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Ethical Dilemma RE:Kiddie Porn

By gmichaels ·
I run a mobile PC repair service. So I see and work on a lot of home computers. On a recent service call I was asked to change the desktop background image. When I went to change the background image and began clicking on images, kiddie porn started showing up. The client was present and seemed to be genuinely surprised. He explained it must have been left behind by his buddy who had built and worked on the computer from time to time. I could not tell if he was sincere or putting on an act. He asked me to remove it and then scan for any other images on his system. It seemed to be isolated to one folder of about 20 images. Not exactly a huge library. However, it left me feeling uneasy about the whole thing. Where there's smoke there's fire and if it was not his then it was his buddy's. This was not the first time I have found traces of porn on a customers system and at times I have had customers admit to their porn usage after it had screwed up their systems. To me this is no big deal. But this was much different because of the content. With all the incidents happening as of late, I do not want to be responsible for anything that may occur because I did not take action. So, I was wondering what you all would have done if you had come across this? I ended up contacting the authorities but I am concerned about what the backlash may be on me and my business and what I may have gottem myself into.

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I would

by Jaqui In reply to Ethical Dilemma RE:Kiddie ...

have reported him myself.
though I would also have used the undel list to see what had recently been removed.
if it was a lot, then he was sh|tting you about who / where it came from.

look at it this way, better safe by reporting, than sorry when some child gets molested by whoever was getting off on it.

any clients that have children will more than likely have the same opinion about it.

of course, this is assuming I kept control of my temper and wasn't going to jail for beating the crap out of him first. :)

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Spyware?

by Dr Dij In reply to I would

Spyware from regular porn sites (which are not illegal) might download stuff like this?

I've never heard of it doing this, but if they can dial 900# and cost you hundreds, they could do this.

Sounds fishy but the guy might be innocent and if spyware did it then he his not hanging around with sleazy buddies either.

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It might be spyware

by NDCold1 In reply to Spyware?

It can do some crazy stuff, but I would report anyway who cares anyone in their right mind would. It wont hurt your business in anyway I could see and its just the right thing to do.

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ideally

by Absolutely In reply to Ethical Dilemma RE:Kiddie ...

I'd remind him that legal consent is nonexistant before a certain age, and that kiddie porn is illegal, then ask if he has reported his "buddy". As a courtesy, in case he was telling the truth about getting those files from a "friend" who obviously is careless with other people's hard drives, I'd mention that the size of the collection was not what you'd expect from a habitual consumer of kiddie porn. But I'd definitely notify the police. Ideally, I'd be that careful about extending the customer the benefit of the doubt. More likely, I'd be scandalized. Anyway, cops are supposed to be trained to presume innocent until proven guilty and make arrests because of suspicion of a crime. Your duty as a citizen is pretty much just to report observations that make you suspicious.

On the possibility of backlash on your business, you could easily turn it to your advantage by portraying your business as a friend of law and order. Some users are actually annoyed by the Wild West, New Frontier aspects of the Internet and would welcome more order. I wouldn't worry about backlash (from desirable customers) for reporting kiddie porn, even a small amount. I have never in 28 years known anybody to describe child pornography as anything other than a sickness. If I found a dead guy stuffed into a customer's server closet, I wouldn't hesitate to report that, even if it was "only one" dead guy. You found evidence of 20 separate crimes. Don't think twice.

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re innocent..

by Jaqui In reply to ideally

not with child porn.
the legal system actually work the other way.
guilty until proven innocent.

the issue of a child being harmed causes the reversal, for right or wrong.

unfortunately, during the year I worked selling porn, it was actually a common request.
usually from peoplefrom areas where it isn't illegal, like japan, a lot from areas of central and south america.

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The backlass I am worried about

by gmichaels In reply to Ethical Dilemma RE:Kiddie ...

is more along the ways of vendetta or revenge. Should this actually become something more than a suspicion those parties invloved will surely figure out how they got caught and who turned them in. I am sure the public would love me. But I don't think I could bring myself to using something like this as a selling point even though thats a pretty good idea. I wouldn't have though of that. That's why I'm not in marketing.

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if they

by Jaqui In reply to The backlass I am worried ...

are convicted, they won't be around to do you harm.

if not, then they have no reason to come after you.

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Do you have the equivalent of this?

by gadgetgirl In reply to if they

it's the UK Internet Watch Foundation...

http://www.iwf.org.uk/

May be worth a read-through for you - has some really good information on there.

From the UK point of view, we have an ethical responsibility to report any kiddie porn we find - I report to the above site, Met police and the specialist section where I work.

Due to the idiocy of the EU, we (i.e. the IT Security profession) in the UK lost our professional indemnity through a directive, but, thankfully, this has been restored lately through an amendment to statute. Just pointing that out in case one of your laws in the US means that if you've found it, you've accessed it and seen it. (That's what the EU Directive meant over here. Needless to say, the number of infractions reported hit rock bottom)

On the other hand, try writing a Confidentiality statement for your clients to sign before any work on their PC. Get it checked out so that it's legally admissable in court. In it, basically state that you will keep any information found on their hard drive totally confidential, be it banking details, stocks and shares, medical information etc. but that in ALL circumstances you will report child pornography to the local law enforcement. Make sure they know there will be no exceptions to that rule.

If they refuse to sign, you know there's something dodgy about them, so I guess you really wouldn't want to work for them anyway.

Glad you reported. In a straw poll 2 years ago at a Security conference, 100% of us said we would...

We're a good lot really!

Hope this helps

GG

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no idea..

by Jaqui In reply to Do you have the equivalen ...

here in Canada they say call local police.

but here, they also specifically refuse to recognise any difference between cg child porn and the real thing.

so these 3d graphics toys that can create a realistic image or movie of it all with computer data only, will create what is legally defined as child porn, just as if you used a camera and film to make it.

which is, I believe, also the case in the UK.

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This isn't an ethical dilemma

by amcol In reply to The backlass I am worried ...

There are no ethics involved here. You are absolutely, positively, unquestionably obligated to report this to the authorities.

Ethics typically involves a judgment call. Which action, in a set of actions, provides for the greatest good? That's not the question here. You are witness to a crime, and you have a legal and societal responsibility to report what you've seen.

It's not up to you to figure out if your customer put the material on the computer, or his friend as he alleges, or if aliens beamed it down from outer space. That's up to the authorities to figure out. Suppose you came across a dead body...do you try to figure out who did it before you report it, or whether or not you should report it at all? Of course not, and it's the same here.

You're worried about backlash, that the word's going to get out that you ratted this guy out. It's natural to have a concern about that, but it's ultimately self-indulgent. Frankly, it doesn't matter, and although I hate to sound unsympathetic I have a pretty extreme view on this...were I you, it wouldn't matter to me if reporting this crime ultimately caused me to lose my business (which isn't going to happen, BTW). There's a right thing and a wrong thing to do, and sometimes you just have to do the right thing no matter what the consequences. For a wide variety of reasons, this is one of those times.

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