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Click hyperlink, go to jail for child porn

Feb 24, 2001
14,551
4
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Link for story and creepy pervert guy

Oh wait did you click that link? You're going to jail for trying to get child porn.

FBI posts fake hyperlinks to snare child porn suspects

Posted by Declan McCullagh | 201 comments

The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them.

Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images.

A CNET News.com review of legal documents shows that courts have approved of this technique, even though it raises questions about entrapment, the problems of identifying who's using an open wireless connection--and whether anyone who clicks on a FBI link that contains no child pornography should be automatically subject to a dawn raid by federal police.

Roderick Vosburgh, a doctoral student at Temple University who also taught history at La Salle University, was raided at home in February 2007 after he allegedly clicked on the FBI's hyperlink. Federal agents knocked on the door around 7 a.m., falsely claiming they wanted to talk to Vosburgh about his car. Once he opened the door, they threw him to the ground outside his house and handcuffed him.

Vosburgh was charged with violating federal law, which criminalizes "attempts" to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison. Last November, a jury found Vosburgh guilty on that count, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 22, at which point Vosburgh could face three to four years in prison.

The implications of the FBI's hyperlink-enticement technique are sweeping. Using the same logic and legal arguments, federal agents could send unsolicited e-mail messages to millions of Americans advertising illegal narcotics or child pornography--and raid people who click on the links embedded in the spam messages. The bureau could register the "unlawfulimages.com" domain name and prosecute intentional visitors. And so on.
Just a brief snip, the article is lengthy but found here

Child porn is down there on the list of bad folks, but this is a chickenshit way to go about trying to catch them.

What about people getting tricked into clicking links? Or an employee using someone else's computer, or an open wi-fi connection, etc.

But it's for the children! :roll:
 

blackangst1

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
20,534
733
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They do this also with P2P stuff. They create files that are vid size but not actually CP, then track IP's based on P2P connections. there have been MANY busts in the last couple years using this method.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
29,919
3,443
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In Soviet Russia, child porn clicks on you!

No seriously, this stinks of BS. You know how easy it is to frame someone for this? Someone could write a virus to infect computers and have them visit such websites. When innocent people are caught this is far removed from seeking justice.

Just as we need to do in the ?war on drugs?, the users of illegal substances/content should only be used as bait to jail/execute the person selling and creating it. That is someone who is guilty of a crime and deserves it, not potential victims of fraud or of destructive additive behaviors. The users need help, not the FBI?s form of ?justice?.

Target the provider, not the user.
 
Feb 24, 2001
14,551
4
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Originally posted by: Jaskalas
In Soviet Russia, child porn clicks on you!

No seriously, this stinks of BS. You know how easy it is to frame someone for this? Someone could write a virus to infect computers and have them visit such websites. When innocent people are caught this is far removed from seeking justice.

Just as we need to do in the ?war on drugs?, the users of illegal substances/content should only be used as bait to jail/execute the person selling and creating it. That is someone who is guilty of a crime and deserves it, not potential victims of fraud or of destructive additive behaviors. The users need help, not the FBI?s form of ?justice?.

Target the provider, not the user.
Looks like they are already doing it
 

Farang

Lifer
Jul 7, 2003
10,921
3
0
Originally posted by: blackangst1
They do this also with P2P stuff. They create files that are vid size but not actually CP, then track IP's based on P2P connections. there have been MANY busts in the last couple years using this method.
The P2P stuff makes more sense to me because you have to go on Kazaa or whatever and actively search for a specific file name and then click that file name to connect and download it. You are in the program specifically to find media files, and you want an illegal media file if you click what they are offering (because you searched for "Metallica" for example).

In this case it is a hyperlink, which as shown in the OP can be clicked quited innocently by anyone.
 

dahunan

Lifer
Jan 10, 2002
18,191
1
0
Start penalizing anyone who invests in defense stocks or hliburton then also

Child porn is way bad.. but 10 years in prison for someone who viewed it?? nice priorities...
 

ultra laser

Banned
Jul 2, 2007
513
0
0
Originally posted by: dahunan
Start penalizing anyone who invests in defense stocks or hliburton then also

Child porn is way bad.. but 10 years in prison for someone who viewed it?? nice priorities...
Wrong, not viewed, attempted to view by clicking a link that doesn't actually lead to anything illegal. Horse shit, if you ask me.
 

jjones

Lifer
Oct 9, 2001
15,430
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This just shows how asinine the judiciary, law enforcement and political system is. Can they not even begin to imagine how insanely abused this can be?

The new rick rolled won't just get you a stupidly annoying video of Rick Astley, it'll get you a visit from the federal stormtroopers. Can't wait for the spam hackers to have fun with this one.
 

ultra laser

Banned
Jul 2, 2007
513
0
0
Originally posted by: jjones
This just shows how asinine the judiciary, law enforcement and political system is. Can they not even begin to imagine how insanely abused this can be?

The new rick rolled won't just get you a stupidly annoying video of Rick Astley, it'll get you a visit from the federal stormtroopers. Can't wait for the spam hackers to have fun with this one.
LOL. Rickroll of doom! But yeah, the potential for abuse seems quite high.
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
9,861
1
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Originally posted by: ultra laser
Originally posted by: dahunan
Start penalizing anyone who invests in defense stocks or hliburton then also

Child porn is way bad.. but 10 years in prison for someone who viewed it?? nice priorities...
Wrong, not viewed, attempted to view by clicking a link that doesn't actually lead to anything illegal. Horse shit, if you ask me.
Yeah this is a little thought-police-ish.
 

blackangst1

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
20,534
733
126
Originally posted by: Farang
Originally posted by: blackangst1
They do this also with P2P stuff. They create files that are vid size but not actually CP, then track IP's based on P2P connections. there have been MANY busts in the last couple years using this method.
The P2P stuff makes more sense to me because you have to go on Kazaa or whatever and actively search for a specific file name and then click that file name to connect and download it. You are in the program specifically to find media files, and you want an illegal media file if you click what they are offering (because you searched for "Metallica" for example).

In this case it is a hyperlink, which as shown in the OP can be clicked quited innocently by anyone.
True
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,520
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0
Originally posted by: 3chordcharlie
Originally posted by: ultra laser
Originally posted by: dahunan
Start penalizing anyone who invests in defense stocks or hliburton then also

Child porn is way bad.. but 10 years in prison for someone who viewed it?? nice priorities...
Wrong, not viewed, attempted to view by clicking a link that doesn't actually lead to anything illegal. Horse shit, if you ask me.
Yeah this is a little thought-police-ish.
I don't know...there is a difference between convicting someone for what they are thinking and convicting someone for something they are trying to do. After all, attempted murder is still a crime even if you are prevented from killing anyone. Context would seem to matter a great deal here. I agree that arresting someone just for clicking on a link is silly, but if they clicked on that link after searching through a kiddie porn trading forum, I'm having a little more trouble dismissing it as a "thought crime".
 

bsobel

Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Dec 9, 2001
13,350
0
0
Originally posted by: Rainsford
Originally posted by: 3chordcharlie
Originally posted by: ultra laser
Originally posted by: dahunan
Start penalizing anyone who invests in defense stocks or hliburton then also

Child porn is way bad.. but 10 years in prison for someone who viewed it?? nice priorities...
Wrong, not viewed, attempted to view by clicking a link that doesn't actually lead to anything illegal. Horse shit, if you ask me.
Yeah this is a little thought-police-ish.
I don't know...there is a difference between convicting someone for what they are thinking and convicting someone for something they are trying to do. After all, attempted murder is still a crime even if you are prevented from killing anyone. Context would seem to matter a great deal here. I agree that arresting someone just for clicking on a link is silly, but if they clicked on that link after searching through a kiddie porn trading forum, I'm having a little more trouble dismissing it as a "thought crime".

That matches my view. If I could post a link here that caused that effect, that certainly is way passed the line. However, if that link showed up when I searched for certain terms on a p2p network, dunno. They do the same type of thing for 'hitmen', advertise and if someone calls trying to hire them. Seems similar. I guess I dont buy the AT hype that 'just clicking randomly' or you can be rick-rolled to prison with this.

 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,520
0
0
Originally posted by: bsobel
Originally posted by: Rainsford
Originally posted by: 3chordcharlie
Originally posted by: ultra laser
Originally posted by: dahunan
Start penalizing anyone who invests in defense stocks or hliburton then also

Child porn is way bad.. but 10 years in prison for someone who viewed it?? nice priorities...
Wrong, not viewed, attempted to view by clicking a link that doesn't actually lead to anything illegal. Horse shit, if you ask me.
Yeah this is a little thought-police-ish.
I don't know...there is a difference between convicting someone for what they are thinking and convicting someone for something they are trying to do. After all, attempted murder is still a crime even if you are prevented from killing anyone. Context would seem to matter a great deal here. I agree that arresting someone just for clicking on a link is silly, but if they clicked on that link after searching through a kiddie porn trading forum, I'm having a little more trouble dismissing it as a "thought crime".

That matches my view. If I could post a link here that caused that effect, that certainly is way passed the line. However, if that link showed up when I searched for certain terms on a p2p network, dunno. They do the same type of thing for 'hitmen', advertise and if someone calls trying to hire them. Seems similar. I guess I dont buy the AT hype that 'just clicking randomly' or you can be rick-rolled to prison with this.
I don't buy the hype either. I think the FBI, for all their faults, isn't populated by complete morons. At the point where these links are being posted on AT, Slashdot, digg and everywhere else on the Internet, their usefulness as an investigative tool pretty much drops to zero. While the image of the FBI going around rounding up people who did nothing more than clicked on a link sounds like a good movie plot, something tells me the FBI in real life isn't really interested in doing that...and that the courts would throw out the case even if the FBI tried it.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think people need to stop and think about this for a second. What possible case could the FBI make if you blindly clicked on a link? It works for the people searching for kiddie porn because they thought that's what the link was. If you thought the link was something else, what case do they possibly have?
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,255
699
126
It will be interesting to see what happens when some foreign entity gets the URL and mass spams it out to the rest of the world via e-mail with a different title (i.e. Your credit card company important message, perhaps). While there may be merits to this, it has the potential to turn slippery really quick. They, the peole who are running the show on this, had best be very careful.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
345
126
So, if someone clicks it meaning to see if it's real so they can report it to authorities, and when it isn't they don't report it, they go to jail. I think this sets the bar too low for conviction.

Also, the merely 'curious' are vulnerable. Can they mail a box to your house that says 'heroin inside' and convict you for opening it? I know it's a hard crime to investigate, but that's not justification.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
34,853
4,799
126
What if someone reposts the same link but with innocent text tag or puts a link that automatically pops a window with that link?
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,520
0
0
Ok, guys, do you seriously think the FBI is just automatically arresting everyone who clicks on the link now that it's all over the Internet? Come on, that's just silly.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
34,853
4,799
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Originally posted by: Rainsford
Ok, guys, do you seriously think the FBI is just automatically arresting everyone who clicks on the link now that it's all over the Internet? Come on, that's just silly.
Are you OK with them having the power to do so?
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
9,861
1
81
Originally posted by: Rainsford
Ok, guys, do you seriously think the FBI is just automatically arresting everyone who clicks on the link now that it's all over the Internet? Come on, that's just silly.
Who cares if they are?

Police all over the free world like to classify as many people as possible as criminals. It gives them control.

Police fishing expeditions will always tread a fine line, but I'll never be for 'potential crimes' being prosecuted.

FTR, Attempted murder is not a potential crime, it is a specific class of assault, and when it is treated just like murder I'll have a problem with it.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,520
0
0
Originally posted by: senseamp
Originally posted by: Rainsford
Ok, guys, do you seriously think the FBI is just automatically arresting everyone who clicks on the link now that it's all over the Internet? Come on, that's just silly.
Are you OK with them having the power to do so?
Well no, but then again, they DON'T have the power to do so. There is no evidence that simply clicking on that link, absent any other supporting evidence, would result in any legal action at all against you. And I can't imagine the legal argument that would say otherwise.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
34,853
4,799
126
Originally posted by: Rainsford
Originally posted by: senseamp
Originally posted by: Rainsford
Ok, guys, do you seriously think the FBI is just automatically arresting everyone who clicks on the link now that it's all over the Internet? Come on, that's just silly.
Are you OK with them having the power to do so?
Well no, but then again, they DON'T have the power to do so. There is no evidence that simply clicking on that link, absent any other supporting evidence, would result in any legal action at all against you.
What do you mean, no evidence. Did you even read the article?
Vosburgh was charged with violating federal law, which criminalizes "attempts" to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison. Last November, a jury found Vosburgh guilty on that count, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 22, at which point Vosburgh could face three to four years in prison.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,520
0
0
Originally posted by: 3chordcharlie
Originally posted by: Rainsford
Ok, guys, do you seriously think the FBI is just automatically arresting everyone who clicks on the link now that it's all over the Internet? Come on, that's just silly.
Who cares if they are?

Police all over the free world like to classify as many people as possible as criminals. It gives them control.

Police fishing expeditions will always tread a fine line, but I'll never be for 'potential crimes' being prosecuted.

FTR, Attempted murder is not a potential crime, it is a specific class of assault, and when it is treated just like murder I'll have a problem with it.
Everything I've read suggests the way these links were used was to post them on forums and other places where people actively search for kiddie porn, then keeping track of who clicks on the link. The FBI wasn't posting the link on Digg and then arresting everyone who innocently clicked on it, it was simply a tool to track people who were already engaged in illegal activity. You really think anyone is going to be prosecuted JUST for clicking on that link, absent any other evidence of wrongdoing? You really think charges like that would get anywhere even if the FBI was stupid enough to try it?
 

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