FBI: Click our link, go to jail.

By | March 23, 2008

jail.jpg The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them.

Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images.

A CNET News.com review of legal documents shows that courts have approved of this technique, even though it raises questions about entrapment, the problems of identifying who’s using an open wireless connection–and whether anyone who clicks on a FBI link that contains no child pornography should be automatically subject to a dawn raid by federal police.

Roderick Vosburgh, a doctoral student at Temple University who also taught history at La Salle University, was raided at home in February 2007 after he allegedly clicked on the FBI’s hyperlink. Federal agents knocked on the door around 7 a.m., falsely claiming they wanted to talk to Vosburgh about his car. Once he opened the door, they threw him to the ground outside his house and handcuffed him.

Vosburgh was charged with violating federal law, which criminalizes “attempts” to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison. Last November, a jury found Vosburgh guilty on that count, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 22, at which point Vosburgh could face three to four years in prison. – news.com

A link is not always what it seems. Here is an example: If you click this CNN link, http://www.cnn.com, it will take you to google because that’s where I linked it. Most people don’t even understand this.

This is a reminder to encrypt your wireless networks. I recently found someone sneaking onto mine at home. They only appeared briefly, but after that my network’s connection slowed way down and I’ve put in multiple calls to my ISP about it. What if someone gets on my network and uses IP spoofing to impersonate my computer, or even installs a rootkit to remotely control it? (My computer has been acting very strangely.) Also, people can get redirected to bad sites by viruses, or by cross site scripting attacks, so this is really freaky.

I’m glad the FBI is out there trying to keep the Internet safe, but they would do the most good by going after people who make the stuff. That’s where the actual child abuse takes place.

One thought on “FBI: Click our link, go to jail.

  1. Joel Raupe

    I know you’re right! The thought of being spoofed by the FBI, or having you home network used to surf porn, and then having the FBI bust you, using field agents who wouldn’t know a rootkit from a pair of pliers, and THEN trying to defend yourself in front of a jury, prosecuted by some political hack trying to score points over kiddie porn.

    And then, there’s prison, where “KF’s” are definitely fair game, and at the bottom of the food chain.

    Gives me a pee shiver, just thinking about all this. And to think, all you might have done is had a poorly secured home network, or accidently clicked a link in a piece of spam!

    Frightening, to the Innocent… most of all.

    Worse than any Made for TV Movie ever made!

    How often do you suppose the innocent get caught up in this web?

Leave a Reply