back to article Child porn in the age of teenage 'sexting'

An international child pornography ring that traded more than 400,000 illegal images and videos - some depicting pre-pubescent children in sexual and sadistic acts - is the kind of heinous behavior that makes you glad there are strict laws against such things. Seven US men were convicted of the crime on Wednesday. Then there …


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  1. Dave


    Since when did facts or logic or even truth ever factor into anything resembling the law??

  2. Anonymous Coward

    The problem is

    That in light of the fact that the possession of an image of a naked or sexualised minor is a very serious criminal offence, it is all too easy for these kids to send their pictures, accidentally or deliberately, to someone who then would get in real trouble for having them. Many parents will have their kids' mobiles in their own name, and it is by no means a long stretch to see a parent indicted for illegal images on their child's phone or email.

    Or these kids could quite easily send the photos to a hated teacher or other adult's phone or email account and then call the cops on them. Bam - instant career and life destroyed, guilty or not. If we are going to rigidly enforce laws banning the possession of these kinds of images, then it has to apply equally to all, or to none. Otherwise every adult is constantly at risk of false accusation, for no better reason than some vindictive kids decide they hate someone.

    So both these cases are equally valid, in light of the law they are enforcing and the paranoid witch-hunt mentality that accompanies it.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    "If the point of tough child pornography laws is to protect vulnerable kids"....

    "Prosecutors who don't wake up to this new reality risk branding victims as predators"..

    should read....

    Prosecutors who don't wake up to this new reality risk branding *temselves* as predators...

    because, after all a victim is one who gets hurt involuntarily. A predator would be someone who hurts people voluntarily. Victim=girls, predator=prosecutor.

    The girls do at least own their own the rights to their own bodies right? And a such permission to publish them? I know that is not true, but it is sad that it isn't.

  4. LaeMi Qian
    Thumb Down

    Also weakens the laws

    I can already hear the real pedos passing off their records to prospective future employers as "Oh that, it was just me being stupid with a camera-phone as a kid. Do I get the school janitor position?"

  5. Dave Silver badge

    Just as daft as

    that story bout the 17 Georgian lad who got ten years for receiving the labial affections (what is the current Reg euphamism?) of a 15 year old girl at a party.

    Hell, 12 year old girls were once the centre of my world- when I was 12. Just as I now love women in their late twenties like me (not as lardy as the new crop of twenty-somethings, just my preference though and nothing for rounded lasses to worry about as long as they are happy). School kids had their own social mechanisms (social mechanisms that matured just as the kids did), generally a two-year age gap in relationships was scoffed at but accepted, a larger gap (largely unheard of) would result in longer-term piss-taking etc

    These girls taking snaps of themselves... some will be happy, some will suffer the resulting humilation amongst their peers and adjust their future behaviour accordingly- its called learning. If we are to be sacred about children, it has to be for the sake of allowing them to make mistakes amongst their peers without it being invaded by a peado or prosocuter.

  6. Jeremy

    Meh 2

    Pennsylvania? That's in America huh? Why are people even remotely surprised when what is basically the most conservative country on Earth brings stupid charges like those against the teens in this story. Honestly, America today makes Iran look positively liberal in some ways.

  7. E_Nigma

    That's Next

    If a kid refuses to leave it's room, can it be charged with kidnapping?!

  8. P. Lee

    What is the problem and where is it?

    I don't want to take away from the horror of child porn but it appears to be a much smaller problem than the sexualisation of children generally. If the 20% "sexting" is the indicator being used and we assume that children being involved with sex is a bad thing (as the paedophilia/child porn laws and the prosecutions indicate) then something much bigger is going wrong somewhere.

    A society which celebrates, promotes, and pushes sexual activity so explicitly, publicly, frequently and so forcefully even at children (I'm looking at you, advertisers, MTV et al.) can't really expect the switch to be set to "off" until a child hits the arbitrary age of 18. You can forget peer pressure from friends when the whole culture - tv (especially soaps), films, music, billboards and fashion are all telling them sex is the ultimate experience and everyone is doing it.

    If adults don't conduct themselves with modesty, what makes anyone think kids will?

    Until people start evaluating what goes on in society and then do something about the things which are inappropriate, nothing will change. You don't need Daily Mail "think of the children" legislation or organised boycotts. Just don't consume from inappropriate advertisers, media channels or retailers and let them know why.

    The prosecutions are ridiculous - its all just PR for the business that is government, so don't consume what they have to offer. Write and tell them you are offended at their crass attempts at advertising/manipulation and won't be voting for them in future.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm all in favour of sex - just not in front of the children!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    What if...

    So, if a 14yr old boy has a quick "date with Mrs Palm", then can he be charged with having sexual relations with a minor? Good thing teenage boys don't masturbate then, isn't it...

    This is getting silly, like the boy who was convicted of child rape for sleeping with his 14yo girlfriend... when he was 15. Have these people nothng better to do than to ruin children's lives?

  10. Dave Harris

    @Just as daft as

    I take it you mean Genarlow Wilson, who was banged up for ten years for getting a blow job from a fifteen year old (he was 17), as well as being put on the sex offenders register?

    The sorry tale of Georgia vs Wilson here:

  11. Jean-Luc

    Dumb Pennsylvania voters wasting tax $.

    I don't really _usually_ pay much attention to all the alarm of "sex in society". And I think this particular case is daft.

    However, I recently saw a series of ads, on big outdoor billboards, for racy underwear. The model was about 13-14, tops and looking pretty slutty, even for that kind of ads. It just left a bad taste in my mouth, even though I generally think morality is overrated.

    Without panicking about depravity in general, why is it that common sense can't be applied to give that clothing company a well-deserved rap on its fingers? Rather than going after what is a natural, if slightly premature (sigh, why didn't that happen to me when I was 15?) naughty message between two consenting teens???

    And additionally, at how much risk of real abuse will those poor kids be in juvenile reform house or whatever slimy place they are liable to end up?

    Smart folks would vote those idiotic D.A.s and police bosses out of office first chance they get. Not holding my breath though.

  12. Chris C

    re: The problem is

    I understand what you're saying, and I agree with most of it. I can certainly see your point. However, as much I would love all laws to be black and white, it's not that simple. The law needs to take things in the proper context. Black and white laws, the kind you mention, would brand all parents as sex offenders. Most parents have nude photos of their children, they disrobe and "fondle" their children (bathing), they force multiple children to be nude together (bathing, changing, etc), and they even sleep in the same bed as their children. Then there are those parents who record the birth of their children, which is blatant pornography of the mother and the children, and which probably counts as "extreme pornography" in the UK (especially if the mother requires an episiotomy). And what of the schools that require students to disrobe together for physical education, which (in many US schools, at least) includes completely disrobing to change into swimwear for swimming classes?

    True child pornography, the kind that does actually prey on and victimize children, is a pathetic and vile activity, and if it can be proven (not beyond a reasonable doubt, but actually proven 100%) that a person partook in it, I would volunteer to execute them myself. But to brand teenagers as sex offenders merely for photographing themselves is definitely crossing the line. If you think about it, it's very similar to the UK banning "hacking" tools -- banning something simply because it *MIGHT* be used illegally does nobody any good; it only punishes the innocent.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure I'm gonna get flamed but...

    In my opinion BOTH of those stories highlight the fundamental flaw in anti child porn laws. It's just a bit more glaring in the second one. Neither the seven men*, nor the six teens were actually abusing any children. But in the minds of many people, possessing child pornography is synonymous with abusing children. This cognitive distortion is reflected in the laws which punish child pornography as severely as, sometimes more severely than, actual child abuse.

    Maybe at one time it as true (to some extent). Before the Internet if you had child porn you probably either molested a kid yourself or paid for it, which directly supports more child abuse. Nowadays most people in possession of child porn are NOT supporting child abuse. They either got it for free (remember all the talk about file sharing in the first story?) or, with ever increasing regularity they are children who willingly and happily made it themselves.

    If I were king (a real king that is, not like your pretend monarch) I'd abolish laws against possession, distribution and making** of child porn. They're a huge waste of time, and all too often shockingly unjust. Buying it, or selling it would remain illegal, though.

    To head off a couple flames before they come:

    *Yes I know some of the pics were (allegedly) pretty nasty, doing it and looking at it still aren't the same.

    **That is, where no other crime occurs, like with the teens making their own.

  14. lIsRT

    AC @ 02:08 has it right

    I suppose there are already exemptions for images that aren't counted as pornography (medical textbooks for example - for now at least...) but it's really not realistic for the law to distinguish between "good child pornography" and "bad child pornography" - things would be even more absurd than now (the court arguments would be akin to the Chris Morris "Good AIDS / Bad AIDS routine) and there would probably be the result that child abusers would make sure all their photographs looked as if they were taken by the subject/timer.

    The fact that it is *possible* for a teenage girl to be considered a sexual offender for taking a pornographic image of herself is sort of a proof-by-contradiction that the law has it wrong.

    I don't know what the solution is, but it has to involve making a big distinction between cases of actual child abuse and normal teenage silliness. Going after the genuine child abusers with 20+ year sentences should surely still be possible, it just requires much more emphasis on *acts* of abuse rather than evidence of abuse.

    Note that I'm certainly not suggesting the distribution of child pornography should be legal - it's still a massive and unacceptable invasion of privacy for the subject (who should be the only person able to decide who gets to see it and who doesn't - I expect most would prefer to have it destroyed), and should be treated as such in law.

  15. John

    Wait, the boys get..

    prosecuted for opening a MMS (text message with media) that would have had no idea of the contents of prior to opening it ??

    Someone should suggest those girls send a copy of said photographs to the prosecutor and judge.

    And reading on another site:

    the photographs were discovered by a teacher who confiscated a phone and promptly started rooting through it invading her privacy without any right to do so at all? Surely he should face a charge of some kind for that, one for viewing the "porn" and then get the case thrown out as the images were the result of an 'illegal search'.. this is all assuming there is Justice in law, I can dream right?)

    Its an insane case which if it goes to trial will just make America look even more retarded and insane than it does at times already (times being constantly ofc). What will be criminal is essentially destroying these kids lives for an indiscretion and a mistake they should learn from but not be destroyed by.

    Icon because its what the prosecutor should be picking up on his way out from being fired.

  16. Shinku
    Paris Hilton

    Part of growing up, surely?

    So how is this any different to the old way of doing things, the innocent "I'll show you mine if you show me yours"? I mean sure, go after the 40 year old bloke harvesting images and all, that's just fine (as the article mentions) but if both parties are that young, the age difference is negligible and the source of the messages sent them on purpose, what's the problem?

    Paris, because if monitors worked both ways, she'd have seen almost as many as have seen her...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Oh but think of the children

    At least the individuals involved in this case were under the age of consent, so the images were of a minor. We have much to look forward to in the UK when a 17 year old is charged in a similar manner for sending pictures or his/her self to their partner, maybe even engaged in a legal act. Under 18, they're a minor, over 16, above the age of consent, extreme porn - no pics of under 18s. Hey presto, the UK have a law even more screwed up than even the US managed.

    I kind of like the scarlet letter idea though, but not for sex offenders. Perhaps we could require all MPs, MEPs, Assembly Members, in fact anyone in charge of creating legislation, to wear a big red letter, so we know who to throw the rotted vegetables at. Perhaps they'd then think about what they're doing, instead of just turning up to duck their head in the trough.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @Just as daft as

    "what is the current Reg euphamism?"

    Maybe "receiving a round of applause"?

    Seriously, prosecuting these kids achieves nothing and serves no useful purpose, except to waste taxpayers money and ruin the lives of the teenagers involved.

    Please, let sanity prevail.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no title.

    Of course you have to be careful. I could picture the sicko's storing their stuff on their victems mobiles and claiming its theirs.

    The poster above is right to comment about teh sexualisation of younger people. the media calling it Getting older younger. There is something seriously wrong about seeing a 8 year old girl in slutty clothes.

    O well, come the revolution we can line up the fashion designers and marketers with the lawyers.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear people saying this is new

    The only thing new about teenagers flashing each other is that they're using cellphones for their perceived privacy instead of the school stationary cupboard for its actual privacy.

    When I was at school in the early 90s I remember three couples being caught and punished for hiding away together. A fourth got seen by me personally and I turned and walked away.

  21. Znort666

    Can see it now...

    the lawyers sitting in their offices...

    "We're not getting many child abuse cases in now are we....I know lets take the law to its limits to make more money, doesn't metter who we hurt in the process as long as we get our money for new cars/pols/houses/girlfriends*"

    It makes me sick the the world has become so litigious, I am all for there being laws that protect people but when they are used so irresponsibly I think we need to step back and take stock of where we really want all this to head. My father-in-law was nearly branded a Peado solely for the fact he had taken photos of his granddaughter whilst she bathed as many of us have done and had done to us as children. I know there are photos of me in the bath as a child that my parents have, does that now class them as deviants??? I hope not!!!

    *delete as appropriate

    Seriously, these kids are 15 - 17yrs old and they want to brand them peados.WHY??? At the end of the day, if they had not had phones the girls might have shown them everything in some bus stop or woodland area...where is the difference?

    I'm tired of this sue everything that moves because we can twist the law.

    /soap box

  22. Glyn
    Black Helicopters


    What's to stop a girl sending a text/email pic of herself to somebody who's annoyed her, then calling the police?

    Reason #34341 for not being a teacher methinx

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rightfully so?

    Twenty years for abusing children might be reasonable, but twenty years for the victimless crime of distributing images? That's insane. Two months suspended would be more appropriate.

    Meanwhile, murderers only a get a few years.

    Moron legislators. Moron voters.

  24. Xander

    Assuming makes an ass of u and me...

    Just something I've noticed here, both the author and the comments have jumped to a conclusion that everyone consented. If these were all consenting teens, how come the authorities found out? Who blew the whistle?

    Or - perhaps - there's something amiss here. Perhaps the girls are being vindictive, as a previous comment states the laws could be used to make someone a sex offender by sending them an image of yourself, all you need is the phone number. Or the boys could be pressuring/bullying the girls into taking the pictures.

    *If* both parties consented, both should recieve a slap on the wrist and sent on their way. But if something darker is going on here, then certainly one of them deserves to be brought to justice.

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Are the powers that be now so scared of appearing soft, that they are prepared to sqander huge resourses pursuing what is clearly a non crime.

    After all how many real distibuters of child porn went about their business whilst the police and lawers wasted their time with this sort of trivial nonsense?

  26. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    Young and innocent. Not.

    A culture of sending proof of one's sexual maturity and availability at an aged deemed below the socially acceptable limit?

    Some of those states hold the threshold as no sex until you are 21 do they not?

    It is a very sad situation. But I have no sympathy. At 14, people who don't know what they are doing should be under constant supervision. The morons.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    re: AC

    "Or these kids could quite easily send the photos to a hated teacher or other adult's phone or email account and then call the cops on them. Bam - instant career and life destroyed"

    could equally count if you sent pics of your kids in the bath to your favourite cyclopean PM

    wonder how the cnut would manage to wriggle out of that one

    especially if you encrypted them & didn't let him have the key?

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Society changes

    As a genealogist I've come across marriages involving 30yr olds and 15yr olds that occur not that far back in the past, the latest being around 1900. Society changes, which is why we now have a higher age of consent. But having a higher AoC doesn't change actual human nature. There isn't a switch that tells the human body at age 18 (or whatever), OK now go procreate and enjoy yourself. It's human nature to experiment and try things out and no law can stop that from happening. To think so is more abusive and harmful than the actual act itself.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Yet another proof of US stupidity

    While I abhor depraved acts of real pedos, I also think criminalising experimenting teens is just plain stupid. However, this is coming from one of the least literate nations of the west. The US is sliding backwards into 17th century conservatism + litigation culture- what a f*ck up.

    I am glad that I do not, and will not ever have to live or visit there. Staying in the UK where people are at least somewhat more reasonable than those morons.

  30. N1AK

    Author's Hypocrisy

    The authors makes the same kind of ignorant over-simplification as the court system in grouping actions together where they might not need to be.

    As far as the author is concerned the fact that a 14 year old voluntarily sends a sexual image of themselves to a 16 year old should lead to no crime being commited. However if that 16 year old forwards it to his 18 year old friend who does not delete them image then that 18 year old friend deserves to be branded as a sex offender and put in prison for 20 years to life.

    The author may contest that the above is not his true position, but it is exactly the view he expressed in his article (while also branding the 18 year old in this example as a 'monster'). Having an faked image, having an real image, taking an image of someone who permits, having an image of someone being abused and actually abusing someone should not be banded together as the same 'monsterous' offence, in the same way the example of the children in the article shouldn't be either.

    As long as people choose to ignore the fact that sex offending, including that involving children is not simply a result of people being born evil they will get a justice system that achieves no justice.

  31. Cucumber C Face
    Paris Hilton

    Picture of crime != crime

    A picture should be merely evidence that a crime has been committed - not a crime in itself!

    Does having an image of the planes flying into the Twin Towers make you guilty of terrorism?

    I'm sure many sicko's get their kicks from violent images in news footage - but that doesn't make them murderers.

    Wait for more crimes where possession of a real (or even fantasy) depiction of it is penalised. Just give it another term of Nu Labour.

    "You watched a speeding clip on YouTube - that's your license Sonny Jim."

    Paris - because (sadly) watching an mpeg of her being shagged isn't the same as shagging her.

  32. Martin Silver badge

    The UK is hardly any better

    We have laws that make it illegal to sell a pointy object to anyone under 18.. so I take it kids these days don't dabble in electronics anymore?

  33. John

    Re: Assuming makes an ass of u and me...


    "Just something I've noticed here, both the author and the comments have jumped to a conclusion that everyone consented. If these were all consenting teens, how come the authorities found out? Who blew the whistle?"

    According to the article I posted a link to previously, it was a teacher who confiscated a phone off one of the children and I suspect illegally searched through it, after all what right would a teacher have for going into a childs phone to look at the photographs on it, can we say "Expectation of privacy"

    This certainly would appear to be a complete waste of time and money for what should be simply a misjudgement on the girls part. Did Psycho Girl get prosecuted or any others that have previously sent their pics/video over the internets (thats the only one I can think of top of my head), smack them on the wrist and move on, nothing more should be needed, just the embarrasment should be enough of a lesson.

  34. Eden

    So are the Gov guilty of condoning child abuse

    Well obviously they are but with all this pushing for contraceptive inplants for 13yr olds and free pills for preteens aren't they incouraging and condoning this?

    (Still, I'd prefer that approach to the US pretend it doesn't happen and push abstinance and ignorance approach!)

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    UK just as bad

    @ "Yet another proof of US stupidity"

    ...and to all the people "blaming" the US... it happens in the UK too you know, we ain't exempt. I know for a fact that kids of 15 have been charged because they had sex with their underaged partners.

  36. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @Dave Harris

    Genarlow Wilson is black. Hardly surprising, is it, that the authorities in Georgia wanted to make an example of him? I expect they had the tree, the noose and the horse waiting...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Yet another proof of US stupidity

    "Staying in the UK where people are at least somewhat more reasonable than those morons"...

    Sadly we have morons here too. I know a young man, somewhat naive and young for his age, who is in prison for exactly this sort of behaviour involving a 14-year-old. Sometimes chronological age is not the best guide to culpability on the one hand, or to sexual and emotional development on the other... But of course there are *guidelines* for judges, and some judges will slavishly follow them rather than waste time applying mature judgment to the matter.

  38. regadpellagru
    Thumb Down

    Moron judge

    The real problem is not the law, but the utter moron, hugely paid as a judge, who decided to hijack it and make it a tool of teen abuse, by interpreting very literally the text, apparently unworried there was no victim whatsoever.

    Apprently, this person is so hugely deranged with the concept of sex, that he used it as a repression towards the teens.

    In a normal country, the ruling would be appealed, and the judge would be disciplined or kicked out.

    In this case, apparently nothing happened, which means a lot of the mindset of the rest of the authorities. Mad.

  39. Phil


    I can't believe that nobody noticed the name of the school. Greensburg-SALEM? Now who can name another example of mass hysteria leading to ridiculous convictions.... Anyone?

    I'll give you a hint... Burnt at the stake!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    two sides

    Hmm.. I don;t think the girls are being arrested for taking the pictures. That isn't illegal (as far as I can tell). Once they send them to another person they are then guilty of sending pictures of underage kids. The fact that it is a picture of themselves is moot. Once someone else gets them they might send them on... and then what?

    If you allow an underage person to take a picture of themselves *and* be allowed to send it to another, then how do you prevent grooming? A paedophile could groom an underage person to send them 'durty' pictures.

  41. Rodrigo Rollan
    Thumb Up

    @That's Next By E_Nigma

    You had me laughing so hard no people at the office think I am bipolar. This is the kind of comment I would make. Cheers !

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    At some point in the process I would have thought someone with a sense of proportion would have been in a position to put the brakes on. The law works best when a bit of common sense is applied - something sadly lacking these days. Could this be a At some point in the process I would have thought someone with a sense of proportion would have been in a position to put the brakes on. The law works best when a bit of common sense is applied - something sadly lacking these days. Could this be an example of a flaw in the American insistence on electing everyone short of the office cleaner? A pending election gives those in law enforcement a strong incentive to rack up the numbers, whatever the lack of natural justice or collateral damage.

    And I do find it odd that the author of this piece goes out of his way to label teenagers who photograph themselves nude as doing so "misguidedly". While posting the images to others may indeed be naive, taking them surely is merely the modern equivalent of having a look at your own bits in the mirror - which I think has been a normal part of teenage development since the mirror was new-tech, even in the rather puritanical US.

  43. Mark

    re: vindictive

    What if it isn't vindictive? Schoolgirl wants to seem "grown up", passing through "that stage" and mms's a pic of herself to a teacher.

    Teacher didn't ask. Doesn't know what it is. Now is a paedophile and a schoolteacher.

    Lucky to live another year.

  44. Aaron


    '"can we say "Expectation of privacy"[?]'

    In a word -- no. Given the way we treat under-18s who take nudey snaps of themselves, what leads you to believe that under-18s in America would have the privilege of what we laughingly call a 'right to privacy'?

    Besides which, American primary and secondary schools operate in a special legal situation which severely curtails even the few scanty rights American minors are considered to possess. There's precedent that kids in school don't have a right to privacy in their possessions, so I'm sure it was perfectly legal for Ms. Longnose to go ferreting through her student's phone.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    The law is designed to protect all children

    Those teens are contributing to the problem of children being exploited. They know the law the same as any one else and they are responsible for their actions. Why shouldn't they be punished?

  46. Xander


    Yeah. Sadly that post hadn't been moderated when I submitted mine. Principle still stands though.

    Does raise the question of the teacher though. He knew there was child porn on the phone, so he roots through it like a pig for truffles. I wonder if he went on to "confiscate" the phone... ahem.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    @I'm sure I'm gonna get flamed but...

    "...In my opinion BOTH of those stories highlight the fundamental flaw in anti child porn laws. It's just a bit more glaring in the second one. Neither the seven men*, nor the six teens were actually abusing any children. But in the minds of many people, possessing child pornography is synonymous with abusing children. This cognitive distortion is reflected in the laws which punish child pornography as severely as, sometimes more severely than, actual child abuse..."

    DOES NOT COMPUTE! Seriously, you are not allowed to say such things. How dare you point out the bleedin' obvious! Especially after Governments, Advocates and LEA's have invested so much time and effort in trying to convince everyone (especially the gutter press) that possession = abusing. Repeat it often enough and it WILL become fact. THERE WILL BE NO ARGUMENT!

    Miss a turn and Go To Jail!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Double standards?

    Remember when you were 15 and tried to get off with your classmate? The law says you're a pedophile then.

    Want to see a nude baby photograph of myself showing an involuntary erection?, I guarantee it involved no child abuse, and which as an adult, I give you my permission to view, and do with as you please? Then the law says you're a pedophile.

    If you're 15 and want to see your genitals in detail, and use your mobile phone, then the law considers you a pedophile.

    If you're 18, and dress "down" so that you look like a 15-year-old, then anyone viewing them will be considered a pedophile.

    Get a sexual thrill out of white underwear? If it child is wearing them in a clothes catalgue, them the law considers you a pedophile.

    Thank goodness it's still legal to smoke in the presence of children and potentially give them secondary cancer, and teachers can still get speeding tickets (but not be nudists), and there is no alcoholics register of offenders.

  49. Simon


    "...In my opinion BOTH of those stories highlight the fundamental flaw in anti child porn laws. It's just a bit more glaring in the second one. Neither the seven men*, nor the six teens were actually abusing any children. But in the minds of many people, possessing child pornography is synonymous with abusing children. This cognitive distortion is reflected in the laws which punish child pornography as severely as, sometimes more severely than, actual child abuse..."

    That's not a flaw, of course they were abusing children, by allowing lewd images of them to circulate the internet. You're trying to make it sound like a victimless crime, like file sharing - if I download a movie I wasn't going to watch anyway, that's not wrong because it doesn't harm anyone...

    The victim is the kid whose photos you propagate on the internet.

    Imagine if mine was the coat with nude photos of your underage daughter. Flawed? I think not.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Charged for taking pics of their own kids?

    It's happened. Todd Bertrang and his partner were charged with making indecent images of minors when police found that the kids were unclothed in some of the family photos. They were also charged with conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation on a minor (an undercover FBI agent posing as an Egyptian businessman had been offering Todd increasingly large sums to do this procedure on his "daughter" - Todd had refused repeatedly, but eventually said he'd "think about it").

  51. Craig Roberts


    .... How would a school girl SMS a picture of herself to a teachers/member of staffs phone? They shouldn't be giving their phone number out to the students!


    Least the little buggers seem to have switched from Happy Slapping each other for the enjoyment of their peers... Not in my day etc etc...

  52. Anonymous Coward

    law <> ass; prosecutor =>ass

    Your various ACs have it right - the law has to apply to everyone; however HOW that law is applied is supposed to be via common sense. Its illegal to pee in public - but a drunk peeing in the high street on a saturday afternoon would surely get treated differently to a pregnant woman caught short on a country roadside .

    Similarly the prosecutor should have had the wit to distinguish between sending your boyfriend saucy pictures and forcing children to perform sex acts. Had the girls been forcing the boys at gunpoint to perform fellatio on each other it'd be different. As it is, the prosecutor should face a civil suit for vexatious action and defamation.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Porn for kids

    So reading the comments it would appear most people think that it is fine for children to have photos of their naked "partners" as long as they are both under the age of consent? Or put another way; it is ok for a young girl or boy to send a photos of her/his self to another minor.

    Do you also then condone the transfer of such image to another minor? If that is the case a whole new porn industry could be created - by the kids for the kids!

    What happens if a vindictive minor pressures their friend to take the photo?

    Maybe people should teach their children about the dangers around taking photos of themselves; you will never know where it'll end up!

    Paris - because what did she do when she was 14?

  54. Mike

    @Ian Johnston

    >>Genarlow Wilson is black. Hardly surprising, is it, that the authorities in Georgia wanted to make an example of him? I expect they had the tree, the noose and the horse waiting...

    You arse, Wilson broke the law then refused a plea bargain, yes his punishment was "cruel and unusual" which is why he served 1/5th of his sentence, if he admitted to the fact that what he did was wrong then Eddie Barker (prosecutor) was prepared to "set aside" the verdict, the good thing was that his stubboness got the law changed so that an under-age blowjob was a misdemeanor (12 months, no sex offender status) rather than a felony (10 years, and a sex offender), but his stubonness to accept anything was wrong with a 17 year old getting a blow job off a 15 year old and videotaping it means his slate remains dirty (fair? you decide)

    As an additional note, he also had sex with a 17 year old girl (also videoed), the girl does not remember concenting and had symptoms of being drugged, she claimed that she was raped, if she was videoed saying "no" during the the sex then he would have been found guilty as a rapist (was she even capable of saying no? she looked drugged on the videotape), but as it couldn't be proved she said "no" he was aquitted (some would say this is a different miscarrage of justice, but the jury had to do as the law required).

    So was it "because he's black"? almost certainly not, and this sort of "cry wolf" comment is wholy unconstructive, they followed the law, then when it was found to be disproportionate they changed the law, Wilson could have his slate wiped clean, but he won't admit what he did was wrong (note, if the correct law was in place he would still have got prison time, just a year less).

    Paris: I think anyone with an internet connection knows why.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    The US is sliding backwards into 17th century conservatism...

    I am glad that I do not, and will not ever have to live or visit there. Staying in the UK where people are at least somewhat more reasonable than those morons.


    Yeah, coz in the UK we're only backsliding towards late 1930's Germany which is, of course, so much better.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Force of nature.

    So great is the biological imperative to procreate and evolve our species that humans have developed a chemical mechanism which at the appropriate stage in the development cycle releases a flash flood of hormones into the body. Puberty is unleashed in all its uninhibited glory and kids, despite the best efforts of parents, lawyers and god-botherers, do silly uninhibited things.

    In this particular case criminalising and stigmatising kids for doing what comes naturally is an act of child exploitation by ambitious political lawyers. Leave them kids alone, scumbags.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    Who's the predator?

    The predators here are the prosecutors - the problem is that they're at the top of the legal food chain.

  58. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    IT Angle

    How did we manage...

    before all these stupid laws?

    If I recall correctly, we weren't that fussed about kiddy-fiddlers hanging about by bus-stops. Our kids had a pretty robust introduction to the ways of the world, and could take care of themselves.

    If anyone kidnaped and raped anyone, there were laws against that. If the kidnapee or rapee (?) was a child, you can bet that every effort would be expended to catch them and throw the book at them. But minor sexual activity, particularly between children, and of a non-coercive kind, was seen as more of an indiscretion. And someone who liked hanging around the playing fields on the girls' sports day would gain a bad social reputation rather than a sex crimes register entry.

    I wonder if we have gone backwards or forwards....?

  59. Lionel Baden


    pity to see so many people worried about not being able to express their views openly

  60. Jemma


    As of now I have officially had it with the USA.

    I could take the illegal wars... I am British - so talk about pot and kettle.

    I could take the censorship because all i had to do was point americans in the direction of Michael Moore... assuming that they could do 0-4 syllables in less than an hour.

    But this is ridiculous, stupid, mindless and everything else in the book. Its also dangerous given the police tendency to accidentally lose information or shoot someone who might have the gall to protest their innocence.

    Tell you what america... why dont you all sod off and live in Afghanistan or Iran - you would get on like a house on fire with the religiously intolerant socially backward brown-necks out that way.

    This should have been laughed out of court the minute the presiding idiot... did I say idiot.. I meant judge ... read the charge sheet. It shouldnt even have gotten THAT far.

    And before all the torqueflite whine-boxes go into kickdown... It is ALL of America because if you hadnt voted idiots like this into positions of power... or had kicked them out when they showed a level of stupidity that just HAD to be genetic... I wouldnt need to be saying this now. There of course is an easier version... y'all must remember that quote from aliens.. you know the one I mean...!

    If I was a parent of one of these kids I would be sueing everyone who stayed still long enough... and using the family 30-06 on everyone that didnt. This, if it is entered as a judgement will destroy lives for ever.

  61. Mark

    re: Porn for kids

    "What happens if a vindictive minor pressures their friend to take the photo?"

    What if their clothes spontaneously combusted because God doesn't like mixed fibres (polycotton mix)?

    How would that happen?

    How would it be kiddie porn?

  62. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Um...

    So what happens to the phone book if there are no landlines?

    So what happens if their child is at the school (or a school) and has their parents number?

    IF the teacher has given the schoolgirl the number, then there will be a decent trail to show that there is some premeditation on the behalf of the teacher.

    Which is grooming.

    Already illegal.

  63. Mark


    "but his stubonness to accept anything was wrong with a 17 year old getting a blow job off a 15 year old and videotaping it means his slate remains dirty (fair? you decide)"

    Well what IS wrong with it?

    I get blow jobs on the odd occasion and some of them have been from women more than 5 years my junior.

    BOTH are (as far as the sex laws are concerned) minors. If he'd been 21, clearly wrong (because of the imbalance of maturity, NOT because it's a sick perversion). If he'd been 31, clearly wrong and more than a little disturbing.

    But 17? He's no more a predator of adolescents than the girl was.

    So what was wrong with the BJ?

    The fact that it was a BJ probably.

    And that's not what the laws were supposed to stop.

  64. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    taking the piss

    "Its illegal to pee in public - but a drunk peeing in the high street on a saturday afternoon would surely get treated differently to a pregnant woman caught short on a country roadside ."

    What about a drunk taking a piss in the coutryside?

    What about a pregnant mum taking a piss in the high street on a saturday afternoon?

    If you're going to compare things, don't change too much. The above was nearly apples and cross-threaded-bolts comparison.

  65. Mark

    re: Proportion

    The problem is that anyone who *applies* proportion and, for example, throws out the case summarily, will be painted as a paedo or a paedo sympathiser by anyone who doesn't like them (because they want the job, don't like the ideas they say, whatever).

    Especially bad for an AG or anyone else who has a political goal at some point in their life.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Re: Assuming makes an ass of u and me...

    "This certainly would appear to be a complete waste of time and money for what should be simply a misjudgement on the girls part. Did Psycho Girl get prosecuted or any others that have previously sent their pics/video over the internets (thats the only one I can think of top of my head), smack them on the wrist and move on, nothing more should be needed, just the embarrasment should be enough of a lesson."

    How true, what's worse is that, according to precedent set by this, technically everyone of the many thousands of people who've watched the 'psycho girl' video is a paedophile. Clearly a ridiculous and illogical assumption.

    Ever since the widespread avalibitly of digital cameras and camera phones vids and pics like this have been all over the net. Heck isn't half of 4chan home made naughty pics? How many web users may well be breaking the law and not even be aware of it. A Hell of allot is my guess.

  67. A J Stiles

    Problem is moral absolutism

    The problem can be summarised thus:

    It's wrong to apply moral absolutes. Ever.

  68. Mike


    >Well what IS wrong with it?

    A 15 year old girl giving a 17 year old boy a blowjob is defacto wrong, both under the old laws of Georgia and the new laws of Georgia, the prosecutor wanted him to admit that that, then the prosecutor was prepared to "set aside" the verdict, Georgia is where the offense was committed, he was found guilty under the laws of the land which he broke.

    Now, if you're asking my personal opinion if a 15 year old girl giving a 17 year old boy a blowjob and videoing it is OK or not (regardless the laws of the land), how would I know? she insists that she wasn't coerced, taken at face value, I don't see it as a big deal, if I was Wilson then I guess I'd be making a right/wrong value judgement and (assuming I was aware of the law) balancing the risks, I doubt I'd do it, with hindsight I guess he wouldn't do it either.

    Now, don't forget, the law has changed in Georgia, the same circumstances would not result in being defined as a sex offender anymore, it's just sex between minors, a misdemeanor.

    If we disregard the laws of the land, I think there is still something wrong about a group of pre consensual kids getting drunk and having/videoing multiple partner sex in a hotel room (I won't speculate who bought the booze or booked the room and got the camera) if you don't draw the line somewhere, where does it end? if 15 is OK, what about nearly 15? 14? 13? 12? the UK draws a line at 16 and has a reasonable flexibility written into the law between 14 and 16, Georgia doesn't.

  69. Mr Smith

    Bang them up

    That will teach them to break the LAW!

  70. Michael Brennen


    Just make the possession of photographic equipment for under 18's illegal and the problem will disappear though its a draconian way of doing it.

  71. Highlander

    Why is this a surprise to anyone?

    The sex crime laws were not framed to deal with teenage indiscretion. These laws were never intended to be used in this way and the law makers that framed them never intended for them to be used in this manner.

    When adults do horrible things to children, these laws are the right solution, arrest the creeps, try them with a jury, throw them in jail and tattoo a label of 'sex offender' to their life from that point forwards.That's the point of going after the predators who hurt kids in ways that will never leave them as long as they live.

    On the other hand, kids do stupid things. So, why the hell are these fools in the prosecution service in Penn treating the KIDS themselves as if they were adults? Good grief. Now, if the girls pictures were being taken by the boys and the boys were sending those images out to others, then I could see that there's a crime going on and perhaps the laws could be applied, although perhaps in a more more lenient manner. After all, what point is there in damaging kids in a way that will never leave them as long as they live (branding someone as a sex offender is a life sentence in most western nations, it's certainly a curse that cannot be lifted). Oh, wait that sounds as though the act of prosecuting kids doing dumb things could cause harm just as lasting as what the sick ba$stard$ who really abuse kids cause. Hmmmm....who'd have thunk it?

    One thing about this Pennsylvanian case that might make things far, far more difficult is that the boys are 16 and 17 and the girls are 14 and 15. You have to remember that the definition for statutory rape (a sex crime) is all about the age of one or other of the participants. If both are minors then it's just kids messing around - naughty things, ground them for a month and make them go to church! But, if only one of the partners is a minor, then it automatically become statutory rape. For example if a high school couple are having sex and the boy happens to be a couple of months older than the girl. When he hit's his 16th birthday and she's still 15, for all of two months, if they have sex during that time, he could quite easily be tried as an adult charged with statutory rape, and it wouldn't matter how consensual it was. When found guilty he'd be branded as a sex offender simply because he was having sex with his high school sweet heart. When two people are adults (as defined by law) it doesn't matter if there is a 50 year age gap or a 1 day age gap, there is no issue. Sadly the law can be equally black and white when one of the partners is under age, even when the gap is as short as a day.

    Why do I mention this? The boys were all 16 and older and the girls were all under 16 which means that under the law the girls were most certainly minors and the boys were no longer considered minors, despite not yet being considered adults either. But I think we all know that this situation is not one that should result in a prosecution under the sex crime laws intended for adults preying on children. At worst this is a case of indecent exposure. It's the electronic equivalent of streaking. Would anyone consider that a streaker should be labeled as a sex offender?

    But, because the boys are 16+ and the girls are all under 16 a crime has been committed and someone has to pay! Or at least that is the attitude of prosecutors. I can only hope that the judge who gets this case has or has had teenage kids who did dumb things. Allowing the judge to have the common sense to ignore the prosecution and handle the entire matter for what it is, stupid teenagers trying to behave like adults and doing naughty things. "Slap on the wrists all round and no cellphone access (by court order) until you're all 18. Now get out of my court before I ground you all for 6 months. Heaven help you when your parents are through with you!"

    Personally I think that the parents and kids involved should get together and realize that kids do dumb things (as the parents no doubt did in their own teenage days). Then they should go find a really good lawyer and sue the living crap out of the prosecutor for the abuse and victimization of the kids in this case. The consequences of guilty verdicts would cause damage to their future lives as lasting as anything an abuser could do. No the damage isn't the same, but the effects last just as long.

    Law makers need to go back to their sex crime laws and add some amendments to cope with the behavior of foolish teenagers as well as the impact of devices such as cellphones with video and still image capabilities. Until they do, over zealous prosecutors will indulge in this kind of wasteful non-sense.

  72. Anonymous Coward


    By Chris C - "If you think about it, it's very similar to the UK banning "hacking" tools -- banning something simply because it *MIGHT* be used illegally does nobody any good; it only punishes the innocent."

    To go off-topic for a sec - do you feel the same way about guns, Chris?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @People calling for discretion

    There is no discretion in the case of who the law applies to and who it doesn't. If the law wasn't meant to criminalise curious children photographing themselves and then deleting it after then the law should say that. It doesn't. The law of America states that children who photograph themselves nude face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Don't like it? Change the law.

    Allowing prosecutors the choice whether to prosecute or not leads to prosecutors' mates getting off on felony charges.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bizarre that the day matters

    Surely the oddest thing about these laws is that there is a magical date when you're found to be mature. Assume 16 for this ( country. Day of my 16th birday, I sleep with my g/f who turns 16 the following day - sex with a minor. Wait a day and all is ok.

    Judge each case on its merits (y'know, how it normally works)

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're a genius

    Oh ok, so it's not a good idea to discourage teens from taking naked pictures of themselves and transferring those images to web enabled devices, because after all, no one (including those pedophiles you mentioned that WERE breaking the law) would find those pictures later on. Ok. Sorry, misunderstood. By all means, all 10 million teens with cellphones should be free to take all the naked pics they want and upload them. We can deal with the issues it would create later on, like in 5 years or something... Oh and one question, if they just stand there, legs closed, naked, and take a picture, is that okay? As opposed to spread legs with say, a toy inserted? Because you know, then they would have to get all picky and tell them which way they CAN take the picture, as in, give exact specifics of how it is acceptable for a teen to take a photo of their naked body, maybe they could ask a pedophile for ideas of what should be allowed (least interest to a pedophile) and what should not be allowed (greatest interest for a pedophile). GREAT IDEA.


    Hey! I know! Instead of charging them with a crime, we could make a law that says it's illegal, but the only punishment would be a slap on the hand and no text messaging for 24 hours! That would work! I just know it!

  76. Anonymous Coward


    "Imagine if mine was the coat with nude photos of your underage daughter. Flawed? I think not."

    Well Simon, that depends on how you got 'em. If someone took advantage of her to make them and you paid the creep, I'd be furious. If she gave them to you herself, I wouldn't have much right to complain; though it would raise other concerns for her safety. If you just found them on the street, or on the internet, I wouldn't be happy; but you wouldn't deserve jail time in my opinion.

  77. Andy Bright

    This is why sex offender registries mean nothing

    This isn't new people. There are already many on those lists of predators in your communities that did similar sorts of things. For example I know one guy who's a registered sex offender for the crime of playing "if you show me yours, I'll show you mine" at the age of 10.

    Nothing great about that, I would knock some sense into any of my own kids that did it, but that's the punishment these kids should be getting. Not facing imprisonment and the rest of their lives on a sex offenders registry. For those that think these things go away when they reach 18, no they don't. This is for keeps.

    What I want to know is why no one has stood up to these prosecutors yet in the US. No one appears to be saying that taking away their cell phones is a more reasonable punishment that the insanity that's progressing. I don't even understand why these people still have jobs, including anyone at the school that reported them to the authorities without making sure their parents couldn't deal with it themselves. We don't need people like this "serving" our communities. Because they aren't protecting anyone from anything, they aren't representing the wishes of the people that elected their political bosses, well not most of them.

    Except for a few religious extremists, no one wants to see these kids punished in this way, and there should be consequences for government employees that abuse their positions like these guys are doing. I'm a government employee, my duty is to work for the people of my state, not to work against them. Fire the lot of these fuckers and stick them on trial for abusing public money.

  78. Treacle

    sex and "children": one owns one's own self

    In reply to P. Lee, up in post #8

    (--an aside: could you Regster people put big fat numbers next to comments so that we can easily find who people are responding to? It's super annoying to not have reference numbers. thanks--):

    Let's go back 10,000 years, to the beginning of agriculture--- when people lived until about age 40, and "children" of 13 were having sex and having babies in prodigious numbers so that the culture could continue.

    Let's skip up to Shakespeare's time, the late 1500s, when still "children" of 13 and 14 were having sex and having babies so that the culture could continue. To the point where unmarried 15 year old girls were at risk of becoming unmarriable "old maids".

    Now zip forward to 2008 where suddenly (in evolutionary terms) "children" of 13, 14, 15, 16, and even 17 are now not expected to have sex, or even be sexually aware, for fear of prosecution.

    Pedophilia, as the author of the article rightly asserts, is a monstrous crime. Heinous in numerable ways. But experimention with sexuality AS a legally-defined "CHILD" of 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 has an incredible evolutionary inertia that is not going to disappear merely because a bunch of Methuselah-aged societal elders write a law about it.

    As a contemporary society we have to punish the bastards who conspire to take advantage of youth. But when youth are freely engaging in sexual play with each other, (ie. no coercion -- shouldn't that be the principle demarcator of crime anyway? ), where is the injury? There is none, and no crime should be prosecuted (save for prosecutors victimizing young girls and boys with this new scarlet letter, as previously pointed out).

    Initiation of action is another key factor here. Mere possession of an image of a nude youth should not be enough--- this is in regards to a malicious youth sending a photo to a hated teacher in the example above. The teacher initiated no action, ergo no culpability. The pedo group initiated the procurement of coerced images, culpable. Youths flirting with each other via 'sexting' and cam-phone quick snaps: culpability in terms of action, but youth-to-youth sexual expression? No crime in my mind.

    Why, I recall as a youth, as a 14 year old boy, engaging in mutually desired kissing, fondling, and yes, even oral sex (both ways!) with a girl of similar age. There is no crime there. In fact thank the Lord that youth can still experiment with sex, because how else will they become delightful lovers and partners in the future if they have no experiences while young?

    harrumph. "prosecutors" indeed!

  79. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    WTF you on, kid?

    That's nothing like the second (should-be-legal) item and more like the first (should be illegal) one.

    So your post was FUCK ALL USE.

    Now if you want to get closer to the second:

    "What if my 14 yo son was going out with your daughter?"

    Well, duh.

  80. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    "do you feel the same way about guns, Chris?"

    What use does a gun have than SHOOTING PEOPLE???

    Hacking tools can be used to test security.

    Unless you use guns for checking your medical skills, there's no benign use for a gun.

  81. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    "A 15 year old girl giving a 17 year old boy a blowjob is defacto wrong, both under the old laws of Georgia and the new laws of Georgia,"

    But it was changed to a misdemeanor and then put back to crime because of, not the sex with a 15yo by a 17yo but because of the BJ.

    Hell your PRESIDENT didn't think it sex. Neither did the people accusing and investigating allegations of sexual relations with a woman.

    If THEY don't think it's sex, why is it wrong?

    It's wrong because the religious don't want sex to be enjoyable and DEFINITELY don't want sex where it's safe from having an accidental child.


  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You get what you measure and reward

    A key point that's easily overlooked in all the arguments about rights and wrongs is that prosecutors get paid, promoted, and launched on political careers based on the number of successful cases they prosecute. Or, in more concrete terms, the number of people whom they send to prison and whose lives they ruin.

    The question of whether something is right or wrong, just or unjust, simply doesn't enter into it. The only question is "Can I get a conviction here, using the existing set of laws and precedents, and before a given judge and jury?" And all too often the answer is yes. Especially thanks to the charming American custom of plea bargaining, in which the prosecutor tells the accused "Plead guilty to the 'specimen' charges I propose, or we'll send you to prison for 300,000 years". The accused duly pleads guilty, and goes to prison for 17 years.

  83. Jeremy Wickins Silver badge

    Reminds me of a joke ...

    ... Policeman patrolling a lover's lane notices one of the cars has the interior light on. He goes over, notices a male in the driver's seat concentrating on a video game, and a female in the back seat leafing through a copy of some gossip magazine. Puzzled, he knocks on the drivers window, which the male winds down.

    "Excuse me, sir*, can you tell me what's happening here?".

    "Yes officer, we're just whiling away the time."

    "Oh, right. How old are you, sir?"

    "18, officer"

    "And how old are you, madam?"

    "15, officer".

    "When will you be 16?"

    "Oh (glances at watch), in about 20 minutes ..."

    *I heard this joke a long time ago - I am very aware that the chances of being called "sir" by the current Robocop wannabes is highly unlikely, as is the chance of the teenagers calling the policeman "officer".

    But seriously, now for a little game. Under current laws (in whichever country you are in), which of them would be prosecuted, for what, and what penalty would they get?

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC to protect the innocent

    Strangely enough I have some experience of something similar to those kids.

    My daughter was on holiday with her school a while back (I believe she was 9 at the time). Her friend left her phone in the room they were staying in and 2 other friends decided to take photos of themselves naked with the phone. My daughter was considered to be involved because she was in the main room while the 2 girls were taking photos in the bathroom. The school believed the photos were actually of my daughter and so we were called in when the photos were found on the phone by her friend's mother.

    We were actually asked if we wanted whoever took the photos to be prosecuted for sex offenses if it turned out the photo was of my daughter. My wife's attitude was throw the book at them.

    Fortunately for the 2 girls involved common sense prevailed and I persuaded my wife that ultimately no one had been hurt (apart from a great deal of embarressment on my daughter's friend's part) and there was no point in totally ruining someone's future for a stupid and thoughtless childhood prank. The seriousness of what they had done was made very clear to all involved and that was the end of it.

    Lucky for them this is the UK and not the US.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Simon was responding to my "gonna get flamed" post near the top wherein I argue that neither should be illegal. My point was that both of these cases are logical results of the laws that criminalize the images themselves rather than the act of child abuse. It's "mission creep", if you will.

    In an effort to stamp out child abuse, we outlawed child porn too. But it's a little hard to stomach putting someone away for the purely pragmatic purpose of drying up a market, so we "decided" that having child porn itself must be unforgivable abomination. So now it's treated as such, even when it happens far removed from any sort of child abuse.

    And now in the US it's illegal to "advertise" that you have child porn even if you don't. This was strictly intended as a convenience for prosecutors, but if that law gets used regularly I imagine it won't be long before people say that it really is a horrible act because umm... "it normalizes these obscene perversions", yeah that's the ticket.

    Presumably we can expect to see a teenage girl arrested for hinting in jest that she has naughty pictures of herself sometime in the next ten years or so.

  86. John Savard

    Hacking Tools

    We want to make sure that computers are not hacked. One way to work towards this is to ensure that no one possesses hacking tools - except for licensed people who can be trusted with them. So if a large corporation needs to use hacking tools to test the security of its computers, they just get one of their employees licensed and bonded as a computersmith. And they might have to abide by certain rules, such as when they take the hacking tools out of the locked computer vault, two people have to be there, so that the hacking tools can't be copied for illegitimate use, because no one is ever alone with them.

    Morphine (the active ingredient in heroin and opium) has legitimate medical use. And guns are certainly legitimately useful for self-defense against criminals who have somehow managed to get their hands on guns - in general, weapons are tools for making other people mind, but which can be misused to bully other people.

  87. Kevin Reader
    Black Helicopters

    Well some-ones got to say it....

    Please.... won't everyone think of the children......

    on-no, oh dear me no. Now, that's gone wrong too. Please don't think of the children - EVER - and definitely not of pictures of half dressed teenagers. Oh dear me no...... Braincell overload... Imploding...

    Hey, isn't everyone involved in the case participating in the distribution and viewing of this smut(!?). Isn't the evidence a crime in itself. Discussing the case here is probably borderline in some jurisdictions (like Evolution).

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It beggers belief

    There was a case in the UK, just this month of 3 men in the early 20's and 30's, who were members of an adult dating site. The 3 men were sent sexually explicit messages from a female, on the site, to which they responded with equally explicit messages. They also visited the girls profile where she claimed to be 18 and where she had topless photographs of herself posted on it. The next thing the men knew, they were arrested, charged and convicted of having sexual contact with a child, as it turns out the girl was only 15, and what happened to the girl who took the topless photographs? Nothing!

    The laws across the world are screwed up with regards to this sort of thing. Most of them were past in haste, as the media whipped the public up into a moral panic, and governments were forced to act. It's high time that governments looked at these laws with a clear head, and pass laws which not only protect children from sexual predators, and adults from "entrapment" (for want of a better word), but which does not criminalise children from engaging in behaviour which is normal. By that i mean, teenagers talk about sex with their friends. There is a universe of difference between the kind of sexual predators described in the story, and a 13 year old girl sending a photograph of her new boobs to her best friend.

  89. The Mighty Spang

    interesting question for you

    if say we used a more common sense idea of whats going on here (i.e. teens will be teens, and we don't seem to prosecute people for under 16 shagging if they were both under 16), is there a cut off point?

    say I am 17 with a 17 yr old g/f. we exchange nudie pics. if i keep that pic for a number of years, at what point does it become illegal to own it or does it stay outside the law because it was made when we were both 17? 25? 30? 50? 80?

  90. Dave

    perfectly normal

    Children playing a game of "if you show me yours, I'll show you mine" is perfectly normal. Parents punishing them for it are only teaching the children not to trust their parents.

  91. Mark

    re: interesting question for you

    If she's still your girlfriend, you should be able to keep them. If she's no longer your girlfriend, you should get rid of them, whatever your ages.

    The KP laws are there to stop harm to children.

    Where is the harm in that scenario?

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