Like most people, you probably wouldn’t want anyone going through your internet history. Perhaps you look at adult content websites occasionally, or even often, but that’s your business and you’d prefer to keep it that way. After all, statistics show that 73 percent of women and 98 percent of men reported internet porn use in the last 6 months. Everyone does it, but most of us don’t go around blabbing about it.
But maybe one night you’re sitting there after a few drinks, and you start clicking down the rabbit hole of explicit links being thrust in front of your face. Click, click, click. The next thing you know, you’re on a site that depicts all sorts of depraved acts you didn’t even know were on the web, after all, this isn’t your kind of “thing”. But you’re sucked in and keep clicking for the wow factor.
One more mindless click of the mouse leads you to a site that takes forever to load. You’re about to close the browser, realizing that you are staring mindlessly at a blank screen late at night when, suddenly, a string of large images fills up the screen, scrolling way way down — dozens if not hundreds of pictures. The pictures look like normal porn, tame even, at first glance, and you click on a couple of them, which immediately downloads them to your hard drive, but then you scroll down a little bit more and by the fourth picture you realize that you are looking at pictures of minors. You’re looking at child pornography.
Suddenly you feel more alert and you snap to attention, knowing what a serious offense child pornography is, and you close out the window completely and then delete your internet browsing history. Meanwhile, you forget that you have your file sharing app running all of the time that your computer is turned on, and those images that were automatically downloaded are now being shared to the thousands of other users on your file sharing app. You have now just distributed child pornography.
This may sound like a somewhat iffy scenario to actually play out, but it could potentially happen, in fact it has. People that were downloading pornographic images from peer-to-peer file sharing networks often think that they have turned off the file-sharing settings, but have failed to actually do so. And even so, they don’t realize that they have already potentially committed a crime by downloading the images to their hard drive. Believe it or not, it has happened and will continue to happen.
With the proliferation of sting operations taking place throughout Maryland, you should be concerned if you’ve been downloading and/or sharing illegal images or videos depicting child pornography. Frederick County is the latest to launch a sting operation, and it has already been very effective in sweeping up people charged with child sex-related crimes: (County Law Enforcement Agencies Sign Agreement Regarding Internet Crimes Against Children https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/crime_and_justice/county-law-enforcement-agencies-sign-agreement-regarding-internet-crimes-against/article_c8bb7c5c-a890-5c67-91ca-d892dc68f67a.html).
So you delete your file sharing app, hoping that by doing so and closing your account, the shared images won’t be traceable back to your computer. At this point it’s too late for that, authorities have tools readily available to trace the shared images back to your IP address, and once they go to the internet service provider and get subscriber information for your IP address, they know exactly where to look for you.
Read an overview of child pornography cases in Maryland here: https://crawforddefenseattorney.com/2018/02/overview-of-child-pornography-cases-in-maryland/
If you have practiced questionable web surfing habits and are concerned that the investigators may pay you a visit in the middle of the night to serve a warrant, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, TALK TO ANYONE about the matter. Your first and only move for the time being should be to retain an attorney experienced in the defense of child pornography and other sex crimes. Our lead attorney, James Crawford, has successfully defended hundreds of clients facing these types of charges. When things get this serious, he’s the attorney you want in your corner. Contact our offices now at 443-709-9999 to schedule a private consultation with Mr. Crawford.