Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Should social media have higher medium ages?


winter 2015 in Arlington Va

Techcrunch, in an article by Ben Pring 2021/5/21, argues for banning social media and smartphones below age 18.

Yes, teen girls and body image and Instagram – that’s a problem.

But what about precocious kids like Max Reisinger able to run a clothing business at 16? Or Avi Schiffmann who at 17 had published a coronavirus tracker before the CDC had one.  They had smart parents.

Do we head for a communist bottom, not even grading on the curve?

I was too sheltered an immature by comparison to today’s best.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Social worker arrested for taking pictures of underage clients in his home a decade ago


Fairfax County VA govt center

Here’s a rather shocking story of what can happen.  A man in Fairfax County VA who had worked as a social worker apparently had sometimes invited minors (female) into his home and taken pornographic pictures of them, over ten years ago.

With this kind of activity, the time window from which arrests and prosecutions can happen can be long indeed.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Is the lawsuit claiming a record cover showing Elden nude as a baby is c.p. frivolous, or is it precedential?


Los Angeles, 2012 

Spencer Elden, a relatively good looking adult man at 30, is suing the estate of Kurt Cobain, for using a picture of him naked at 4 months publicly as a record cover for “Nevermind”, claiming the image was child pornography. Here is the New York Times story by Maria Cramer. 

This is a civil case. An attorney, Reketia law, explains the legal definition of c.p. at 6.22 in the video.  He maintains that the image is not intended to illicit a prurient interest.  This is a “money grab”.

But the case also reminds one the estates can face sudden and surprising legal challenges after the fact, affecting beneficiaries and heirs.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Sting near Richmond VA shows how determined police are to catch persons who attempt to contact minors who say online they are under legal age


Richmond downtown train station 2020-1

Police in many cities still operate stings to locate persons (usually adult men) who attempt to contact minors.  The Richmond Times Dispatch reports such an operation in central Virginia.

Remember, it a person states they are under 18 (or under age of consent in a particular state and it is 18 in Virginia and some other states like California) then attempting to contact them for anything that could be construed as an attempt at an intimate meeting risks arrest and prosecution and eventual sex offender registry.  Sexual orientation makes no difference, but heterosexual arrests are far more common. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

In Minnesota, a federal task force tried to fabricate a fake sex-trafficking ring for entrapment; it's finally in court


Minneapolis, 2011/6

Billy Binion has a major story in Reason about a case where a St . Paul MN police officer, acting as part of a federal task force, fabricated a sex trafficking ring to entrap would be offenders as a sting.  Many wrongful indictments resulted, in an operation that targeted the Somali community.

Now there is a lawsuit which will challenge qualified immunity in a case like this, looking back to precedents with the Fourth Amendment.  The article particularly focuses on a Somali refugee wrongfully indicted in the sting.

Most of this seems to have happened before FOSTA was passed in 2018.

Saturday, August 07, 2021

More on Apple's planned changes in checking users for possible child abuse involvement


Skyline Drive, Virginia, 2021-7

Louis Rossmann has a video which explains in more detail Apple’s intentions (previous post).

He refers to a blog called “Daring Fireball” by John Gruber, “Apple’s new ‘Child Safety’ Initiatives and the Slippery Slope”.

So maybe the alarm is not as much as feared.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Apple will install software on iPhones and other devices to surveil for "child abuse imagery"


flowers, 2021-8

Apple will install security software for scanning photos and videos for child pornography (or “child abuse imagery”) with client-side software on the iPhone, as the Washington Post reports in a story by Reed Albergotti, link

Other tech companies have done this server side, such as Google with gMail attachments, and there have been a handful of prosecutions as a result (one in particular in the Houston area).

But there are concerns that the client-side approach could attract hacker or false claims and arrests.  Apple says these are extremely rare and are manually reviewed.  The images are supposedly matched against CMEC in Alexandria VA,  and may be analyzed by facial recognition AI.

Computer repair shops (especially Best Buy) report child pornography when they find it, and there have been complaints about stings at a particular repair shop in Kentucky.  There have been very sporadic reports (dating back to around 2013) that varieties of ransomware could cause this but nothing that has happened consistently (there was a case in Massachusetts in 2012 that I recall).

Cloud backup services (automated hard drive backups) could conceivably do the same.  If they did, that could make the hacker risk more serious.

Ars Technica reran the Financial Times story by Tim Bradshaw et al  Apple says it will report an image to law enforcement only if it is manually reviewed.  What seems unclear is whether images could be placed there by hackers or phishing or website attacks unbeknownst to the device owner. Right now, Apple devices typically have less security (from third party companies like Trend) than do Windows computers.  A manual review would not necessarily detect a hacker-placed image, bringing back some issues previously discussed back in 2013.   AP also has a story by Frank Bajak and Barbara Ortutay.  Apple also plans to scan encrypted messages for evidence of child abuse