Saturday, February 14, 2015

Man convicted of c.p. possession while "house-sitting" based on detection software that scans routers; could this be a frame-up?

Truthout has a disturbing story by Andrew Extein, about a man from Maryland who was convicted for possession of child pornography based on router tracking software, one image (probably with a watermark matching the NCMEC database).  It was allegedly found when he was house-sitting in Indiana.  He was arrested at an airport. The link here on “Digital Darkness” describes the complicated maze of rules for convicted sex offenders.
But the case is puzzling.  There have been a few other prosecutions based on router evidence, as in New York State and Florida, but in these cases the abuse came from an outsider logging on to the router (in one case, from a building 400 feet away).  Or course there is the issue of router passwords.  Police would know this by now.  Further, the offending image should have turned up on a computer (possibly deleted) unless it was really “erased”.   There are viruses (like the Moon Virus) that can cause redirection of a site, possibly to an illegal site or one with malware.  (One scam tried to get the user to download malware-laden Adobe flash updates.)  But the user would see the redirection. But “hidden redirection” (a new kind of malware in phishing attacks) is possible.  Rebooting a router (turning it odf and then back on so that it does a firmware update – about a five minute process) is supposed to clear the Moon Virus. 
It seems that authorities should talk about home user legal responsibilities in this area. 
The Wall Street Journal has a story by Gary Fields and John R. Ehmswiller on federal abuse of plea bargaining, here
NBC Dateline could look into this subject, given its previous “To Catch a Predator” series with Chris Hansen in 2005-2006. It could look at what the terms of probation for some of the offenders were, and also look at the router issue. 


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