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What do you do if you encounter child porn on the internet?
June 30, 2004 12:39 AM   Subscribe

Sorry for so many posts, but this is relevant: What do you do if you encounter child porn on the internet? What if it is a password only site, do you scout or immediately report?

Scout in this case: Communicate with members and develop line of personally identifiable information. Find out more about the site and get URL's to more sites.
posted by Keyser Soze to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
 
Anonymously report to an appropriate authority and step away. If you feel you have an ingenious investigation strategy which the authorities might not think of, pass that along, too. Truly, you do not want your name and "child pornography" on the same page of a police report for any reason.
posted by 4easypayments at 12:49 AM on June 30, 2004


Don't scout you fool. Immediately report. When the police come to your door, they're not going to be happy with you saying, "Oh - I was just looking around to get more information for you guys."
posted by seanyboy at 12:49 AM on June 30, 2004


Pete Townshend scouted.
posted by scarabic at 1:05 AM on June 30, 2004


Run away, report.
posted by cheaily at 1:28 AM on June 30, 2004


Pete Townshend paid for it with his credit card. Pete Townshend is a moron.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:48 AM on June 30, 2004


"Run away, run away!" Whether or not you report it is up to you, but be prepared to answer questions about how you found it etc.
posted by dg at 3:14 AM on June 30, 2004


Ignore. Clear cache. Move onto another site.
posted by pieoverdone at 3:51 AM on June 30, 2004


You go to the ASACP web site and report it. If you're in the UK, you go to the Internet Watch Foundation. They will pass it on to whichever international enforcement authority is best placed to deal with it. Then you close your browser and scrub your history and files. Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, try and 'scout' or gather information yourself. Take the URL and pass it on. That's all.
posted by humuhumu at 4:53 AM on June 30, 2004


Report it, don't do any scouting. Remember that somebody else might be scouting as well and if you talk to that person you might end up under suspicion. Child pornography is heinous but so are peoples reactions to suspicions of involvement with it. You'll be very much guilty until proven innocent. You may never shake off the stigma from the accusations even if they're eventually proven false. Ten years down the road people will remember the uproar over the accusations but not the outcome.
posted by substrate at 4:58 AM on June 30, 2004


Do Not Scout. Not only are you not law enforcement, but your relations with law enforcement haven't been entirely friendly recently. Don't give anyone an excuse to think you might be involved. Report it, clear your cache and move on, quickly. Kidporn is one thing that you can be pretty sure law enforcement types will be all over, and fast, so rest assured that it will be dealt with.
posted by jessamyn at 5:22 AM on June 30, 2004


I don't think that Keyser Soze was answering his question, but rather defining his term "scout" for us.

And, Keyser Soze, are you freaking crazy? Do not "scout." As everyone else has said, let the poh-lice do the "scouting" for you.
posted by UKnowForKids at 6:32 AM on June 30, 2004


Don't scout! In fact, remind yourself on several occasions over the next few days that this was even a stoopid question to ask.

After you anonymously report it to the asacp, don't just delete your cache... go here and download eraser. Then OVERWRITE your history, your pagefile, and any other shit you can think of. Then defrag- and erase your blank space and cluster tips (this will take a while). Use the Peter Gutmann method, which is 34 overwrites, I believe.

Then erase from your brain the pathway you happened down to that particular filth by memorizing Calculus integration formulas. Bleh. Not only "don't scout", but never go there again. Any time you think of the word "scout" for the rest of your life punch yourself in the balls (thrice).
posted by pissfactory at 6:46 AM on June 30, 2004


As everyone has made clear, 'scouting' is a very bad idea. It is illegal to scout and you won't be the first 'researcher' to wake up early one morning to nice men in dark suits (or body armor, depending on your jursidiction) carrying warrants, handcuffs and a hand cart to haul your computers away.

I'm also wondering that if the site is password protected how you would be able to scout it.

Delete your cache. Delete your history. Hell, if I inadvertantly wound up with child porn on my hard drive I'd likely reformat. Reporting it is iffy, you wouldn't be the first guy to get screwed for trying to do a good deed and it opens you up for a variety of questions. Questions that you had better have a damn good answer for. Real child pornography isn't all that easy to stumble upon by accident; the distribution networks are tightly controlled and access isn't given out willy-nilly.

This is something that the feds take very seriously and if you plan on initiating an investigation be aware that a part of that will almost certainly include obtaining logs from your ISP. This is a long winded way of saying, walk the fuck away. You have enough going on in your life that this isn't a headache you need -- it would be nice to be altruistic but you have to weigh the ROI.
posted by cedar at 6:58 AM on June 30, 2004


Why are you compelled to report it? Can't you just skip that and do the rest of what pissfactory says? Why possibly drag yourself into the legal system? Are you 100% sure they will believe that you didn't intentionally find it? Are you 100% sure that you can report it anonymously? There are people paid to be internet cops for this thing. Let them do it and save your name and face.

Also, how do you just 'encounter' child porn on the internet?
posted by pieoverdone at 6:59 AM on June 30, 2004


Any time you think of the word "scout" for the rest of your life punch yourself in the balls (thrice).

That's some awesome advice!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:15 AM on June 30, 2004


Real child pornography isn't all that easy to stumble upon by accident; the distribution networks are tightly controlled and access isn't given out willy-nilly.

huh? Various biographies suggest that porn stars are often underage, and the producers don't care:

In '86 it was discovered she was underage and the word got out that any films with her in them were illegal to rent or buy and video stores around the country rushed to remove them.

A porn star under the age of 18 is a child, regardless of how much under 18.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:26 AM on June 30, 2004


reported.
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:33 AM on June 30, 2004


Kwanstar, the producers care a great deal. In no small part due to Ms. Lords. Title 18 is widely followed in the industry -- it simply isn't good business to violate it when there is such a glut of talent available. Of course meeting the legal requirements isn't universal, but it's a mistake to confuse underground illegal porn with the mainstream adult industry. This is big business and they got lawyers and everythang.

I hate to split hairs, but there is a world of difference between the Traci Lords saga and those who intentionally exploit children. The producers of illegal porn are attempting to attract an audience the exact opposite of Lords producers. She worked because she looked older, pedophiles seek the opposite.
posted by cedar at 7:42 AM on June 30, 2004


Real child pornography isn't all that easy to stumble upon by accident

Depends what you mean by 'real' and whether that really makes a difference anyway. I presume you mean pictures of penetrative sex and the like rather than naked five-year olds. Personally, I'd say both of these are child porn. The former might be rarer than the latter, but they're both out there on the web for a fee (with plenty freely available as 'tasters'). I was doing some research in an area partly related to this a while ago for a client. You'd be surprised (well, maybe not...) what you stumble across without meaning to or wanting to.

Reporting to the IWF and ASACP is perfectly safe. You can do so anonymously - just give the URL. If you're really worried, do it through a proxy.
posted by humuhumu at 7:44 AM on June 30, 2004


Not only do not scout, report it (anonymously), then use DBAN to completely erase (to DoD standards) your hard drive, then reinstall your operating system and applications.
posted by mrbill at 8:00 AM on June 30, 2004


it's a mistake to confuse underground illegal porn with the mainstream adult industry

That's right, this is the Internet we are talking about. Mainstream and underground content never co-mingle here.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:59 AM on June 30, 2004


I do agree that DoD formatting the hard drive might be a bit overkill. It is possible to stumble upon it accidentally, as some idiots will use it as part of spam attacks on Usenet binary groups, among other things.

While there have been some honeypot sites set up by law enforcement, one or even two visits is not going to be a major concern when there are going to be dozens of visitors hitting up the site for the latest "pictures", and law enforcement would much, much rather go after pedophiles with the tried, true, and legally unimpeachable tactic of solicitation of dates of underage individuals.

If you feel like reporting it (which according to the MeTa thread you have, but to anyone who sees this thread in the future), remember the US mail is still pretty anonymous. Don't be stupid enough to print those images, but finding where those sites were (through history) and sending the addresses and similar information via US mail to the appropriate authorities would absolve myself of any future guilt. Then clear the cache, delete the images normally, and try to make yourself feel better for doing the right thing.
posted by calwatch at 8:13 PM on July 1, 2004


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