Sunday, January 03, 2016

What if you get an "illegal" image or video with an unsolicited text message (from a stranger)?

Friday night, New Year’s Day, I received an unexpected text with a video (15 seconds) from a phone number with area code for Brooklyn, New York.

The video appears to be a dinner scene at a Vietnamese restaurant and is in Vietnamese language, and so it was probably sent to a wrong number.  I know some people in Brooklyn, especially in the music world, but this seems unrelated.

Nevertheless, it raises a good question.  What are your legal obligations if you got a video from an unsolicited text and it contained child pornography or, for that matter, a terror threat?

The same question of course exists with spam (or for that matter opening a tiny url link on a tweet perhaps).  But with spam email, you probably won’t open the email at all if it looks “suspicious”, so the possibility of inadvertent illegal “possession” doesn’t come about.

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