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[P]
Rising Sun has Risen

By cestmoi in Technology
Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 12:39:24 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Michael Crichton predicted in Rising Sun that digital imaging technology would make photographs and video irrelevant in court cases. It took 11 years for his prediction to come true.


Rising Sun is a murder mystery that focuses on a video depicting the victim's death. Crichton develops the story to demonstrate that videos, and by extension, photographs could be modified to depict entirely different events. Eleven years later, Dean Boland, a former prosecutor in Cleveland Ohio, discovered what Crichton had been talking about.

That realization prompted Boland to testify as an expert witness for the defense in several child pornography cases. He's written some scripts that enable him to quickly demonstrate that a photograph showing consensual sex between adults can be changed into child pornography. With another click, he can effect the reverse transformation.

The demo has resulted in two court cases against child pornographers being thrown out. A third case is awaiting a ruling on a motion to dismiss. All three cases hinge on the fact that the law requires that a child appearing in a photo depicting child pornography actually be a child. Prosecutors believe that places an impossible burden of proof on them.

The thinking behind the legal requirement is clear - a prosecutor must prove that a photograph depicting a crime actually depicts what the prosecution claims. During Stalin's reign, the Soviets would routinely airbrush photographs to remove or add people to a photograph. Though the photographs illustrated at The Commissar Vanishes may seem crude, with the advent of digital photography, the technique has become almost undetectable.

Eugene Volokh a Law professor at UCLA, posts that in Ashcroft V. Free Speech Coalition, the government argued that if a photo depicts child pornography, it should be considered as such regardless of its origins. At the time, the government couldn't point to cases such as the Ohio and Oklahoma cases to bolster its argument. The Supreme Court considered the government's case speculative and ruled against Ashcroft. Justice Thomas wrote

At this time, however, the Government asserts only that defendants raise such defenses, not that they have done so successfully. In fact, the Government points to no case in which a defendant has been acquitted based on a "computer generated images" defense.
Thomas went on to say
The Court suggests that the Government's interest in enforcing prohibitions against real child pornography cannot justify prohibitions on virtual child pornography, because "[t]his analysis turns the First Amendment upside down. The Government may not suppress lawful speech as the means to suppress unlawful speech."

Should possession of child pornography, regardless of its origin, be illegal? If you answer yes, then Boland would find himself in jail for demonstrating how to transform a legal image into an illegal one. If you answer no, then you open the doors to creating an environment where children can, and more than likely, will be exploited to produce the material. If you can't prove the photograph depicts a crime, then you can't convict the accused.

The flip side is that as Boland maintains, that by not requiring that a photo be demonstrably authentic, an unscrupulous prosecutor could easily manipulate a photograph to depict a crime where none had been committed.

In a digital age, just how do you prove that a photo hasn't been manipulated?

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Poll
Should possession of child pornography be a crime?
o Yes 17%
o No 38%
o Depends on how it was generated 44%

Votes: 88
Results | Other Polls

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Rising Sun has Risen | 162 comments (122 topical, 40 editorial, 0 hidden)
What? (1.11 / 17) (#6)
by Aunt Jemima on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 02:06:08 PM EST

This whole article seems to be based on the ridiculous premise that paedophilia and the production of child pornography is somehow wrong. I don't get it, why is it wrong?

Improper Trolling Form. (2.25 / 4) (#10)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:47:43 PM EST

Students, please examine this closely. The poster may well feign a tongue-in-cheek kind of innocence here, but truth told this troll discards any credibility it might otherwise have. The proper troll would acknowledge "that while we have a long history of cultural taboos against underage sex", that it may be the case that most of the damage is caused only by predatory paedohiles and the system of persecution that caring paedohiles face. He would ramble on for at least another paragraph, in a good devil's advocate tone, maybe even confessing to having children himself and not knowing how he would react to someone harming them.

Also note that trolling about paedohilia is even more crude than standard trollery, and tends to offend to a level that no other troll can... caution is advised, as some over-protective parent might see fit to chisel off your gonads with a pneumatic jackhammer coated in lemon juice. Also, under no circumstances should a troll take it upon himself to photoshop Rusty's wife as a nude 10 yr old. It is impossible to troll from a banned account.

This concludes our trolling lesson for today, class. Be sure to tune in tomorrow, when Grandmaster Troll MEEEEPT! injects dirty limericks into Dan Rather's teleprompter on the 6'o'clock news.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Isn't it convenient (none / 3) (#16)
by Aunt Jemima on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:59:48 PM EST

That you can hide behind these baseless ad hominem assertions that I am some sort of "troll", thereby completely ignoring an important question that you obviously don't have the answer to?

I am not a paedophile by any means but unlike you, I believe paedophiles have just as much right to engage in non-harmful acts like masturbating to images of children or child pornography as you or I have to do the same with adult pornography. To this exent, you seem unable to clarify to me just why exactly paedophilia is wrong, and the desires of you and I (adult women) are right. So, without attacking me on a personal level and creating some elaborate ad hominem strawman about "trolling", would you care to stop being a coward and answer the question, assuming you can?

[ Parent ]

Much improvement. (1.75 / 4) (#25)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:58:06 PM EST

Still, I'm afraid that I can't possibly give this a grade higher than B-. Even that's a stretch, but I do want you to pass the course... you have the heart of a troll, even if not the skill to go with it yet. That's something none of the 4.0 students will ever be able to learn... but it's also a burden to you too, because I expect you to be responsible with this gift, and I even hope that you will someday out-troll me, your teacher.

For your homework assignment, tonight I want you to go troll IRC, maybe freenode or even EFnet. Go into any #beos channels you can find, and ask questions about "this weird laptop you bought at a yardsale, the BeBook". Do some research, work it up good and make it believable. If someone isn't asking to buy it, you aren't doing it right (less than 1900 Beboxes ever made, no laptop version ever contemplated... if one did exist, worth big $$$). From this assignment, I want you to learn than anything and anyone can be trolled, not sociopol wanks on web forums.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

-1 Moral Relativism (1.75 / 4) (#37)
by fluxrad on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 07:24:27 PM EST

Yes, yes. Any why is murder really wrong, why is stealing illegal, et al.

These assertions are unsuitable in any context outside of the opening week of Philosophy 101.

Of course, this assumes you weren't actually trolling, in which case you fail to make the distinction between altered and actual images of child pornography, the later of which should by all means be considered a felony.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 1) (#56)
by Aunt Jemima on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:30:54 AM EST

But I don't think it's morally relativistic to say that child pornography should not be banned. Why should a picture of a naked child be "by all means considered a felony"? Nobody was harmed in any way by the production of this image, so why is it banned while a picture of a naked adult is not?

[ Parent ]
-1: There *are* stupid questions (none / 3) (#75)
by fluxrad on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:32:16 PM EST

We're talking about "child pornography" here, not an Anne Geddes portrait. If you have trouble seeing the difference, then I hesitate to attempt a more in-depth conversation on this topic with you.

Lastly, If you think child molestation is somehow "ok" then I must say that you honestly have no idea of the damage it can do to a person. And yes, molestation is implicit to child pornography.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Good you bring it up... (none / 0) (#135)
by laotic on Tue Jul 06, 2004 at 04:34:23 PM EST

Let's see how many people would second a ban of the tasteless Geddes stuff too. She will roast in hell for the yicky rubbish anyway, no doubt.

:)

Sig? Sigh.
[ Parent ]
Geddes. (none / 0) (#137)
by grendelkhan on Tue Jul 06, 2004 at 06:03:03 PM EST

I didn't know who Anne Geddes was. So I went a-googling.

DEAR GOD GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD IT HURTS IT BURNS! What kind of twisted-ass shit is this?

So, I had to go write a Wikipedia article about her. But they won't come out of my head. What kind of crazy-ass sick woman is she?!

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]

How about shifting the burden of proof? (3.00 / 16) (#12)
by Polverone on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:52:16 PM EST

In the US, it is legal (with the correct permit) to own a machine gun. But if the police search your home and find a machine gun, the burden of proof is on the owner to show that the weapon was legally owned, not on the police to show that the owner could not have legally owned it.

Why not apply something similar here? Permit "virtual" child pornography, but place the burden on  owners of such pornography to show that it is a digital creation. At a minimum, this means holding backups of source images used to create final composites, but more compelling would be a complete script/macro/record of the work done in an image editor to create the composite, so composites can be regenerated from sources and compared against images claimed to be composites.

People producing virtual porn for sale might want to hold on to their source images/scripts most of the time, to prevent others from taking their work, but provide at least miniatures of the source images and be able to provide full-res images and scripts to regenerate composites on special request (if a customer gets in legal trouble and needs defending).

Of course this is inconvenient, and would need something like "source can be obtained from http://site.com" tags in web images so that pornsurfers aren't convicted by images left in caches with no identity/creation trail. I guess the smart/ethical fancier of underage sexual imagery would be careful to surf only vetted sites that promised "100% virtual -- 100% verifiable."

This seems to strike a reasonable compromise between outlawing images of real abuse and permitting images where nobody was harmed.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.

Question (none / 2) (#15)
by Hellkitten on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:58:43 PM EST

It seems you think that legal access to "virtual child porn" is a good thing. Can you explain to me in what way society benefits from having these images floating around? Because I'm unable to see any.



[ Parent ]
Benefit? (2.75 / 4) (#17)
by Aunt Jemima on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:01:52 PM EST

How does society benefit from having the presence of any abnromal sexual desire? How does society benefit from the presence of homosexual pornography, for instance? Just because there is not benefit to society in it other than the sexual gratification of those you view it does not mean it should be banned.

[ Parent ]
Flawed anology again (none / 3) (#21)
by Hellkitten on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:11:33 PM EST

S/M, gay porn, heterosexual porn, etc depicts a voluntary action by two (or more) consenting adults. It could increase the chances that a person does or fantasizes about doing something legal.

Child porn, rape porn, snuff etc depicts one (or more) people beeing abused. It could increase the chances that a person does or fantasizes about doing something wrong. (some S/M will fall into a gray area here, but child porn is way past what is acceptable



[ Parent ]
That's no justification (2.83 / 6) (#22)
by Aunt Jemima on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:20:39 PM EST

And it doesn't answer your original question either: what purpose does it serve? The answer is that all porn serves the same purpose, to satisfy the sexual desires of its viewers. You were suggesting that the fact that paedophilic porn has "no reason to exist" (or whatever) was at the very least a partial justification for banning it. But the fact is, this goes the same for all porn.

Now your secondary issue seems to be that (as least sexual) depictions of "bad" thigns make people want to go out and do these "bad" things, and that's something else entirely. But, it's no justification for banning the depiction, especially when that depiction is entirely staged and caused no harm itself.

Here's something that may help you. Imagine it was discovered that there was a group of people for whom picture of people punching each other was very sexually arousing. They downloading all these pictures of people punching each other and sometimes they'd even go out punching pepople themselves, occasionally to death. Now that we have this information, it is right to ban pictures of people punching each other? What about pictures where nobody even punched anybody, but the photo was digitally edited such that it looked like they were punching. Should posessing this edited picture be a crime? The answer is, of course, no. There is no justification of banning the depiction of a harmful act, created without any harm being done, just because some person out there who likes punching people might get turned on.

[ Parent ]

Again the issue of consent (none / 2) (#26)
by Hellkitten on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:58:56 PM EST

Encouraging thoughts about legal sexual activity is a good thing. (though some religous people might disagree with me on the details). The gratification of the person viewing it is also a good thing, it serves as a great stress reliever without encouraging behaviour that damages others.

Encouraging thoughts about illegal abusive sexual activity is a bad thing.

Two people can agree to punch each other (think boxing, jackass or fight club)

A sexual act involving a child cannot by definition be consentual. (think statuatory rape)

Again the the two acts are fundamentally different, and so is the depiction of them.

If you want to debate by analogy at least try to find an anology that fits



[ Parent ]
hmm (2.50 / 6) (#35)
by WorkingEmail on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 06:52:24 PM EST

A sexual act involving a child cannot by definition be consentual. (think statuatory rape)

I hate to agree with the pedophiles (or any other person who lets their sexuality define their identity), but what you said is only the current politically correct view, as reflected in legal terminology. Your 'by definition' is just the status quo. It will change.

A 10 year old can easily comprehend the details and consequences about sexual intercourse. Plenty of 14, 13, even 12 year olds are agreeing to have sex these days, and enjoying it. Does it really matter who their partner is?


[ Parent ]

I am a child pornographer (none / 2) (#122)
by Squidward on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 08:49:13 AM EST

I own sexually explicit pictures of myself and my girlfriend, aged 16 and 17 at the time of the photography.

We're now 20 and 21, and engaged.

Because of this, I'm a criminal. Well, that and the baggie of weed in my sock drawer.

That is bullshit.

[ Parent ]

bullshit... but you could still go to jail, ha[nt] (none / 0) (#128)
by clambake on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 04:56:04 PM EST



[ Parent ]
This is the FBI (none / 1) (#149)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 03:13:52 AM EST

Turn yourself in now for a plea bargain (15 years in prison) or face trial and a life sentence.

:-)

Actually, in all seriousness, the post above would be enough for a search warrant of your computer.  There was a somewhat publicized story about a 15 year old girl who was charged with "production of child pornography" for taking pictures of HERSELF.

great, eh?  Still...  a nasty felony that would prohibit you from a number of professions as well as likely cause difficulties even if you were to have kids (they could take them away without warning)...

Just a thought.

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 0) (#136)
by laotic on Tue Jul 06, 2004 at 04:41:33 PM EST

I could not comprehend the details and consequences about sexual intercourse when I was 10. Definitely not intercourse with adults.

It is right that anything labelled as 'statutory' is just the current moral stance, but children (meaning younger than 15 years or so) are abused by ANY sexual insinuation/attempts of adults. Try dig in your memory that far and see if you could go to bed with an adult as a 10-year old. I don't think so.

Thing is, children are not powerful enough (physically or mentally) to refuse an adult, and hence need to be protected by society.

The fact that you in U.S. are sometimes taking things too far is another matter.

Sig? Sigh.
[ Parent ]
sexuality define identity (none / 1) (#148)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 03:11:23 AM EST

Interesting that you assume that a pedophile would immediately allow "their sexuality define their identity".   Actually, one of my favorite teachers in school was active in the community, was a volunteer firefighter, etc, etc, etc, (ie, "good person") was arrested for diddling a 12 year old student (apparently at the insistance of the child - still wrong, but not as reprehensible in my view).  

Obviously comitted a crime, but I regard him as a good person who made a very bad mistake...   not a bad person who let "their sexuality define their identity"...  nor necessarily a lost soul....

He got 275 years in prison so I guess the world will never know.

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Grey area (3.00 / 9) (#38)
by kitten on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 09:02:11 PM EST

A sexual act involving a child cannot by definition be consentual. (think statuatory rape)

"Statutory rape", at least in most states, attempts to lump 16 and 17 year olds together with 8 and 9 year olds, in terms of ability to consent to sex, which is idiotic. In other words, the same law that protects an 8 year old from being abused also "protects" a 17 year old from having sex with her 19 year old boyfriend or whatever.

Statutory rape laws define a child as anyone below an arbitrary age, and then assumes that nobody within that age range is capable of consent and that they are all, from age 1 to age 17, at the exact same level of sexual awareness. Saying that it cannot "by definition" be consensual is utterly tautalogical. There are plenty of 16 and 17 year olds out there who are fully aware of what sex is and what it entails. Many of us here at K5 were probably among them at one time.

So -- is it wrong of me to create a computer generated image of a teenage girl and call it "16_years_old.jpg"? If so, is it as wrong as creating an image of an 8 year old?

Your mistake is in assuming that anything illegal must also be immoral.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
But (none / 2) (#63)
by drsmithy on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 05:19:22 AM EST

A sexual act involving a child cannot by definition be consentual. (think statuatory rape)

The act *isn't* involving a child, so the "lack" of consent is irrelevant - that's the whole argument.

The only reason child porn is illegal is because, by definition, a child cannot give consent. If a child isn't actually involved - therefore making the consent issue irrelevant - the whole basis of why the porn might be illegal is nullified.

[ Parent ]

What about murder? (3.00 / 6) (#64)
by ErikOsterholm on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 05:47:10 AM EST

Plenty of movies depict murder. Murder is illegal. If the murder actually occurred, the movie is labelled a snuff film and is illegal. If the murder was simulated, the movie is just a movie and is considered entertainment. Plenty of porn depicts sex with children. Sex with children is illegal. If the sex with children actually occurred, the porn is labelled child porn and is illegal. If the sex with children is simulated, the porn....by your reasoning, should still be illegal?

[ Parent ]
No (none / 1) (#66)
by Hellkitten on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 08:57:42 AM EST

If the only purpose of the film is displaying murder then I'd label it a snuff film regardless if the murder was real or not.

If the faked murder is placed in the context of a story it's another matter (like in CSI which i love, but the actual depiction of the murder isn't what makes it good)

Same difference if a movie depicts exploitation of childer, as part of a story (and no the average level of a story in a porn movie isn't enough) without beeing explicit. (for example the movie Lolita based on Nabokovs book might fit this description (haven't seen it so I wouldn't know for sure)

The purpose of child porn or snuff, is to allow sick people to get off to ther sick thought. It is my belief that this increases the chances of a later misdeed, so these movies/pictures should be forbidden. Wether the pictures are real or faked wouldn't affect this risk, so they should be all be banned.

Obviousluy the penalty for producing faked child porn will be lesser than the penalty for producing real child porn, since the faked porn vouldn't give the added sexual abuse charges on top of it.



[ Parent ]
okay (none / 1) (#88)
by WorkingEmail on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 08:44:38 PM EST

If the only purpose of the film is displaying murder then I'd label it a snuff film regardless if the murder was real or not.

Then many of your 'snuff films' would be legal. Drawing lines on a map will not shift dirt.


[ Parent ]

Perhaps (none / 0) (#102)
by Hellkitten on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 04:00:01 AM EST

But having a line at least allows you to stop what is clearly over it. Just because you can't ban every picture a paedophile may jerk off to (heck they may be aroused by pictures af fully clothed children in everyday situations for all I know) you can get rid of the obvious cases involving sexual activity.



[ Parent ]
How much plot does the film need? [nt] (none / 1) (#123)
by Milo Minderbender on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 09:36:49 AM EST



--------------------
This comment is for the good of the syndicate.
[ Parent ]
BAH!!!! Justifications are bullshit (none / 0) (#147)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 03:07:21 AM EST

"It is my belief that this increases the chances of a later misdeed, so these movies/pictures should be forbidden. Wether the pictures are real or faked wouldn't affect this risk, so they should be all be banned."

If I believed that watching violence on TV greatly increases the average level of violence in society, does that justify it be banned?  I know there are people who argue that.  Perhaps you are one of them.  Somehow, as a K5 reader, I doubt that.

So what's the distinction.  Is it because this is a "worse" crime morallly.  Can we make one thing justifiable and another thing unjustifiable simply on premise of what level of "evil" you associate with it?

Maybe you can say yes.

As for your comment that the "purpose" is for "sick people" to get off to their "sick thought".  Regardless of the moral standing of the act, if we approach it with the benefit to society in mind (where freedom of information is paramount), doesn't this basically become a moot point?

Just stirring debate....

Stewey

[ Parent ]

another flawed analogy (none / 1) (#40)
by livus on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 09:20:21 PM EST

the key aspect being that there are multiple alternate reasons why pictures of people punching each other exist. There is evenan entire consensual sport dedicated to it.

Photographs of children being molested are only ever created by and for one particular interest group, and they are non consensual.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Okay, so what about... (3.00 / 6) (#57)
by Aunt Jemima on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:38:49 AM EST

a child who is just naked, with exposed genitalia? This picture is apparently "child pornography", but surely it documents real life events as much as a picture of someone throwing a punch does, correct? And if there was no "other reason" for punching pixtures to exist (and no sport of boxing), would you THEN say that pictures of people punching others should be banned? It's absord to say that one is okay because there are "legitimate alternative reasons", while another equally harmless-in-its-creation photo should be banned because tehre are "less legitimate reasons" for it to exist.

The fact is, a mother may take pictures of her young, naked child to keep as reminders of the memories of this child's youth. But if a person is found with a whole collection of these sort of photos of children, he would be prosecuted for owning child pornography. Each photo has a legitimate reason to exist, and yet this person is charged with a crime for having them. If this isn't policing thoughts, I don't know what is.

[ Parent ]

I must admit, I'm at a loss here (none / 0) (#65)
by livus on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 07:50:28 AM EST

is there no common sense in your entire legislative body?

Since when is a family photograph "apparently child pornography"?

People will masturbate to anything, even an old shoe. I am not suggesting that everything people could masturbate to be banned; that's just weird and binary. I find your new scenario perplexing and senseless.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Since when? Since October 2002. (none / 3) (#118)
by russm on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 02:33:22 AM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/4/19/23560/3126

The photos showed the parents' two infants bathing naked, lying together in bed with their mother (again naked) and the 1-year-old Rodrigo suckling his mother's (naked) breast. So the couple was arrested -- the maximum prison sentence for the crime in question being 20 years -- and the children taken away.


[ Parent ]
Easy answer (none / 2) (#127)
by clambake on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 04:53:30 PM EST

Can you explain to me in what way society benefits from having these images floating around?

I'll be happy to explain... the instant that you are willing to explain to me why having violent murders in Hollywood movies is a benefit to society.  In my book a few thousand molested children a year is a whole hell of lot less disturbing than a few thousand murdered ones.

If people are just monkey enough to do only what they see on TV, and can't think for themselves, then  by all fucking means, show 24/7 8 year old rape rathar than Oz or even Law and Order.  I'd be much happier in a world of rampant sexual abuse than in  the current world of rampant physical abuse and murder.

I would much prefer my child getting raped on the way home from school than murdered by being torn limb from limb.

[ Parent ]

Answers (3.00 / 5) (#28)
by Polverone on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 05:05:06 PM EST

In the United States, it is difficult in general for the government to prohibit classes of speech (text or vocalization) or forms of expression such as photographs or music. The restrictions that do exist should be crafted as narrowly as possible, or they will be struck down by the Supreme Court as violating the 1st Amendment. My compromise seems to me a way of preventing harm to real children while permitting the 1st Amendment-protected flow of virtual images. I don't know how it'd work out in real life, but I think it might survive a 1st Amendment assault better than a blanket restriction on images that appear to be child pornography.

Additionally, I can well understand the impulse to relive adolescence with images of nubile 14 year olds doing Deliciously Naughty Things. Maybe you don't consider that child pornography. Maybe you say "child pornography" and think of pictures of 8 year olds being forcibly raped. But in the US images of persons under 18 engaged in sexual acts are all dangerous to the owner/producer of such images. I can understand why perfectly healthy people might enjoy at least a subset of such underage images, and "virtual porn" might offer a safe route to them. I'm sure there were Olsen twins composite images made before they turned 18.

Even more extreme, let's suppose child pornography means nothing less than images of pre-teens being forcibly raped. I don't visit rotten.com or similar sites and I certainly won't seek out rape porn for any age group. But would I support a ban on all such images, even provably virtual ones? No. I've met enough people who feast on rotten.com or violent movies and games, yet who don't behave violently in real life, to believe that media consumption isn't powerful enough to turn men into monsters all by itself. It's quite possible that many child abusers also enjoy images of child pornography. It doesn't matter to me, if a goodly number of counterexamples can be found as well. As long as it is possible for someone to indulge their (disturbing and weird, to me) desires without directly harming someone else, I would permit it. But I suggest that on this sensitive issue, it's best for all involved if virtual pornography can be easily verified as such (to save the prosecutor's time and the defendant's reputation/life).
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

drat, this was a reply to "Question" nt (none / 0) (#29)
by Polverone on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 05:23:37 PM EST


--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 1) (#60)
by Hellkitten on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 04:02:54 AM EST

Finally an argument that makes some sense. Obviously I think it's better to stop some of the images than none at all if the US constitution would stop a law like that.

What about the fact that these faked pictures makes the job a lot harder for law enforcement? When they grab a collection of images (not nudes but sexual acts) I assume they will try to identify the child and the abuser. The existence of doctored images means a lot of dead ends here, could this in any way justify banning faked pictures too?

If "virtual" pictures end up beeing (remaining?) legal, at least I think the idea that someone else proposed about reversing the burden of proof should be considered. I for one would pity the poor investigator that would have to examine each and every picture to see if it was a fake or not.

For the record still is that images depicting sexual acts by chiildren should be banned completely. This is merely considering what could get into US laws and not. (I believe the laws in my home country makes no distinction between real and fake)



[ Parent ]
Dealing with possible problems (none / 0) (#78)
by Polverone on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 05:19:52 PM EST

I was the one who proposed reversing the burden of proof. I meant to respond to your post "Question" but accidentally replied to myself.

I think that there are different levels of child porn investigation. There's the level where law enforcement tries to find/stop the people creating such images, there's the level where they go after people buying/trading images, and there's the level where suspect images were incidentally discovered. I suppose these levels can cascade up/down depending on how closely different law enforcement organizations cooperate.

Part of my scheme was the belief that people creating virtual images would tag such images so that they could be identified as virtual, and verified as virtual on request (by demonstrating re-creation from legal source images and a series of image manipulations). I suppose it could somewhat muddy things if the police find a large cache of images, all tagged "virtual," but they suspect some are non-virtual or can't verify them all as virtual. Since the burden of proof rests on the holder of images in my scheme, it shouldn't complicate getting a conviction if some images can't be verified one way or the other; it actually simplifies things. I admit that this could make it harder for investigators who want to find the source of images, but I don't think it's much harder than in our current world where doctored images exist but a formal process for certifying imagery "virtual" doesn't exist.

But for a lot of child porn cases I don't think tracking down victims/abusers is even a major part of it. I've heard it said, in an earlier K5 discussion about child porn, that a lot of CP images have been circulating underground for decades (now on the web) and are well-known. Identification of victims here takes a backseat or is irrelevant -- the goal is convicting the possessor of the images.

Finally, there's the common incidental scenario, where a technician discovers suspect images on someone's PC while servicing it. I can't imagine a local police department in (say) Idaho making an effort to track down the source or identities of images that may have come from anywhere on the globe in one of these incidental cases. Maybe such images are passed on to a higher level for further investigation; I don't know.

I also have sympathy for people who claim that they were accidental viewers of child pornography. I used to scoff at such people, thinking "suuure, you were looking for swimsuit models and accidentally ended up at sexuallyexploitedchildren.ru." But a few years back I was browsing some (admittedly shady) sites looking for a software registration code, and suddenly I was treated to a pop-up ad with what looked like a 6-year old fellating someone, promoting one of the Internet's "top CP sites!" I didn't know that child porn sites actually advertised anywhere. For all I know it could've been a fake, designed to snare people seeking such content. I quickly closed the window and cleared my cache. But what if it had been like a lot of aggressive warez/porn sites, using scripts to open dozens of windows in the blink of an eye, all of them with incriminating images? Now I don't have a hard time imagining that someone could have many illegal images in their browser cache by accident, especially if the person is browsing seedy sites with IE.

Also, would you mind clarifying exactly what you mean by "children" when you say you support banning all sexual imagery of children, virtual or not? Do you mean people under a certain age, people with no secondary sexual characteristics developed, people with secondary sexual characteristics incompletely developed, or something else? Also, does "sexual imagery" include plain nudes (some people have gotten into trouble for those in the US)?
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

You're not making any sense (none / 0) (#146)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 02:33:37 AM EST

What about the fact that these faked pictures makes the job a lot harder for law enforcement?

It is already decided that prohibiting protected speech in order to prevent unprotected speech is both a violation of the US constitution and against the principles of freedom in our country.  It violates most "international" tenants of "freedom" also. You cannot justify banning all "white powdered substances" just because cocaine is a white powder.  White power cannot be made illegal simply because of its appearance makes it harder for detectives to find.  Along the same lines, the justification of "makes it easier on police" doesn't hold water.

"If "virtual" pictures end up beeing (remaining?) legal, at least I think the idea that someone else proposed about reversing the burden of proof should be considered. I for one would pity the poor investigator that would have to examine each and every picture to see if it was a fake or not."

I for one, would pity the poor guy who has to prove that each and every one of the pictures he's ever looked at is legal (or else face YEARS in prison).  Keep in mind that all the prosecutor is losing is "paid time", but the defendant is potentially losing his life and dreams (in a very real way).  It's strange that when someone is deemed to be a "pedophile" people no longer extend even the slightest semblance of human rights or even dignities.  You may feel that some do not deserve your dignity...  but they are people and have rights.

Stewey

[ Parent ]

The Harm to the Child (2.22 / 9) (#30)
by OldCoder on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 05:32:41 PM EST

Child porn harms society and its younger members
  1. When the non-virtual photos or videos are made (sex with kids)
  2. When other view the images and become stimulated to have sex with kids.
  3. When kids view the images and feel uncomfortable.
  4. When kids are subject to sexual activity stimulated by the porn in step #2.
  5. When abused kids grow up and fail to thrive, or worse.
Makeing porn with the virtual techniques only relieves society of harm #1. Until now, society and the law have not had to parse out the damage done by each of the 5 kinds of harm. Now we do.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
Bad argument. (3.00 / 8) (#32)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 06:01:48 PM EST

#1 was only ever a problem when the Justice Dept. decided that to protect those children photographed, they would have to do something to decrease demand for the photos, under the theory that if one couldn't make a profit taking the pictures, it wouldn't happen. Whether this is correct or not, it's at least debatable. But it's simply offtopic, only the worst trolls are making a case for legalizing child porn. Most here are concerned with fake, virtual child porn.

#3 in particular seems just as problematic for legal pornography, and other borderline illegal fetishes. If they see the whore sucking donkey cock, how is that any safer than seeing a preteen getting her ass pounded? Aren't both as disturbing, both as damaging?

#4 (and #2) is also difficult to prove. Are there any studies that suggest that looking at the pornography encourages people to try and re-enact what they have viewed? Do japanese women look for tentacle demons?

If not, then #5 simply doesn't follow.

In any nation where due process and human rights are protected to the degree that they are in the US, it won't be possible to even make a dent in child pornography/abuse. That said, these court cases are little more than bargaining chips for political interests. If you really want to protect your child, keep them away from lawyers.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

hmmm (none / 0) (#42)
by livus on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 09:33:32 PM EST

  1. yeah
  2. , no, the difference is that children are often taught what is appropriate/"good" behaviour for them through stories and images of other children. The whore they can write of as some wacky Grown-up, the 7 year old who looks a lot like their best friend they can't.
  3. It's established in some western studies of opportunist crime rapists and prowler-to-rape escalations. I've read conflicting data about pedos I must admit.
  4. yes, I believe it has been.
  5. Has little to do with 3, unless you are trying to argue against the widely known fact that many child abusers were abused as children. However I think we can all agree that most people who were raped as children are hardly thrilled about it.


---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Rebuttal. (none / 1) (#72)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 02:05:27 PM EST

#3 I don't think most children will write off the whore, so to speak. Often, they want to try "grown-up" things, whether this is them sitting in the big chair with their feet dangling, or something slightly (though by no means truly risky) dangerous like maybe help dad build that shed out back (with all the sharp tools, hammers, opportunity to fall, have something fall on them, etc). Meanwhile, there are, at least for *some* children, some sanity checks (not wanting to jump off a cliff and have a boulder land on them ala Wile. E. Coyote). Granted, apparently there is less and less of that nowdays...

#2 Far from established. It's almost granted that there will be a correlation... some sociopathic rapist *will* like violent pornography. But take away that porn, he'll still rape. Why? Because he was already like that, and will indulge in the opportunity for the porn, if available. I'm undecided on whether there  is causation though (and leaning away from it).

#4 On this one, I believe children can be encouraged to "try" this, when a pedophile shows them porn. However, outlawing fake child porn, because statistically it makes pedophiles 3% more successful seems slightly overkill. Outlawing ice cream and video games might have the same effect.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 0) (#82)
by livus on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 07:26:47 PM EST

  1. , I've agreed in another post that 3 is an argument against children being shown any pornography, rather than against child porn.
  2. , well, here it's a matter of opinion. Obviously we've been informed in our opinions by different sources. I'm willing to keep an open mind on it but so far the only data which seems sound to me has pointed towards it as a contribution.
A study in my country (nz) found that most (apprehended) consumers of child porn are young males who often still live at home with their parents, so I would be interested in how big a part porngraphy has in sexuality formation.

4, Even when you look at 3%, if you were one of the three in a hundred children who would have been saved from rape you might have thought it was worthwhile, given that (unlike icecream and video games) child porn has nothing positive to contribute to society.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Nothing positive to contribute? (none / 1) (#121)
by Squidward on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 08:36:43 AM EST

It makes masturbation more enjoyable for a great many people. It can even add some fun to two-person sex. In my experience, when one person in a relationship has a much higher sex drive than the other, it can be a life-saver. Instead of constantly begging for sex, and starting a cycle of guilt and rejection and resentment, I can just take the edge off with a bit of porno.

Pornography is certainly as benificial to societey as, for example, the vibrator. And, in my opinion, much more than ice cream. If you had the choice between a really good orgasm and an ice cream cone, which would you pick?

[ Parent ]

positive to contribute.... (none / 0) (#145)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 02:15:12 AM EST

I might argue that it has perhaps a comparable "positive contribution"  to... say.... Grand Theft Auto - Vice City.

But most libertarian thinkers would scoff at the idea of banning that in order to reduce the chance of violence perpetrated by game players by some miniscule percentage... especially when causality cannot be clearly demonstrated.

I think the "posession" issue is a bit more "gut reaction" and "revulsion" than logical legal premise for societal benefit.

just a thought

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Yes but.. (none / 1) (#103)
by Hellkitten on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 04:07:35 AM EST

I'm undecided on whether there is causation though (and leaning away from it).

But are you willing to take that risk?

I also have seen no conclusive proof that violent pornograpgy or child porn increases the risk that someone ends up an abuser (or the opposite), they might end up that way anyway. But since these pictures (real or fake) present nothing of value to society I'd want them banned because maybe thay can create abusers



[ Parent ]
You say that as if... (none / 2) (#114)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 04:52:46 PM EST

Only the one side has anything important at risk. If it were A) save the children or B) raise the Rolls-Royce tax $5, then you get to say "Can you take that risk?" as if it were a no-brainer.

No matter how disgusting, trivial, or non-utilitarian, this seems to cut to the heart of some fundamental human freedoms. Outlawing possession when possession can't clearly be shown as criminal isn't a good idea. Why not increase penalties for showing a kid porn as a method of seduction? Oh, they've already done that.

What if this alleviates the urge of pedophiles even more than it causes kids to get hurt? Is there any chance, that even if that is the case, that legislators will rescind the law after the experiment fails? We both know that even a failure will be for all practical purposes, forever.

Plus, no one has considered an art value. Have you finally came up with a genre that is considered wrong to even produce? What about the indy film director, that wants to do the story of some monster who abuses children, and his take on the story includes a 1 second glimpse of rape in shadows, from a distance? Doesn't necessarily have to be flattering to the rapist, or be erotic in any pedophillic sense of the word. No one could subject a child actor to that, so for now the story goes untold. Digital images could make that possible... but it would be illegal?

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Depends on how you use porn (none / 1) (#46)
by cestmoi on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 10:23:26 PM EST

#4 (and #2) is also difficult to prove. Are there any studies that suggest that looking at the pornography encourages people to try and re-enact what they have viewed? Do japanese women look for tentacle demons?

There have been a couple of times that I've seen a picture of a sex act and thought it would be worth trying. My wife and I will occasionaly watch a bit of porn to get in the mood. Come to think of it, an old girlfriend would use porn to subtly suggest something that she'd want me to try on her. She never said anything but it was obvious from whatever she selected for us to see that that's what she had in mind for the evening.

I would be very surprised if our behaviour was unique. Don't know about the tentacle demons though - Japanese porn is either weird or my tastes are too catholic.

[ Parent ]

Agree and disagree (none / 2) (#33)
by cestmoi on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 06:22:53 PM EST

I'm not convinced the point 3 is significant enough to use. It smacks of "think of the children..." which can be used to bolster any position.

On the other hand, I think you're right on with point 5. I have a friend who was raped when he was 12 and it affected him well into his forties. He had a hell of a time coming to grips with it.

[ Parent ]

But in terms of 3 (none / 0) (#39)
by livus on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 09:16:07 PM EST

the difference between "think of the children" as a general argument fallacy and this case is that at-risk children are likely to be specific targets of people exhibiting the photographs.

It's been established that one approach of child molesters is to show pornography to those theyre trying to victimise.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

True but... (none / 1) (#45)
by cestmoi on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 10:13:12 PM EST

You're right that children are being victimized when they're targeted. I'm just saying that we can't really say how children would react to being shown pictures and then legislate accordingly. They may react in horror, indifference or curiousity.

Of Oldcoder's 5 arguments, I'd toss #3 and keep the other 4.

[ Parent ]

so would I, although (none / 1) (#48)
by livus on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 11:27:02 PM EST

There are published findings out there about young children's exposure to pornography per se and the effects it has had on them, and the results I've seen were largely negative... (I also saw something which tried to establish that exposure to porn often lead to sexualisation and thus greater risk from predators, but as far as I know it wasnt conclusive. Sorry not to have names/titles for this stuff, I know its lame of me).

Anecdotally Ive noticed that the trauma/confusion attached seems to largely be on the side of those children who extrapolated some sort of meaning/role for themselves from it.

But, yeah, this is an argument for children not viewing porn, not for the abolition of child porn.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

True. (none / 0) (#73)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 02:08:25 PM EST

However, that is an argument that suggests outlawing pornography in its entirety. Unless you are suggesting that is good policy, then you need to come up with an argument that supports only outlawing fake/virtual child porn. (The real stuff is illegal, no need to worry about that).

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
Ok, I agreed yesterday (none / 0) (#83)
by livus on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 07:29:40 PM EST

here  and I still do.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
I, not being a paedophile, respectfully disagree. (3.00 / 11) (#59)
by it certainly is on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:42:48 AM EST

  • Agreed.
  • Show me that playing DOOM causes me to kill people with a machine gun. Likewise, show me that virtual child porn causes people to abuse children, who would not otherwise do so. Show me it does not reduce child abuse by providing a non-abusive outlet for paedophiles.
  • Why is it legal for children to view pornography? Most children also feel uncomfortable watching gory movies -- they shouldn't be watching them. It is their parents' duty to see that they don't.
  • See point #2.
  • Again, this assumes your 2nd point is valid. The cycle of abuse is something society already has to deal with. In what way does virtual child porn affect this, other than to reduce it?


kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Sadly enough... (none / 1) (#76)
by Znork on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:49:28 PM EST

... you miss the number one reason the content itself is forbidden.

Child porn is by its very existence a perpetuation of the abuse of the child in question. The psychological damage of knowing the pictures exists and are distributed and 'enjoyed' by other paedophiles is severe, and that is the aspect that overrides any possible 'protected speech' aspect of any such pictures.

[ Parent ]

Your point? (none / 2) (#86)
by qbwiz on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 08:10:16 PM EST

Sorry to tell you this, but this article is about "virtual" child porn, i.e. that in which no child is involved.

[ Parent ]
Oh really (none / 0) (#126)
by clambake on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 04:43:29 PM EST

The psychological damage of knowing the pictures exists and are distributed and 'enjoyed' by other paedophiles is severe, and that is the aspect that overrides any possible 'protected speech' aspect of any such pictures.

And by saying this it mean you are also in favor of the 9/11 Victim's families having the right to ban images of the crashes because it pains them to thing that somwhere, someone may be enjoying the mayhem?

[ Parent ]

Just curious (none / 0) (#125)
by clambake on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 04:41:03 PM EST

When other view the images and become stimulated to have sex with kids.

So, is there no such thing as:

When other view the images and become satiated and decide NOT to have sex with kids.

[ Parent ]

I think you're wrong (none / 0) (#144)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 02:05:41 AM EST

#1 seems questionable.  It strikes me that it is SO DANGEROUS to "sell" child porn that the "industry" can hardly exist anymore.  But I read daily about people arrested for downloading from USENET.   USENET is a medium built on anonymity of transactions and global homogony of information.  The idea that posession fuels creation seems...  well I won't dismiss it as absurd...  but it's definately dubious.

#2  People who are addicted to "adult porn" are awash in issues of isolation and solitary activities.  I don't know too many folks who are porn fiends, but also extremely sexually active.  It's the ones who can't or won't go out and get them a girl who end up sitting indoors wanking all day to porn.   Wouldn't it be logical that the same is true of pedophiles?

#3  Showing sexual imagery to children is already illegal.  Prosecute that.  Making a child look at adult port of dead people is probably harmful and uncomfortable for a young child.  Those images shouldn't be illegal...  showing them to a child is illegal as it's an "act" with a "victim" and can be proved.

#4  Again, showing kids porn of any kind is already illegal.  Make it a different crime to show them child porn.  But posession is different than exhibition.

#5  Child abuse is illegal.  Therefore, creation of child porn is illega.  Again, I fail to see where "posession" fits into this.  Downloading a photo of a child abused 10 years ago doesn't change the fact that the child was abused 10 years ago.   And I don't think that with distribution methods such as USENET, it significantly increases the "demand" for such a product.   Any "demand" would come in the form of a request to abuse a child and would therefore already be illegal under laws that "advocate and counsel" illegal activities.

So again, everything (except #2, which I think is bunk) you've cited is ALREADY ILLEGAL and would remain so if posession was not deemed a crime.  

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Sounds workable for the US to me (none / 0) (#41)
by livus on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 09:27:49 PM EST

given that they'll never give up their fetishisation of what they think is "free speech", this sounds like the best way to deal with the situation as it stands.

It's workable, and it would probably mean that the fake child porn became more accessible, thus possibly ameliorating the market for real child porn.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Blame the ACLU (none / 0) (#52)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 02:14:14 AM EST

they are the ones who support crap like NAMBLA.

[ Parent ]
RIP Marlon Brando (none / 0) (#79)
by Ultra64 on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 06:16:54 PM EST

What's wrong with the North American Marlon Brando Lookalike Association?

[ Parent ]
ha ha ha (none / 0) (#109)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 11:14:25 AM EST

yeah, like you don't know what NAMBLA means.

[ Parent ]
support? (none / 0) (#150)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 03:22:05 AM EST

Correct me if I'm wrong...  They supported NAMBLA's right to exist, yes.  They never supported NAMBLA's aims, nor their political stance.

Regardless of whether you agree with a group (very few people agree with NAMBLA), you have to agree that they have the right to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  Whether their grievances are rediculous or not...

They don't have the right to condone illegal activity, nor to perpetrate it.  When they did that, they were prosecuted.  Sometimes they were prosecuted for assembling and talking and the ACLU defended them...  perhaps a little too far in a few cases, but they were trying to make a point.

I think the ACLU stands on the principle of...
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."  -Voltaire (paraphrase)

Stewey

[ Parent ]

slippery slope and bad precedent (none / 2) (#94)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 11:12:57 PM EST

Why don't we have cops come into your home and make you prove that you didn't steal every single item you own? Do you have receipts for everything in your house? I doubt it.

Machine guns require licenses because they can be used to kill people, whether from incompetence or with ill will. Same with cars. Physicians and nurses are licenced because if they were incompetent they could kill people.

Dirty pictures fall into this how? Some people want to ban all porn altogether, and they would love your approach, because everyone lacks the resources to prove that the 8,231 images they downloaded from usenet last Tuesday are all of people who were of legal age when the picture was taken. What is the name of the woman in the picture? No idea. Her age, sir? No idea. Where was the picture taken, sir? Don't really know. Do you know the age of consent in the location where said picture was taken? Nope.

Please come with us, sir. You're a menace.

Get it? There is a reason that prosecutors have the burden of proof, rather than the defendants.

[ Parent ]

Any other alternative? (none / 0) (#99)
by Polverone on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 03:30:43 AM EST

The burden of proof for a prosecutor trying to show that an arbitrary image is real child pornography is very heavy. Do you think that possession of images alone should not be a crime, no matter what the images are of or how they were made? I rather admire such an absolutist position, but suspect it will be very unpopular. In the US, I suppose it all comes down to what the Supreme Court decides anyway.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
no, having a pic should not be a crime (3.00 / 4) (#105)
by misanthrope112 on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 09:20:41 AM EST

Do you think that possession of images alone should not be a crime, no matter what the images are of or how they were made?
In essence, yes, that is my position. Anything else is untenable, and too liable to abuse by prosecutors. If I turn my computer in for repair and a technician finds a picture of what appears to be a body lying face-down in a pool of what appears to be blood, I cannot prove that the body is not of a person I've murdered. To convict me of murder, the prosecutor would have to first prove that murder had taken place, and then prove that I did it--or at least prove both beyond a reasonable doubt. But if you flip that around and they prosecute me just because of the picture, and the burden of proof is on me to prove that a murder didn't occur or that I didn't do it, then I'm going to jail for a very long time. There is no way to prove yourself innocent.

A picture of a naked kid does not prove, or necessarily even indicate, that you committed a crime. Now if the picture is of a child being raped and your face is clearly seen, then that is pretty damning evidence, unless we go into the fact that pictures can be easily faked these days, as the original article addresses. But just having a picture should not be a crime. If that pic can be used as evidence to oonvict you of another crime, so be it. Obviously I'm not saying that a pic of you molesting a kid shouldn't be considered evidence, just that the pic in and of itself should not be a crime. Speeding is illegal, but a pic of myself speeding isn't.

My view is unpopular, but that doesn't really bother me. If people give me better arguments I'll change my mind. Usually all I get are insults or silence, which tells me that they don't like what I'm saying but they can't refute me, either because they can't form a coherent argument or because (gasp) my logic is sound. I'd prefer the latter interpretation, obviously, but I'm old enough to know that the former is sometimes true as well.

[ Parent ]

wisdom (none / 0) (#143)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 01:55:08 AM EST

You are wise young tadpole.

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Re: Any other alternative? (none / 1) (#119)
by drsmithy on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 02:45:28 AM EST

The burden of proof for a prosecutor trying to show that an arbitrary image is real child pornography is very heavy.

As it bloody well should be. Even a *rumour* about being charged with paedophilia-style offences - particularly involving pre-teens - is enough to ruin the person's reputation, even if said charges are never even pressed, or the accused is found innocent.

Before going ahead with a child sex/pornography prosecution, the evidence should be absolutely rock solid - because it doesn't matter if the accused is found guilty or innocent, their life is going to be ruined anyway.

[ Parent ]

affirmative defense (none / 0) (#98)
by BCoates on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 03:19:08 AM EST

In the US, it is legal (with the correct permit) to own a machine gun. But if the police search your home and find a machine gun, the burden of proof is on the owner to show that the weapon was legally owned, not on the police to show that the owner could not have legally owned it.
Do you have a reference for this? I would be surprised if that's actually the case. This wouldn't make machinegun prosecutions any harder--all the prosecutors would have to do is show that you are not on the short list of permitted machinegun owners.

[ Parent ]
not quite the same thing (none / 0) (#108)
by mikpos on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 11:07:21 AM EST

I'm not familiar with US law, but anyone who knows anything about Canadian law has probably heard about the explosives law. It's interesting because it is one of the very few places in Canadian law where the proof of burden is shifted.

[ Parent ]
Meh (none / 1) (#27)
by imrdkl on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 05:03:36 PM EST

Conclusive proof has always required a negative.

My view (none / 2) (#36)
by WorkingEmail on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 07:11:20 PM EST

Issue 1 (possession of pictures): Having or not having pictures of crimes should not be a crime in itself. Even if the owner is involved in the depicted crime, it is stupid and wrong to think that EVERYTHING they do is a crime.

Issue 2 (judicial use of pictures): All records can be faked. Text, sound, graphic, and movies. We've likely seen this topic in the courts before.

I believe that everybody - government, citizen, corporation - should be legally allowed the possession of any information they can get. Then again, some exceptions to this rule might be in order. If somebody steals private records, deleting the thief's copy might prevent the spread of that information.


Algorithim developed to analyse this (none / 1) (#50)
by Matt Oneiros on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 12:50:43 AM EST

Via BoingBoing

Lobstery is not real
signed the cow
when stating that life is merely an illusion
and that what you love is all that's real
I was just going to say (none / 3) (#51)
by tzanger on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 01:33:18 AM EST

something very similar to the link you provided.  It's not impossible, but it's very damned difficult to modify a jpeg image and not have the changes stick out like a sore thumb when analyzing the details of the JPEG coding of the image.

It's not easy to get around, either -- you can't take your favourite JPEG of the whore and the donkey, as another commenter mentioned, convert it to TIFF, alter it and convert it back -- JPEG, like any lossy image, leaves its ugly little fingerprints all over the resultant image.

Now I suppose you could start trading PNG or other non-lossy image formats around but I suspect that it's not a distribution method which would be popular.  You'll catch the majority of the child pornographers...  Not an ideal situation but better than dumping nothing, I imagine.

[ Parent ]

This won't be enough (none / 2) (#100)
by BCoates on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 03:33:37 AM EST

This algorithm points out images that have the characteristics of being fake--but that's not what the prosecution is trying to prove, they're trying to establish the image as not fake. If the problem is people peddling real child porn and then trying to pass it off as fake to stay out of trouble, all they have to do "edit" their images a little bit (you could probably write a script to do it) and re-compress them. This algorithm will call them "fake" and you've got a nice defense should you be caught.

I imagine it's impossible to correct the algorithm to deal with this; there's no real difference between a fradulent forgery and a genuine one.

[ Parent ]

From the article (none / 0) (#67)
by cestmoi on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 09:47:56 AM EST

"There is little doubt that counter-measures will be developed to foil our detection schemes," says Farid. "Our hope, however, is that as more authentication tools are developed it will become increasingly more difficult to create convincing digital forgeries."

I'm not as sanguine about "our hope" as Farid is. Bits are bits and can be flipped as needed.

[ Parent ]

can't wait to see how this turns out... (2.94 / 19) (#62)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 04:39:47 AM EST

Though I have issue with a good number of the responses here.

There is no real evidence that viewing images causes people to cause crimes. Granted, it seems obvious if you already believe it, but there is no evidence to support it, other than anecdotal evidence, which isn't evidence. People have every right to come to conclusions based on their gut feeling, predispositions, instinct, intuition, call it what you will, but if you're telling me that someone should go to jail, and you can't provide a logical argument whose premises are based on verifiable evidence, then I can't respect your opinion. This is someone's life we're talking about. I'm not going to advocate jail just because your gut tells you that looking at dirty pictures will make a person rape a child. I could just as easily credit your conclusion to your own perversion as I could conclude that you're of sound mind and I should listen to you.

It still isn't clear to me exactly why possession of an image should be a crime. The commonly used argument is that purchasing child pornography creates the market, and thus perpetuates the crimes, but this ignores the seemingly obvious question -- what if the defendant didn't pay for it? What if it was stolen, or even free? Then there was no financial incentive to create the porn, and the defendant didn't do anything that contributed to any crimes being committed. It seems that punishing people for looking at pictures is just punishing them because we don't like them, and we hide behind the very weak assertion that they're likely to cause children harm in the future.

Can anyone explain to me why someone accused of possessing child pornography should not have due process and the presumption of innocence? Are we saying that guy who allegedly has dirty, forbidden jpegs on his hard-disk should get less due-process rights, less of a legal defense, that the guy accused to drunk driving? I've yet to see a compelling, or for that matter even a passable, argument as to why we should assume that they're guilty and throw away the key without the benefit of a vigorous defense. These people are accused of LOOKING AT PICTURES. Do we get that seemingly simple concept? We're putting someone in jail for clicking on a picture and looking at it?

I understand that, in reality, people want them locked up not because they looked at pictures, but because, by doing so, they revealed, shall we say, predispositions that we don't want rampant in society. But do we really want to give uup the basic idea that the law can punish you for what you do, but not for what you think? Should someone go to jail for molesting a child? Yes. But for being a pedophile? No. Your right to feel safe, and even to feel that your children are safe, does not entitle you to lock people in jail just because you think they might do something in the future, especially when your hunch is based just on them looking at dirty pictures and wanking off to them. And please, don't compare this to the terrorist who has bought explosives but hasn't used them--there is a difference. Someone who kidnaps a child but hasn't raped them yet has still committed a crime. But someone who just thinks about doing it -- have they done anything wrong? And if they look at a picture they downloaded from usenet? Then that's a crime? I can't find a reason to agree with that. Please, someone persuade me. I don't actually have any strong views here, other than the idea that legal standards should be considered standards, and I don't see why people accused of this one crime shouldn't be afforded the presumption of innocence. If that's really a radical idea, then perhaps people are worse off than I thought.



Due process (none / 3) (#69)
by Toshio on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 11:32:54 AM EST

By all means the due process must be observed, together with presumption of innocence. This answers one part of the question and opens the way to answer the second one.

If somebody is found in posession of material for which it can be proven to result from illegal activity, then the process can be pretty straight forward, but not neceserily easy for prosecution.

Intimate relationships with minors are illegal (nobody contests this). Posession of images where the minors are performing intimate acts can indicate that the person in posession obtained them willingly and in full knowledge of their exact nature. By not informing the authorities of material that clearly indicates illegal activities you become an accomplice to the crime and must face consequences.

In the latter sense, it doesn't really matter whether persons on the picture are really minors or not. You could be convicted if prosecution proves that you belived they were minors at the time that you obtained them. If you know what you were obtainig, then you are covering the distributor and you technicaly become the co-conspirator to hide abuse from authorities.

You might call this to be some kind of thought crime, but you can easly draw paralels with other crimes. If you buy things you know were stolen, and then fail to provide explanation of how you got them, you will most likely go to jail. Same goes for guns and similar items. Ultimately the knowledge at the time of obtaining the item, together with level of cooperation with authorities, can either help you clear your name or put you in jail.

This reasoning naturaly has flaws that stem from our culture, education, and modern taboos. When you open newspaper you might see a picture of bloodbath caused by some violent action. Posession of such picture is not considered illegal eventhough the picture shows results of some clearly illegal and immoral action. When you read about some pedophile case, there are no such pictures shown. Reasons are well known: to protect the victim (even if dead), to protect the public (nudity is taboo), to protect the accused (presumed to be innocent), ... Some are better, some worse. but most are valid.

In some twisted way we grew tolerant to violence against adults. Maybe media should start censoring graphics content, when there is no need to show it (12 killed in hig school - do we really need to see blood covered halls?), maybe it should start indiscriminately showing all imagery (heads blown off in drive by shootings, rapes - do we want to see these_).

IMHO it ultimately boils down to protection of our youngest. Society tries very hard to stop all behaviour that it finds abhorent, and crimes over minors tend to be treated particulary harshly. In this light, even though looking at images probably isn't criminal, the act of obtainig these images isn't some kind of victimless crime. Such images are produced and traded while exploiting minors, that are especialy protected against any such exploatation. By obtaining these images you would implicitly agree with whoever commited these acts. Any such agreement automaticaly makes you unwanted in the society and laws are produced to enable your removal and reeducation.

If you stumble upon such images you can either ignore them (safest, but not moral, you should be ashamed), report them to authorities (dangerous because of trigger happy authorities, but most moral, you should be proud) or collect them (off to jail with you... if we can prove it you do it willingly)

I know this sounds like big brotheresque answer, but we are already expected to do such things... If you see somebody breaking the glass in store, you report it... if you see somebody dealing drugs, you report it... if you see hit and run, you report it... why would this case be any different? Just because you don't smell the flesh? Just beacause you were not on the set? Just because it is not somebody you know?

Thank you for your time.


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
That's why (none / 1) (#71)
by calimehtar on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 02:00:27 PM EST

the law should focus on prosecuting the creation of child pornography (distrubution too) rather than posession.

An analogy is plagiarism - the internet has made plagiarism much easier, but google has made plagiarism easier to catch than it is to do. If the posession of plagiarized material was a criminal offence, teachers trying to catch their students in the act would be very wary of demonstrating the fact that they have potentially plagiarized material in their hands and might think twice before running snippets through google or asking other teachers their opinion of a particular piece of work.

In short, there is far more child pornography within easy access on the internet than law enforcement can hope to track down on their own. They need help from surfers, but surfers aren't likely to provide this help if they think they might be accused of possession. Think of Pete Townshend.

+++

The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret.


[ Parent ]
The hardest part. (none / 0) (#111)
by Toshio on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 11:49:08 AM EST

I couldn't agree with you more. I belive the spirit of the law was to compell the people to help authorities with detecting and prosecuting those who are truly commiting the crimes. Unfortunately, as you observe, people (surfers) won't help as long as they are the first person to stand accused of such crime.

Therefore I belive the law should be tilted in direction of requiring you to report, give up, and finally destroy all such material to avoid being prosecuted. In this way, I can be certain that nobody will drag me to court and trash my apartment just because somebody sent me a mail that had a nude minor in it and I know how to find the source of mail.

Thank you for your time.


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
materials resulting from illegal activity? (none / 1) (#77)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 05:08:26 PM EST

Your entire premise is flawed. There are pictures of lynchings, murders, any number of things for which we do not prosecute people, and people would consider it absurd if we did. Under your argument, pictures of stolen goods would be illegal. A picture taken while trespassing would be illegal. A picture of illegal cocaine would be illegal. In some states, a picture of you holding a knife anywhere in that state with a blade over 6" would be illegal--the knife is illegal, possession of the knife is illegal, and so the picture would be illegal since the picture could not have been taken without laws having been broken.

These cases are all obviously absurd. But if you're thinking, "no, I didn't mean those things" then you didn't really think out the argument. It's sounds nice if you apply it exclusively to the thing you want to ban, but as soon as you start applying it as an actual legal principle, it falls apart. Your premise holds no water.

[ Parent ]

Not posession per se (none / 1) (#110)
by Toshio on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 11:29:23 AM EST

I probably didn't do a good job explainig my thoughts. I don't really think that posession itself can be punishable. You can take infinite number of images that you can posess without ever breaking any laws... Hell, you can even have pictures of your nude son at age of 2, in your family album and nobody can prosecute you for them.

My train of thought goes that by having pictures you had to obtain them from somewhere or somebody. Since pictures with minors involved in sexualy explicit acts clearly stem from illegal activity, you should be worried about having the information and not sharing with the authorities.

If you're not willing to share any such information with authorities I would ask you why? If witholding any such information stops the authorities from becoming aware of crime or stops the authorities from finding the perpetrators, then why should you not be prosecuted?

Because I think that society does many things to protect minors (at least in good faith if not in a good way) I see a need for a law that explicitly enumarates the kinds of pictures you should be particulary compelled to report. Hiding the picture of sexual intercourse between minors is in my eyes like hiding the tape of somebody drawing the gun and shooting some person. Try to explain me one valid reason to withold such thing from authorities, and you will explain why you should not be prosecuted for not reporting pedophilia.

My premise is that it is not illegal to posess images themselves, but it is illegal to provide access to them. If you get them, you are possibly vitnessing or participating in the crime. You are expected to report obvious crimes to proper authorities. If you fail to do so, you could be considered accomplice in the crime or co-conspirator to hide the crime. If you are found to have the pictures you have basicaly thow choices:

  1. You made them yourself - i.e. you're the perpetrator
  2. You obtained the from sb. or somewhere - i.e. you participated in a crime

Going from these two premises, you can completely avoid the thought crime and still prosecute those who condone criminal acts by virtue of witholding information that could lead to perpetrators.

This particular debate can boil down to the point of arguing whether pictures alone make you a pedophile or not. In my opinion, they do not, but one should very carefuly think about things one's promoting allowing such pictures to be considered harmless. I don't think considering posession of these pictures harmless would be a step in the right direction.

All this coming from a person who thinks that posession of drugs should not be a crime but trading them should stay a crime.

Thank you for you time.

BTW: I'm getting rusty with my English, so please forgive me for any and all glaring misspellings, grammar errors and misc. leftovers from my 1st lanugage.


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
I disagree, but this is getting interesting... (none / 2) (#117)
by misanthrope112 on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 06:37:54 PM EST

An interesting point and well-argued, but I still have to disagree.
If you're not willing to share any such information with authorities I would ask you why?
That I found an image of what looked like illegal activity and didn't call the police may warrant further investigation into why I didn't call, meaning an investigation into whether or not I was involved myself, but the very fact that I didn't call the police should not be a crime.
If witholding any such information stops the authorities from becoming aware of crime or stops the authorities from finding the perpetrators, then why should you not be prosecuted?
In the United States, we have a protection against mandatory self-incrimination. Strangely enough, this gives us more protection for not calling the cops if we're the ones who committed the crime than if we just happen to know something. Even so, we're not required to call the police. Even though we should all be good samaritans, the law does not require that we all become police informants.
Hiding the picture of sexual intercourse between minors is in my eyes like hiding the tape of somebody drawing the gun and shooting some person. Try to explain me one valid reason to withold such thing from authorities, and you will explain why you should not be prosecuted for not reporting pedophilia.
You nave no idea where, when, or by whom the picture was taken. What's legal to look at in Japan isn't what's legal to look at in Utah. You have no idea whether or not it is a fake.

If the legal environment was such that just having the picture was not a crime, I might agree that we have at least a civic duty (though not a legal duty, in my opinion) to alert the authorities if we thought that doing so would avert further crimes, but as it stands, just calling the cops would be self-incrimination, and, at least in the U.S. we are not required to incriminate ourselves.

This particular debate can boil down to the point of arguing whether pictures alone make you a pedophile or not. In my opinion, they do not, but one should very carefuly think about things one's promoting allowing such pictures to be considered harmless. I don't think considering posession of these pictures harmless would be a step in the right direction.
Well, I don't think possession of the images should be illegal, but I never characterized them as harmless. Very few things are completely benign. Water isn't harmless, neither is aspirin. Puppies and dandelions aren't harmless, but that doesn't mean they should be illegal. We don't have to prove that something is completely harmless before we can say that people shouldn't go to jail for having it. My only point on these images was that having the images, looking at them, is not inherently harmful to anyone. At the most basic level of argument, I don't think people should go to jail just for looking at pictures. We can talk about pedophelia and child molestation and preventing further crimes, but if we send someone to jail just for clicking on a picture and looking at it, or for having it on his hard-drive, I think that's not just alarmist and overreactive, but fundamentally wrong.

Something you have to realize is that you can download tens of thousands of images and not even know what they are of. Get a usenet reader and usenet service, and go to alt.binaries.pictures.erotic, hit ctrl-a to select all postings, and download them to your computer. You might get 20,000 pictures with just those few clicks, though you don't really know what the pics are of. Are you going to look at them all? I have CDs and even DVDs full of stuff I've never looked at. But people post pictures to these groups that, shall we say, should not be posted to these groups. If you go to 3 or 4 high-traffic groups like this and download all the pics, you will have some illegal material on your hard drive.

Something I want to touch on again. Yes, sex with a child is illegal everywhere, so you know when seeing a pic of it that you're seeing evidence of a crime. But if we go down your road and you can be prosecuted for not reporting the evidence you've seen of a crime, then I think that opens up more doors than you may be willing to open. What about group sex, bondage, oral sex, anal sex--all of these things are illegal somewhere. In Japan, Thailand, and many other places all hardcore porn is illegal--do you have a responsibility to report if after you download it? If adultery is illegal (it is in some places) and I find a pic of my neighbor having oral sex (another crime in some places) do I have a positive duty to report it to the police, to avert further crime and, ahem, harm to society? None of these are in the same league as kiddie porn, I agree, but my concern is that if we prosecute people who have kiddie porn not for having it, but for not reporting it, on the grounds that they aren't reporting a crime, then we've opened up these other issues as well.

[ Parent ]

All valid points, but... (none / 0) (#120)
by Toshio on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 06:50:37 AM EST

That I found an image of what looked like illegal activity and didn't call the police may warrant further investigation into why I didn't call, meaning an investigation into whether or not I was involved myself, but the very fact that I didn't call the police should not be a crime.

I agree. The fact I didn't call should not be a crime, but some legal ground has to be given to allow authorities to investigate. To rate this as a crime is an overkill, but to have something at the same level as witholding the evidence from court (contempt of court) should give grounds for investigation and possible fine, but not full blown criminal case. The only problem with this approach that I know is California. If I recall correctly "three strikes and you're out" policy applies even to minor offenses like jaywalking... but this I see as a problem of California laws in general. This particular case only compunds it.

In the United States, we have a protection against mandatory self-incrimination.

And nowhere in the world can police count on you telling anything if you feel that you have done something questionable in view of the law. I don't exepct that, and I agree that having the picture shouldn't be a crime. Removing the "criminal" part from the equation should enable people to act more in line with their conscience instead in line with their survival instincts.

If the legal environment was such that just having the picture was not a crime, I might agree that we have at least a civic duty (though not a legal duty, in my opinion) to alert the authorities if we thought that doing so would avert further crimes, ...

I agree with this as well, but some legal ground to allow for investigation to proceed should be given. The spirit of any such legislation should be to compell the people to report what they think could prevent or clarify actual crimes, but not legaly require them. I realize the way things stand in USA any such legal requirement would efectivelfy stiffle both sides. You could be doing perfectly legal things, but automation prevents you from actually screening each and every image you have. This would be undue burden. On the other side authorities would be swamped with images that would need to be sorted, evaluated, and linked back to source. Even if there would be any "real things" inside this material, the S-N ratio would be so low nothing could be truly done with the material.

On the other hand you still need to have something to investigate on. You can not be investigated without any legal grounds. If somebody stops illegal production site and obtains the list of all "customers", there should be a way to investigate (interview) those "customers" as some might know of other such production sites. Without the law that gives legal grounds to do this, the authorities can not do anything in this direction. As with every law that enables somebody to invade others' privacy (investigation) it is always tricky to strike the right balance between the needs of society and protections of the individual so I think the debate should concentrate here.

At the most basic level of argument, I don't think people should go to jail just for looking at pictures.

I will state something insidious here. There is a difference between looking and looking at pictures. I hope you know what I think, eventhought I'm not sure I can explain it without resorting to flawed stereotype wording. If you look at the pictures with the goal of satisfying some inner sexual urge, I would be extremely worried. Not that you might one day go out and start doing it, but because you are willing to tolerate others doing it, even if just to get pictures of it. On the other hand you might look at it, see nothing about it, delete it and forget about it. The way things stand today, there is probably some evidence left that you had it, and that you've seen it.

One, IMHO, needs some serious therapy to resolve the issues and should be required to undergo the threapy (I hate it, but can you give me a better proposal?), the other should be left alone. The insidious part is to differentiate between the two. The only way I know is to force both of them to undergo psych. evaluation, but any such evaluation IMHO can't be admissable to court. This science is simply too subjective to be used in determining the fate of person when the wrong choice (and amlost always it is simply a personal choice of evaluator) brings some truly hard consequences for the wrongly accused. I don't know how to pass this obstacle, therefore I don't really see a way to prosecute anyone just for having the pictures. I certainly don't want thought police running around finding shady persons and locking them away.

I will not quote last two paragraphs, as it is too much to quote, but I would still like to comment on them. I will leave alone the harmless part. I think I already commented on it above.

For examples I can say they are both good, and meaningless. Good, because they illustrate how hard it is to legislate moral norms, especialy at the time when these norms can change so quickly. On the other hand, they are meaningless because they truly don't rank in the same league. I think that pedophilia falls out of "moral" league into something completely different. Unfortunately I'm also aware that the same thing was (and even still is) said about sodomy, so the argument itself is flawed. It reflects only my current moral norms, that can never be common for all humanity.

As far as the applicability of the law goes, all laws are local. There are certainly some global agreements, but none of them is applicable to local crime laws and most of applicable agreements only apply when the subject leaves the jurisdiction where the crime was committed. At the end it always comes down to the local legislation to regulate investigations and sanction the perpetrators.

If you see pedophilic picture and feel (in context of your local laws and moral norms) you are able to provide it as a solid evidence, you should be allowed to do so without the fear of incriminating yourself. After that, it is up to the authorities to determine whether the image is a fake, is "old stuff", can help solving a crime, ... They should have power to investigate on such leads which, without the proper law, they don't have. In general they will want to establish (among other things) that you're not planting evidence to somebody else, that you're telling the truth, that you're acting in good faith, that you're not witholding some other information, and most importantly that you're not a pedophile yourself. This is always a hassle, so performing a civic duty will always be a hassle. It is less hassle, when laws are properly written (i.e. having a picture is not a crime, hiding evidence is, ...)

Any law that enables the police to simply arrest and prosecute the one that reports a possible crime without any other investigative work can, will, and is abused by the police, so such laws should be replaced or removed. This one included. On the other hand, you still want do investigate the guy that reported burglary in store... it might be that he was the burglar. In effect this means that every time you report something, you become subject of investigation, but there is no need to get arrested and prosecuted just based on "having a picture on your person" when questioned at police station. This is absurd and bad logic that police affords because of seriously flawed legislation. Not that the subject shouldn't be legislated, I think it should be, but because it is legislated in completely alarmistic, borken, flawed way, that actualy discourages investigations that would actualy find "real" pedophiles that might be even gaining material profits from their crime.

Thank you for your time.


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
Thoughtcrime (none / 0) (#142)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 01:47:16 AM EST

I want to point out a fundamental issue in your reasoning that scares the hell out of me.

"I will state something insidious here. There is a difference between looking and looking at pictures. I hope you know what I think, eventhought I'm not sure I can explain it without resorting to flawed stereotype wording."

There is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between "looking" and "looking".   Well...  except what you are THINKING while you are "looking".

THAT, my friend, is the pure and unadulterated essence of thoughtcrime.

As I said before, a man was arrested, convicted and imprisioned for posessing a collection of underwear catalogues.  This would not be illegal for... say... a newspaper archivist....   or a parent who's child was in the ads and was saving them for posterity...  because what they THINK about the material can be explained in a different way.  This man was shown to have admitted to having sexual thoughts about those images...   he was imprisioned as a dangerous criminal.

How is that NOT thoughtcrime?

eek.

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Shallowcrime (none / 0) (#152)
by Toshio on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 10:40:10 AM EST

And one paragraph down from what you quoted you'll find that I also wrote this:

I don't know how to pass this obstacle, therefore I don't really see a way to prosecute anyone just for having the pictures. I certainly don't want thought police running around finding shady persons and locking them away.

Next time, please comment on the whole thing, not just half a paragraph taken out of context.

Thank you for your time


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
Hmmm, nope (none / 1) (#124)
by clambake on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 04:29:25 PM EST

Hell, you can even have pictures of your nude son at age of 2, in your family album and nobody can prosecute you for them.  

Actually, I think the way the laws are, you CAN get procecuted for this, or at least have your child taken away fro a while if showed to overzealous authorities.  I remember a case exactly like this a couple years ago, but too lazy to google now.

My train of thought goes that by having pictures you had to obtain them from somewhere or somebody. Since pictures with minors involved in sexualy explicit acts clearly stem from illegal activity, you should be worried about having the information and not sharing with the authorities.

If I rent Rambo at the video store, am i expected to turn that in to the authorities?  If not, then why should I go to jail for renting Ram-HO, the story of a 16 year old prostitute?  Right now, in many places depicting minors in sexual positions, even if the actors really AREN'T minors at all, can land you in jail.

[ Parent ]

Child porn (none / 0) (#141)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 01:38:22 AM EST

Well, I am not entirely sure about this, but I recall reading in several different sources, that the majority of child porn is distributed many years after it is produced and is RARELY distributed widely by the "producer".  It seems to me, just from reading court cases, that most "producers" trade privately and when someone trades this type of material in a "hey, look at this picture of the illegal things I did" way, then you might have a point about co-conspirator crimes...

But isn't the majority of porn (legal and illegal) available on USENET or some other equally anonymous format?  USENET keeps no logs, nor does it really even have a "source" or a "destination" in as much as it's just a loosely-sync'd conglomeration of information.  If you post someone, you don't know who reads it, or if anyone reads it at all and you definately don't know how MANY read it.  The only feedback you would get is:

"huhuhuhuhuh oooooo   yeah, more like that please."

and I guess that would be advocating illegal activity if you're requesting that someone produce some more (hence, abuse a kid some more)...   but I don't see "posession" advocating anything.

This can be clearly pointed out with logic and people seem to fall back on 1) Well, looking at porn incites people to act and 2) Pedophiles are inherently immoral and therefore should be punished by any means possible.

I think as a society, it's more #2 that's taking precidence...  #1 seems just like a convienent excuse, seeing how there are no studies to show either way and my MY LOGIC, being obsessed with porn tends to cause people to spend LESS time seeking intimate relationships (this is taken from the normal "straight guy porn addict" type)...

Maybe I'm crazy, but could legalizing possession of child porn, but redirecting those efforts into seriously stepping up stopping PRODUCTION of it...   that would do more good for children on the whole... and hence society.

If people would get over their "gut reaction" and look at things logically.

Or maybe I'm wrong...  I'd like to see at least an ATTEMPT to decide what's best for kids rather than locking people up on suspicion of being a "bad person" because of what they were "thinking about" when they looked at an underwear catalogue.

Yes, a man was jailed for having a collection of department store underwear catalogues because the prosecutor "proved" that he was "thinking sexually" about the images.

If that's not thoughtcrime....

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Anonymous child porn (none / 0) (#153)
by Toshio on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 11:07:56 AM EST

Well, I am not entirely sure about this, but I recall reading in several different sources, that the majority of child porn is distributed many years after it is produced and is RARELY distributed widely by the "producer".

This does sound logical (I have no means of checking it) but I still think this can not be reason enough to allow it. I would rather see authorities checking whether the material in question has any investigation value or not... after all, they are the only ones that decide to start legal action if needed, so they should be the ones deciding what amounts to be a "defensible evidence".

I agree it is completely meaningless to try to shut down NNTP servers and unmoderated newsgroups just because somebody will always manage to abuse them. But there are always traces they you leave behind and many times determined investigators can and will find the source of these abuses. There is no need to prosecute you just because automated NNTP robot leeched the images from server, but should you find them, you should be able (I know that with the current law it will be you who will face charges - current law is ridiculus at best, unconstitunional at worst) to inform server administrator/police/whoever in charge. After that it will be out of your hands.

However...

Maybe I'm crazy, but could legalizing possession of child porn, but redirecting those efforts into seriously stepping up stopping PRODUCTION of it... that would do more good for children on the whole... and hence society.

This is overboard. Legalizing posession of child porn would protect those who will be trying to protect the source of their pleasure. This is almost like having a prohibition in place, with exception of posessing the alcohol. Nobody would tell where they'd got it because if they would, they would lose the supply. And law enforcement could not do a thing to make them cooperate.

While legalization is completely out of question, decriminalization should not be. Police needs sometining in the law that they can hold you with, but they should not be able to drag you through criminal proceedings, wasting time just because you were the easiest target. The punishment should fit the crime. In this perspective the prosecutors like to boast (look how tough I was - when they run for some elected office) with 5+ years of jail achieved for the crimes... if they can get them easily, why would they bother spending time and resources on those actualy violating the children.

Would please somebody think about the children! Help those that find the pictures to help the children by enabling them to help the investigators. I think this is the core of what I think. Legalese is that you need to replace the law that is an obstacle to the people with the law that will compell the people to cooperate.

If the most that the p.a. can get for proving "the posession of the picture" is some 30 days in prison and fines up to $5000, possibly some community service, they will force police to spend more time finding those that will get convictions of 5+ years behind bars. And those are the ones we all want found.

Yes, a man was jailed for having a collection of department store underwear catalogues because the prosecutor "proved" that he was "thinking sexually" about the images.

If that's not thoughtcrime....

Perhaps this is not a thoughtcrime. This is probably more like rape of common sense. But I guess that the letter of the law allows for even stranger things to happen.

Thank you for your time.


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
And what about other depictions? (none / 0) (#156)
by LiberalApplication on Sat Jul 10, 2004 at 10:37:45 PM EST

...if this is mentioned in the comments you have my apologies (This is being composed on a handheld).

Of course I oppose child pornography, but it always strikes me as odd how rarely it is that photographs depicting other acts are never brought into discussion.

Take a stroll around the internet. You'll find that there is a huge market for simulated rape pornography. Why isn't this also governed by the same legislations? Does it not also follow from the same logic that a fellow wanking to rape pornography is as likely to become a rapist as a consumer of child pornography is likely to become a child molester?

What about depictions of events which are not sexual in nature but nonetheless depict people harming each other? I know people who collect amateur videos of streetfights. Are these people more likely to commit assault?

I understand the sentiments but please, some more airtight arguments are going to be required.

[ Parent ]

"Protg" (off-topic) (none / 1) (#74)
by ffrinch on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 02:35:43 PM EST

From the article:
Mason has been wondering where he went wrong with his former protg.
What the hell is a "protg"?

Please, tell me it's only a problem encoding the accented characters in "protégé", not another horrible American crime against orthography...

-◊-
"I learned the hard way that rock music ... is a powerful demonic force controlled by Satan." — Jack Chick

At a guess.... (none / 0) (#91)
by cestmoi on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 09:53:32 PM EST

I'd wager the text was originally written on an older Mac. I don't know if it's still true but a few years back when I used them, accented text would get mangled. The problem stemmed from the fact that Macs used their own encoding scheme and if the software on a receiving PC didn't know the text was coming from a Mac, the text got mangled. As I recall, at one point there were 5 competing standards until most everyone settled on Unicode.

[ Parent ]
It has to be said - zero at will (1.80 / 5) (#85)
by livus on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 07:52:08 PM EST

Pedophiles are a huge hindrance to their host communities, and letting them express their pedophilia is not worth the social cost it incurs.

I don't care how they got it/made it; as far as I am concerned we should have zero tolerance for pedophiles, and that includes child porn, real or simulated.

I am beginning to grasp why US Americans think that without child porn they will lose free speech; nevertheless I think it's not an unsurmountable problem. More to the point, it's an extremely unpragmatic arrangement!

Take the pedos out the back and shoot them, that's my suggestion.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Where is the evidence for that? (none / 1) (#87)
by WorkingEmail on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 08:33:23 PM EST

I'm sure there are a great many private, legal activities which drain away a person's life, and in turn draining on the community.

You can't separate the world into good guys and bad guys.


[ Parent ]

For instance... (3.00 / 4) (#89)
by skyknight on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 08:55:42 PM EST

I wasted today playing Civilization III: Conquerors. I could have been out volunteering, helping to feed and house starving children, but instead I sat in my apartment with the curtains drawn, basking in the pale light of my computer monitor, leaving the people of the world to lie in their ashes.

I am a bad person.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
an easy template for future use (3.00 / 5) (#92)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 11:01:29 PM EST

______ are a huge hindrance to their host communities, and letting them express their ______ is not worth the social cost it incurs.
I know, maybe you wouldn't want to ban, say, political speech criticizing the government, but many do. Think of John Aschroft and when he cowed congress by countering anyone who questioned the constitutionality of the Patriot Act by saying that they were giving aid and comfort to terrorists. We can line up people who think gays are a threat, Mormons, Wiccans, atheists, etc. Am I being alarmist? Not a chance. George Bush Sr. said outright that atheists shouldn't be considered citizens. I could find you plenty of people on Military.com forums who think Michael Moore (to head a very long list) are outright traitors and should be jailed, if not shot. Plenty of Americans freak out if their children's teacher comes out of the closet. Everyone says "I respect freedom, but ____ is just too much, and the cost to society is too high for us to bear. Freedom isn't free. We have to sacrifice some freedom if we as a society want to survive."

Fortunately, we now have the handy template above. We all can put in whatever it is we object to, and that effectively counters any objections others may have.



[ Parent ]

Very well stated. (none / 0) (#140)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 01:22:48 AM EST

The sad part about this well stated point is that...

If you stood up in front of a throng of randomly selected residents of your average community, you would likely be lynched or at best earmarked for permanent shame and suspicion.

After all, __  ARE EVIL.  Isn't that obvious?

Stewed

[ Parent ]

How do you prove a photo hasn't been manipulated? (none / 0) (#90)
by skyknight on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 09:23:14 PM EST

What does that even mean? A photo is an arbitrary rendering of some phenomenon to some medium via one of a wide array of possible mechanisms. You can take "photos" with visible light, infrared light (thermal imaging), X-Rays, radar, sonar, etc. The list continues.

Maybe if I took a painstakingly long time and was really talented with Photo Shop I could take a "photo" of something by setting pixels one by one until I had a realistic looking representation. Why wouldn't that be "taking a photo"? What people historically though of as "taking photos" involved light being focused by a lens and projected onto a light sensitive film. Now instead of that we have digital cameras, and light instead gets focused on electronic photo-receptors and written out to electronic memory. Who is to say that "taking a photo" couldn't be light being focused by the lens of my eye, fed through my brain, translated into motor nerve impulses, which translate into me moving the mouse of my computer, which causes stuff to get written to my hard disk.

Really what it boils down to is time, motivation and resources. If you have enough of the three, you can forge (almost) anything. It's why nation states are so very busy fighting counterfeiters, and why they so often change the design of their notes. The design of new notes is incredibly secretive, and as soon as they are released to the public the clock is running. Counterfeits will be made.

So, when asking whether a photo is legit, you have to ask the following questions... Who are the people presenting the evidence, and what do they have to gain by assertions of photographic authenticity? Is it a high stakes game where there is serious incentive to make a fake? What kind of resources can the person making the claim of authenticity bring to bear on the task of making a forgery? Given the resources of the entity, what kind of time did they have to generate a fake?

If my friend shows me a picture of himself at some recent event, and it's just a "hey, look at the neat thing I saw" claim, then I can assert that it is legit, given his minimal resources and the short time he had, he probably couldn't have made a forgery, and even so, he probably wouldn't have cared enough to do so. On the other hand, if we're in a court case, and the government is the prosecutor with its requisite infinite resources, and it's been six months since the original charges, it'd be outright foolish to assume that any image evidence is valid.

The real thing to note, though, is that as time progresses so too does technology, and it will take less and less time and resources to accomplish a given image manipulation. There comes a point when evidence is so easily falsifiable that it is no longer evidence. Of course, what evidence isn't falsifiable? Virtually any evidence you see in a court room can be planted.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
How do you prove a photo hasn't been manipulated? (none / 1) (#93)
by tebrow on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 11:02:55 PM EST

Quantum mechanics and public keys, surely!

Already being done (none / 1) (#104)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 09:01:07 AM EST

While we're still a long way from being able to do quantum entanglement in a camera, there are companies that sell digital cameras that sign the images as they are taken. On request, the camera maker can validate an image against its signature (INO, the maker keeps the private keys).

Although not as good, some forensic labs sign and encrypt pix as they arrive and maintain a "photoshop chain of evidence" where the original, unaltered, picture is always available for comparison.

Now where did I put that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago!
[ Parent ]

Um... (none / 0) (#107)
by skyknight on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 10:50:47 AM EST

While we're still a long way from being able to do quantum entanglement in a camera, there are companies that sell digital cameras that sign the images as they are taken. On request, the camera maker can validate an image against its signature (INO, the maker keeps the private keys).

They keep the private keys? I think you probably meant that they keep the public keys. In public key crypto systems it is the private key that does the signing, which is one of two reasons why it must be kept private, the other being so that people can't read messages that were encrypted with your public key. Now, you might say that it doesn't matter, since the camera is ostensibly only communicating with the manufacturer, but in this case we don't need public key crypto, as it can just be symmetric crypto. But wait, you say, then the manufacturer could sign pictures just as easily as could the camera owner. Well, sure, but they could already do that since they generated the key pair themselves. To me, this product sounds like a lot of marketing crap that no serious crypto engineer would think was good for anything.

Although not as good, some forensic labs sign and encrypt pix as they arrive and maintain a "photoshop chain of evidence" where the original, unaltered, picture is always available for comparison.

Not as good? Unlike those crummy above-described cameras, this system is actually good for something. This allows for a trusted authority to act as a certifier for images, thus facilitating distributed processing. Of course, this doesn't change the fact that the signed images are only as good as the original images were. It also assumes that the authority is trustworthy, but this can be workable, since in that case you could concentrate a great deal of energy in assuring integrity in a single location.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Um yourself. (none / 0) (#129)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 05:07:10 PM EST

First, your right about the key - I switched public and private. On the other hand, you're wrong about everything else.

The purpose of this system isn't to encrypt the images just sign them in order to prove, on demand, that the images have not been altered.

The second process I described, having the lab sign the images as they arrive has a huge gaping hole: the lab cannot certify that the images were not modified before the lab received them. Signing them in the camera is the only way to do that.

Now where did I put that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago!
[ Parent ]

What, if anything... (none / 0) (#130)
by skyknight on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 06:01:39 PM EST

does it prove that there is a signature on the photograph? All it means is that someone signed it with the private key that is associated with a camera. What's to stop the key from being extracted, installed elsewhere, and used to sign anything? Unless the camera has been really well engineering to self destruct when opened, this "feature" is useless. Your criticism of the lab is a red herring. Signing images in the camera doesn't prove anything, unless we assume a camera that is impervious to tampering. Tamper-proofing cannot actually be done. Only tamper-evidence has much of a chance, and in this case it doesn't really buy us anything. The purpose of the lab is not to prove that the images are valid. The purpose of the lab is to certify the consistence between images they saw, and images that have been exported to other labs to process.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Astonishing. (none / 0) (#131)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 09:57:16 PM EST

I can't believe you put more faith in the lab than in a disinterested corporation.

What's to keep lab techs (who are, after all, part of the police) from re-signing images whenever they want?

The only safe way to manage the keys without fear of tainted evidence is to keep the police from accessing them in the first place.

Or haven't you been following the scandals at the various forensic labs around the country?

Now where did I put that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago!
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure... (none / 0) (#133)
by skyknight on Tue Jul 06, 2004 at 07:00:02 AM EST

that there is any such thing as a "disinterested corporation". Everyone has a price. Arguably, it might be harder for a police agency to bribe an external corporation than to coerce an internal department, but law enforcement professionals might take a greater pride in their work than would a lackadaisical corporate employee. It depends on a lot of variables. Really, though, as I said in a top level comment, I don't particularly trust any evidence in a court. It's all easily forged. You are totally dependent on the trustworthiness of the individuals presenting evidence. Your only real safety is in numbers, i.e. having lots of different people presenting evidence, because the difficulty of containing a conspiracy is directly proportional to the number of conspirators.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I also want to point out... (3.00 / 7) (#95)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 11:44:54 PM EST

That "Rising Sun" also suggests that Japan is an unstoppable economic machine that will take over the world and dominate U.S. politicians to its own nefarious ends, and that its technical trickery is so sophisticated that it will take both Sean Connery *AND* Wesley Snipes to uncover the truth.

Just a little bit of perspective.

Besides, the Lee Harvey Oswald photo with him holding a rifle is reputed to be a fake, and they sure as hell didn't photoshop that.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

nah, just tia carrera n/t (none / 0) (#113)
by skelter on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 12:15:04 PM EST



[ Parent ]
This won't stop prosecutions in the longrun (none / 2) (#101)
by BCoates on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 03:58:45 AM EST

The prosecutors in these cases got caught by surprise by this tactic, and may have underestimated how well it worked. But this does not strike me as an ironclad defense for people possessing genuine child porn.

Until this came about, possession of child porn was one of the easiest cases to prove once you got enough evidence for a search, the defendant himself is collecting and storing all you needed. But most criminal cases don't provide that sort of open-and-shut situation, and prosecutors manage to get lots of convictions anyway.

Even if you can't prove that any one of the images isn't fake, they're still useful. For example, images could be matched to a child pornography database (I imagine such a thing already exists), or a child in one of the images could be identified. Remember that whoever they've caught probably has lots of images in their possesion, and you only have to establish that one of them is real.

This defense is most likely to be really useful in the long run to people possessing (not producing or selling) just one or a few images, of borderline age (easier to fake). In other words, people for which the extremely severe punishments for child porn offenses are probably excessive anyway.

I'm not sure... (none / 2) (#106)
by skyknight on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 10:33:09 AM EST

if there is a pornography database kept by other governmental agencies, perhaps the Secret Service or FBI, but NIST operates the National Software Reference Library which houses a repository of known software. This "library" is used to scan a seized hard drive for known files, and remove them from the list of files that an investigator should examine, the result being that an investigator only has to examine a relatively small subset of the contents of the disk, since the DLLs for Microsoft Office, for example, are of little interest.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Well on the bright side (2.75 / 4) (#112)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 11:52:26 AM EST

Mybe the kiddie porn makers will realize that they really can just doctor adult porn into kiddie porn.  Then they'll stop raping children.

On a side note, I have a perfectly ethical business of producing scatalogical porn.  Will digital manipulation techinques ruin my business model?

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

not quite true (none / 2) (#115)
by brettd on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 05:02:50 PM EST

Though the photographs illustrated at The Commissar Vanishes may seem crude, with the advent of digital photography, the technique has become almost undetectable.

Not true. For example, if you can find either one of the originals in a composite, that's damn good proof that it -is- a composite. Witness the photo of the tank in Gaza, where a boy was photoshopped in throwing a rock, by a reporter or the editors. Someone found a version that, interestingly enough, didn't have a boy, and was otherwise identical.

Second, to make a composite, unless you're working with TIFFs, there are clear changes in quality thanks to the JPEG algorithm. Variations in image quality can help here as well. Somehow I doubt kiddy porno collectors collect and swap TIFFs.

Third, rarely are composites perfectly done; in fact, it is virtually impossible. The human mind and eye are exceptionally difficult to fool. Case and point again was the gaza boy- it was immediately noticed that the boy had no shadow by many, many people.

Special effects artists talk about this all the time- you may never quite put your finger on it, but you'll get a feeling that something's not right with what you are looking at. We're born with this ability from the very start, along with simple logic and memory; babies, for example, will stare fascinated at a box where two toys went in, but only one is shown when the box is opened; they'll loose immediate interest if the box opens and two toys are inside.

This article is extremely misleading in title and summary; the author implies that photos were manipulated to incriminate someone, which is simply not the case. A bunch of laymen who had no idea that it's QUITE plainly possible to identify composites and whatnot; I doubt there was an expert witness who pointed out the numerous tell-tale signs when a manipulation is done. Frankly, I doubt that there will ever be a case of composited kiddie porn used to incriminate someone; I would suspect that, ironically enough, it's probably far easier to simply find some kiddy porn.

Morphing is even more difficult than recomposition (none / 0) (#132)
by toychicken on Tue Jul 06, 2004 at 04:21:56 AM EST

I should point out that the article suggests this particularly sleazy 'lawyer' is suggesting that morphing an adult body into that of a child is as easy as putting a composite gun into someones hand... as someone who has worked with manipulating digital images for over 15 years, I would say this is a heap of shit.

For the former you would require.

a) a picture of a gun (from a suitable angle)
b) a picture of a hand, in a suitable position

Merge the two, erase the sections where gun meets hand, and vice versa, and hey presto.

For the latter you would have to
alter adult facial and skeletal characteristics, body hair, change the proportions of muscles, hands, feet, eyes and noses... I doubt unless you were converting say a legal young-looking 18-yr old to an illegal well developed 15-yr old, you would find it highly unlikely that this would work. I'd be very suprised if anyone could demonstratably convert an adult to say, a 7yr-old child... anyone can try it, as long as the picture is not of a sexual act!

- - - - - - -8<- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Just how many is a Brazillian anyway?


[ Parent ]
Boring (none / 1) (#151)
by epepke on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 04:26:08 AM EST

Child Pornography is one of those "ding-dong" things that elicits intensely worded responses, but practically everything that can possibly be said about it has already been said.

The ability to manipulate digital images has consequences far beyond this. Photography is only trusted because, for a time, it had artifacts that could be detected. It wasn't much good for realism; any number of Renainssance painters consistently produced work that is more realistic than the best photographs. However, people became used to, for instance, the nonlinearity of film and came to accept this as "real." Now this is changing. Craft and art allow the production of faked photographs that are more real than real. This is nothing new, but they also allow the production of faked photographs with some of the artifacts of photographs.

There are plenty of dangers of this. Think an ordinary crime like bank robbery, how easy it is to chroma-key a suspect into a crime scene even with primitive technology. It only has to compete with the grainy photographs associated with surveillance cameras, easily duplicated in a convincing manner. An entire crime scene could be duplicated virtually; Hollywood does it all the time. And would a jury, twelve people good and true who are by definition too stupid to get out of jury duty, know the difference?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


"research" about child porn posession (none / 0) (#154)
by StewedSquirrels on Sat Jul 10, 2004 at 02:14:27 AM EST

I'm sure this is quite off topic, but someone just sent this to me as a "holy shit, look at this" email and I thought of this discussion...

so here it is:

"Research suggests that MANY child porn downloaders are 'harmless'"

http://www.examiner.ie/pport/web/ireland/Full_Story/did-sg19xKbpDtcpAsg7IQHSmeYh NE.asp

Interesting read.

Stewey

FIXED LINK (none / 0) (#155)
by StewedSquirrels on Sat Jul 10, 2004 at 02:19:44 AM EST

I think that last link was bad... try this one.

LINK HERE

SS

[ Parent ]

different states, different laws. (none / 0) (#159)
by naught on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 11:03:04 AM EST

the law in my home region is this:

if something depicts, or appears to depict child porn, the possessor can be prosecuted as though it actually was.  who decides if the person appears to be under 18?  the jury, naturally.

so the digital mod defense wouldn't work here.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.

39% say no? (none / 0) (#160)
by Haxx on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 03:33:58 AM EST

There is no way thaty 39% of people poled think that child porn should not be a crime. Has this poll been changed or does it have confusing wording?

Psst. Everyone's gone /nt (none / 0) (#161)
by jongleur on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 11:17:37 PM EST


--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
Oh shit. Ha ha ha ha ha! /nt (none / 0) (#162)
by jongleur on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 11:18:44 PM EST


--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
Rising Sun has Risen | 162 comments (122 topical, 40 editorial, 0 hidden)
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