Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security Your Rights Online

Ex-judge Gets 27 Months on Evidence From Hacked PC 610

Posted by samzenpus
from the lesser-of-two-evils dept.
netbsd_fan writes "A former California judge has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for possession of illegal pornography, based entirely on evidence gathered by an anonymous vigilante script kiddie in Canada. At any given time he was monitoring over 3,000 innocent people. The anonymous hacker says, "I would stay up late at night to see what I could drag out of their computers, which turned out to be more than I expected. I could read all of their e-mails without them knowing. As far as they were concerned, they didn't know their e-mails had even been opened. I could see who they were chatting with and read what they were saying as they typed."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ex-judge Gets 27 Months on Evidence From Hacked PC

Comments Filter:
  • by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:11AM (#18106192) Homepage
    Oh sure, blame Canada.
  • Lousy summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by StrongGlad (687909) * on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:12AM (#18106200)
    The summary is misleading on multiple fronts... First, according to the 2002 story, the "hacker" spent considerable time writing the trojan used to access the judge's porn stash---he's hardly a "script kiddie," as the summary dubs him. And "anonymous"? The guy was identified by name in both of the TFAs: "Brad Willman, the Canadian hacker, forwarded the information to an anti-pedophile watchdog group, which then sent the information to Irvine police detectives." "Dubbed 'Citizen Tipster' by police, Brad Willman, spent night after night writing a Trojan Horse program that gave him complete control over every computer that downloaded it. "
    • Also... (Score:5, Informative)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:16AM (#18106218)
      This was not the sole evidence. The hacker mearly tipped off the authorities. The judge also admitted that he stored the images.

      On /. it used to be that you didn't RTFA, but now I think that it is now time you didn't RTFSummary! Editing and summarising are just crap!

    • by Gazzonyx (982402) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:48AM (#18106408)
      The hacker in question was referred to as a 'script kiddy' solely for the fact that upon hearing of his success in implicating the former judge, he immediately blogged his victory on myspace under the appropriate title of 'PWN3D!'. Ergo, this title is moreso an indicator of maturity than his technical skill level, and furthermore, an indicator that he lives in his parents basement.
      • by fbjon (692006) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:00AM (#18106478) Homepage Journal

        an indicator that he lives in his parents basement.
        From TFA:

        "And don't tell me about meeting girls -- boy oh boy."

        He is now working hard to launch a computer security career and thinking about moving out of his parents' basement to assume a new identity so he can hack again.

        He is, in fact, living in his parents' basement. This guy's a slashdotter for sure.
        • by Gazzonyx (982402) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:15AM (#18106566)
          I'm a slashdotter, as well; I didn't read the article and posted about it anyways.

          Never in my life has blindly applying a stereotype yielded such positive results! I laughed at first, and then it hit me. As irony would have it, the double bladed sword in this case is that I just blindly applied a stereotype, that hit the nail on the head through the dark, only to realize that I just made fun of the very guy that the world sees me as.

          Oh cruel irony! It doth smite me mightily! Twice.

  • Bust the buster? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dotslashdot (694478) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:13AM (#18106208)
    Isn't the hacker in legal trouble for downloading the same 3,000 pictures? (How else did he know the content was illegal?) He had to download them to his computer to view them, thereby committing the same crime as the guy he outed.
    • by bersl2 (689221) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:23AM (#18106252) Journal
      Good point. What's the difference between possession with intent to expose someone and possession with intent to masturbate? It's still possession, right?

      Could I have worded that any worse? :D
    • by antiphoton (821735) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:29AM (#18106296)
      Not to mention having access to 3000 other innocent people's systems including police and military personal. Not only that, but he could also view any email correspondence by that judge, which could have included sensitive court material.

      While his actions are most likely altruistic, he should be punished for his deeds and then be enlisted by some the Canadian police and do it legally.

      • by Elemenope (905108) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:00AM (#18106480)

        Not only that, but he could also view any email correspondence by that judge, which could have included sensitive court material.

        Show me a judge who handles sensitive court correspondence by e-mail and I'll show you a judge I dearly want to smack in the face really, really hard.

        he should be punished for his deeds and then be enlisted by some the Canadian police and do it legally

        I wouldn't find it at all more comforting that the guy who has the job (self-appointed or not) trolling through private e-mails has a badge. Wouldn't that make him *more* dangerous to the average privacy-loving John Q. Whatever?

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:40AM (#18106376) Homepage
      The hacker could have just as easily uploaded the 3,000 pictures to the judge's computer.
      Is this type of evidence really admissable? It's not like the hacker can be trusted, after all he DID illegally hack into computers. Perhaps it was his intent to incriminate somebody. He was able to monitor a large number of computers and it just happenned to be an ex-judge's computer that had the pictures? It may be true, but it's a damn big coincidence.
      • by DrYak (748999) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:19AM (#18106588) Homepage
        The judge kept a detailed diary of his actions.

        Not only has the judge admitted the diary was genuine BUT ALSO a former victim came forward and spoke AND the police found the diary to seem real enough.
        At no moment did the judge contest the fact and pretend to have been victim of some spyware/virus.

        Therefore the ex-judge can be judged, even if the hacker will also be :
        - Told (once more) to stop breaching into people's computers because it's illegal.
        - Told to get an actual job at the police to be able to do it legally.
    • by kestasjk (933987) * on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:01AM (#18106486) Homepage
      What I want to know is where do you draw the line when it comes to taking down child molesters?

      Whenever a politician wants to push some privacy invading law he has only to utter the magic words "kiddie porn" and there's no rebuttal. If a hacker invades your privacy and reads your e-mail that's terrible; unless he suspects you're a child molester, in which case he's a "hero".

      One of the funniest, most well adjusted people I know was molested at six; it doesn't scar you for life, a savage beating from bullies just might though. Why do we practically encourage bullying but go to any lengths to stop child molesters?

      Obviously here I have to clarify my stance, or people will start taking out their pitchforks.. Child molestation and kiddie porn is revolting, but what about getting stabbed? What about being forced to take addictive drugs and prostitute yourself to earn them? What about privacy?
      No-one in power has the guts to say "we're going too far", because then they'll be labeled as a sympathizer.

      What about the child prostitutes that everyone knows about, but won't donate money to build good orphanages to put them in? We go to any lengths to stop the abuse of children, unless it costs us money. If Brett is such a anti-child molester hero why not get a job, and donate money to take kids off the streets?
      Because Brett just wants an excuse to get a rush from "hacking" (ie installing a trojan on gullible users computers, the nirvana of incredible hacks). He's just like loads of other "hacktivists"; working and donating money just isn't as exciting.


      I'm not saying the evidence shouldn't be counted, but I do think calling Brett a "hero" for reading thousands of peoples e-mails for years on end is absurd.
      Out of those thousands of people were any of them not child molesters? I'm guessing the majority weren't, since he has only a couple of arrests attributed to him. Would you call Brett a hero if you were one of the people he had been monitoring for years? Personally I'd want to lodge the end of my boot up his asshole.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        What about the child prostitutes that everyone knows about

        WHERE? I mean... that's terrible...

      • by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:02AM (#18106752) Homepage Journal

        I'm not saying the evidence shouldn't be counted, but I do think calling Brett a "hero" for reading thousands of peoples e-mails for years on end is absurd.

        I think the evidence shouldn't be counted. It was obtained illegally, by a vigilante. What kind of a precedent are we setting here. That some self righteous group of private citizens will take it upon themselves to police everyone else. There's a recipe for disaster if ever there was one.

        Brett isn't a hero. He's a zealot. A criminal zealot. I don't care how may witches^Dpedophiles may or may not walk free. Frankly I will trust the pedophile before I trust vigilantes, because at least with the pedophiles you know where they stand.

        Vigilantes are just hungry for blood and power. Guilt, innocence and even the crime itself are secondary concerns to them.
      • by vic-traill (1038742) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:15AM (#18106832)

        Obviously here I have to clarify my stance, or people will start taking out their pitchforks.

        No pitchforks here. I agree with you - when the accusation includes anything at all similar to 'kiddie porn', the high moral ground has been occupied, and it seems like everything else goes out the windows

        Glad to see the ex-judge busted, but wouldn't trust the kid as far as I can throw him. He weirds me out at least as much as the judge.

        I mean, you can't argue the result here. But the method sure creeps me out. By focusing on child porn images, this dude gets to stalk 3000 people. And he does is by distributing a trojan, and manually reviewing the material on target computers.

        The alt.comp.virus FAQ http://www.faqs.org/faqs/computer-virus/alt-faq/pa rt3/ [faqs.org] references a backgrounder on the legalities of computer crime. It's venerable (1998), so I don't know to what extent the author's assertions are still accurate, but he is pretty clear: Distributing a virus affecting computers used substantially by the government or financial institutions is a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. So if this had ended up on a qualifying computer, the kid would (should) have been busted. Furthermore, Most states have statutes that make it a crime to intentionally interfere with a computer system. These statutes will often cover viruses as well as other forms of computer crime.

        The referenced document can be found at http://www.loundy.com/E-LAW/E-Law4-full.html#VII [loundy.com] in Section D.

        As well, if the judge hadn't admitted the journal in question was his, and disclaimed knowledge of the images, how far could they have gotten with this prosecution? The kid admits distributing a trojan, how far is it from there to distributing material? I think a defence lawyer could have a field day with this, but IANAL, just another guy with an opinion.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:31AM (#18107142)
        I completely agree that it doesn't necessarily scar people for life. My wife was molested from the time she was ~5 until she was nearly 15, and she is very well adjusted. We now have a child of our own and a happy marriage as well as a healthy sex life. I know for a fact that I get more upset thinking about it then she does. It's a terrible thing to happen, but people can overcome it and unless she told you it happened nobody would have any idea that she'd had such a disgusting thing happen to her for 10 years.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by westlake (615356)
        If a hacker invades your privacy and reads your e-mail that's terrible; unless he suspects you're a child molester, in which case he's a "hero".

        The hacker may be a hero in his own eyes.

        But, to a judge, the only question is whether his evidence is relevant and admissible.

        Private citizens aren't held to the same standards as the police.

        One of the funniest, most well adjusted people I know was molested at six; it doesn't scar you for life, a savage beating from bullies just might though. Why do we practica

      • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @01:37PM (#18110598)
        Its amazing isnt it. The main article just glossses over the massive computer crimes done by this canadian. The double standard for kiddie porn is mind-blowing and has built some real scary precedents. I'm just afraid the damage has been done and anything done under the guise of 'protecting children' is the root password to the most basic civil rights.
    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:41AM (#18106670)

      Isn't the hacker in legal trouble for downloading the same 3,000 pictures? (How else did he know the content was illegal?) He had to download them to his computer to view them, thereby committing the same crime as the guy he outed.
      Not only that, but the description of the guy sounds like he could easily be in denial and attempting to compensate for it by going all out in the reverse direction -- in the same way that so many fire-and-brimstone anti-gay preachers and politicians turn out to be exactly what they hate the most.

      Of course it could just be the reporter exaggerating for effect.

      Either way, here's the relevant part of the second article:

      Dubbed "Citizen Tipster" by police, Brad Willman, spent night after night writing a Trojan Horse program that gave him complete control over every computer that downloaded it.

      Alone and in the dark, he sat for up to 16 hours a day monitoring hundreds of targets, secretly reading their e-mail and tracking their every step online.

      He started keeping files on the targeted users. He tracked them for almost three years --recording everything. The majority of his targets were ordinary people -- but some in the files included priests, social workers, soldiers, police officers and justice officials.

      He catalogued each file by degree of risk and focused on suspected child-porn producers and molesters.

      This was his life. He had no friends in school and skipped the prom. Even these days, his only entertainment away from the computer is going to the odd movie, alone.

      The son of a coffee shop owner, Mr. Willman, a.k.a. Omni-Potent, finds if hard to socialize and rarely answers the telephone. He can only be himself online -- staring at the screen and chewing sour candies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1u3hr (530656)
      Give him a pass for hacking the judge. Prosecute him for hacking the other 2999 people. Self-righteous busy body he is. Of course, the 2999 people will all be too afraid to make a fuss, as they'll be branded as pedophiles.
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @12:13PM (#18109424)

        Give him a pass for hacking the judge.

        No, really, don't. This guy knowingly, systematically broke the law for an extended period, invading thousands of people's privacy in the process. He should spend the next few months in jail. He should then spend the next few years prohibited from going near anything that has the slightest chance of spying on others: networked computers, camera or video equipment, binoculars and telescopes, the works. If he ever talks about anything else he saw during the period to anyone, he should automatically spend the next few years in solitary confinement. And he should be banned from holding any public office that requires access to confidential information for the rest of his life, including any possibility of ever serving in the police or security services. There are enough good people on the right side of the law that we don't need ethically unstable people in that sort of position of responsibility.

        Seriously, privacy invasion is one of the nastiest things you can do to someone. It's subtle, but as with related concerns like identity theft, the damage can be life-changing and can last a very long time. With modern technology making covert surveillance and data collection on a massive scale a realistic possibility, the only defence is to annihilate the people who would abuse such technology to violate the basic rights of others.

        This guy should not be hailed as a hero. He should be made an example. And the evidence against the judge should be given zero weight in court as a matter of legal principle. The end cannot justify the means in cases like this, or the world will become a very nasty place to live.

  • Illegal evidence (Score:5, Informative)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:16AM (#18106222)
    And how the fuck you can convince someone on evidence that got obtained in an illegal way?

    And why the script kiddie isn't in jail? Spying and breaking the privacy of many thousands of people (the blurb suggests it was way more than 3000) isn't something to shake a stick at.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      And why the script kiddie isn't in jail? Spying and breaking the privacy of many thousands of people (the blurb suggests it was way more than 3000) isn't something to shake a stick at.

      Once the ex-judge's computer had been hacked by "some guy" the state of that system should be considered to be tainted. Who's to say that Brad Willman wasn't using that system as a proxy?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TapeCutter (624760)
      "And how the fuck you can convince someone on evidence that got obtained in an illegal way?"

      Yeah, like that doesn't happen in the "drug war". Besides in this case the cops obtained the evidence legally since the guy gave it to them volantarily, they could also drag his arse into court if they wanted to be politically "brave".

      OTHOH: The politics of peodophelia makes this a very neat cover for anyone in the industrial espionage or black-mailing bussiness.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zakezuke (229119)
      And how the fuck you can convince someone on evidence that got obtained in an illegal way?

      Well... just because evidence was gathered illegaly doesn't mean it can't be admited. IANAL but I seem to recall provisions in the law for this. If you are law enforcement... then they are obligated to obey certain rules of conduct. On the other hand, ordinary citizens are not required to. I also seem to recall the fact that wiretaps cross boarders are totally admissible... at least according to moaning canadians
    • Real world example (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grahamsz (150076)
      What is a burgler breaks into your house and finds a stash of kiddie porn which he the reports, or perhaps a body in the freezer.

      The intent is different but the end result is that one illegal act is uncovered during a less illegal one. Usually they let the lesser act slide, although there's still 2999 people that were hacked and I can't see why they'd let the hacker walk on those charges.
  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:20AM (#18106232) Homepage


    The son of a coffee shop owner, Mr. Willman, a.k.a. Omni-Potent, ....

    And he stayed up all night .. night after night ... I wonder what kept him awake ?

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:21AM (#18106240) Homepage
    Because obviously the hacker is guilty of more crimes than that judge

    -> clear violation of privacy of thousands of people
    -> use of that information for private gain
    -> passing off vigilante-collected information to the police
    -> (plus or minus) collecting that same porn

    All this obviously without a court order, or even being in the police force.

    This is also seriously worse than the riaa has ever done. So what should the punishment for the hacker be ? Clearly he cannot go free, despite having caught this criminal.
  • protect children (Score:3, Insightful)

    by viking80 (697716) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:21AM (#18106244) Journal
    So he is giving out child porn with a Trojan Horse embedded, and then illegally trespassing onto the (3000) infected computers.

    This sounds about as bad as it can get.

    From the article:
    "He... ignored police threats that if he didn't stop he'd be arrested for breaching privacy"

    I guess since "His motives was always to protect children who can't protect themselves", it is all ok.
  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:31AM (#18106320)
    I'd toss out the conviction of the judge based on an illegal search and seizure, prosecute the hacker through the DCMCA and general wire-tapping laws, and allow the judge to file a civil suit for property invasion. You can't spy on everyone possible where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy to see if they might be doing something illegal. You need a search warrant when American citizens are involved. So while breaking and entering into the judge's computer and finding data contraband, who knows what personal details of other people's lives, financial data, credit card numbers, etc. that this criminal has gathered while repeatedly breaking and entering into other people's property. I can't trespass into your home to see if you have drugs or child porn or what have you. Even if I find something illegal, I've already broken into your home and searched it top from bottom, without your knowledge, consent, or a search warrant, and I've broken into thousands of other houses and found nothing. This is the same thing; the hacker is a one-man brownshirt, with no respect for the rule of law or due process.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:09AM (#18106792) Homepage
      I'd toss out the conviction of the judge based on an illegal search and seizure, prosecute the hacker through the DCMCA and general wire-tapping laws, and allow the judge to file a civil suit for property invasion.

      It doesn't work that way. If a burglar breaks into your house and finds your child porn stash, then reports it to the police they can prosecute you all they like. The laws against illegal search and seizure only applies to law enforcement. The burglar is still guilty of breaking and entering though.

      However, if that burglar is told "it's ok, you can keep breaking into people's houses as long as you report any child porn to us" then the burglar has become an agent of law enforcement, and any case after that point should be thrown out. If they refuse to investigate or prosecute cases where they suspect the same burglar has been at work, they're equally much doing so.

      In order to make this work he should never have identified himself, never been in contact with law enforcement. He should only have left a package at their doorstep, never allowing any contact that could make him an agent of law enforcement. Those rules are very strict exactly so that you can't have a "pseudo-police" that doesn't need to follow the rules. Anyone who's paid any attention to history would know why that would be a very bad thing.
  • by d_jedi (773213) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:35AM (#18106342)
    The "hacker" should be punished. Out of the 3000 or so systems he has infected with his trojan.. how many have contained illegal content? Why has he not been charged for violating the privacy/tresspassing/etc. for (at least) those whose computers are "clean"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by erroneus (253617)
      At the very least, this person should be sued into non-existance by the victims of the hacking. I'm quite certain that even in Canada, by his own admission, has has likely broken many laws associated with terrorism, breaking and entering, tresspassing and any number of laws associated with privacy and computer security.
  • by Don_dumb (927108) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:47AM (#18106402)
    Then you can be sure there are one hundred doing it for ill.

    But similar to what posters earlier have pointed out - How can we solely trust a trojan writer? How do we know that the hacker didn't simply set people up? Once he had taken control of their computers he could have planted the files himself.
    Not to mention the fact that he must have broken into a great many innocent people's computers and read their emails. I wonder if they will be so happy of the methods that this superhero used.

    If he knew the places pedophiles frequent, why didn't he just forward that info to the authorities, he can't claim that they weren't putting enough effort into fighting child pornography.
  • by zoftie (195518) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:48AM (#18106406) Homepage
    http://www.irvineworldnews.com/Astories/oct30/klin e.htm [irvineworldnews.com]

    Constitution is a good thing, even if it protect liberties, even in this case. However when government wants to overstep their boundaries its fair game anyway. However overstepping their boundaries won't work, because it won't let them successfully prosecute criminals, as it will fly in the face of the constitutional rights.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:49AM (#18106412)
    This idiot thought he was doing the authorities a favor by finding evidence of what he saw as wrongdoing.

    To do this he broke into systems and spied without a warrant, probable cause, or any authority whatsoever. Most of the people he did this to were innocent, but in any case the 'evidence' he found cannot be used to prosecute with. I doubt if he has much concept of the 'chain of evidence' anyway, so it will be inadmissable for all sorts of reasons.

    'Never mind', you say, 'he has gained valuable intelligence. The authorities can mount a raid later and do things properly'.

    But by his own admission these target machines have been hacked by a person anxious to 'find' kiddyporn distributors and users. Surely this makes ANYTHING on that system suspect thereafter? When accused, all the judge has to do is claim that he has never seen these photos before, and they must have been placed there by the hacker. Indeed, from TFA I think that is a credible possibility.

    Not only has this idiot committed a nasty computer crime by hacking into innocent people's machines, he has messed up the possibilities of any future prosecution of people who may or may not have been involved in an actual crime.

    {irony}
    Of course, the above is only going by the Constitution. Everyone knows that nowadays the rule of law is suspended whenever:

    Patriotism is mentioned
    Children are mentioned
    Global Warming is mentioned
    Security is mentioned
    Road Safety is mentioned ....... .......

    {end irony}

  • He's found a judge with child porn on his computer. This judge will hire a competent defense attorney who will argue that Willman put all of the images there. After all, Willman had complete access to the machine, by his own admission. "Willman is a lone wacko who's obsessed by child porn," the attorney will argue.

    And every single child pornographer he's uncovered will do the same. Many of them will get away with it, and precedent will be set.

    There's a reason why we have search laws. Willman has now tainted the evidence in thousands of child porn cases, by his own admission. That's pretty much the definition of "well meaning idiot."
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:57AM (#18106458) Homepage
    ... if someone hacks your network to 'gain evidence' the counter-claim should be that the hacking was done to PLANT evidence. Force an end to the assault on your freedom and your character before the struggle itself becomes your downfall.

    Reasonable doubt then has a good chance to keeping you free. If evidence is not properly gathered from the very beginning, how can proof beyond a reasonable doubt ever be presented?

    This guy copped a plea, though, so much of the background is moot at this point. But I have seen many other cases (typically surrounding divorce where the woman would like to secure custody of children and such) where people's lives had been ruined on the basis of an accusation that could not be defended easily enough. As the article shows, this guy's whole life fell apart during all of this and while the resources of the prosecution are unlimited, the resources of the accused deteriorated and suffocated while he defended against the charges.

    We, the public, will never know the full truth of this. A confession after all the strife he faced is nothing short of coerced and tainted.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:17AM (#18106574)
    In the big picture of things, If he didnt touch a child... is he really guilty of anything?

    The hacker could have placed the pictures there...

    I think this is way too shady.

    Even if they were his pictures... isnt it a thought crime?

  • LOTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:00AM (#18106744) Homepage Journal
    Welcome to the Land Of The Free, where you can be locked up for two years for looking at pictures.

    Yeah, mod me flamebait because I didn't think of the chiiiiildren. It's still a fact that we yell and cry about the horrors of tyranny if people are forbidden from reading any book they like, but in our own culture people don't have the freedom to look at any pictures they like. And there are cases where people have been sentenced for child porn that was created digitially, with no actual childs harmed.
    • if i said to you:

      "Welcome to the Land Of The Free, where you can be locked up for two years for driving your car."

      that sounds downright awful, right? except i neglected to add that the guy locked up for driving his car was DRUNK. do you think that bit of information changes the situation?

      so you go:

      "Welcome to the Land Of The Free, where you can be locked up for two years for looking at pictures."

      damn, what an evil place! ..."pictures of naked children"

      oh... i think that changes things a bit

      by cutting out ke
  • by bxbaser (252102) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:25AM (#18106880)
    And whatever else he did that was illegal.
    The end doesnt justify the means.
    How many of the 3000 where innocent ?
  • by gd23ka (324741) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:48AM (#18106978) Homepage
    Sex with children is yet another sickening fact of life that goes back for
    thousands of yearsand will still be around long after the internet is gone.
    Sadly child molestation is not even by far the worst thing to happen
    to a child. War and starvation are what KILL hundreds of thousands
    of children each year(!), and do speak to that little african girl
    who had her right leg blown away if she'd rather stripped and danced
    naked in front of dirty old men than step on that Made in U.S.A
    land mine. Talk of old men abusing children, that little girl had
    a virtual sit on Donald Rumsfeld's abusive lap instead.

    That's as far as the hubris here is concerned, now how about the
    civil liberties angle. Here we have the "Uuuuh, uuuh it's for the
    children"angle yet again but what is next? Does our sociophobic
    sour drop gobbling citizen vigilante get to break into our homes
    next and search them forillegal substances? Does he get the right to
    assault me on a street and go through my pockets??
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:50AM (#18106986) Journal

    The trojan was spread through usenet in specific pedofile newsgroups. Downloading an image file (wich is how the trojan was diguised) from such a group is NOT something an innocent person would do. Downloading childporn is a crime in most of the western world. End of story. If you download a file from such a group then you are apparently willing to commit a crime.

    Oh yeah, "innocent" until proven guilty. Well by that logic the police makes a habbit about arresting innocent people all the time.

    There is in the west the idea of a fair trial. I think the mistake made here is that some people think that means fair as in fairplay. The way that in golf a better player should handicap himself to make the game "fair" to a lesser player.

    It does not mean that. Instead it means fair as in honest. No false evidence, a chance to defend oneself and such. At no time does it mean that the police should have to handicap itself to give a criminal a chance to get out of a conviction.

    The problem is that it is hard to do this. We don't want the police constantly being able to search just anyone and anything they like BUT the countermeasure does lead to criminals using their so called right to privacy to hide evidence. THAT was not the idea but it is the sideeffect.

    Privacy is there to protect the innocent NOT the guilty. Sadly it is impossible to have one without the other.

    But it is still hard for me not to cheer this guy on. No I don't enjoy the idea of me being snooped upon just because I downloaded something innocent (the trojan was after all NOT real childporn) BUT this guy did get a man arrested who put his 8yr old daughter up for use by pedofiles. (another case mentioned in the article that this guy uncovered)

    I am sorry, but that overrules a lot of privacy concerns for me. I am that most rare of slashdot readers. A middle of the roader. A moderate. I believe that communist, capatilists and liberals are ALL wrong. Their ideas are based on the idea that humans are perfect in one way or another when they are not.

    This guy showed us that our rules of privacy and allowed methods of police investigation allow very serious criminals to go undetected and unpunished.

    You might say that you consider your privacy to be worth the sale of a 8yr old girl. I do not. Maybe I am damned for that to live in a police state. But what is the alternative? A free society OR something much worse then a police state?

    Look at russia, they went from a police state but I don't think they are exactly living in a free society either.

    We should use this case as an eye-opener. Clearly there is a gap between the type of crimes commited and what the police is allowed to detect. If the police had been allowed to use this guy's methods how many pedofiles might have been arrested who are now still free to commit their crimes?

    On the other hand, how much of our private lifes would we all have to give up to make this possible?

    It is balancing issue and at the moment I think the balance favors the criminals too much. Consider this,"the innocent may have somethign to fear from the police, but they certainly have something to fear from criminals the police cannot touch".

  • Rule of Thumb (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rodney dill (631059) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:32AM (#18107402) Journal
    Never put anything in writing you wouldn't want your mother to read.
  • by sugarmotor (621907) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @09:02AM (#18107602) Homepage
    It's not mentioned, but likely; was the judge running Windows?

    Stephan
  • Slashdot Meme (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rlp (11898) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:10AM (#18108058)
    Just wanted to make sure I understand this:

    Government spying on suspected terrorists w or w/o a warrant - BAD
    Vigilante spying on suspected perverts w/o a warrant = GOOD

When all else fails, read the instructions.

Working...