Court ruling nixes accidental porn viewing convictions

first_imgThere’s been plenty of debate over the years as to what constitutes wrongdoing when it comes to your web browser. Are files that wind up on your hard drive evidence enough, if they’re limited to your browser cache? A judge in New York thinks not, and he’s brought down the banhammer on accidental porn viewing convictions.According to Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick’s ruling, merely viewing illegal images (child porn, for example) does not constitute possession or procurement under New York law. An additional step must be taken for that to be the case — such as saving images to a separate folder on an internal or external hard drive — in order for an offense to occur. Either that, or you’ve got to have demonstrable knowledge of how a web browser works.While on the surface this might look like a green light to browse child porn, the truth is that it’s more about protecting people against wrongful prosecution for happening upon the wrong link at the wrong time. There are all kinds of snares set on the web nowadays, and they’re pulling people into all kinds of kinds of dangerous situations.That includes dragging them onto sites slathered with illegal content.But if your cache happens to be riddled with such images, you’re still fair game. The judge’s ruling was based on the fact that prosecutors failed to prove that the defendant knew what a browser cache was or how it worked, and was therefore unaware that anything was being saved to his hard drive as he (or someone else, as he claimed) surfed. If you’re fully aware of what a cache is and the way it functions, you’re still on the hook.More at MSNBC, via Slashdotlast_img read more