Who do I report child pornography spam to?
March 21, 2004 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Among the usual deluge of spam to my hotmail account, received a rather graphic solicitation for what appears to be actual kiddie pr0n. I'd like to report this but I'm not sure to whom and how, and I'm reluctant to google on the topic or forward indiscriminately. FBI? (slightly uncomfortable using their online submission form) or someone more local?
posted by jalexei to Computers & Internet (23 answers total)
Although the right thing might be to notify the FBI or some such agency, you may just inadvertently draw attention to yourself in the end. I say press delete and forget about the whole thing.
posted by crazy finger at 11:21 AM on March 21, 2004

Seconded. The last thing you want is the words 'kiddie porn' next to your name in an FBI file, regardless of context.
posted by Jairus at 11:35 AM on March 21, 2004

I have zero faith that hotmaio admins have time to deal with abuse complaints. I've gotten a few particularly vile spams, and I send the to abuse@myemaildomain.com. If you can decipher the headers, you can forward it to abuse at the (apparently) originating domain.
posted by theora55 at 11:43 AM on March 21, 2004

rather graphic? appears to be actual? what does that mean? how long have you been collecting kiddie porn? your name and address again, sir?
posted by quonsar at 11:45 AM on March 21, 2004

Some bunch of self-policers you all are. Obviously your first step is to get in touch with Pete Townshend.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:54 AM on March 21, 2004

I agree with crazy finger. The wise American stays far, far away from anything even resembling kiddie porn, even if just to report it.
posted by vorfeed at 12:58 PM on March 21, 2004

you could forward it to one of the non-profit organizations fighting it, using a specifically set up hotmail account. That way, your name and info are not connected to it, nor is the FBI alerted (they'll do that part).
posted by amberglow at 1:59 PM on March 21, 2004

Maybe the perveted-justice guys could point you in the right direction without actually being the FBI, if you wrote to them.
posted by milovoo at 2:03 PM on March 21, 2004

do you guys have any idea how fucking scary this whole thread is?
jalexei wants to do a perfectly honorable thing -- alerting authorities re possible illegal activity (and a particularly vile kind of illegal activity, maybe the vilest).

and what's the community's answer?

excuse me but I don't see how reporting this shit to your local police precinct (or the closest FBI field office) could in any way harm jalexei. with all due respect to everybody, of course, no offence intended
posted by matteo at 2:05 PM on March 21, 2004

> and what's the community's answer?
> "fuggedaboutit"

My answer is not fuggedaboutit, but I can also understand the concern about not getting even the slightest whiff of kiddypr0n juice on your identity.

Does anybody remember that there still remains another form of mail besides email? You can snailmail a link and a cover letter to whoever you like--FBI, KGB, Sicilian Mafia, Korean CIA, anybody--with complete anonymity, if that's your pleasure. Remember not to leave fingerprints on the paper.
posted by jfuller at 2:13 PM on March 21, 2004

matteo, you've obviously never heard the expression, "No good deed goes unpunished"

Also, reporting that you received a graphic email solicitation means you're in possession of it, no?
posted by amberglow at 2:14 PM on March 21, 2004

> Make sure you include the part of the header that will help them identify
> the sender.

Heh. It may take some determination to typeset a bunch of header lines ransom-note-style, but it can be done.

> rather graphic? appears to be actual? what does that mean? how long
> have you been collecting kiddie porn? your name and address again, sir?

The real quonsar was funny. What have you done with the real quonsar?
posted by jfuller at 2:35 PM on March 21, 2004

Nothing polarizes a group like a kiddie-porn joke.
posted by milovoo at 2:40 PM on March 21, 2004

If you are worried in the slightest (which you have no reason to be) you can have perverted justice report it for you, in their names. You have no reason not to report this, if the pornography is truly pedophilia related. Don't listen to people trying to make you think your getting your name written on some FBI report, that is bullshit and short sighted.

Stupidsexyflanders and Quonsar: This is Askme. Maybe you missed the fork in the road at the intersection.
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:42 PM on March 21, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone, even the snarks that brought a smile to my face. The perverted-justice route sounds like what I'm looking for.

In an earlier life, I may very well have just deleted this without much thought - as the new dad of a 13-day old little girl, things are a bit different these days.
posted by jalexei at 3:03 PM on March 21, 2004

A man in my area was busted by the FBI last year after someone reported the spam that originated from his e-mail address. It took them more than a year to get the evidence it took to shut him down, but he won't be exploiting children anymore.

I was assigned to write an article on it. The FBI would not release the name of the person who first reported the guy. I assume the same protection would be afforded to you.

The Boston office of the FBI can be reached at 617-742-5533.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:07 PM on March 21, 2004

How to Report Child Pornography, from the Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.
posted by profwhat at 3:18 PM on March 21, 2004

Don't use perverted-justice please. I had a real "this is fishy" indicator go up when I saw them on a local news program. Here's the setup:

1. Pretend to be an underage girl in a chatroom, being really provocative (im lonely lol i never kissed before :p). Anyone who's used the internet knows that 99.9% of such things are guys pretending to be girls or older girls pretending to be girls.
2. 20 guys in the chatroom message them. The usually hook one or two, that while they aren't being totally slutty, "you wanna have sex lol k kewl" -- they go along with whatever the guy says and lead him on.
3. Then they get a picture and call the guy, pretending to be a girl. Of course they don't use a 12 year old girl, they use a "30-something woman".
4. You're a lonely guy, get to know this girl and she's really coming onto you and then a 30-something woman calls, then you realize it's not a 12 year old girl, so you go and hook up with them only to get busted.

The Pitch has a real good article on it. It's about a sad, lonely man who appears to just talk to a girl, gets a phone call from a woman and now his life is ruined. Granted most men on their site graphically have sex with what puports to be a 12 year old girl -- even if they think it's not. I'm not defending pedophiles, but the methods used to catch them are wrong. Perverted Justice ruins people's lives and has disregard of whether they should be or not.

The US takes a more judicial and blind approach (instead of just going "you even thought about cybering with a 12 year old! we will d3str0y ju!" The article cites Pedowatch as a more authoritative figure on child pornography. They say that lewd e-mail should not be sent to them, but if what you got was actually kiddie porn related, I'm sure they'd be interested in it.
posted by geoff. at 4:29 PM on March 21, 2004

The real quonsar was funny. What have you done with the real quonsar?

the real quonsar is not allowed in here.
posted by quonsar at 5:34 PM on March 21, 2004

The US takes a more judicial and blind approach (instead of just going "you even thought about cybering with a 12 year old! we will d3str0y ju!"

you are obviously unfamiliar with the case of patrick naughton, a man whose career and home life were utterly destroyed by the FBI for soliciting and meeting a 13 year old girl for sex. problem is, there was no sex, and no 13 year old girl, either.
judicial and blind my ass.
posted by quonsar at 5:42 PM on March 21, 2004

Howjda know, crouton, that the pedospam was actually sent by the guy? Any number of things could have accounted for it: his computer was hijacked, it as a viral email, the headers were spoofed, etc.

I should hope the FBI had an iron-clad case that he was directly responsible for the email, and not the victim of a scam.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:27 PM on March 21, 2004

This is a non starter.

"Appears to be actual kiddie pr0n," is not evidence of a crime. Unless they sent you graphic images of an obviously underage child -- something I doubt, or you would have been more emphatic -- I don't see how you have much to report. Pornographic spam. Join the club.

The only thing that would make this different is if you followed the link to an actual child pornography site -- in which case, the obvious question is, why would you do that? Even then, look real closely for a Section 2257 compliance notice, bet you'll find one -- there are lots of young looking girls around.

See, the thing with illegal porn is that it is never sent unsolicited. To make a profit they have to translate interest into cash -- sending this garbage at random to uninterested parties isn't going to accomplish that and is going to get them arrested. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but it's something you have to actively seek out -- the real deal is buried pretty deep and there is an element of trust involved that doesn't extend to firing off solicitations at random.

If in fact you did come by some genuine kiddie porn, the best way to report it is by simply calling the FBI office closest to you. They will pay attention as long as you can document it with the original (headers intact) email. Going through third parties with bogus contact information is going to get it lost in the cracks -- something that shouldn't be allowed to happen. Call them and explain it just like you explained to us. Nobody is going to ruin your life for getting an email and trying to do the right thing.
posted by cedar at 7:53 PM on March 21, 2004

Sure, they used the report of e-mail port to start monitoring the guy's computer use (with ISP help). I honestly don't remember all of the details, but eventually they had enough evidence for a search warrant that turned up more details at his home and on his home computer. Like I said, it took more than a year of investigating to charge him. I don't know if it was iron clad, because I didn't cover the court case and subsequent details, just the arrest and arraignment.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:52 AM on March 22, 2004

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