CyberLaw Blog

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Archive for January 24th, 2009

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds 1st CP-Anime Conviction Under PROTECT Act – XBIZ.com

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds 1st CP-Anime Conviction Under PROTECT Act – XBIZ.com

By Rhett Pardon, Saturday, Dec 20, 2008

RICHMOND, Va — A federal appeals panel has affirmed the first child-porn cartoon conviction under the PROTECT Act.

A 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel voted to dismiss the appeal of Dwight Whorley of Richmond, who is serving 20 years in prison for using a public computer for jobseekers at the Virginia Employment Commission to receive 20 anime images.

The illustrated images depicted young girls being forced to have sex with men.

Whorley also received digital photographs of actual children engaging in sexual conduct and sent and received emails graphically describing parents sexually molesting their children.

A Virginia jury previously convicted Whorley of 74 counts, including receiving obscene materials, receiving obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, receiving child pornography and sending and receiving obscene emails describing the sexual abuse of children.

Whorley’s federal public defender Rob Wagner argued that child-porn cartoons, or anime, is protected under the 1st Amendment because it does not depict real children and claimed the statute is unconstitutional because text-only emails cannot be obscene.

Judges Paul V. Niemeyer and James P. Jones rejected those arguments, but Judge Gregory agreed with Whorley on those issues but joined the majority in affirming his convictions on the counts pertaining to photographs.

‘Because 18 U.S.C. § 1462 punishes trafficking in commerce, not the mere possession of obscene materials, and ‘receives’ has a uniform meaning that is readily understood, we reject Whorley’s facial challenges,’ the court ruled. ‘We also reject his arguments that textual matter cannot be obscene under § 1462 and that cartoons depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct must depict real-life minors to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1466A(a)(1). Finally, we reject his challenges to the district court’s procedural rulings and his sentence.’

Niemeyer noted in the majority opinion that the statute under which Whorley was convicted, the PROTECT Act of 2003, clearly states that ‘it is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exists.’

Much of the evidence in the case was received by court order from Yahoo because Whorley used the search engine to seek out child cartoon images.

‘At trial, evidence from the [Virginia Employment Commission] computer showed that Whorley conducted numerous searches on March 11 and 12, 2004, through the Yahoo search engine, using the query ‘child sex play,’’ the court said. ‘The pictures of the naked children obtained from those searches came from an Illinois website called Logical Reality.

‘It also showed that on March 30, 2004, Whorley obtained the 20 Japanese cartoons from a site called Fractal Underground Studio. On the same day, he sought eight times to open sites that had been blocked on the commission’s computers.’

Federal public defender Rob Wagner, who represents the 55-year-old Whorley, said he would ask the full appeals court to reconsider the three-year-old case.

Whorley previously was sentenced to 46 months in prison for a 1999 child pornography conviction.

View the Court decision here

Man jailed over vomit porn ‘filth’ | Metro.co.uk

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Man jailed over vomit porn ‘filth’ | Metro.co.uk

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A mail order pornographer who believed his clients had the right to watch the extreme ‘filth’ he specialised in was sentenced to 18 months in jail today.

For more than a decade John Bluck, 51, from Coventry, ran a catalogue pornography business between his home in the Midlands and a west London mailbox.

Bluck specialised in extreme titles featuring defecation, urination, vomiting, torture and rape, but his one-man business was described in court as ‘failing’ because many of his clients had moved to the internet for more immediate gratification.

Last year his pornography empire, trading as RGB Productions, was finally smashed by police who, prosecutor Brett Weaver told Southwark Crown Court in London, had been surveying his dealings since 1998.

Mr Weaver told the court that Bluck attempted to escape detection by setting up a bank account using a false name and receiving orders via an anonymous mailbox in west London.

Between August 28 to December 3 last year, the police purchased and received a number of illegal videos from Bluck and were, in turn, sent catalogues by him advertising even more extreme material.

He was observed sending a number of brown A5 envelopes from a post office in Coventry. When police raided his home on December 8, officers found more than 2,500 unclassified pornographic videos and DVDs, with nearly 200 of these contravening the Obscene Publications Act.

Bluck pleaded guilty to all charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last month.

Judge Michael Gledhill said: ‘You are highly intelligent, you began a university degree and completed two years of it and fell out after your criminal activities – you are psychologically flawed.

‘I accept that the business was declining because the sort of people who want to indulge in torture, defecation, urination were able to do that more efficiently by downloading such filth from the internet.

‘Your personal view is that those who want to look at it should be allowed and you don’t care that it is against the law. You are an arrogant man and regard yourself as above the law.’

With his long, grey hair falling across his face as he bowed his head in the dock, Bluck, wearing a denim jacket and jeans, was handed an 18-month sentence for three charges of possessing obscene material for gain, three further charges of publishing obscene material, six counts of supplying unclassified recordings and a single charge of laundering over £25,000.

Jump in FBI child porn cases leads to lab backlog – Yahoo! News

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Jump in FBI child porn cases leads to lab backlog – Yahoo! News

Fri Jan 23, 2009

WASHINGTON – The FBI’s stepped-up effort to fight Internet child pornography has led to an evidence backlog in the bureau’s computer labs, auditors said Friday.

The Justice Department’s inspector general said the number of such cases handled by the FBI rose more than 20-fold between the 1996 and 2007 budget years. As a result, the heavy volume meant it took an average of about two months to examine such evidence in 2007 — and even as long as nine months.

The FBI, which has built a new lab in Maryland to handle the increased demand, agreed with the inspector general’s recommendations to create deadlines to reduce the backlog.

In a written response to the report, the FBI’s executive assistant director, Stephen Tidwell, said the bureau should try to hire more staff to handle the growing number of people needed to process digital evidence, not just in child exploitation cases but in other types of criminal investigations.

The FBI also plans to work with federal prosecutors to find ways to negotiate plea deals earlier in child pornography cases, to reduce the demand on lab workers.

At the time the audit was conducted, there were 353 requests for processing digital evidence in cyber crimes against children cases.

See the FBI Report: http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/FBI/a0908/final.pdf

German Government Wants to Start ISP-Based Censoring

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

German Government Wants to Start ISP-Based Censoring

16 January, 2009

Germany will start to hand out blacklists to internet providers, several German news sources, like Spiegel, report (Google translation available here). This move is proclaimed to only filter child porn. In about 6-8 weeks the dealings with the ISPs should be finalized, German family minister Leyen said, expecting the technical implementation to go live this year. Already, German regulatory offices have been working with search engines like Google to block content based on a blacklist. (Google Germany, for instance, bans certain Holocaust denial material, as that is illegal in Germany.)

In regards to objections that, once such censorship technology is in place, other areas outside child porn might be blocked too, Leyen said child porn is easy to be separated from other things. She admitted, however, that she wasn’t able to say what future politicians might do with the censorship technology.

As to the effectiveness of this blocking, the issued press release said ‘Technically experienced internet users will always find ways to route around the barriers.’

Recently in the UK, thousands of internet users weren’t able to edit Wikipedia. The UK Internet Watch Foundation had issued a block due to Wikipedia hosting a 1976 album cover of rock band Scorpions which partly showed a young nude girl. The ban had been lifted later after protest and much reporting. According to other reports, the IWF recently issued bans against specific web pages or images of historical web archive Wayback Machine in relation to the Protection of Children Act, but some ISPs apparently then blocked the Wayback Machine altogether.

FOXNews.com – 6 Pennsylvania Teens Charged With Cell Phone ‘Sexting’

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

FOXNews.com – 6 Pennsylvania Teens Charged With Cell Phone ‘Sexting’

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

GREENSBURG, Pa. — Three teenage girls who allegedly sent nude or semi-nude cell phone pictures of themselves, and three male classmates in a western Pennsylvania high school who received them, are charged with child pornography.

Police in Greensburg, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, say the girls are 14 or 15 and the boys charged with receiving the photos are 16 or 17. None are being identified because most criminal cases in Pennsylvania juvenile courts are not public.

Police say Greensburg Salem High School officials learned of the photos in November when a student was seen using a cell phone during school hours, which violates school rules.

The phone was seized and the photos were found on it. When police investigated, other phones with more pictures were seized.

Online Pirates vs MPAA – The 2009 Oscars

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Post from: TorrentFreak

Online Pirates vs MPAA – The 2009 Oscars

oscar torrentLast year we took a look at the excellent research carried out by Waxy’s Andy Baio, as he provided detailed piracy stats for every Oscar-nominated movie since 2003. Andy contacted us to announce that he’s been working hard again in 2009 – we take a look at his findings.

For the 2009 Oscars, 26 movies were nominated. In alphabetical order they are: Australia, Bolt, Changeling, Defiance, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Happy-Go-Lucky, In Bruges, Hellboy II, Iron Man, Kung Fu Panda, Milk, Rachel Getting Married, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, The Duchess, The Reader, The Visitor, The Wrestler, Tropic Thunder, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Wall-E and Wanted.

Of these 26 movies, 25 were available online by yesterday’s nomination day – only Rachel Getting Married made the date piracy-free. An MPAA-worrying 23 of these were downloadable in either DVD Screener or Retail DVD format (Region 5 included). In the past months many of the nominees appeared in our weekly download charts, with The Dark Knight as the absolute winner topping 7 million downloads in 2008.

Of course, the MPAA is always keen to point to the ‘evils’ of camcorder piracy and has clamped down heavily on this in recent years. However, it doesn’t seem able to deal effectively with its own internal issues. Of the 26 nominated films, 20 were distributed to Oscar voters in DVD Screener format. Many of them leaked onto the web, with the exceptions countable on one hand.

In 2003 the MPAA temporarily banned Oscar screeners to prevent them from leaking, but this decision was eventually reversed. Since then, the industry has touted technical solutions such as Cinea to protect their content, but for various reasons it hasn’t stopped the leaks. This year the average time from DVD Screeners being delivered to voters and subsequently leaking out to the web, was just 6 days.

Home Office promises better personal data guards

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Home Office promises better personal data guards: “

ICO orders tightening of loose lips

The Home Office has promised privacy regulator the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that it will handle citizens’ personal data securely in the future, after the ICO found it in breach of the Data Protection Act.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Obama insists on FOI

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Obama insists on FOI: “

iPrez tells gov agencies to spill

New US president Barack Obama has ordered government agencies to release more information under that country’s Freedom of Information Act, reversing the previous administration’s policy of withholding information.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Belgium wants in on European web blocklist

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Belgium wants in on European web blocklist: “

When in Bruges, do as the [censored] do

In a brave attempt to generate some international interest in its internal affairs, Belgium declared last week that it intends to join the ranks of European nations operating a hidden list of blocked websites.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Police seize Indymedia server (again)

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Police seize Indymedia server (again): “

Linked to animal rights extremism case?

Kent Police yesterday seized a server owned by Manchester-based hosting firm UK Grid and rented by the independent news collective Indymedia UK.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)