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Cops Seize Massive Porn Collection, Disabled Man Sues To Get It Back

Cops Seize Massive Porn Collection, Disabled Man Sues To Get It Back

COMMENTARY | Police in England seized a massive porn collection only to have the man sue to get the porn back.

Anthony Gerrard, 59, is a disabled man who has been arrested three times on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children. So, when police seized his six PCs and laptops, they destroyed all of his data on the hard drives, which included 888GB of adult movies and thousands (2.5GB) of adult pornographic images.

Police only found 11 illegal pictures of child pornography on four hard drives, but they did not press charges since automated programs had deposited them into sections of the hard drives that would require “specialists tool or techniques” in order to retrieve them. The police claim Mr. Gerrard only had searched for adult porn and that “the 11 (child porn) images had been downloaded unwittingly, probably.”

Mr. Gerrard explained to The Post why he was suing to get his massive porn collection back:

“I paid £40 for a month’s subscription to a website and I was downloading films from it day and night. I wanted to get my money’s worth. I’m not interested in child porn. I don’t think it’s fair they are keeping my computers when I haven’t done anything illegal. They cost me a couple of thousand pounds in total. Every time the police took two computers away, I would buy another two. The good thing about having a computer is you can switch it off when you’ve finished – you can’t switch off a wife.”

Digital evidence recovery officer Scott Eggins claim that it was impossible to give Mr. Gerrard back his porn collection because doing so would cost the police department time and money. In addition, the offending images supposedly could not be separated from the hard drives:

“Deletion in a computer sense is a very complicated matter. There is no such thing as a permanent deletion on computers unfortunately – or fortunately. There is no way of permanently deleting it, short of putting it through a shredder.”

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, on a platter-based hard drive, the Department Of Defense requires secure data to be overwritten many times to be considered truly erased. This is because when you “delete” any object, the file is not truly deleted. The physical space the file is occupying is just marked as being available for new information. Even when this space is overwritten electromagnetically, it’s possible to recover lower levels of data if you have the right NSA-inspired technology.

But if the physical sectors that contained the illegal photos were overwritten enough times with scrambled data, there really is not an excuse for why the judge claimed he could see no way “that the hard drives could be returned to the appellant with the images deleted so that they cannot be recovered.” In addition, The Sun says that the judge ordered him to pay £1,500 in legal costs.

Do you think the court should have given the porn collection back to the disabled man? Do you think the court might have treated him unfairly?

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