Monday, April 25, 2016

Autistic man in VA indicted for possession of c.p., acquired through peer-peer app, legal circumstances are troubling


NBC Washington (NBC4) has reported an arrest of a young man with autism (possibly Aspergers) for possession of child pornography in Stafford County, VA.  The young man was first contacted by the sheriff in the early spring of 2015 but his grandparents thought the charges would be dropped.  But recently he spent four days in jail, in jeopardy because of autism, after an indictment.
 
The young man is 27.

NBC4 has not yet put the story online.  I’ll provide the link when available.  I won’t give the name of the person (for search engines to find) since the person has not been convicted and the situation seems so questionable.  NBC4 says it is unusual for grandparents or relatives to be forthcoming about an arrest, but this one might not be justifiable and may be overkill.   The defense attorney could consider contacting Electronic Frontier Foundation.
 
The incident happened when the young man downloaded the c.p. through a peer-to-peer app.  It is not clear how the content was detected.  It may have been flagged by an automated procedure checking for images on a NCMEC database.  It might be possible that it was detected in the Cloud.  But it is critical that the public know how the images (apparently 52 of them) were detected. It is not completely clear if the young man knew they were illegal or even saw them when they arrived on his computer, or whether any malware could have been involved.   This is a very troubling case.

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