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Another Reason to Update Security Software

A recent AP investigation uncovered a surprising side to child porn possession. Some individuals have recently been acquitted for possessing child porn because malware installed on their computer actually downloaded the images to their computer.

Law enforcement professionals are understandable skeptical about this defense. As the director of the Cyber Law clinic at Harvard, Phil Malone, said “It’s an example of the old ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse. The problem is, sometimes the dog does eat your homework.” The investigators interviewed a number of individuals accused of possessing child porn who were later acquitted. A former Massachusetts government worker was fired for possessing child porn on his work issued laptop. After 11 months, his lawyers were able to demonstrate that his computer visited approximately 40 sites per minute, much faster than what is possible for a human. Nevertheless, he lost significant amount of money, his job and numerous friends over the incident. There have also been several similar incidents in the United Kingdom. A significant proportion of computer breaches are the result of software not being regularly updated. While many people are acquitted of the charges against them surrounding the child porn possession, the stigma of possessing a computer that accessed child porn can sometimes be damaging enough.

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