Today computer telecommunications have become one of the most prevalent techniques used by pedophiles to share illegal photographic images of minors and to lure children into illicit sexual relationships. The Internet has dramatically increased the access of the preferential sex offenders to the population they seek to victimize and provides them greater access to a community of people who validate their sexual preferences.
The Fourth Amendment is the most implicated and litigated portion of the Constitution. Courts are increasingly confronting the problems associated with adapting Fourth Amendment principles to modern technology.
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If you think that your peer-to-peer file sharing can be kept under wraps, then please think again. A federal judge 'Christina Reiss' in Vermont has ruled that there should be no expectation of privacy for data shared across peer-to-peer file-sharing services.
In a Child pornography case, three defendants argued that information gained from a P2P network had been illegally obtained by police without a search warrant.
District Court Judge Christina Reiss wrote in a decision released on Friday: "The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that the only information accessed was made publicly available by the IP address or the software it was using... Accordingly, either intentionally or inadvertently, through the use of peer-to-peer file sharing software, Defendants exposed to the public the information they now claim was private."
Police found the files using the Child Protection System, which features a number of software tools to help locate these files. The tools send out automated searches for files known to contain data of this kind, and then maps out matching files with an IP address, data and time, as well as various other details about the particular computer.
A P2P network consists of a group of PCs that can exchange files with one another without going through a centralized server, saving time and bandwidth space. This distributed arrangement, however, makes tracing the source of a file difficult, given that different pieces of a file typically come from different PCs in the network.
In July, Oak Ridge National Laboratory engineers have developed BitPredator and BitThief, tools to automate the tracking of P2P content distributed using the BitTorrent protocol, so it can help law enforcement crack down on child abusers.