Thursday, October 16, 2008

WA - Sex offender who lived under a bridge sentenced

View the article here

They set this man up to fail, IMO. Video is available at the site.

10/16/2008

By ROB PIERCY / KING 5 News

EVERETT - A rape victim is speaking out, saying a homeless sex offender isn't getting what he deserves.

Last spring, just three days out of prison, David Torrence fled the state.

He was caught in Arkansas, and today was sentenced for failing to register as a sex offender.

When Torrence was released, he was homeless. So the Department of Corrections drove him to a bridge in Snohomish County, gave him a poncho and a tarp and told him to live under the bridge.

Torrance fled to Arkansas, where his family lives.

"The prospect of having to spend his foreseeable future living under a bridge, with only a poncho and a tarp, affected Mr. Torrence's conduct," said Donald Wackerman, defense attorney.

But it wasn't long before he was arrested and charged with failing to register as a sex offender.

"He was having some difficulty finding a place to live, but that doesn't justify him knowingly breaking the law," prosecutor Laura Twitchell said.

While the state has toughened punishment for offenders who don't register, it's still a class "c" felony, punishable by a maximum of five years. That time includes any community custody or probation.

So in this case, the prosecution and defense asked for an exceptionally low sentence - one year of confinement. That will allow for an additional four years of supervision when Torrence gets out.

The judge followed the recommendation.

"Forcing an individual to live under a bridge could best be described as inhumane," Judge Lucas said.

Last spring, KING 5 spoke to a woman David Torrence raped. She says the DOC assured her Torrence would get at least two years in prison and they'd keep her updated.

But she didn't even know Torrence was being sentenced today until KING 5 called her.

"I'm shocked once again," she said. "Once again he's gotten another slap on the wrist."

When David Torrence is released, he'll likely serve his community custody in Arkansas.


NV - Governor sued over alleged sex assault try

View the article here

10/16/2008

LAS VEGAS - A former Las Vegas cocktail waitress has sued Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons (Contact), claiming that he tried to rape her in a parking garage and arranged a coverup.

Chrissy Mazzeo's lawsuit, filed Wednesday, names several other defendants, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. They include Sig Rogich, a political consultant; the Las Vegas police; former Sheriff Bill Young; Don Campbell, a lawyer; and Pennie Mossett-Puhek, a sometime friend of Mazzeo.

Mazzeo claims that Gibbons offered to walk her to her car after an evening of drinking with Rogich and Mossett-Puhek. She says that he attacked her in the garage

The district attorney eventually dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

Mazzeo claims that the attack and the aftermath forced her to move out of Las Vegas to California.

"You see how many ways you get screwed," she said of the case. "My whole thing was, as long as you tell the truth, it will always come out. But it doesn't seem like it worked out that way."

Gibbons, a Republican who was in Washington on Thursday, told the newspaper that he denies the charges. He accused Mazzeo of abusing the legal system.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International, All Rights Reserved.


MO - Sex offenders face new restrictions on Halloween

View the article here

This is contained in SB-714.  I believe this is the only law for Halloween and sex offenders, and for this state, this appears to be for ALL SEX OFFENDERS.

10/16/2008

By John Hacker - Carthage Press

CARTHAGE - Registered sex offenders face new rules and restrictions as to what they can and cannot do on Halloween.

Changes to Missouri’s state statute enacted by lawmakers in 2008 require that people on the registered sex offender list take new precautions to make sure they don’t come in contact with children on a night when children are roaming the neighborhoods in masks and costumes.

Among the requirements are that sex offenders:

  • Avoid all Halloween-related contact with children.
  • Remain inside their residences between 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. unless required to be elsewhere by just cause, including but not limited to employment or medical emergencies.
  • Post signs at their residences stating “no candy or treats at this residence.”
  • Leave all outside residential lighting off after 5 p.m.
- If someone is not on parole or probation, I do not see how you can make someone stay in their homes, period!  This is just another prison sentence, once per year.  What's next, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter?  I would take this BS to court, if I was in this state, and not on parole or probation.

Sgt. Brandy Richardson, public information officer with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, said in a press conference on Wednesday that deputies will be out making spot checks on Halloween to be sure the registered offenders in Jasper County are abiding by the law.

Richardson said the Sheriff’s office would have orange laminated signs that sex offenders can pick up at the Jasper County Jail in Carthage or the Sheriff’s headquarters on County Road 180 east of Joplin.

“It is our intention to do random spot checks of residences of some of our registered sex offenders on Halloween to ensure they are in compliance with these new regulations,” said Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn.

Four registered sex offenders who say the law is too vague to be enforced are challenging the new law in court in eastern Missouri.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported earlier in October that four registered sex offenders are Missouri are suing the state, saying the provisions of the law are too vague to be enforced and improperly add punishment to sentences already served.

The suit didn’t reveal the names of the offenders who were suing.

Tony Rothert, director of the St. Louis-based ACLU of Eastern Missouri (Contact), which is representing the offenders, told the Post-Dispatch that the offenders don’t know if they are allowed to dress their own children or grandchildren in their Halloween costumes, wondering it that could be considered a Halloween-related activity.

Another concern is that when sex offenders post signs about not having candy, they could become targets themselves for Halloween pranks.

Richardson said the suit would have no impact on the department’s enforcement plans because the law has been approved by the legislature and remains the law until a court strikes it down.


MD - A scarlet pumpkin for sex offenders

View the article here

Show me the "law" which states sex offenders must stay inside and post this sign on their door?  I have looked all over the Maryland Legislature web site, and find nothing, so this is apparently one of those "implied" laws that doesn't exist.  I've sent the writer of this article an email asking the above, and will post it here, if and when I get a response.

10/16/2008

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Staff Writer

Must post Halloween sign on front door

Convicted violent and child sex offenders must keep their porch lights off and stay inside after 6 p.m. Halloween night, state officials said.

They also must post pumpkin-shaped signs on their front doors saying, "No candy at this residence," and not answer the door if anyone should knock. If they don't follow these rules, they risk violating the conditions of their probation.
- You see, this is an implied law for parole or probation people only, it would seem.  Those who are not on either cannot be legally made to obey this, when it's not a law.

Rick Binetti, spokesman for the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, said the signs - as well as letters explaining what to do with them - were mailed earlier this month to about 220 sex offenders in Anne Arundel County and 1,200 sex offenders across the state.

"Halloween provides a rare opportunity for you to demonstrate to your neighbors that you are making a sincere effort to change the direction of your life," Patrick McGee, interim director of the Division of Parole and Probation, wrote in the Oct. 1 letter. "By making a commitment to refrain from participating in Halloween activities, you will enable the children and parents in your neighborhood to enjoy the holiday without undue anxiety. In addition, you will also protect yourself from misunderstandings and the allegations that may arise from them."
- Oh give me a break!  The statement above is just total crap!  And by posting this sign on your door, you are marking yourself for shame and possible vigilante attack.  Everyone knows what goes on, on Halloween.  Eggings, pumpkin smashing, etc....  I would set up a camera, and if my house is vandalized, I would press charges.

Mr. Binetti said the state also is distributing pamphlets to parents at PTA and community meetings warning them to stay away from homes with the pumpkin signs.

Wonda Adams, a supervisor at the Division of Parole and Probation who is coordinating the Halloween program, said probation agents will be conducting unannounced visits Halloween night to confirm the signs are posted and sex offenders are not mingling with children.

Sgt. John Gilmer, county police spokesman, said county officers will perform additional patrols between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Oct. 31 to see if convicted sex offenders are handing out candy.

"If they are participating in any way, then that will be addressed accordingly," Sgt. Gilmer said.

Mrs. Adams said if a convicted sex offender does hand out candy, his probation agent could file criminal charges alleging he violated the conditions of his probation.
- You see, it's implied for ALL SEX OFFENDERS, but they keep saying your probation officer will be contacted.  Hard to do that when you are not on probation or parole!

"There have been some violations, but every year it has gotten better," she said.

In 2005, Maryland began telling sex offenders in Baltimore County to stay away from trick-or-treaters. Last year, the state expanded the program to the rest of the state, Mrs. Adams said.
- You see how they keep mingling the "probation" and "sex offenders" together, as if this affects ALL sex offenders.  Well, it does not!  If it does, then show me the law!

The signs and letters were mailed only to violent and child sex offenders who still are on probation. Those sex offenders who are not on probation did not receive the signs or instructions.

Concerned parents may review the state's entire sex offender registry and view interactive maps of their neighborhood at http://www.socem.info.

Mrs. Adams stressed she is not aware of any convicted sex offenders ever snatching children off Maryland streets while they trick-or-treat.

"Our focus is on prevention," she said.
- Yeah right!


SHOULD SEX OFFENDERS BE FORCED TO DISPLAY SPECIAL HALLOWEEN SIGN?



10/16/2008

By Dana Goldstein

Via DCist and The Washington Times, this is a really weird story: The state of Maryland is requiring that on Halloween, sex offenders keep their outdoor lights off, not answer the doorbell, and oh, by the way, post this pumpkin sign on the window or door:


Try not to laugh. In all seriousness, it makes good sense to further restrict the activities of sex offenders on an evening when we know children, some of them unaccompanied by adults, will be wandering around after dark. But since most sex offenders on parole wear GPS devices, and are already required to stay indoors on Halloween and check in with law enforcement, are these signs necessary? They are sure to send parents into a panic and will probably titillate kids, some of whom will see the local neighborhood sex offender as just another Halloween curiosity.

What's more, parents who want to learn if sex offenders live in their neighborhood already have a way to do so, through the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. The registry not only includes physical addresses, but also email addresses, chat room handles, and instant message accounts.

I'm forced to conclude that this pumpkin is a patently ridiculous public relations ploy. Anybody disagree?

--Dana Goldstein


ISPs are pressed to become child porn cops

Online Poll Results


Yeah, they are trying to turn everyone into wanna-be-cops, just like Hitler did, when he wanted everyone to rat out their brothers, mothers, fathers, etc.

10/16/2008

By Bill Dedman and Bob Sullivan (MSNBC)

New law, new monitoring technology raise concerns about privacy

New technologies and changes in U.S. law are adding to pressures to turn Internet service providers into cops examining all Internet traffic for child pornography.

One new tool, being marketed in the U.S. by an Australian company, offers to check every file passing through an Internet provider's network — every image, every movie, every document attached to an e-mail or found in a Web search — to see if it matches a list of illegal images.

The company caught the attention of New York's attorney general, who has been pressing Internet companies to block child porn. He forwarded the proposal to one of those companies, AOL, for discussion by an industry task force that is looking for ways to fight child porn. A copy of the company's proposal was also obtained by msnbc.com.

Privacy advocates are raising objections to such tools, saying that monitoring all traffic would be an unconstitutional invasion. They say companies can't start watching every customer's activity, and blocking files thought to be illegal, even when the goal is as noble as protecting children.

But such monitoring just became easier with a law approved unanimously by the Congress and signed on Monday by President Bush. A section of that law, written by Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, gives Internet service providers access to lists of child porn files, which previously had been closely held by law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Although the law says it doesn't require any monitoring, it doesn't forbid it either. And the law ratchets up the pressure, making it a felony for ISPs to fail to report any "actual knowledge" of child pornography.

That actual knowledge could be handed to the Internet companies by technologies like the one proposed by the Australian company, Brilliant Digital Entertainment Ltd. Known as CopyRouter, the software would let ISPs compare computer files — movies, photographs and documents — against those lists. Banned files would be blocked, and the requestor would receive a substitute file provided by law enforcement, such as a warning message: "The material you have attempted to access has been identified as child pornography." The attempt to send or receive the file could then be reported to law enforcement, along with the Internet Protocol address of the requestor.

The CopyRouter relies on a controversial new technology called "deep packet inspection," which allows Internet companies to analyze in real time the river of data flowing through their networks. The pipeline would know what was passing through it. You can read more about this technology in Bob Sullivan's Red Tape Chronicles.

Child porn foes give proposal to AOL
A PowerPoint slide show from Brilliant Digital Entertainment describing the technology was passed on to AOL last month by two powerful forces in the fight against child porn: the office of New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, who has been calling out ISPs that won't agree to block sites with illegal images, and Ernest E. Allen, the president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit given by Congress a central role in the fight.

When msnbc.com inquired about the proposal, both Cuomo's office and Allen said they were not promoting the technology, merely passing it along to a committee of Internet service providers and software companies as part of "brainstorming" on new technologies to detect illegal images.

One of the leading experts on electronic privacy in the U.S. says the proposal would clearly run afoul of the U.S. Constitution, essentially setting up a wiretap without obtaining permission from a judge.

"This would be plainly illegal in the United States, whether or not a governmental official imposed this on an ISP or the ISP did this voluntarily," John Morris of the Center for Democracy and Technology said after viewing Brilliant Digital's slide show. "If I were the general counsel of an ISP, I wouldn't touch this with a 10-foot pole."

A spokesman for Brilliant Digital Entertainment disputed that, saying the technology would be "non-invasive," would not compromise privacy, would be legal in the U.S. and elsewhere, and most important, would curtail the global proliferation of child pornography.

"I don't think it takes many voices before the Internet industry separates out those who are prepared to build a business on the trafficking of child sexual exploitation," said Michael Speck, Brilliant Digital's commercial manager in charge of law enforcement products. "If boxes started turning up with Pablo Escobar's special-delivery cocaine inside, they'd stop it, they'd do something about it."

How it would work
Here's how CopyRouter would work, according to the company's slide show:

  • A law enforcement agency would make available a list of files known to contain child pornography. Such files are commonly discovered in law enforcement raids, in undercover operations and in Internet searches that start with certain keywords (such as "pre-teens hard core"). Police officers have looked at those files, making a judgment that the children are clearly under age and that the files are illegal in their jurisdiction, before adding them to the list. Each digital file has a unique digital signature, called a hash value, that can be recognized no matter what the file is named, and without having to open the file again. The company calls this list of hash values its Global File Registry.
  • Whenever an Internet user searched the Web, attached a file to an e-mail or examined a menu of files using file-sharing software on a peer-to-peer network, the software would compare the hash values of those files against the file registry. It wouldn't be "reading" the content of the files — it couldn't tell a love note from a recipe — but it would determine whether a file is digitally identical to one on the child-porn list.
  • If there were no match, the file would be provided to the user who requested it. But if there were a match, transmission of the file would be blocked. The users would instead receive another image or movie or document, containing only a warning screen.The makers of CopyRouter claim that it can even be used to defeat encryption and compression of files in the Internet's Wild West: the peer-to-peer file-sharing tools such as Gnutella and BitTorrent. Many people use those file-sharing systems for legal traffic, such as independent artists distributing their music, or software developers sharing open-source code. But others use them for illegal traffic in copyrighted music and movies. They also are popular for distributing adult pornography, which is legal, and child pornography, which is not.

Can software fool encryption schemes?
Encrypted files on the peer-to-peer network could not be decrypted by CopyRouter, but the company claims it can fool the sender's computer into believing that the recipient was requesting an unencrypted and uncompressed file. The slide show calls this "special handling." This is done by changing the underlying protocol settings that establish how the sender and recipient exchange the file. This trickery, unknown to either the sender or recipient, would make it possible for CopyRouter to see the underlying files, calculate a hash value and compare the files to the list of illegal files, Brilliant Digital says.

A photo of the company's first test machine can be found online, in the online photos of the company's systems architect, Norberto "Beto" Meijome, author of the PowerPoint presentation. Meijome's portfolio of online photos on Flickr includes photos of his Cisco SCE router on the day he unpacked and installed it, Sept. 11, 2007. He labels the SCE router "the new toy."

Brilliant Digital Entertainment has a complicated past. Its subsidiary, Altnet, made news in 2002, when its software shipped with the Kazaa file swapping software, then heir to Napster’s throne as the favored way for file swappers to illicitly trade music. Altnet's program was designed to use unused bandwidth and processing power of Kazaa users for such uses as paid advertising and promotions for commercial products. The company claimed that this activity only occurred if the customer allowed it, but some antivirus firms labeled the software as spyware. Later, Altnet was sued by the recording industry for its role in helping spread the popularity of Kazaa.

After settling a lawsuit with the music industry, Brilliant Digital decided to approach file sharing from a new direction, selling products designed to help copyright holders protect their intellectual property. It now describes itself as a "significant online provider of licensed film and music content."

Seeking allies to move the new product to market
Now the company wants to expand into a new product line: fighting child porn.

"We have been working on it for some time," Speck said in a telephone interview from Australia. "We've been in negotiations with ISPs and law enforcement agencies and content owners." Speck said he previously led the anti-piracy organization of the Australian sound recording industry. Now he's lining up meetings in the U.S. next month with Internet providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In advance of his trip to the U.S., Speck spoke with the staff of Andrew Cuomo, whose New York attorney general's office has been pressuring Internet service providers to fight child porn. In June, Cuomo announced he was investigating ISPs, using a modern version of the public stocks to encourage cooperation. He set up a Web site listing Internet providers around the nation that made the changes he demanded, as well as "ISPs that have failed to make the same commitment to stop child porn." Cuomo, who was recently cited by McCain as one Democrat he would like to appoint to federal office, has urged Internet service providers to block access to child porn news groups and "purge their servers of child porn Web sites."

Speck had a conference call in September with Cuomo's staff, which he said gave him a blunt description of the legal and privacy landscape in the U.S.

"We'd be grateful for any assistance in getting this to the relevant ISPs and law enforcement agencies, and making any adjustments necessary," Speck said, recounting the conversation with Cuomo's staff. "It was made very clear that, for this to be a viable law enforcement tool, this would have to operate within the legislative framework within the country."

After talking with Speck, Cuomo's office passed the proposal on to John D. Ryan, AOL's senior vice president, deputy general counsel and head of its public safety and criminal investigations unit. Ryan received the slide show on Sept. 18, the day before attorneys from Cuomo's office arrived at AOL's headquarters in Virginia to discuss new technologies to fight child porn. Both Cuomo's office and AOL said that the CopyRouter was not discussed explicitly during what was described as a brainstorming session.

‘We have nothing to do with this technology’
"We have not pressured anyone to use this technology," said a Cuomo spokesman, Matthew Glazer. "We have nothing to do with this technology."

At the same time, AOL's Ryan received a copy of the slide show from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Known as NCMEC, this private nonprofit organization has an increasing role in the law enforcement effort against child porn, and receives more than $35 million in taxpayer funds each year. NCMEC and Cuomo's office have worked together this year on the child-porn fight, holding a joint press conference to announce Cuomo's Web site.

Ryan also has close ties to NCMEC, serving as a member of the board of directors and as leader of its industry Technology Coalition on child porn. Members of that group also include Yahoo, Microsoft, Google and others. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

AOL officials said they did not feel pressured by Cuomo or NCMEC to adopt any particular technology, adding that the company has a long history of fighting child porn on its own initiative. "The relationship with the attorney general is positive and partnering," Ryan said.

AOL's has a system of its own
AOL officials told msnbc.com that they already examine some files for child porn, block access to those files, and provide evidence to law enforcement. That system (called image detection filtering protocol) apparently is based on the same general principle as CopyRouter, comparing the hash values of files to a known list. But there are significant differences between the two approaches.

AOL checks files uploaded as attachments to e-mail against a list of files that AOL has identified as child porn. If the file matches one on its list, the sender is led to believe that the file has been sent, but it has not. AOL's methods have been shared with other Internet service providers.

But AOL officials said a device like the CopyRouter would be more extensive and more efficient for two reasons: AOL checks only e-mail attachments, not Web searches or other Internet traffic, and its home-grown list of banned files is much shorter than the lists compiled by law enforcement and NCMEC.

"The library of hash values that AOL has, has been derived over time, completely in house from reports from users and files we've stumbled upon," said Christopher G. Bubb, an AOL assistant general counsel in the public safety and criminal investigations unit. "So it's not a government list. Courts have likened it to citizen provided information."

Government role would be problematic
That distinction is important. Internet service providers could be considered agents of law enforcement if they began comparing files to a list provided by the police and intercepting traffic by substituting a legal file for an illegal one. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids unreasonable search and seizure by the government. Courts have held that Internet service providers are within their rights to examine the traffic that flows through their pipeline — as they must do, for example, to combat spam — because the scrutiny is being done by a company, not the government.

Although they said they could not pass judgment on software proposed by any vendor, the AOL officials suggested that Brilliant Digital's proposal might not work in the U.S., at least not without Congress providing ISPs more legal cover.

""Keep in mind that this is developed in a totally different cultural and legal regime. The Australian legal system is quite different from an American legal system," said Ryan, the AOL executive. "It would raise concerns. ... Would we be deemed an agent of the government?"

‘Not an intelligence-gathering tool’
Speck, the Brilliant Digital official, argued that CopyRouter would not put ISPs in a law enforcement role because the list of banned files would be managed by the law enforcement agency, not handed over to the private companies. CopyRouter would consult that list, but at arm's length from the companies.

"The responsibility is shifted to law enforcement," Speck said. "We've delivered to Internet service providers something they've called for. ... This is not an intelligence-gathering tool. This is not for developing a list of users. This is an extension of what routers already do."

But wouldn't the Internet service provider know which traffic CopyRouter had blocked, and which user had sent or attempted to download it? No, Speck said, because his company's product would be a neutral middleman, not sharing information with the ISP or law enforcement.

"All hashes are provided to Global File Registry, which manages a secure data base and communications channel between law enforcement agencies and the ISP such that the illicit file hashes targeted by law enforcement remain private and secure to the relevant law enforcement agency," he said in an e-mail after the interview. "There is no personal (sender/receiver) information identified, and privacy is maintained."

The company's slide show, however, does describe information on users being passed directly to law enforcement. Any files that matched the child porn list would be reported to a "law enforcement data collector," along with IP addresses identifying the user's computer. The slide show says, "Any hits here will generate a 'red' report, which will be routed to the police collector server ONLY. These reports contain full IP information."

Although Brilliant Digital says no law enforcement agency has signed on to the CopyRouter plan, that hasn't kept the company from including a familiar blue seal in its slide show. At each point when a law enforcement computer is depicted, it bears a mark that closely resembles the FBI logo. Only when the logo is magnified can one see that it says "Friendly Bus Investigator" rather than "Federal Bureau of Investigation." The FBI hasn't signed on to the plan, Speck said, and the logo was not meant to imply any endorsement.

The FBI met a hailstorm of criticism in 2000 when the existence of its Carnivore project was revealed. The packet-sniffing technology was used to monitor and log traffic when installed at an Internet service provider. The FBI by 2005 had stopped using the technology, in favor of commercial tools.

New law may take law enforcement out of the loop
Under the new U.S. law, a system like CopyRouter might not require involvement of law enforcement. The McCain portion of the new child-porn law allows such a system to be set up by the Internet service providers, because it gives them access to those lists of illegal files.

The key player in that transfer is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Although it's a nonprofit organization, NCMEC has increasingly taken on law enforcement roles, with Congress requiring that complaints of child pornography be sent to its CyberTipline. Since 1998, NCMEC says, it has received more than 300,000 reports from ISPs. And it gives them a daily list of Internet addresses that appear to host child porn, so the companies can choose to block those Web pages.

The new law authorizes NCMEC to go further, handing to Internet service providers the list of files judged to be child porn. Law enforcement agencies give those hash values to NCMEC, which will be allowed (but not required) to give them to the ISPs. That cooperation would allow the ISPs to use CopyRouter or their own home-grown solutions, without including cops in the loop directly.

That provision was part of the SAFE Act, a bill introduced by Sen. McCain and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. A McCain aide called the bill a "NCMEC wish list." The SAFE Act also made it a felony for ISPs to fail to report child porn, if they discover it, with penalties up to $300,000 for each instance.

McCain's bill got caught in a tug-of-war with a broader bill written by another player in the presidential election, Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential candidate. Biden's solution leaned more toward law enforcement, giving more money to the Justice Department and state Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, which investigate child pornography.

With NCMEC lined up behind McCain's bill, and other child protection activists (and Oprah Winfrey) pushing for Biden's bill, Congress finally passed them both: McCain bill was folded into the Biden bill, which passed the House and Senate without objection. Republicans were able to cut the spending in the Biden bill, down to $300 million.

With the new law in place, NCMEC has a plan for ISPs to use their new access to the hash values.

"We believe that there needs to be more proactive, voluntary methods to identify illegal child pornography content that bring it to their attention," said Allen, the NCMEC president. "We are working with leading ISPs to do that."

He said NCMEC's Hash Sharing System would share with Internet service providers information on only the " worst of the worst" images of child pornography. An image must depict a pre-pubescent child who has been identified by law enforcement. And it must depict one of the following: "oral, vaginal or anal penetration and/or sexual contact involving a child whether it be genital, digital, or a foreign object; an animal involved in some form of sexual behavior with a child; or lewd or lascivious exhibition of the genitalia or anus. "

"Through this project, NCMEC is also working with the members of the Technology Coalition to test existing software and develop new technologies that will enable ISPs to identify apparent child pornography images by hash value and block them," Allen wrote in an e-mail.

Some ISPs willing to police copyright law
The idea of turning Internet service providers into cops has been opposed and embraced by different ISPs in a different realm — copyright protection. The recording and movie industries have pressed ISPs to monitor their customers to detect traffic copyright violations. AT&T has said it hopes to monitor for pirated content, and has been in discussions with content companies, including NBC Universal (co-owner of msnbc.com), which has pushed for such filtering. Microsoft (the other co-owner of msnbc.com) has said it opposes filtering by ISPs.

ISPs also have run into public and government opposition just for slowing down, not blocking, some Internet traffic. The Federal Communications Commission ruled in August, on a 3-2 vote, that Comcast's limiting of BitTorrent traffic was illegal. Comcast said it was merely trying to keep the flood of peer-to-peer file sharing from slowing down the Internet for everyone else. As for CopyRouter, the company's manager said it would not slow down Internet traffic noticeably, because it's not inspecting the contents of files, merely comparing their hash values to a list, which can be done quickly.

Privacy advocates have already raised objections to deep-packet inspection. Earlier this year, a California company named NebuAd proposed a service that would observe Web surfers’ Internet habits through machines installed at ISPs, then inject context-sensitive advertising into the Web sites the consumers visited. It called the system "Behavioral Targeting." Public outcry and rumblings of an investigation from Congress led firms considering the technology to pull out.

Morris, of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said Brilliant Digital's plan constitutes an illegal wiretap, and would run afoul of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. No firm can listen in on private communications unless it is instructed to do so by a law enforcement official with a proper court order, he said.

‘Enormous First Amendment problems’
Even then, no government agency — even a law enforcement agency or state attorney general's office — could impose a requirement to stop all files on a blacklist, or otherwise create a list of forbidden content, Morris said. Such a list would not pass constitutional muster.

"You can't declare speech, or images, illegal without judicial proceedings," Morris said. "... That creates enormous First Amendment problems. You can't have an agency or outside firm acting as judge and jury on these images."

Also, blocking images before they were delivered would constitute a prior restraint of communication, Morris said, violating the First Amendment right of free speech.

Other methods used to combat child porn — logging IP addresses of frequent senders and investigating them, by using a subpoena to force ISPs to reveal the name, and then knocking on the user's door — raise no such constitutional issues, Morris said. He compared that to a law enforcement official overhearing illegal speech in a public place and prosecuting a speaker. Brilliant Digital's scheme, he said, is more like picking up a telephone and listening in on private conversations.

"As horrible as child pornography is, and it is horrible, you still have to follow the Constitution," Morris said.

At NCMEC, Allen said the privacy interests are being heard. "We have been very sensitive to legitimate free speech and privacy-related concerns. That is one of the reasons we are focusing exclusively on pre-pubescent children and the most egregious images. That does not suggest that child pornography images involving 13-year-old children are acceptable or less serious, however, traditional law enforcement investigation and prosecution efforts are being used for those situations."

A different approach
Another child protection group has a different approach. The National Association to Protect Children, which advised Sen. Biden on his bill, said that blocking of files by Internet service providers could easily be seen by the public as "overreaching," making it harder to get public support for efforts of law enforcement. What's needed, said the group's executive director, Grier Weeks, is for cops to investigate the leads they already have.

"The Department of Justice and all 50 attorneys general are sitting on a mountain of evidence leading straight to the doors of child pornography traffickers," Weeks said. "We could rescue hundreds of thousands of child sexual assault victims tomorrow in America, without raising any constitutional issues whatsoever. But government simply won't spend the money to protect these children. Instead of arrests by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the child exploitation industry now faces Internet pop-ups from the Friendly Bus Investigators. That was always the fundamental difference between the Biden bill and the McCain bill. Biden wanted to fund cops to rescue children. McCain wanted to outsource the job."

Sen. McCain's general counsel, Lee C. Dunn, said that he's happy that both the law enforcement and technology approaches became law, that his focus was on protecting children. She said the new law does not require any Internet provider to monitor traffic.

"They have the responsibility and their right to manage the network as they wish," Dunn said. "If AOL wants to monitor their network for child porn, some customers may go to them, because they'll keep them from getting this stuff showing up in their e-mail. Other companies may choose not to, and other people may prefer that. We're not dictating to them that they monitor their network."

Brilliant Digital Entertainment is betting that most internet companies will choose to monitor their customers. Michael Speck said his company's product pitches have been well received by law enforcement agencies, government officials and Internet service providers.

"I don't think there's anyone in the Internet space," Speck said, "who doesn't think fighting child sexual exploitation is good business."


AL - Charges dropped in fake Baldwin County sex sting

View the article here

Great, now we have kids putting themselves in danger, by mimicking "To Catch a Predator" and carrying out their own stings. You see folks, kids mimick stuff they see on TV and in music... Remember Columbine? And now these idiots!  These kids should be punished some how.

10/16/2008

By VIRGINIA BRIDGES

Teens in incident face no related charges

BAY MINETTE — Prosecutors have dropped the last of two charges against a Bay Minette man arrested in June after two teenage boys said to be mimicking televised sex stings reportedly lured the 39-year-old to their home with salacious Internet banter.

The attorney for John Andrew Salter said the action during a short trial last week is evidence his client was guilty of nothing other than being prosecuted on unfounded charges.

"That is the first time I won without asking a question," said attorney Daniel Mitchell. "I don't think they had any evidence to begin with. I think it was all a big practical joke."

Bay Minette police charged Salter on June 9 with contributing to the delinquency of a minor under the age of 19 and enticement. The enticement charge, which in general involves children under the age of 16, in Salter's case was dropped a week later, according to Mitchell.

Salter was arrested outside the home of one of the two teens, then ages 17 and 18, Bay Minette police said at the time. The teens said they communicated with Salter, a registered sex offender, over the Internet and invited him over, following what they'd seen on televised sex stings, such as the "Dateline NBC" series "To Catch a Predator," police said in June.

The teens said Salter entered the residence and offered to perform a sexual act, according to police.

But in an Oct. 8 Juvenile Court hearing, which isn't open to the public, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Parker told District Court Judge Carmen Bosch that the evidence didn't meet the threshold to move forward with the case, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the case was handled in Juvenile Court because it involved two minors.

Parker said that after the evidence was presented, "it was obvious that there were not enough facts to substantiate a criminal charge."

Mitchell said that Salter went to the teen's home in June to inquire about purchasing a wrecked motorcy cle.

Bay Minette Police Chief Michael Rowland said the officers who arrested Salter moved forward with the case using the information they had at the time.

"Whatever the officer did on the scene that day, I think they did in good faith with the best information they had at that particular time," Rowland said.

In general, it isn't uncommon for a complainant or an alleged victim to not tell police the truth at the time, or change their story later, Rowland said.

"That doesn't happen in every case," he said. "The majority of people who make allegations to the police are honest and forthright on it."

Rowland said the teens face no charges related to the incident.

In 1996, Salter was convicted of the second-degree rape of a 15-year-old girl, according to the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office Web site that provides information on registered sex offenders.

© 2008 Press-Register. All rights reserved.


Men & Parents Beware: Minor Females Post Suggestive Profiles Online To Attract Adult Males

View the article here

10/15/2008

By Richard O. Jones - richardojones1@verizon.net

The popular weekly television news show, Dateline has a series called, "To Catch a Predator," that I rate as a well intended but lukewarm effect sexual crime deterrent against children. The ongoing series aids law enforcement in catching Internet Chat Room adult male sexual predators of young girls. The sting operation works by an under cover policewoman entering an Internet Chat Room and posting her profile as a young girl usually 13 or 14 years old in search of friendship or a chatting buddy. The profile attracts other youth desiring friendships; however, it also attracts adult males seeking sexual relationships with female minors. Ultimately the men go for the jailbait and are led my their perverted lust to a house where they expect to meet the a sexually permissive young girl. Upon arrival they are arrested on national television.

Although the sting operation is a service to the community because it endeavors to protect innocent girls from Internet predators; however, it puts the safety and/or lives of the men in serious jeopardy by exposing them on national television. There are many people that like to take the law into their own hands when it comes to child molesters. However, besides being bothered by the ‘Dateline' inadvertently setting the men up for harm, I am also bothered that little or nothing is being done to curb the solicitation of real minor girls on the Internet seeking cyberspace relationships with older males for sexual experimentation and/or profit.

There are minor girls making themselves available via the Internet. Recently, I discovered that a 12-year old girl on my street has a My Space profile where she described herself as 19 years old, bisexual and seeking new friends. This is a girl that has twice babysat my grandson. I soon began to check other My Space sites of some of the kids I knew from the neighborhood, church, and within my family. I soon discovered other young girls that I knew boosted their age to 18 or 19 years old and included their wild sexual desires and/or fantasies.

My point in sharing this information is that I believe that the juvenile authorities should launch their own sting operation to catch young girls that lure men into the trap of Statutory Rape by pretending to be older. These kids are inviting strange men and boys to their parent's home for acts that could send naïve men to prison. Perhaps undercover agents should respond to some of these My Space profiles and save these kids from themselves. However these kids need higher morals and counseling, not incarceration.

While it is justice that the adult males in pursuit of young girls are busted and face imprisonment, it is unjust that no uncover law enforcement agency is conducting sting operations to catch the young girls that are misleading older males online. Every parent should check up their child's My Space profile and also the profile of their friends.


TX - AG wants online IDs of sex offenders listed

View the article here

10/16/2008

Lisa Sandberg - Express-News

AUSTIN — Not sure who your kid is chatting with online? If Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (Contact) has his way, the state's public sex offender registry would include e-mail addresses and online names.

In what some are calling the toughest reporting proposals in the country, Abbott on Wednesday called for giving the public more information about the state's 53,000 registered sex offenders. Aiming to crack down on cyberpredators, Abbott hopes to expand the state sex offender registry to include e-mail addresses and Internet screen names.

“Parents could check all the e-mail addresses sent to and from their children's computer to find out if their children are communicating with a sex offender,” Abbott said.

He said his proposal would provide Texans with the “most comprehensive reporting requirements in the country” and would provide law enforcement, and ultimately the public, “with new and better tools to track and monitor sex offenders.”

The attorney general's plan would need the Legislature's approval; Abbott said he plans to meet with lawmakers in coming weeks.

Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said he doesn't have any problems providing the public with more information on sex offenders and thinks Abbott's proposals have a good chance of passing the Legislature next year.

Texas leaders have enacted increasingly strict registration requirements for sex offenders. This year, the Texas sex offender registry expanded to include an offender's school or place of work.

Later this year, Texans will be able to sign up for e-mail alerts when an offender moves into a neighborhood. The public “can sign up to be notified about changes in a specific ZIP code or regarding a specific offender,” said Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, which maintains the state registry.

Some question whether the focus on online predators creates a false sense of security.

Jill Levenson, a clinical social worker and professor of human services at Lynn University in Florida who has studied how sex crime policies affect sex crime rates, said children “are most often molested by people who are acquainted with the family, relatives and friends of the family, people who are trusted and use that trust to gain access.

“Parents certainly need to take precautions (regarding who their children are communicating with online) but in a way, all of this attention to Internet predators and stranger abductions and sexually motivated homicides takes away from important information we need to be giving parents, which is that children are much, much more likely to be abused by people (the family knows).”

As for whether tougher reporting requirements are effective in lowering the rate of sex crimes, Levenson said the studies she and others have done have been, at best, mixed.

“Overall, the totality of research so far looking at the impact of registration and notification with sex crime rates does not really indicate there is a strong deterrent or preventive effect,” Levenson said.

She said she knew of no public registry in the nation containing offenders' e-mail addresses or online names.

But Congress continues to pass stricter laws, as do states. Many registries, including the Texas registry, include at least some juveniles, their names, addresses and photos. Critics in Texas complain that the state registry includes anyone convicted of a sex crime, whether the offender had sex with a teen who was a few years younger or whether the offender repeatedly used force against a young child.

Bruce Siegel, 38, a convicted sex offender in the Dallas area, complained that Abbott's proposal targets all offenders, not just the ones he believes the public needs to be warned about. “Now you're asking police departments to monitor more, which spreads them pretty thin when they really need to ride herd on 10 or 30 percent of (all offenders), Siegel said. “It's going to cause more paperwork and a lot of wasted time.”

Abbott's proposal also would require offenders to report their cell phone numbers to law enforcement, though the numbers would not be made public.

It would also restrict some high-risk offenders from using the Internet at all.


MO - Spot checks of sex offenders planned in Jasper County

View the article here

More Halloween hysteria! If they are not on parole or probation, then you cannot legally make them stay in their homes.  This is contained in SB-714.

10/15/2008

By Jeff Lehr -jlehr@joplinglobe.com

The Jasper County sheriff announced Wednesday that deputies will be conducting spot checks to see that registered sex offenders are complying with a new state law restricting their activities on Halloween.

The law requires registered sex offenders to avoid “all Halloween-related contact with children” on Oct. 31, and to remain inside their homes between the hours of 5 and 10:30 p.m. unless they are required to be somewhere else for reasons of employment, medical emergencies or other “just cause.”

They also must post signs at their homes stating, “No candy or treats at this residence,” and must leave all outside residential lighting off for the night after 5 p.m.

Violations of the law constitute a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Sheriff Archie Dunn said in a news release that the law is intended to ensure the safety of children on Halloween, and that his department will be enforcing it.

“It is our intent to do random spot checks of residences of some of our registered sex offenders on Halloween to ensure they are in compliance with these new regulations,” Dunn said.

He said the sheriff’s office will be providing free signs for sex offenders to post at their homes. The signs may be picked up at the sheriff’s office at 2907 County Road 180, the Jasper County Jail at 403 E. Fifth St. in Carthage, and at the security checkpoints in the Jasper County Courts Building in Joplin and the courthouse in Carthage.

The sheriff said parents of children who are trick-or-treating on Halloween may see the addresses and names of sex offenders through the Missouri Sex Offender Registry provided online by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

State law now gives sex offenders just three days, instead of 10, in which to register with local law enforcement after a conviction, release from incarceration or placement on probation. They also have three days to notify law enforcement of any changes in address, employment and vehicles. All registration must be done in person.

Among other required information, sex offenders must provide palm and fingerprints, be entered into an Iris Scan System, and give a DNA sample if they have not previously done so. They also are required to provide any online identities they may be using as a protection against online sexual predators.

Sex offenders

There are 153 registered sex offenders in Jasper County. That number includes a significant portion of the 92 registered sex offenders living in Joplin. The rest of the registered sex offenders in Joplin live in the Newton County part of the town.