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Browsing Kiddie Porn Now Legal in New York

This should go over well.

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Browsing Kiddie Porn Now Legal in New York
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Considering the delicate nature of this subject and my propensity to use snark, this should be an interesting excursion. What we have is, thanks the New York Court of Appeals, the news that browsing for child pornography is no longer illegal in the state of New York.

No, that’s not misprint either. While the court case in question concerns James D. Kent, an assistant college professor whose web cache on his work computer contained over one hundred illegal images of child pornography, the case addresses the apparent difference between accessing and possessing this kind of content.

According the New York Court of Appeals, access is not the same ownership:

“Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law,” Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote for a majority of four of the six judges. “Rather, some affirmative act is required (printing, saving, downloading, etc.) to show that defendant in fact exercised dominion and control over the images that were on his screen,” Ciparick wrote. “To hold otherwise, would extend the reach of (state law) to conduct — viewing — that our Legislature has not deemed criminal.”

[/timeout]Of course, one could argue the fact that someone actually navigated to such a web property, procurement has been accomplished, but apparently, that’s not good enough for the state of New York.

Or, as Gizmodo so eloquently put it, “Simply, you’re not responsible for what you look at anymore.” Ignorance, it seems, is a good excuse if these kinds of images show up in your Internet cache. Not the ignorance of the images themselves, mind you, but the ignorance concerning the existence of browser cache. If, in New York, you get caught with kiddie porn in your Internet cache, the appropriate defense appears to be “I didn’t know my computer would do that.” As long as you don’t have any hard copies of the stuff saved to the hard drive, to the state of New York, you’ve broken no law.

Amazing, isn’t it?

In isolated cases, ignorance does seem to be a legitimate excuse, if, for nothing else, thanks to the existence of Internet porn redirects that send to an entirely different site than the one you started on. This would seem like the only case where ignorance works, because the content being requested is not always the content the web user receives.

In the case of Kent, who had over a hundred child pornography-related images in his cache, the inference being made is he may have accidentally received this content.

Over one hundred times.

As ludicrous as that seems, the ruling reflects a group of people who don’t seem to understand how the Internet works:

All of the judges agreed that child pornography is an abomination, but they disagreed whether it was necessary to “criminalize all use of child pornography to the maximum extent possible,” as Ciparick wrote in the majority opinion. The majority said that was up to the Legislature, not the courts, to decide.

[/timeout]The fact that they disagreed on such a simple concept is also troubling, especially when you consider the absolute mishandling that occurred during previous attempts to regulate the Internet. These are the people the courts are looking to regarding clarification of such an obvious issue.

Who knew child pornography was a “pass the buck” topic, especially for the judicial system?

[Lead image courtesy of Bubble Wrap Kids, something that may be a necessity moving forward]

Browsing Kiddie Porn Now Legal in New York
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  • Mr.Jake

    Hello I am concerned about my surroundings because I was afraid of child predators .i am only 14 and I am doing research around the web searching kiddie porn predators and I for got the predators and I am terrified that I did something bad even though I only pressed one like by accident shoul I be concerned please respond

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