Emerging Tech

Encryption blurs admissible evidence in child porn case

Sebastien Boucher was stopped at the United States - Canadian border on Dec. 17, 2006. At that time, agents inspecting his computer said that they found files containing child pornography. Boucher was promptly arrested, but when the authorities tried to access the files, they ran into the PGP encryption program.

Sebastien Boucher was stopped at the United States - Canadian border on Dec. 17, 2006. At that time, agents inspecting his computer said that they found files containing child pornography. Boucher was promptly arrested, but when the authorities tried to access the files, they ran into the PGP encryption program.

Boucher, a 30-year-old drywall installer, is a Canadian with U.S. residency in New Hampshire where he works. When he was stopped, he assisted agents in the initial inspection, which revealed files with names such as “Two-year-old being raped during diaper change” and “pre-teen bondage.”

Boucher admitted to downloading pornographic images from the Internet through a news board but stated that he unknowingly downloaded images of child pornography. He claimed that he deleted images of child pornography when he realized it, according to an affidavit filed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to federal Magistrate Jerome Niedermeier on Nov 29, 2007, “Producing the password, as if it were a key to a locked container, forces Boucher to produce the contents of his laptop. The password is not a physical thing. If Boucher knows the password, it only exists in his mind.”

On the face of it, this case is simple -- a person trying to carry pornographic images of children across an international border. The catch is whether the courts can compel him to voluntarily abandon his rights under the Fifth Amendment.

From the Globe and Mail:

Orin Kerr, a law professor and computer crime expert at George Washington University, said the distinction that favours the government in Boucher's case is that he initially co-operated and let the agent look at some of the laptop's contents.

“The government can't make you give up your encryption password in most cases. But if you tell them you have a password and that it unlocks that computer, then at that point you no longer have the privilege,” he said.

Tien, the attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said a person's right to keep a password secret is a linchpin of the digital age.

Encryption is “really the only way you can secure information against prying eyes,” he said. “If it's too easy to compel people to produce their crypto keys, it's not much of a protection.”

Another point to consider is that if Magistrate Niedermeier’s ruling is allowed to stand, the result could be "dangerous" for law enforcement. According to Mark Rasch, a privacy and technology expert with FTI Consulting and former federal prosecutor, “If it stands, it means that if you encrypt your documents, the government cannot force you to decrypt them. So you’re going to see drug dealers and pedophiles encrypting their documents, secure in the knowledge that the police can’t get at them."

At the end of the day, we have to consider some truly gripping questions. First, we have to recognize that the rule of law is the rule of law for all. If you fall into U.S. jurisdiction, you are subject to whatever ruling is mandated as “law” on this question.

If we say that by encrypting the files, the individual had a reason to believe that the information should be private, is it okay to say that when the individual is a suspected terrorist? Or pornographer? Or senior business official? Is one better than another?

If we decide that a person’s Fifth Amendment rights are inconsequential, are they always inconsequential? Are we then compelled to self-implicate? Where does the Fifth fit in?

This brings us to some crucial underlying questions -- Where is the line, and HOW do we draw it? Or is the question HOW do we define the line? Can law truly BE case-by-case?

While the first person to test existing law has an unsavory rationale, I have to ask- would you care more if the files under fire were private business documents? Would you feel differently if they were personal documents between you and your significant other? Would you feel differently if they were personal documents between you and your terrorist cell?

How do you think these documents should be handled? Because of their very nature, it seems as if each incident should be considered on its own merits, but how do we define the supporting law?

This isn’t about one guy with questionable content on his laptop. It is much deeper, and the impacts of the answers are far-reaching.

Can you excuse pornography, even child pornography, to keep your business safe? How about your country? How do we define the boundaries, and what is our message to the law makers? How about to law breakers?

More information:

In Child Porn Case, a Digital Dilemma (Washington Post)

Child-porn case hinges on laptop’s password (Orlando Sentinel)

Encrypted laptop poses privacy dilemma (CIO Today)

157 comments
strahab13
strahab13

People think encryption, secret passwords, perversioin, and terrorism were something invented in the last 20 years or so. All these have existed for 100's and 1000's of years and they were certainly around when the Founding Fathers put together this nation (USA) and its Constitution and Bill of Rights. Where has plain old good detective work gone of the Sherlock Holmes variety? A relatively few bad people destory a few office buildings and we start to throw out laws over 100's of years old that form the basis of our society? We really need to get our heds together. This topic shouldn't even be worthy of discussion. The police should get off their lazy behinds and start trying to crack this guys passwords; instead of contemplating the destruction of the core of a civilized society's laws and principles because of some pervert or other criminals.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

There are a few points that need to be considered. The first is that under Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution, the government, in the form of the Customs and Border Patrol can not legally seize anyone's computer, phone, blackberry, etc. if it is legal for you to have them in the first place; unless they have probable cause to suspect you of a crime and get a warrant to do so. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." There's actually two points of consideration under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The first is that the government can not force a person to divulge their encryption password for any reason. "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself" And the Customs and Border Patrol are required by law to return your belongings to you or provide full compensation for the value of the articles seized, which includes the value of the information contained. "No person ... shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." What has happened is that people got lazy and didn't understand their rights under the law. You look these guys in the eyes and tell them "Not unless you have a warrant to take that" and "Either return it immediately, or face a lawsuit" And you have to follow through on that. It's inconvenient, time consuming, and costs money, but it's either that or have Uncle Sam's thugs stomp all over you. As it applies to this case, the government is justified in keeping this guy's computer as by his allowing/showing the agent the suspected files on it, they now have probable cause. They can not force him to divulge the password. By taking the computer before reading the Miranda Rights to this person, they can not use the information discovered before hand for prosecution. The government MUST crack the encryption before they can investigate whether this man was in criminal possession of child porn. If they can't crack it within a reasonable amount of time, legally, they must return the computer to the owner in the same condition they received it, and provide him compensation for loss of use for the time they had it. Law enforcement is filled with incidents where they know the person committed a crime, but can't prove it in a court of law. You have to let the person go, and hope you can catch them next time. To those who say that if you have nothing to hide, then you should let them look, you are oh so very wrong. It's that same process that protects the innocent from police harrassment, false arrest, and false imprisonment.

yosef.sheinfil
yosef.sheinfil

If the judge issues a warrant then the person must comply.

gfhavewala
gfhavewala

What if the guy just claims he forgot his password?

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

There should be a law that if the person is stupid enough to not rename the files, he forfeits his rights. Seriously though, there is a big difference between confidential business files and pornography. What is the difference between giving the police the key to a file and opening the trunk of your car when requested? Yes, you have the right to refuse but then they have the right to tow it. Eventually, they will open the trunk (or file), with or without your help, I don't think it's self-incrimination.

frylock
frylock

The government isn't doing anything about the drug dealers in my neighborhood now, how is letting them encrypt their computer files going to make anything worse?

Brazen1
Brazen1

I think this falls under the same issues as when are the police allowed to come into your home regardless of your permission. If they want access to your laptop, then they should have to get a warrant. I am not too concerned about privacy from law enforcement though, because, well, I don't break the law. And I'm not too worried about going to jail because a cop finds a love letter I wrote to my wife on my computer.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Other than allowing Members of the [b]Law Community[/b] to become involved in what should be a purely Technical Issue who messed up here? From the above it appears that the Authorities in this case did as what where they doing looking a the contents of a NB in the first place. Most Legal Professionals look badly on [b]Fishing Expiation's[/b] to catch the [b]Bad Guys[/b] as this is Poor Police Work with no Investigation involved but relies on the Probability of a Chance Encounter to be successful. After all it's common knowledge that all Encryption Software has [b]Back Doors[/b] that the Government has access to but here it appears that some people who shouldn't have been involved tried to get involved and become the [b]Glory Boys.[/b] This is always bound to lead to failures. Col

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]While the first person to test existing law has an unsavory rationale, I have to ask- would you care more if the files under fire were private business documents? Would you feel differently if they were personal documents between you and your SO? Would you feel differently if they were personal documents between you and your "cell"?[/i] Because of my feelings, I can understand that cops on the scene might make different calls, but once this gets to the courts, I don't think the lines are fuzzy at all. Whether it's terrorism, child porn or industrial espionage, if a file name provides "reasonable suspicion," confiscate the device. Whether or not the owner of the device has the legal right to withhold the password likewise seems a straightforward application of the Fifth Amendment. I don't understand Orin Kerr's reasoning, so I'm going to go read the [i]Globe and Mail[/i] article. ... That didn't help; I still don't understand what his reasoning could possibly be, and TiggerTwo already included [I should have expected it!] all the pertinent information. [i]Orin Kerr, a law professor and computer crime expert at George Washington University, said the distinction that favours the government in Boucher???s case is that he initially co-operated and let the agent look at some of the laptop???s contents. "The government can???t make you give up your encryption password in most cases. But if you tell them you have a password and that it unlocks that computer, then at that point you no longer have the privilege," he said.[/i] It looks clearly like Boucher chose to voluntarily provide some of his "papers, and effects" when he had the option not to [Fourth Amendment]. How Kerr deduces that he is now legally obligated to waive his Fifth Amendment right to not be a witness against himself, is a true mystery. They should confiscate the computer, and hope they can crack the encryption before the statute of limitations expires. The same would hold for reasonable suspicion of terrorism or of a commercial crime, I hope.

Altotus
Altotus

It is about overturning the real law and principal of this country not about anything else. There are no innocents and no one who cant be controlled utterly and forever. Give up the principle of of law and be ruled by the letter.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but I am not familiar with the Patriot Act and any "extra" power that border agents may have. This obviously is not a home security issue though. With the God awful email junk that gets in the delete files of many innocent people, I would think this man has a good case if he takes the fifth. Of course just uncooperation is all that is required to protect ones 4th amendment rights. In firearms cases you are required to show registration paperwork; but you are not required to produce the actual weapon, if you invoke your rights. No telling about border cases though.

YeaiBetYouDo
YeaiBetYouDo

"Why is it different than letting an agent into your house? If the judge issues a warrant then the person must comply. " The issue here is not whether or not to allow law enforcement to search your home, your property or your computer, the issue is whether that warrant gives them the right to force you to divulge information, clearly it does not. This really is not an issue, the fifth amendment states, no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. This gives you the right to refuse to answer any question which you believe would form self incriminating evidence. If you believe in your rights under the 5th amendment, in any circumstances where law enforcment attempts to twist the the word of law to force you to divulge your encryption passwords, the answer to their questions should simply be, sorry I do not recall.

silversidhe
silversidhe

The constitution is broken and the foundation of law is gone. Kiss your civil rights byebye.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]And I'm not too worried about going to jail because a cop finds a love letter I wrote to my wife on my computer.[/i] ... your pet name for your wife is "baby" and you tell her what you'd like to do to her when you get home.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Which law, who's law, the law from when, new ones, old ones, one's some clever lawyer dug up because everybody 'forgot' it was still there. Ones they just enacted to get you, often retroactively to make sure? How about the one you didn't break but they fitted you up for. That's just in your own country, never mind someone elses. Remember ignorance is rarely, if ever a defence.

rpolunsky
rpolunsky

I agree that cops reading a love letter to your wife isn't a concern. What happens if you send an email to your wife while angry at your boss and say "I wish the so-and-so would die"? You don't ever use intemperate language or say anything that could be interpreted out of context? If so, nominate yourself for sainthood. If however you're like the rest of humanity, you have good reason to worry. Cops under pressure and district attorneys looking for publicity have a history of using anything that looks like a handle to advertise another suspicious character caught. Yes, the truth may eventually out - but the line down in these parts is, you can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride.

Popoyd
Popoyd

To obtain a warrant cops need some sort of evidence or probable cause. Is a judge thinks there is enough reason to go search you home/office/meth factory etc. then you're game. These warrants can and often do include records, computers, files, etc. that help law enforcement buils a case or clear the suspect. With the same logic you should get a warrant to compel a password. I don't see the fifth in here anywhere. Your computer may not be as incriminating as you paper files, or the body in the fridge, so why the fuss here?

jdclyde
jdclyde

If you give a cop PERMISSION to check your trunk, they can use anything they find as evidence against you. There is nothing in the right to not incriminate yourself that would make you give up the password though. What a dummy, to take the time to encrypt the files, but then leave the file names to such obvious clues as to the illegal content. They say criminals get caught because they do something stupid to get caught, as if mentally they know they have done something wrong and want to be punished.

SirLanse
SirLanse

PGP does not, the open source encrypters don't. Enough eyes have looked at them to be sure there is not a back door. Some are easier to crack than others. But for fun: Build a few files with a random number generator, name them BabySmut.gif and let the feds try and decrypt them.

seanferd
seanferd

"Unlock this door." "I have no key for that." "Since we have a warrant/probable cause, we are breaking the door down." Now it's up to law enforcement to decrypt the files or make a reasonable case in court that the encrypted files in fact represent actual child pr0n. Perhaps by finding files of the same name in the wild and finding points of similarity (name, size, etc.). Circumstantial evidence can be plenty good enough.

RFink
RFink

If I go to the trouble of encrypting files it's because I want privacy. We all agree that child porn is a bad thing but I'm more worried about a government using encryption than someone concealling child porn. Ask yourself this question: How many innocent people has child porn killed?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

If they get a warrant to sercah your house, does that give them the power to search the safe in it, whether you reemeber the combination or not? My understanding was serch warrant in the US constrained what could be searhed for not where within. Course that sill doesn't mean you have to cough up the password, yourself.

dhb911
dhb911

It is not just in the USA. I remember Pierre Trudeau rounding up students and holding them when the Quebecquois kidnapped and killed the Labour Minister. They just vanished like in Chile. Eventually they were released. Many months later. Look it up. And the students weren't even affiliated with the FLQ. I guess what I am saying is, if the government wants you there is nothing that can stop them. Russian, British, Canadien or USA. Especially not a barrister/lawyer or a law.

RFink
RFink

Just becasue the police show up at my house with a warrent how do I know it is valid and not made with Photoshop or something? Can I get the phone number of the judge who signed it? Scan in a judge's signature and the police can have warrents on demand.

RFink
RFink

According to my understanding, warrants don't apply to passwords because they only apply to physical objects. Now if the password was written down, they could get the paper... Quoting the 4th Amendment "... and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Another reason not to write down passwords.

seanferd
seanferd

If the cops find something questionable in your trunk, you are absolutely under no obligation to explain it. I a defendant testifies in court about a particular subject, he can't pick and choose to answer certain questions and then plead the fifth on wholly related questions. I don't know the letter of the law here, but it is something like that. I welcome any explication or correction.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

email submissions for new encryption scheams. They would email you back with the time it took to crack and the contents...

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I can say with all honestly that they do it every day. Granted I did it a long time ago but the Toys that they have now are just so much better than what I had to use way back then. :( Col

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

tell anyone how the files got there, nor whether they were manually or automatically encrypted.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Especially for file sizes of the magnitude of video, even grainy compressed video, the probability of an [i]exact[/i] file size match is infinitesimal. Please pass the tin foil, because now the whole event looks like a publicity stunt to further marginalize anybody who still values his privacy and considers that legitimate. Thanks a lot, seanferd, that was just how I wanted to start my day. X-( [Seriously, thanks, between this kind of story and the Congress' well-known plot to provide blanket immunity to everybody who violates FISA, with or without "good faith" expectation of the legality of their actions, this is really not "tin foil" territory, at all.] I can't believe I just freaking edited an emoticon. X-(

DanLM
DanLM

The people that molest and kill children. You don't think they have kiddy porn? Dan

david.hornbeck
david.hornbeck

My guess is that raping a child pretty much kills or at least DESTROYS the life of that child every single time, and I consider them to be innocent. Where does this put the total? There are nearly 250,000 sexual offenders in prison in the US. This is roughly 1 out of every thousand people in the US. Nearly 60% of their victims where under 12. I suspect that the average number of victims for each of those was far higher than 1. Now extend this out for a world population of several billion, to consider what the percentage of people sexually abused as a child. 1 person in a thousand puts this value in the millions. If the rate is this high, this puts this issue somewhere in the same neighborhood as Hitler's geneocide of the Jewish people in Europe during WWII. While I do not agree with the death penalty for murder, I am fine with it as an appropriate punishment for pedophiles. They cannot be cured, and the world needs to be protected from them. Should he be forced to give up his password? No, probably not. Should the NB be confiscated and the password hacked? Yes. At that point, perhaps we can line him up for old sparky...

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]We all agree that child porn is a bad thing...[/i] Yes, we do; some of us believe it is a conversation-stopper, and trumps everybody else's rights. I don't.

Larry the Security Guy
Larry the Security Guy

"Ask yourself this question: How many innocent people has child porn killed?" It doesn't matter how many people have been killed, it's still a crime. How many minor children has it mentally, emotionally and socially affected for the rest of their lives?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

as no longer innocent, not many. Did you really mean to say that ? It sort of comes out, well bad.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

seeing as that was almost certainly what was happening in practice. I bet a few defense lawyers had a big sob over that ruling. Must have chalked a few off the win column that. When we saw Kojak bemoaning that sort of thing us brits always thought you were way too liberal. :p

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]The Supreme Court in one of its more usual dumb moments watered this down to the point that once a warrant is issued the authorities can look anywhere and if you "Forgot" the combination to your safe they can force it.[/i] In the case of encryption, they can request the "combination," and they can [b]try[/b] to force it.

normhaga
normhaga

While the U.S. Constitution requires specificity, case law has determined that once a warrant has been issued it can be used to search for things not specifically mentioned and also allow for the search of things not specifically mentioned. As an example, say a warrant were to specify the bedroom and entry closet for a pound of weed. Under the constitution to search the bathroom, a new warrant would need to be issued. If there was a safe in your bedroom, likewise a new warrant would would need to be issued. The Supreme Court in one of its more usual dumb moments watered this down to the point that once a warrant is issued the authorities can look anywhere and if you "Forgot" the combination to your safe they can force it.

JamesRL
JamesRL

The think that I hate, as evidenced by this example, is the hyperbolic use of silly comparisons. Whether its Nazis or Chile under Pinochet or Stalin or whoever, these attempts to slam politicians of all stripes with outlandish comaprisons to megalomanical dictators is just plain silly. They do mark the user as someone who is prone to deviate from the rational and logical and into the emotional. The whole reason they would use such comparisons is that those dictators provoke an emotional response from some people. James

jdclyde
jdclyde

Change, modify, distort and lie, are all fair game when it comes to political slams. I hear all the time how Bush is "Nation Building", but I don't see them adding a new State to the United States. Dumb.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Pierre Trudeau invoked the war measures act which did suspend Habeus Corpus and gave the right to police to detain without charging someone with a crime. It was not Trudeau's intent to have those not involved in the FLQ to be brought in, but some zealous police went overboard and brought in student radicals, drug dealers and others just because they could. They did not vanish, comparing it to Chile is just silly. People who dissapeared in Chile were killed. People who were detained in Canada were not hidden away. They were publically detained. Detainees were given access to councel. I'm not defending the people who abused the law, but it in no way compares to Chile, or "renditions". James

JCitizen
JCitizen

You have to provide access but you don't have to physically do anything. I know this from firearms law. If the BATF suddenly arrives at my house and wants to see my machine guns; I have to show paperwork supporting my right to own said weapons. But I don't have to lead them by the nose and provide the actual weapons, in fact they even have search restrictions as long as YOU DON'T WAVE your rights to such. In fact if the weapons are stolen I don't even have to report it! Just because I cooperate by providing paperwork does not relinquish my rights to 4th amendment protections. I've been in situations were I have stared down agents in similar incidents and I won; so someone is going to have to prove to me that I am wrong. Namely a supreme court judge.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Well they can't. Now what? Unfortunately, we're not Constitutionally protected from a missing sense of humor, are we.

Absolutely
Absolutely

... "fsck you, pig!" [i]Yielding a logon password is, to me, a 4th Amendment issue. If law enforcement has shown sufficient evidence to prove reasonable cause and get a warrant to search a PC, IMO they can force you to provide access to the device.[/i] When they finally figured out what was going on, they charged him with complying with their request for voluntary cooperation.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

There is (or should be) a distinction (although very fine) made between logon access and file access, regardless of access method (biometric scan or typed password). Yielding a logon password is, to me, a 4th Amendment issue. If law enforcement has shown sufficient evidence to prove reasonable cause and get a warrant to search a PC, IMO they can force you to provide access to the device. That your biometric scan or password would be required for access only confirms what is already known: the PC is yours. However, given automatic updates, botnets, and other malware, you could make a good argument that a particular file in an obscure/hidden directory (particularly an IE or FF temp file) was installed without your knowledge. Yielding a password to an encrypted file, directory, or drive, on the other hand, is definitely a 5th Amendment issue. That a password you provide can open a given file strongly implies your ownership of that file and would indeed tend to incriminate. The same would apply if you have [u]denied[/u] that a PC is yours; in this case you cannot be expected to provide what you say you don't know without incriminating yourself. This is a very sticky area and I don't believe it will be settled for decades. The circumstances of each new case will be different and the subject will be debated for years. Links to other articles: Washington Post - http://tinyurl.com/3d5std ComputerWorld - http://tinyurl.com/2ke2xl

JCitizen
JCitizen

all the way to the supreme court; because I can't fathom how that could NOT be a violation of the 5th Amendment. You cannot be compelled to take ANY action that would result in compromising ones rights; in fact I think some of that is under the 4rth amendment, also which covers more things physical in nature.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Nobody else's data are worth my fingertip.

normhaga
normhaga

The government can get an order requiring you to place your finger on the scanner. Therefore you have no protection against compelled testimony. This is why I do not use biometrics.

G_Writer
G_Writer

And if my password is a biometric scan? (which it is on my laptop) The other issue that I don't see being discussed is the "compulsion" threat. "Show us what is in this device/folder/file or else we will bar you from ."

Popoyd
Popoyd

Thanks, RFink, I should have clarified. I am not a lawyer, but I also understand you cannot warrant something in someone's head. What I meant is this; the article questions if/when the gov should compel a password, where we draw the line, etc. I suggest those questions are also posed when a warrant is requested, right? The rules to obtain a warrant aare pretty clear to both protect the privacy of the probaly innocent and allow law enforcement into the probably guilty's records. And what you are requesting is not a self-implicating testimony, it's just a specific data item, like you would do with a diary or other physically-accessible evidence. Law does not cover it this way I think. But I also think it should, and don't see the philosophical dilemma.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I don't know why I like the drudgery of reading legal history; guess I got used to it using Army regs; and commercial weapons law. My lawyer friend and I love to argue these things!

normhaga
normhaga

Under the above U.S. Supreme Court holding once you assert your right to legal counsel all questioning must cease until you have counsel. In reality the authorities claim they will call counsel and continue to attempt to question. So, JCitizen is right, after you assert your claim to counsel, Shut up and refuse to talk. Regarding this case, the claim to cousel can be made at any time. But as in most remedial actions, the sooner, the better.

seanferd
seanferd

I was wondering how close to the specifics I was.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and stick to it. It is a one way street. Only your representatives can talk for you after such action. This guy is well within his rights to take the 5t at this time; by what I know about basic law. You have it right as far as I'm concerned.

JCitizen
JCitizen

is stopped is not considered a fishing expedition(not considering your term phishing). As long as police stay within the parameters of the mission. If not, then get a warrant. A border crossing falls under the same concept. However the man cooperated and LEOs are not required to ignore obvious evidence within eyeball range. Also he has 4rth and 5th amendment relief leftover.

seanferd
seanferd

law enforcement would (should) have to prove that the suspect/defendant knowingly downloaded and saved illegal data. Was it someone else who left it in a temporary internet file? Was it from a malware infection or a malicious hacker? Were they encrypted before download and possibly never even viewed? If the guy is a perv, there should be other evidence of illegal items or activity in his home or other locations to which the guy has access. For real criminals, law enforcement needs to make solid cases not only to ensure people's rights and due process, but to make sure scum don't get off on a technicality or appeal.

seanferd
seanferd

They know when rights are being violated and the system is out of balance. X-( is right. You edited an emoticon? :0 I can scarcely credit the notion!

DanLM
DanLM

to directo their attention. that of providing for their safety seems to be first. Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent of love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. These are not "vague inferences", but "sollid conculusions drawnb the natural and necessary progress of human affairs. That can be found in the Federalist Papers written by Hamiltonj, Madison, Jay. These are writtings placed in the New York newspapers beginning on 10/27/1787. These papers were published to answer many questions that people had about the proposed constitution. It can be said, and has been said, without the publication of these papers the constitution would have never been ratified. These are a series of articles, 85 in total. What I referenced came from the hard copy book on xvii, and is noted in articls no 3, page 36. article 8, pages 61-62. My long winded point is, even the founding fathers knew that freedoms may need to be given up for the protection of all. Dan edited to add: These writtings is one reason that I beleive the constitution is for ever changing document. You can write amendments. Changes the constitution. You can pass laws(congress) which must be ruled constitutional(interpetition by the judical) which changes how things are done. The document is flexible enough to wistand the changes of time. It can change with the times, and it has. The 3 corner stones of our goverment have always been involved. legislative, executive, and judicial. They balance each other out, and other then the judicial. The people have placed the leaders of each of these branch's into office to lead the. And if you read further into the Federalist papers. It was NEVER the intention that the leaders of our goverment to be completely at the mercy of the population. A leader can not lead if he does everything his subordinates tell him to. Our control over that is that these leaders are elected. And we can and do replace them when we feel their leadership is lacking. Again, laid out completely in the federalist papers.

RFink
RFink

Look at all of innocent people governments kill. Stalin, Hitler, Truman, Bush, in the thousands if not millions compared to the tens and hundreds by sickos looking at kiddle porn. As a previous poster pointed out. The problem was here long before encryption came out. Don't take away my freedoms.

david.hornbeck
david.hornbeck

The numbers are not distorted. The numbers I extrapolated where based on the victims under 12. This would exclude adults and situations where an 17yr old and 16yr old have a relationship. I'm sorry that you did not understand the magnitude of the problem. 250,000 * .58 = 145,000 is the low end of the range in the US, unless of course you think that a significant number of the victims where abused by more than one pedophile.

jdclyde
jdclyde

is everyone from the actual child molester to the 17 year old boy caught with his 16 year old girlfriend having consensual sex are put into that same count. Intentionally distorting the numbers to make it a bigger problem so we can throw more money at it. The same problem with the sex offender lists on the internet that don't show a difference between the two. One is a danger to all kids, the other is not a threat at all. The same approach is done for drunk driving. Even if the driver of the car NOT causing the accident is "legally drunk", they mark it down as "alcohol related". If you have two glasses of wine with your dinner here in Michigan, you are "legally drunk". Hyper charging emotional topics and dishonestly and intentionally distorting the numbers only serves to discredit the problem as a whole, and a serious topic like child abuse can't afford to be discredited or questioned. Also, the sex offenders includes rapists of adults. Again, it is not accurate to make the leap that you are. I do agree with the breaking of the encryption, especially as the newer programs all DO have the backdoor for government use.

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