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Viewing Child Pornography in New York...Follow

#1 May 09 2012 at 10:40 AM Rating: Decent
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...is apparently no longer grounds for prosecution.

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/08/11602955-viewing-child-porn-on-the-web-legal-in-new-york-state-appeals-court-finds?lite

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Viewing child pornography online isn't a crime, the New York Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in the case of a college professor whose work computer was found to have stored more than a hundred illegal images in its Web cache.


So it's okay to look at it now, as long as you don't download it or print it out (or, yaknow, create it).

Am I the only one that worries this will create more "demand" for child pornography to be made in the first place? And that allowing people to view this without any retribution is going to cause more closet-perverts to come out of hiding, thereby looping down to point #1 and causing more to be made? Heh. Seems like there's the possibility of a vicious (and disgusting) cycle to form here.
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#2 May 09 2012 at 10:46 AM Rating: Excellent
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I doubt anyone will do anything until this winds through the entire court system. It's still a federal crime and the federal government won't willingly cede that power.
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#3 May 09 2012 at 11:03 AM Rating: Good
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"Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law," Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote for a majority of four of the six judges

"Rather, some affirmative act is required (printing, saving, downloading, etc.) to show that defendant in fact exercised dominion and control over the images that were on his screen," Ciparick wrote. "To hold otherwise, would extend the reach of (state law) to conduct — viewing — that our Legislature has not deemed criminal."

I understand the distinction that's being made here, but one would also think that actively using a web browser to navigate to web pages which include child pornography would qualify as "dominion and control", provided that you can prove intent (which, based on the dozen other counts the defendant was convicted on, seems entirely reasonable).

SCotUS or bust.
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#4 May 09 2012 at 11:09 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm actually ok with this. The less the government can nail me for where my web browser has been the better.

I just don't trust the government with anything that involves the internet really.
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#5 May 09 2012 at 11:53 AM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
Quote:
"Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law," Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote for a majority of four of the six judges

"Rather, some affirmative act is required (printing, saving, downloading, etc.) to show that defendant in fact exercised dominion and control over the images that were on his screen," Ciparick wrote. "To hold otherwise, would extend the reach of (state law) to conduct — viewing — that our Legislature has not deemed criminal."

I understand the distinction that's being made here, but one would also think that actively using a web browser to navigate to web pages which include child pornography would qualify as "dominion and control", provided that you can prove intent (which, based on the dozen other counts the defendant was convicted on, seems entirely reasonable).

SCotUS or bust.

I fully expect some attorney will challenge this by contending that repeated viewing constitute a pattern of behavior that shows dominion was exercised, while some housewife that is just trying to download 50 Shades of Grey and happens to click on a link to "almost legal!!!" will be excused.
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#6 May 09 2012 at 12:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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/b/ be wary. Smiley: lol
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#7 May 09 2012 at 12:22 PM Rating: Good
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I know nothing about the case, so if anyone could clarify it would be appreciated, but I'm wondering if the intent was to decriminalize accidental access to it in cases where the images were either hidden or control over the computer can't be proven (as in cases where malware could be responsible)?

That's just what comes to mind because there was a student around here arrested a while back for CP distribution in which there was a CP video embedded in another file he was seeding. There's every reason to believe he had no idea it was there, and I don't know if he was actually charged with anything. But just made me wonder what the extent of the law was.
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#8 May 09 2012 at 12:31 PM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I know nothing about the case, so if anyone could clarify it would be appreciated

Show some initiative and Google "child pornography" from your work computer to learn the full story.
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#9 May 09 2012 at 1:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, required showing of intent on something that can get you thrown in a gulag for 10 yrs and renders you unable to ever hold a real job seems like a reasonable requirement.
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#10 May 09 2012 at 2:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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I can see the rationale behind the ruling and agree with the need to prove intent (which can be hard in this case). A web cache stores everything that's on a web page you visited, including any image that is displayed (or could be displayed in some cases). Hell, there are some advertisements on this site that are questionable in terms of work viewing (but not illegal of course). Browsers have gotten better over the years at giving the viewer control at least in terms of page redirects and new popups. I remember back in the old days, you'd click the wrong link and an endless flood of stuff would pop up on your screen. It was ridiculously easy to end out with massive amounts of porn in your cache even without trying.

It's a little easier to avoid today if you want to, but it's still quite possible to follow a thread of links from something unrelated to porn at all and end out with porn in your cache. And in many cases, there may be dozens of individual images on a given page, so I always take the number of images bit with a grain of salt. In this case, I'd be looking at how many different pages were accessed, over what period of time, etc. The assumption being that someone could easily accidentally click on a link that takes them to a page with porn on it, but if they're repeatedly accessing the same site, over a period of time, that indicates that they came there by choice.


I think that it takes a lot more than just some files in a browser cache to prove a crime in this case.
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#11 May 09 2012 at 3:06 PM Rating: Decent
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Going out on a limb here and assuming that the pictures were all thumbnail size. I can only imagine what my cache looked like when I frequented /b/ a few years ago.
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#12 May 09 2012 at 9:17 PM Rating: Good
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Deadgye wrote:
Going out on a limb here and assuming that the pictures were all thumbnail size. I can only imagine what my cache looked like when I frequented /b/ a few years ago.


A topic came up a while back, I don't remember where, about how you could send the FBI a request for your file, and they'd send back whatever they had on you (probably within reason). I remember that frequenting 4chan was enough to put you on a CP watch list. Smiley: lol
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#13 May 09 2012 at 10:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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Intent is very important. If nothing else, the following hypothetical situation could occur. Lets say an engineer working on a road project that will pass near a small town needs to look up the phone number for one of those small town city planners, and goes to the website for that small town. she types the address correctly, but discovers to her horror that the web page has been hacked and now prominantly features very illegal images. She shuts off her monitor and calls the IT department in a panic, babbling incoherantly about some sort of image on her computer and it wasn't her fault and she doesn't want to get fired. Tears were involved hypothetically. They arrive, turn on the monitor, realize that this is seriously deep sh*t, immidiatly shut down the whole computer, replace it with a new one, and take the old one to quarentine. Management is notified, they send it up the chain until eventually the Attourney General of that particular state is involved and the FBI. At some point during that chain of events, forensic cache data was requested to determine source of the image, etc, which hypothetically origionated in belarus. The hard drive was eventially transferred into FBI custody where it hypothetically still sits to this day.

At least several people "saw" the image. Not a single one of them sought out that type of material or would have viewed it of their own accord. Did they break the law by being unwillingly subject to that image? The engineer had the correct web address, and had that page been viewed at any other day it would have been the correct web page. The IT technicians involved were not informed ahead of time of the content, and immidiatly turned it off when presented with it, but they still also technically saw the image. Other computer repair technicians are presented with similar situations from time to time. I think that people who draft laws related to that type of legislation don't necessarily take such things into account.
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#14 May 10 2012 at 11:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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In reply to Kao, this is why I like judges to have their own discretion in imposing sentences, because they can see all the nuances of an individual case that legislators probably didn't forsee. I really dislike mandatory sentencing for this particular crime or that.
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