Shoddy Journalism… and Hypocrisy

May 7, 2007

Disclaimer: I consider most television station websites to be little more than tripe.

A recent story on the website of an Omaha, Nebraska NBC affiliate, WOWT, only served to reinforce my opinion of television station websites. The story, called “Cyber Cops Uncover Child Porn Trend,” starts off with the shocking claim that “a startling new trend in child pornography has been uncovered by cyber crimes investigators.” So what is this startling new trend? Yawn… Oh, it’s the use of picture sharing sites such as Photobucket to store child porn images. Startling indeed. Yawn… The writer at WOWT would like us to believe this is somehow significant because

What concerns investigators about this latest trend they’ve uncovered in cyber crime is that it makes porn portable.

All that a suspect needs is a remote internet access device that can pull up Photobucket or other storage sites and view child pornography while taking a walk in the park.

I wonder if someone foolish enough, as three Nebraskans recently were, to store their child porn on a picture sharing site like Photobucket would have the technical skills to operate a “remote internet access device.” (What is a remote internet access device anyway? A web-enabled cell phone?) I’d think it would be easier, not to mention more secure, to just keep ones child porn collection on a laptop (though you probably shouldn’t use your work laptop) or a USB drive. Both seem quite portable.

This whole story reads like a bunch of cyber cop pabulum regurgitated by a technically illiterate television writer.

Now for the hypocrisy. Of the three Nebraskans arrested after using Photobucket to store their child porn, one is a 16-year-old child. Remember that as far as federal child porn law goes anyone under 18 years of age is considered a child. This child is being charged… yes, you guessed it… as an adult.

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