In Sarasota and Bradenton, the latest law enforcement “push” is in detecting and prosecuting people who receive, view, download or transmit child pornography images with peer to peer sharing programs like Ares. For over a year now I have seen an increase in investigations culminating in search warrants for homes and businesses targeting predominantly men who have downloaded illegal images of children engaged in various sexual acts. I know of many cases where men find themselves accidently downloading child pornography while looking at adult porn. The adult porn is often mislabeled “intentionally” to trick people into inadvertently infecting their computers will prohibited material, usually child porn videos.
Law enforcement now has the capability to “hack” into your computer even if you have not authorized “sharing” in a peer to peer program.
All images have a hash value and the hash values to most kiddie porn images are known to ICAC, the FBI and the local Sheriff’s detectives. You may have kiddie porn on your computer even if you think you have deleted an image accidently downloaded or viewed. I cannot stress how important it is to not violate the law, even accidently. The State Attorney here is Sarasota has a zero tolerance for child pornography and hammers anyone caught looking at this stuff. The best way to not get arrested is to simply not violate the law. Curiosity killed the cat and curiosity when it comes to child porn will land you in State prison. In a perfect world, the goal of law enforcement is to detect and prosecute crime, not create it. We do not live in a perfect world and sadly there are some law enforcement officers that entrap men and trick them into doing things they never intended to do. We see that all the time in Internet Sex Stings. The police are now running child pornography sex stings, engaging people in chat and then luring them into receiving or worse yet, sending illegal images.
The best way to avoid being arrested is to simply not commit a crime. Some people do not realize it is illegal to simply view a child pornography video or pic.
They think by viewing and then deleting the image, no crime has been committed.
They are wrong. “Delete” does not mean the image is not still in your computer in “cache” or hidden from your view or access by some windows program. Do not allow curiosity to get the best of you. Simply do not do it.
If you are contacted by law enforcement, never voluntarily surrender your computer.
A family or household member may have used your computer without your knowledge. A son, brother, father or uncle may have looked at something illegal without your knowledge and the police may think it is you that did it. Never submit to a police questioning without talking to an experienced child pornography lawyer.
The police are masters at getting admissions and confessions.
Remember, a fish would not have gotten caught if he hadn’t opened his mouth. You have a right to an attorney. Call one immediately and invoke all your constitutional rights.
If a family member or friend has been arrested, his or her access to an attorney at the jail is limited. In the County jail all they provide is a phone book and most of the really good child pornography lawyers no longer even advertise in the yellow pages.