevant here. This jury was deliberating about images of naked littles girls found on the mans HDD.

"....Which is why this whole thing is retarded...."

Now that I do agree with. The whole idea of this based on a link and an IP is indeed retarded. It's not like an undercover cop offers to sell a physical kiddy-porn picture book to a dude, and dude buys it.
  by: Discarded Vet   03/21/2008 07:03 AM     
okay so how pieces of spyware and virus's are we going to see forcing computers to open these sites or threatening to goto these links unless they had over their credit cards.
  by: Malnical   03/21/2008 07:17 AM     
  @ Malnical  
Did you just now sign up just to post that? heh.

DAMN good point !!!!

Your thought is one of the soon exponetial number of reasons why this link + IP bust is insane!
  by: Discarded Vet   03/21/2008 07:22 AM     
"Sorry, you still missed my point... XD

It was that: You don't always know where links will take you.

The links I've posted could have been the sting links."

Yeah, I pretty much said the same thing with: "any link can be advertised as anything."

The point is that the FBI isn't tricking people into downloading pornography -- they're presenting links that explicitly say that they *are* pornography. When you click on them, in other words, you expect to get child porn.

To attempt to download child porn is a federal crime, as it says in the source. Therefore it wouldn't do the FBI any good to use a tinyurl and say it was for hilarious videos, because all they could prove is that the computer user wanted to look at a site with hilarious videos. They have to use links that look like they'd go to child porn in order to bust someone for attempting to look at it or download it. Sheez!
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 07:32 AM     
If you were tricked into viewing one of the FBI's fake links by someone else, you could easily prove it. There would be no log of your computer accessing the site with the sting links, and you'd presumably be able to show the link you *did* click. So I guess this tactic could be abused or hijacked by unscrupulous people, but those unscrupulous people would have to somehow *already know* that the link was a sting link before they sent it. I don't know how they could ...
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 07:38 AM     
You and me have a little scuffle or a flamewar, I get your IP, trojan your computer, click some links and off you go.

How about a bot that I have that goes around downloading videos and images from the web? I used to have a bot that downloaded from newsgroups. Gigs and Gigs.

How about the fact that "A Lot Of" cops and prosecutors are more interested in getting a conviction then cleaning the streets. At the end of the year, most cops and prosecutors, get promotions and bonuses based on the convictions they made, NOT on how well they cleaned the street.

In fact many prosecutors have their reward system set up only to favor conviction. They would not care about cleaning the streets by as much as a programmer would not care about cleaning the streets.
  by: kmazzawi     03/21/2008 08:13 AM     
Actually, it said that it DIDN'T track where the referral came from. Just that it was accessed. So, no. You'd have a hell of a hard to time prove your innocence with the usual ignorant judge/jury.

Expanding on Kmazzawi, I could even just get onto your WiFi and click their link. Guess what they'll get? YOUR IP address.

Also, you could easily delete the evidence on your end but they'd still have it on their end and they'd have sufficient reason to have a warrant. All they need is YOUR IP address. It doesn't matter if YOU accessed it or not. If it was YOUR IP address, they'll link it to you despite the fact that it's not necessarily you.

  by: edya   03/21/2008 08:37 AM     
My point was, juries are generally ignorant. ESPECIALLY when it comes to technology.

As I said, you could easily have traces of things you didn't even intend to view. Refer to my post just above yours.

There IS a difference between having a thumbnail (that's made automatically by Windows) and having the file itself in a folder you've named. Currently, even if the file were in a temp folder (which it could have gotten to by ACCIDENTAL browsing) juries would be told that it was on the harddrive. Any intermediate+ user would recognize that this is flimsy evidence. However, the DA wouldn't point this out and so the jury would remain ignorant.
  by: edya   03/21/2008 08:40 AM     
  I have a problem with this approach  
The problem with hyperlinks to websites is that most of the time you don't see the actual url, but a description instead.

So if someone where to discover the url of one of these automatic arrest websites, they could set it up so that innocent people could end up visiting sites which they may never have visited otherwise.

Anyone who gets raided for kiddy pron even if they are subsequently found to be innocent, will have sustained a serious dent in their reputation in their community.

It's not a bad idea, I just think there are too many ways this could backfire with the current implementation to justify it as a valid law enforcment approach.

Why not set up a full website and have the initial page which would give the user an idea about what was held within.

Criminals would then show their true nature by continuing into the site (at this point the auto-arrest could be justified), but normal folks would keep well away and not have to fall foul of the system.

  by: sparky_fox   03/21/2008 08:45 AM     
  Well ...  
A lot of you have made some really good points, points that would perhaps cause me to change my mind on this issue, were it not for the fact that I have come to believe there is no worse sin than being a flip-flopper! : )
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 08:47 AM     
  Child Sexual Abuse Images  
It's not child "porn". It's child sexual abuse images. I don't know what sort of porn you're used to watching, but I prefer to watch consenting adults. Calling it porn starts to normalise the content (NAMBLA: "The child consented!") and completely misses that for every picture someone's childhood was taken away from them. It is NOT a thought crime, it is aiding and abetting in the sexual abuse of children and young people. Your online actions (viewing abuse) have offline consequences (child gets photographed while being abused and you get arrested). Doesn't matter what the quality of the photo is.

Why are images so important that we have such a strong stance on them? To start with, paedophiles tend to have guilt which prevents them offending, but repeated exposure to child sexual abuse imagery and associated masturbation and fantasisation normalises the behaviour. For some, this leads to obtaining more abuse images, but others go on to consume "on command" abuse systems (eg. "do this to the 3 year old" whilst watching it over the web cam), or become the first-hand abuser. In all but a very few cases (the excluded cases are largely diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder), child sexual abuse imagery has played a part in allowing the offender to overcome the social mores against abusing or having sex with children. Any consumption of those images increases the likelihood that they will offend.

As for the legality, those sorts of links don't appear on Google. They appear on very specialist sites which are parts of large communities of paedophiles, which the police successfully infiltrate occassionally. Within the context, you would not be in a position to argue that you thought it was "just a yo yo competition", and the chances are that other images/footage would be found on your hard drive. (One guy arrested in the UK, "son_of_god", had over 300 hours of child sexual abuse videos and 78,000 images.)
  by: DavidSJA   03/21/2008 09:02 AM     
  @ edya  

First, make no mistake about my disposition of this FBI tactic - I think it is thoroughly wrong in every sense. There are just too many things to go wrong with the current level on non-precise technology.

But of this man, his case, and his sentencing: Being that the FBI tactic, at this time, is legal, the warrant was justified in the eyes of the court, That said, it's not just one fact of the two thumbnails on his HDD (grainy or not), it's that *plus* the fact that he was actively attempting to destroy HDD/USB drives when the Feds showed up, plus that the IP traced from the link-click belonged to him at the time of clicking said link (of which, the link was cited in the source to be a link to obvious child porn).

As for difference in thumbnail or full file - in my 10 years of Internet I have been to some quite risque sites (and all out porn sites with the wife, that crap just ain't fun to me alone) and have never once seen anything of kiddy-porn. That said, if I were on the jury, I would take the thumbnails that were able to be recovered as evidence of full files at one time.

As for the jury, you (we) don't know that all of them were tech-ignorant, there may very well have been some tech saavy jurors on the panel.

But again, in no way do I condone this method, given our current level of techonnology, as a way to attain a warrant to so much as search a persons home and/or possesions.
  by: Discarded Vet   03/21/2008 09:05 AM     
  @ l'anglais  
Bah - flip-floppin is changing one's mid on a whim with no basis.

To learn more info, hear other aspects, then re-think a situation and even change ones mind is quite mature.
  by: Discarded Vet   03/21/2008 09:06 AM     
  Bah is right  
I hate it when I'm asked to second-guess myself, because really, I'm almost always right.

I could see how these links could be dangerous to the innocent -- if a person with malicious intent were to somehow trick their computer into opening the links.

However -- and this is the part I've been having trouble articulating properly -- how is the troublemaker to know that the link is a sting link? Wouldn't you have to click on the link in order to find out, thus getting yourself busted?

It would be one thing if you could tell it was a sting link. But otherwise, you're just sending people links that, for all you can tell, are for child porn -- and taking a MIGHTY big risk in the process, since that's also very illegal.

So I don't buy it. I don't see why the FBI would waste resources tricking people into getting busted for child porn when it would be relatively easy to prove your computer was hijacked or the link was disguised as something else, and I don't see how anybody could use a link that is apparently to child pornography to bust somebody else without getting themselves arrested!

That's it, I feel better and I'm getting back in bed.
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 09:13 AM     
  @DV, David  
He wasn't found guilty of deleting his HDD!!!!

Argh, come on.

Also, back to thumbnails. Back to Tellgar's post. You open a site, you realize it's NSFW. You close it. Guess what you still have? The image itself. If you were to look into your temp folder, you'd have the thumbnail file created containing it.

@David: You'd be surprised at what exactly Google will/can bring back. There's a reason why it's considered the best search engine.
  by: edya   03/21/2008 09:19 AM     
  @ l'anglais  
"...because really, I'm almost always right..."

You're a woman, are'nt you!

lmdao !!!

I both agree and disagree at the same time with your sentiments about the link. To me, there are just so many things that can go horribly wrong in a cyber-scenario in order to gain physical access. Like one poster touched on earlier, even if a person is proved innocent after physical searches, his/her reputation with his family, community, and career are shot to hell - even when innocent.

And me too, gotta get up in, oh crap, 3 hours !!

Enjoyed the discussion with all of you!!

  by: Discarded Vet   03/21/2008 09:22 AM     
It's NOT easy to prove that your PC was hijacked or the link was disguised as something else.

How can someone tell if it's a sting link? People know when the RIAA or MediaDefender set up dummy sites. People, if interested, will be able to find out if a link is set up by the FBI.

Why isn't it easy to prove your innocence? THEY ARE ONLY TAKING THE IP. If you read the article, it said that it didn't even track where the referral came from. That means all it logs is, " connected. 6/5/2008" And if that's your IP address and you're behind a router, you're going to have trouble proving it wasn't some dude riding your wireless and not you. I'm willing to bet that if you were to clear your history they'd try to press the "destroying evidence" on you too.
  by: edya   03/21/2008 09:26 AM     
Since you have no idea what I do for a living, your comment is slightly presumptuous! I certainly wouldn't be surprised with what you can do with Google.
  by: DavidSJA   03/21/2008 10:04 AM     
Something webpages can do, is load an entire other webpage in the background, possibly more, without actually going to it.

Meaning, if someone setup a fake link to one of those sting links, they could also trigger an entire page of child sexual abuse images, on the same page, to load in the background, meaning it would load also into your temp directory. All of this happening without your knowledge.

So this is an incredibly dangerous thing to be trying out as it could easily be used in sinister ways to trick innocent people.
  by: rockaholic   03/21/2008 11:12 AM     
  @ edya  
"....He wasn't found guilty of deleting his HDD!!!!...."

For the third time already, I am not disputing that. What I have said repeatedly is that the fact that he destroyed the HDD was brought to court as an admissable charge - guilty or not - it weighs in on the final outcome of the courts decision.

Are you just skimming my posts looking for something to be contradictory about? I can not be any more blatant about what I have said.
  by: Discarded Vet   03/21/2008 11:29 AM     
  Another Point  
There is this thing out there on the web called a proxy server... So to L'ang's point on how could a "troublemaker" find these sting sites and not get caught themselves, you have your answer there.

The ability to do anonymous web surfing exists. If some paranoid person who does do this finds the link, and is twisted enough, think of the problems that can occur. Just look at the phishing scams that exist today.

I liken this approach to someone putting a brick of cocaine into your mailbox. You are stuck with what to do with this ILLEGAL substance. Were you to bring it to the police you would be charged with possession; were you to destroy it and the person who put it there told the police you had it you would be guilty of destruction of evidence. This is a no win situation for any innocent person caught in this trap.
  by: Angreifen78   03/21/2008 02:01 PM     
I hate child porn and don't have a problem with jailing anyone who is involved in watching or making it, but if theres one thing I am all about it is keeping the internet free. While I want this GONE from the internet and the world entirely, I still think this is entrapment. What if instead of child porn you click a link for free music and they raid you for that? Suddenly it is over the top. Maybe they should use means that are legal to combat something that is illegal. You know, not fight fire with fire.
  by: darkrom666   03/21/2008 02:30 PM     
  Separate Approach  
Is just visiting the website enough? What if you send a link to someone you hate under a different guise to get them to click it?

Also, what about those people who go out looking for these sites and people specifically to turn their location over to the cops?

I'm all for locking scum like this up, and I'd be a lot happier if they started getting put down like dogs, but this sounds like it'll do more harm than good.
  by: brinlong     03/21/2008 02:31 PM     
This is going to cause hell for anyone running a "TOR Exit Node"
  by: Svengali   03/21/2008 03:15 PM     
This is just a precursor to discovering dissenters,free thinkers,anti-war, anti-neocon, 911-truth, etc.

Under a new initiative called Cyber Knights, the FBI has launched into the business of creating "Trojans" – a particular type of computer virus – to infect computers. Yes, that's correct, the FBI, wants to infect your computer with a virus. Launch a program from an infected e-mail, and the FBI will have a record of every keystroke you make on your machine. They call it their "Magic Lantern."

This crap with child porn will only justify more of this spying in "O'Reillyland".
And this is what we know about.

I recommend everyone delete Norton, McAffe,Symantec, etc. Don't use a browser with an IPs "toolbar" or homepage and use a stripped down Firefox browser instead of IE. Vista users ...sorry you are on youre own.

Use Comodo Firewall, Easycleaner,AVG Free and Spybot S&D,..they are all free utilities.

Best advice:
Don't surf for porn and LEARN something...while you still can.
  by: machiavelli     03/21/2008 03:28 PM     
  I hope it happens to me  
Because an anonymous trickster with a grudge against me still wouldn't know it's an FBI sting link, even if he/she clicked it while using a proxy server. According to the source, the links get you a bunch of gibberish rather than a page that says something like: "You've been nabbed by the FBI. Have a nice day."

So the only people who would trick me into clicking on one of these sting links is the FBI. Then, in my trial, I'll submit my own computer as evidence, using one of those nifty projectors to show that I was clicking on a link I thought was about Ancient Rome or something. Possibly I'd have to call a computer technician as an expert witness, in the event my computer was hijacked and forced to go to the sting link.

Then, when it's been proven that I wasn't seeking child pornography, I'd sue the FBI for entrapment and false arrest. After winning my millions, I'd speak to any reporter who wants my story, and won't the FBI regret the day they messed with me, after those national headlines!

And finally, @edya:

"It's NOT easy to prove that your PC was hijacked or the link was disguised as something else."

If you have the e-mail the link was sent in, couldn't you display that to the court? Even if you deleted the e-mail and emptied your deleted folder, a good lawyer would be able to find out if one of the arresting agents sent you an e-mail or get an expert to recover it. Is it possible to hijack someone's computer without putting software on it?

"How can someone tell if it's a sting link? People know when the RIAA or MediaDefender set up dummy sites. People, if interested, will be able to find out if a link is set up by the FBI."

Nuh-uh! Per the source, the FBI didn't set up the page; an agent posted the links on an existing page. If he/she made sure to do that from a non-FBI server, there's no way to know it was an FBI agent. And since the agent was said in the source to be undercover, I doubt he/she would be dumb enough to use his/her office computer.

"Why isn't it easy to prove your innocence? THEY ARE ONLY TAKING THE IP. If you read the article, it said that it didn't even track where the referral came from. That means all it logs is, " connected. 6/5/2008" And if that's your IP address and you're behind a router, you're going to have trouble proving it wasn't some dude riding your wireless and not you."

And so would they -- that's why they use the clicking of the link as probable cause and then seek more evidence against you to back up their case. Remember, they have to prove you're guilty -- you simply have to provide reasonable doubt that you're guilty.

"I'm willing to bet that if you were to clear your history they'd try to press the "destroying evidence" on you too."

I'll take that bet. That would be like a murder suspect being charged with destroying evidence because police couldn't find the murder weapon. They can't accuse you of destroying evidence unless they can also prove that the evidence once existed.
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 04:53 PM     
  This is Dumb.  
I do not support Child Pornography.

I Do Not Support arresting someone that clicks on a link.

I Do Not Support The Theory of Thoughtcrime.

I believe that if someone is knowingly sharing, purposefully distributing, creating, or trading CP they should be prosecuted.

Murder Is Illegal, But do a quick search on Google and I'm sure you can view some Execution videos.

My point is that it shouldn't be illegal to view something, and the authorities should be going after those who access this content, go after the people who provide it.

I've seen bestiality porn, but I have NO desire to do it myself.

Sure, they may believe they are the drain-o for the tubes of the internets, but the problem is bigger than a med student who has sick perversions at home.

Don't give up your rights to free speech to remove something that you disagree with.

  by: jynxxed   03/21/2008 05:55 PM     
My point is that it shouldn't be illegal to view something, and the authorities should NOT be going after those who access this content, go after the people who provide it.
  by: jynxxed   03/21/2008 06:00 PM     
You forgot to add - ensure that your own network
is secure (wireless or otherwise).

It is downright scary just how many unsecured
wireless networks I can pick-up both at home and
while on my way to work.
  by: Zpravodajec     03/21/2008 06:15 PM     
  I would think  
that this would be a way to provide additional evidence for a case against someone... I can't believe it would be the sole source of evidence to condemn someone.
Also I wonder if young teens ever go for this stuff and what would happen to them if they were caught? Would that just be curiosity?
  by: Kuhl   03/21/2008 06:17 PM     
I've explained this in another thread, but the law enforcement theory of child pornography (and any other illegal material, like snuff films) is that you pursue the content creators and the content audience. If you only pursue the creators of the content, then you still have people with caches of illegal material in their possession. They could become distributors. If you only pursue the audience, then the original perpetrators of the crime go unpunished. You have to pursue both. Sorry, but child pornography is a crime, whether you're creating it or you're "just" looking at it.
  by: l´anglais     03/21/2008 07:27 PM     
  law needs revising?  
why RAID the house when it is accessing these links, when they could put the inhabitants on surveillance?

Also, WHY did they make this information public? I'm pretty sure pedophiles are connected, and if WE know about this law that has been passed, THEY do. I wouldn't be surprised if half of these links have been rendered useless already -.-
  by: Dekar   03/21/2008 08:00 PM     
I agree. Like anything else I imagine its a supply and demand market. So destroy the demand. They are considering the crime as if the possession and seeking out of the material is like trying to get drugs.

The mistake authorities make is thinking they can eliminate something completely and they go too far whereas the current techniques are probably perfectly adequate. You go further and you start impeding on peoples rights and privacy.
  by: Kuhl   03/21/2008 10:27 PM     
  I'm still unsure about this  
There are always those jerks who think it's funny to
take the link and disquise it as something else. I got
some hardcore porn once when I was trying to
download a trailer for Advent Children. Unless there
are ways to track the actual site the person got the
link from then I cannot say I approve of this tactic.
  by: Jaded Fox     03/21/2008 11:38 PM     
  I would think....  
that unless you actually downloaded kiddy porn there is no crime. And unless they could prove to a judge that you did download kiddy porn they wouldn’t even be able to get a search warrant. But that was back when we had a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Now, in the Fascist States of America I guess anything goes. It almost makes me afraid to surf the web for fear of Nazi’s breaking down my door. This scares me, where will it end? What’s next? Do I even want to ask?
  by: valkyrie123     03/22/2008 12:57 AM     
  @ jynxxed  
"....I do not support Child Pornography....."
" shouldn't be illegal to view something...."

Can't have one without the other.

  by: Discarded Vet   03/22/2008 03:52 AM     
  @Discarded Vet  
I don't support Meth, but I don't think the users should be prosecuted, they should be helped.

Go after the dealer.

Same thing. Go after the suppliers, and if someone is caught downloading these things, send them to a program, don't give them a felony.

I liked the idea mentioned above about monitoring them for awhile.

If someone clicks a link, watch their internet activity, see if they are actually "Downloading" these things consistently or if they just happened to stumble on something.
  by: jynxxed   03/22/2008 05:47 AM     
Why did they make it public? Well, they'd certainly rather have people afraid they'd be arrested if they tried to download child porn, than have to continuously conduct raids on homes, wouldn't they?

@Jaded Fox: In order to screw with you and send you a sting link, someone would have to know it's a sting link. There's no way for anyone besides the FBI to know that; the links appear on existing Web sites, they say they're for child porn and they link to jibberish, so there's no way for the average person to tell it's an FBI sting link.
  by: l´anglais     03/22/2008 06:11 AM     
  @ jynxxed  
"....I don't support Meth <> they should be helped...."

That only works if the user wants help. If he doesn't want help, then what, just let him go?

If there is no-one viewing porn because the consequences are so great, there is no one for the distributors to supply it to. Illicit drugs nor kid-porn, the same thing applies.

"....I liked the idea mentioned above about monitoring them for awhile...."

Kinda the way a (decent) cop would watch a clean-cut white boy in his daddy's Audi in crack town - is the kid looking at street igns trying to get out, or looking at corners for the dealer. I would have no problem with that. But the idea of click = bust is just wrong. Too many parameters to go wrong.

But I see this mindset missing from many posters, including you: ok, you think it is a persons right to view naked underage girls - where is that little girls rights in all this? Do you really think these kids WANT to be photographed nude and.or having sex for the world to see?
  by: Discarded Vet   03/22/2008 06:12 AM     
I agree, and we saw some of that same mindset in the story on the librarian who got fired for reporting a child porn-viewing patron to the police. People there were saying it should be OK to view; just not to create. How can someone *possibly* advocate that it's OK to get off on images of a child being abused?
  by: l´anglais     03/22/2008 06:26 AM     
  @ l'anglais  
Supply and demand : viewing IS creating
  by: Discarded Vet   03/22/2008 06:32 AM     
Being found innocent for providing a reasonable doubt is only how things are SUPPOSED to work. You usually have to try really hard to prove you're innocent. And in cases like this where the jury will probably despise you even if you're 100% innocent, it'll be even harder.

Also, if they take your computer they CAN prove you cleared your history.
  by: PeddlerOfFlesh   03/22/2008 09:09 AM     
Clearly no one likes perverts who are in to child porn. But I'm more concerned about the people that produce the porn, the abusers of children.

This is typical lazy ass crap. They basically catch a bunch of sad losers who may have a slight interest in this kind of porn, and humiliate and prosecute them with our tax dollars and ruin their lives.

All well and good, and again, I don't have much in the way of sympathy for them, but equally there is a long way from clicking on a porn link and sodomizing a child on video and distributing this kind of filth online.
  by: ZCT     03/23/2008 12:37 AM     
  I'm Tired Of Hearing About "The Kids"  
Every infringement on our rights is either about "The War On Terror" Or "To Protect The Kids". Sometimes both.

Person A: "I Don't Support The War, I Think it's a mistake"
Person B: "We'll see what you say when the Terrorists kill your child"

All Of these things are unfortunate and horrible. Sadly though, I don't believe that there is a way to have all the good without all of the bad.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety - Benjamin Franklin"

I'm not saying we shouldn't go after people, I just don't think the ends always justify the means.

It's easy to discredit someone as being a pervert, and having no sympathy or decency, even if they have a valid argument. Just throw in "The kids" and you've won.
  by: jynxxed   03/23/2008 02:53 AM     
Half way through the comments, but I'm going to post now. It's pretty plain that you, just like the judge involved, are suffering from a mistaken understanding of how the technology works.

If I embed a link in an HTML page, using just an anchor tag, and point it to the download, there is no way to reliably determine from that GET request whether the user came via my link or the FBI one. A lot of users block "referer" information in the request headers, so you can't use that reliabily at all. You could check the web server logs for a correlating request for the FBI page containing the link, but if I wanted to, I could simply embed the entire page in a hidden iframe or frameset, and use a single javascript call to click the link.

Simply put, the technique is inherently flawed, unreliable, and after a few high profile cases, a run of bad ones will have it thrown out, and regulations passed that prohibit this kind of thing.
  by: SoshiMaster   03/23/2008 09:59 AM     
  Where is the evidence?  
If you are trying to access something 'illegal' then where is it? And if it can be accessed, why isn't there a warning that it is illegal to access it? What in the hell is going on with these criminal law people? These police are criminals...simple criminals
  by: owlafaye   03/23/2008 07:51 PM     
Some of the sting links were published in the source article. It's not hard to believe that other links and sites can be discovered.

Additionally, information about the arrest especially the names of the accused should be kept confidential until allegations are proven true just because of the potential for the above factor. What disturbs me more is the act that at some point there will be a mistake made. The initial arrest will be proudly displayed as a triumph of the system but the aftermath will never be fourth or fifth page news.
  by: jaded fox     03/23/2008 07:54 PM     
Indeed. And also if you think about it, how is it even a crime? If I say, "I fantasize about having sex with children." Have I committed a crime? If I say, "I want to see child porn." Is that a crime too?

Like I said earlier this is just typical self-righteous and unspeakably lazy policing. Rather than look for the evil bastards that actually molest children on camera to produce this sick filth, they are attacking people who showed poor judgment and clicked on a link. Unless that link actually downloads real child porn onto the computer of the searcher, I don't see what crime has even been committed. Intent to view child porn? How is that a crime? If I watch a horror movie, is that intent to commit murder? If I watch Saw III, does it mean I intend to kidnap a doctor and kill a variety of people in elaborate and unrealistic ways? If I watch James Bond, does it mean I am a British spy? Should I be executed for treason?

There is a disturbing trend in America right now of labeling people as sex criminals, even before conviction. It's like that Catch a Predator show. Who cares, they are all sickos right? Well I care, because sick or not they have not yet been convicted of a crime, and I have a problem with a TV show doing whatever it takes to get ratings acting as judge jury and executioner.

Sadly the Puritan mindset just loves that eye for an eye kind of 'justice.' We are not far from bringing back public floggings if we continue down this path.
  by: ZCT     03/23/2008 09:17 PM     
  by: jynxxed   03/23/2008 10:25 PM     
I appreciate your interest in your subject but your analogies, especially in eyes of the law, are extremely faulty. Intent to view this material is the same as intent to purchase illegal drugs or weapons. They are considering it the same penalty and are not defining it as simple nudity or porn.

I still think this link thing is extremely iffy but considering that it was probably initiated by a 60 year old politician or law enforcement agent its not that hard to imagine how removed someone could have been from the actuality of the internet to come up with something like this.
  by: Kuhl   03/24/2008 12:09 AM     
I'm fully aware that I exaggerated my position with the movie examples. But in many ways the examples I gave do illustrate just how far off base this kind of 'police work' is.

By my estimation intent to possess something is just a BS crime anyway, pursuing it so aggressively and ruining people's lives in the name of 'won't somebody think of the children' is just nonsense.

Real people are getting hurt over this, and as usual no one seems to care.

It's like the fuss people make over abortion, yet no one seems to give a crap about the US infant mortality rate, which is in the toilet thanks to our social policy and lack of universal health care.
  by: ZCT     03/24/2008 12:45 AM     
  people are gonna  
get "rickrolled" into jail lol. Demetri Martin has a joke along the lines of "It's okay to say you like children. People are like awwww. It's when you get specific: I like eight year olds... Then there is trouble!" lol
  by: jimmyp   03/24/2008 11:58 PM     
  with all the ip spoofing programs out here  
and free proxy and anon sites, how can they prove it wasn't a spoof?
But on the other hand ifu got the images on a drive...
  by: MmmMan     03/25/2008 10:13 PM     
Also if hackers find these links, they could deliberately trick people into clicking them.

They click on one of the million Paris Hilton links, and a script re-directs them.

There was once a Trojan in England I heard about that downloaded child porn onto your computer and then emailed the police.

It's things like this that make me a little uncomfortable with draconian lazy police work where people are considered guilty unless they get lucky in court.
  by: ZCT     03/25/2008 11:07 PM     
  Since I Clicked This Link About Kiddie Porn  
on S/N can I expect a visit for violating the law?
  by: ichi     03/25/2008 11:25 PM     
  This sucks  
I don't understand why they are going after the people that are downloading. Reason is that you go to porn sites or warez sites or torrents sites and you get a million BS links and can lead you any were. Go after people uploading the kiddie porn then you will make a real dent.
  by: KaLtEx   03/27/2008 06:41 AM     
  Thought I'd made my point  
If you're going to rickroll somebody, you have to know what link to give them, right? You can disguise the link, whatever, but you *must know what link you're giving* for it to have any effect.

In the case of the FBI sting links, you simply cannot know what's on the other side of that link! You can't know that it's an FBI sting link before you send it to someone. How would you know? The link is disguised as child porn, and connects to a gibberish file. At no point in this process is anyone alerted to the fact that this is a sting link that will give the FBI probable cause to raid your house! If I'm wrong, please explain how!

These links are posted on public sites -- not FBI sites. They don't connect to sites you could identify as being from the FBI -- how stupid would that be; essentially an announcement that "you have approximately eight hours or so to pack your belongings and hide from the law."

The only way you could be rickrolled into getting a raid from the FBI is if someone sent you a link that, for all they knew, was to child pornography. Which, of course, is highly illegal.

Seriously, people, if I'm ignorant, then set me straight. If I simply don't understand how someone could knowingly rickroll an enemy with an FBI sting link, then make me understand. But if you can't, then stop worrying about something that is, logically speaking, impossible.
  by: l´anglais     03/27/2008 07:03 AM     
There is a lot of merit in what you say, but I can add a little more to the clarity I think.

The truly dangerous pedophiles work in insular "invite only" rings. I know you've heard about busting these rings before, and they are the ones the law really needs to focus on - since most of them are active abusers themselves. The law does not need to be overly concerned with the incidental viewer, that is kin to going after marijuana users instead of those importing and selling crack. I would guess that these guys are going to know when a link of unknown pedigree appears, and further, that they are going to take all care and caution about approaching that link.

Pedophiles in these rings come from all walks of life, and are present across broad demographics of age, nationality, and so on. I'm willing to bet that they have their share of black hatters and other nefariants. It will be those people who setup traps for otherwise innocent users of the Internet - ultimately with the goal of getting this technique abandoned, or destroying any utility for courts by establishing a baseline of unreliability.

In other words, the people who will get caught by this system are not the real concern.
  by: lauriesman     03/27/2008 07:19 AM     
First off, welcome back!

Secondly, you make a good point, but it is rather tangential to what I'm trying to say. I just don't see how it would be logically possible to, so to speak, "pornroll" somebody into getting raided by the FBI, unless it was a shear accident and you were thinking you were pornrolling them into downloading child porn.

Child porn rings are definitely the bigger fish, but surely the average net pedo gets his material from links like the ones the FBI is imitating, no? And many of those links probably connect to material created by one of those rings.

The operative fact here is that in the U.S., it's illegal to attempt to download child porn. That means that, in the eyes of the law, someone who clicks a link believing it to be connected to child porn has already committed a crime, just as if they walked into an adult bookstore and asked a clerk if they have any child porn.

I'm up for a debate on the law (I favor it for several reasons), I'm just tired of people saying that these sting links will lead to "abuses" when the sting doesn't have any potential to be abused.
  by: l´anglais     03/28/2008 05:09 AM     
"I'm up for a debate on the law (I favor it for several reasons), I'm just tired of people saying that these sting links will lead to "abuses" when the sting doesn't have any potential to be abused."

- That's a pretty bold statement. Remember we are the country that lock more people up in jail than any other country in the world. So to presume that the criminal justice system is beyond reproach is a little naive.

Who knows exactly how this sting operation was set up? Who knows how much effort is put in to ensure that innocent people are not harmed?

It strikes me that the powers that be that decided this would be a good idea, have a vested interest in nailing as many perverts as possible. That way they can 'prove' that their idea was a success.

Unless we know the EXACT methods being used he we cannot really comment on how fair the whole thing is.

As for Lauriesman, he is on this occasion, spot on. Not only is there the potential for abuse. But the legal system is going after some loser that thinks they can just surf and find child porn simply lying around the Internet.

The fact is, at least as previous legal cases appear to go, pedophiles tend to get together in close knit groups and exchange child porn with each other. Many are abusers and producers. Many are merely collectors. But there are plenty of rings out there that needs to be smashed, that are directly impacting children.

Frankly some weirdo that decides one day to Google child porn and then click on a link is not a threat to society, other than the fact that they are obviously stupid. But if we arrested people just for being stupid, we would not have enough jails in the country to hold them.

This policy is short sighted and like so many initiatives does nothing to address the real problem. It's just superficial crap, and those who can't see through it need to sit down in a quiet room and have a long hard think about it before they form a real opinion.
  by: ZCT     03/28/2008 05:27 AM     
The source has a lot of specifics. The links are posted on existing, non-FBI Web sites and are made to look like they'd connect to child porn.

In reality, the link connects to a gibberish file that would likely look to anyone like a broken link, etc.

The FBI tracks the click of the link, registers your IP address and raids your house.

All of my frustrated attempts at explaining that this system (not the entire criminal justice system) is abuse-proof have fallen on deaf ears, it seems. I'm not saying that this particular sting will be as effective at fighting the creation and distribution of child porn as busting a ring would be. I'm not saying that the FBI is necessarily going to catch a lot of dangerous criminals with this program.

All I'm saying, and will continue to say, is that you can't exploit this system by rickrolling somebody into getting raided by the FBI. You could rickroll somebody with the link as it appears, of course -- you could do that with any link -- but you'd have no way of knowing, when you set up the rickroll, that your target would be raided by the FBI when he clicked on it. The link is not on an FBI site; it is not identified as being created by the FBI; the link does not direct computer users to a file or page that can be identified as originating from the FBI.
  by: l´anglais     03/28/2008 05:53 AM     
  Yes, however  
The point I'm making is say hypothetical Internet user (we'll call him JoeL Anglaise) heads out on the interwubs to search him up some hot MILF porn - clicks on a link he believes is Debby and Sarah having hot times, and in fact, that's what he gets to see. What he doesn't know is that someone has duced the link, and that not only has he downloaded the porn he's viewing, but downloaded child porn from an FBI sting link.

The link was identified by certain pedophiles in a ring who decided the best way to hit back at the government is to setup "fake" porn clips that look legitimate but contain a hidden iframe and some javascript.

Now, I know this is hypothetical, but it is also definitely possible. The evidence that will be left as traces will be identical to that which would be left by a knowing and direct visit. It doesn't matter though, the FBI is already on their way to impound his computer and turn his house inside out.
  by: lauriesman     03/28/2008 06:00 AM     
I understand what you're saying, I really do. I'm just saying that, given the undercover nature of the operation -- links posted on public sites, linking to gibberish files, no connection to the FBI -- how is someone going to figure out that a link is a sting link from the FBI without finding themselves the target of a raid?
  by: l´anglais     03/28/2008 06:06 AM     
From years of using the internet, I can tell you that links like these WILL be uncovered, one way or another. Eventually.
  by: SoshiMaster   03/28/2008 08:39 AM     
"In reality, the link connects to a gibberish file that would likely look to anyone like a broken link, etc.

The FBI tracks the click of the link, registers your IP address and raids your house."

I understand what is going on here. But I still disagree with it.

So a weird pervo is clicking around the Internet and happens across a site that is obviously geared towards younger people. He sees a link talking about young teens, or whatever the link says, and he clicks on it. Who knows what went through his head, maybe he is a pedophile, maybe he is retarded, perhaps he's just curious. Who the hell knows? But in that one click, he surrenders his rights in a free country.

Next thing an armed raid shows up at his house, tears his house apart, takes his computer for investigation, arrests him, destroys his family (if he has one), ruins his career, gets him in the local newspaper probably listed as a pedophile. He then has to go through a trial spending thousands of dollars on a defense.

And at the end of it all, what did he do? He clicked on a hyperlink, set up to deliberately ensnare people.

I wonder what percentage of people they catch, and ruin their lives for them, will be actual pedophiles. An actual danger in society. An actual danger to children. 50%? I doubt it. 1%? Maybe.

My issue here is not about protecting potential pedophiles. My issue is invasive and intrusive government actions, that don't really solve crime. In this case they aren't even going after actual child abusers or the ones who peddle or produce this disgusting brand of porn.

America is number one in the world for jailing its citizens. Now we are inventing even more ways to harass the population and destroy lives. But the gullible and the stupid are convinced that it's for 'your protection.' And that the only victims of this are evil anyway. I call BS on this.

As I've said all along, this is lazy policing that does nothing to address the real issues.

If you think this is a great idea, watch V for Vendetta. Then go watch Idiocracy.
  by: ZCT     03/28/2008 01:13 PM     
Again, my argument has never been about whether this scheme is appropriate or effective. It's that this particular sting does not lend itself to people setting up their enemies for an FBI raid by rickrolling them one of the sting links.

I own 'V' and 'Idiocracy' and like them a lot. I don't understand how they apply, however, to enforcing a law that has been on the books for a while and makes it illegal to attempt to procure child pornography.

In the source, some of the sting links that have been used are shown. They reference a video of a four-year-old performing oral and anal sex. Forgive me for not believing that most people clicking on something like are just curious.

Another fact that speaks to the FBI's motive is that they granted an extensive interview regarding the program. If they were just looking to make as many busts as possible, they wouldn't explain how it works. No, they publicized it, which suggests that they want to reach people who might go looking for child porn on the internet, and scare them into not doing it.

Again, there's no real difference between clicking on a link such as the one the source describes, and walking into a video store and asking, "Excuse me, but do you have any videos that depict four-year-old children having oral and anal sex?"
  by: l´anglais     03/28/2008 06:46 PM     
“Again, my argument has never been about whether this scheme is appropriate or effective. It's that this particular sting does not lend itself to people setting up their enemies for an FBI raid by rickrolling them one of the sting links.”

- I’m not a hacker, and presumably neither are you. I’m sure there are ways and means to abuse this on one level or other. But neither of us really have enough knowledge to judge how feasible this is.

“I own 'V' and 'Idiocracy' and like them a lot. I don't understand how they apply, however, to enforcing a law that has been on the books for a while and makes it illegal to attempt to procure child pornography.”

- It’s about big brother doing things ‘for your protection’ which was the slogan on the government vehicles in V. The Idiocracy reference was the fact that society seems to ignore the government taking away more and more of the rights of people, and no one seems to notice or care. I have a coffee cup at my house (not Starbucks happy ending!), on the outside of the cup is the Bill of Rights. When you pour hot water in it, the rights revoked or curtailed by the Patriot Act disappear. It’s a pretty scary thing to see.

The issue I have with this is the fact that as a nation we lead the world in jailing people. And now we are going to continue to fill our over-crowded jails with people who clicked on a link. And sorry but I don’t really see clicking a hyperlink as being the same as making a determined and real effort to procure child porn. I’d be interested to know just how many hoops you need to jump through to get busted.

“In the source, some of the sting links that have been used are shown. They reference a video of a four-year-old performing oral and anal sex. Forgive me for not believing that most people clicking on something like are just curious.”

- Sorry, but maybe they are curious. Maybe they misread the link and thought it said 24 year old oral. Who cares? Even if they click on a link expecting it to be child porn, they still did not come into possession of it, because it wasn’t real.

“Another fact that speaks to the FBI's motive is that they granted an extensive interview regarding the program. If they were just looking to make as many busts as possible, they wouldn't explain how it works. No, they publicized it, which suggests that they want to reach people who might go looking for child porn on the internet, and scare them into not doing it.”

- What it suggests to me is they are very proud of their new initiative. Someone thought it up, and now they are selling the idea. But I’m not buying it. Go catch some real criminals. Bust some real child porn rings. If my creepy looking neighbor is clicking on child porn links in the privacy of his own home, I couldn’t give a crap. But if he is trading in child porn images, or abusing children, then I want him arrested.

“Again, there's no real difference between clicking on a link such as the one the source describes, and walking into a video store and asking, "Excuse me, but do you have any videos that depict four-year-old children having oral and anal sex?"”

- Well see, if someone did do that, I would not expect them to be wrestled to the ground by armed gunmen, arrested, have their house searched, and then go through an expensive and humiliating trial while being labeled a pedophile. Yes that’s a sick and stupid thing to say. But the mere act of saying those words is not what I find offensive. What I find offensive is the fact that resources being wasted on programs like this could be spent on actually arresting real child abusers.
  by: ZCT     03/28/2008 07:35 PM     
Fact: It's a crime to seek out child porn. Not just to download it, buy it or possess it -- but to seek it out.

If you ask to buy drugs from someone who is actually an undercover cop, you can be arrested for that, too. I don't see people getting upset about that, but they seem to be quite upset that you can't just click on a link for child pornography without putting yourself afoul of the law. I'd argue that looking for child porn is far worse than looking for some pot to smoke. Marijuana production does not, to my knowledge, involve the sexual abuse of a child.

Fact: Child porn is created in large part because people want to look at it.

If you go after the market for an illegal material, you are lowering the demand for it. Perhaps less will be created if people aren't interested in downloading it, knowing the risks that entails.

I don't know of a way you could figure out that a link was placed by an undercover FBI agent, or know that clicking the link would tip off the FBI. I would suspect that very few people would know how to do this, in the event that it's even possible. Until somebody shows me how it's possible to know who posted a link and to know who set up the file it links to without clicking it, I'm not buying the argument that this system is exploitable. Again, if anyone cares to correct me and show me how it's possible, feel free. Until then, I feel I've made my original point, and I don't wish to debate about this any further.
  by: l´anglais     03/28/2008 08:13 PM     
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