The FBI, taking lessons from Dateline’s To Catch A Predator, have been hanging out in some pretty bad neighborhoods on the web lately. While there they are spreading around some hyperlinks that supposedly will lead you to videos of minors having sex. Only thing is they are actually leading to a government server and garbage files. Then they are going out and arresting anyone who happens to have clicked on them.
This is according to a post over at CNET News.com who has been reviewing the legal documents surrounding this new method of entrapment (choice of word is mine). It seems as well that the courts so far don’t seem to have any problem with this new police method that has been used recently in Pennsylvania, New York and Nevada.
The most recent victim; and in my opinion anyone entrapped this way is a victim, was a doctoral student at Temple University by the name of Roderick Vosburgh.
Federal agents knocked on the door around 7 a.m., falsely claiming they wanted to talk to Vosburgh about his car. Once he opened the door, they threw him to the ground outside his house and handcuffed him.
Vosburgh was charged with violating federal law, which criminalizes “attempts” to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison. Last November, a jury found Vosburgh guilty on that count, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 22, at which point Vosburgh could face three to four years in prison.
As Declan McCullagh points out in his post the implications of this type of FBI hyperlink-enticement technique are sweeping
Using the same logic and legal arguments, federal agents could send unsolicited e-mail messages to millions of Americans advertising illegal narcotics or child pornography–and raid people who click on the links embedded in the spam messages. The bureau could register the “unlawfulimages.com” domain name and prosecute intentional visitors. And so on.
I’m the first person who would be willing to take any pedophile out back and beat the ever living snot out of them and then leave them for the mother’s of the children they have abuse to finish off; but this newest technique smacks of outright entrapment. Anyone with even a modicum of computer experience will tell you how easy it is to manipulate hyper-links – hell spammers have been doing it for years. The number of innocent people who are snagged everyday by these types of links is a testament to how bad of an idea this is.
Talk about the ultimate Rickrolling – only this could land you in jail for years.