back to article Microsoft OneDrive tip-off leads to arrest over child abuse images

Microsoft's tip-off has led to the arrest of a Pennsylvania man subsequently charged with receiving and sharing child abuse images. The as-yet-unnamed suspect is alleged to have saved an indecent image involving a young girl to a OneDrive cloud storage account. Prosecutors allege in court documents that the suspect …

  1. Ross K
    Thumb Up

    Dunno what you can say except...

    Good work Microsoft.

    "Microsoft must do all that it can to inform users about what proactive action it takes to monitor and analyse messages for illegal content, including details of what sorts of illegal activity may be targeted," Emma Carr, acting director of the campaign group Big Brother Watch, told the BBC.

    Section 3.6 of the Microsoft Services Agreement clearly state that inappropriate images including child porn aren't permitted. What more are they supposed to do?

    1. John H Woods

      Re: Dunno what you can say except...

      I agree. I think the privacy people would be happier if they had a better understanding of the process - unlike with the NSA dragnet, this is not about permanent records being kept forever, or your email / cloud storage being scanned for anything and everything. It's a simple pattern search for known illegal content, followed by the appropriate actions being taken for a positive match

      We really do need pro-privacy organisations, but - or rather therefore - they must be very careful not to put themselves in a position where they look like they are protecting criminals.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Dunno what you can say except...

        in other words, someone else's privacy is fair game as long as you agree with the purpose for violating it, as stated by a trustworthy data custodian like Microsoft or Google. Presumably the NSA and GCHQ then would be OK if they simply looked for and reported those who exchange kiddie porn, keeping mindful that to do that they would have to scan everything they could get their hands on and decrypt what they could.

    2. NumptyScrub

      Re: Dunno what you can say except...

      quote: "What more are they supposed to do?"

      Ensure there is no feature creep. It is all too easy to argue that if you are comfortable with automated scanning to catch <vile criminal behaviour X>, then you should be ok with automated scanning to catch <criminal behaviour Y>.

      You've already seen the feature creep of "anti-terrorist" surveillance legislation over the last few years being extended "because paedo", don't be too surprised to see it extended again because <insert less vile but still criminal act here, like drunk driving>, and then again ad nauseum. The endpoint is never going to be anything less than automated surveillance to catch all criminal behaviours, "because criminal".

      I side with Thomas Jefferson:

      "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."

      "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it."

      It seems worrying that the country he was a president of seems more in love with surveillance than the (constitutional) Monarchy I live in...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dunno what you can say except...

        I agree.

        It seems to me that most thinking people aren't so much afraid of Paedos being caught but of where this is going to go and who will be running it when future governments come to power.

        Will we ever get to the point where one political party is considered to out-of-touch and wrong that to express any kind of public support for it would be considered detrimental to the public (it's already starting with the extreme right parties such as the BNP and - in some places - UKIP), but what would happen if the public at large could be convinced that anything other than a certain political party or view is harmful? Would that mean the government of the day is Ok to ask for anything against that government to be taken down and the author prosecuted?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC - Re: Dunno what you can say except...

          The creepy scenario you're mentioning has already happened and il will happen again. I've spent a half of my life under such government. It's ugly in case you might ask.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dunno what you can say except...

          > It seems to me that most thinking people aren't so much afraid of

          > Paedos being caught but of where this is going to go and who will be

          > running it when future governments come to power.

          1. I am sure you are aware of:

          https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope

          2. Do you think an Orwellian govt which intends to use this a precedence to create more invasive policies, will not find something else to screw our happiness ? Our job as concerned citizens never ends. We will to put up a fight at every step, chosing the right action for a given problem.

          3. Richard Stallman.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. P. Lee

          Re: Dunno what you can say except...

          @numptyscrub & AC: I regret that I have but one upvote to give.

          It used to be said that hard cases make bad law. Now it seems all are laws are based on hard cases and that is very dangerous.

          While we can all applaud the removal of KP and subsequent prosecution, we really should not be building this kind of infrastructure. We may have caught one extraordinarily dumb criminal, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is an effective technical measure against the majority of cases. ZIP with a password would have foiled it. That being the case, I'm more than a little concerned about why this facility is in place. It looks like a trojan to me and I don't like what else it could be used for.

          We have gone rather rapidly from a decentralised internet to one where a vast amount of our data is held by just four companies (MS, Apple, Google, FB) all subject to a single legal jurisdiction. You may have decentralised DNS, but your search and browser history is likely to be sync'd somewhere. What we need is a presence indicator and then properly encrypted comms directly between the devices we own. None of this, "save to the cloud" rubbish.

    3. Arctic fox

      @Ross K "Re: Dunno what you can say except..."

      Indeed, I entirely agree Ross K. What can one say when the service provider tells one in advance that they:

      ".....deploy[s] automated technologies to detect child pornography or abusive behavior that might harm the system, our customers, or others".

      If such people are then so stupid that they go ahead and use that service for something that is a clear breach of contract (not to say a criminal offence that leaves most of us nauseated) then what the hell do they expect?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google copying

    as usual....

    Bet Microsoft were on the phone to their datacentre guys after Google hit the news yesterday "Can you find a pedo for us", so we can have a story too....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: Google copying

      yup, same way that Bing copied Google when it came to displaying image search results as a continuous scroll instead of click, next page, next page,.

      Oh hold no they didn't it was the other way round.

      1. lurker

        Re: Google copying

        What's this "Bing" thing? Never mind, I'll google it.

      2. Indolent Wretch

        Re: Google copying

        Yes because Microsoft were absolutely the first people in all the world to do continuous scroll and that proves Google copied them.

        Or, you know, maybe, fashion?

        This is the Microsoft that were caught red handed copying Google's actual search results. It's well documented, look it up.

        1. dogged

          Re: Google copying

          Everyone's catching illegal child porn on their servers. Good that they're catching it.

          Shut up about copying - if this is the kind of copying you object to, I wonder what you keep in DropBox.

        2. dogged

          Re: Google copying

          > This is the Microsoft that were caught red handed copying Google's actual search results. It's well documented, look it up.

          Hold on a second, are you repeating Bob Vistakin's eternal lies on this topic? It's extremely well-documented. As being a fraud, perpetrated by Google engineers to game a Bing toolbar in exactly the same way that one could, if one were of a mind (or being paid sufficiently), game a Google toolbar.

          Look it up before repeating propaganda which has already been thoroughly Snoped.

        3. NumptyScrub

          Re: Google copying

          quote: "Yes because Microsoft were absolutely the first people in all the world to do continuous scroll and that proves Google copied them.

          Or, you know, maybe, fashion?"

          Yes because Apple were absolutely the first to make rounded corner touchscreen devices and that proves Samsung copied them.

          Or, you know, maybe fashion? Oh wait, Samsung were found guilty of copying in a court of law. Shit, maybe that does mean Google are also guilty... ^^;

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    In the end...

    ...when an image is flagged as "abusive" it still need a human eyeball to discern whether it is KP or not.

    I pity the poor sod whose thankless job it is to view all those nasty images thus flagged...

    1. joeW

      Re: In the end...

      I know a guy who has that exact job - he's a Detective who specialises in digital forensics and such.

      Not a job I envy, I'll tell you that. They have mandatory councilling sessions and so on every six months or so, but according to him most cops only last two or three years in that department tops. Less if they have kids of their own. He's able to handle it (no kids, no plans to have any) but he reckons he'll request a transfer soon enough anyway - it's gotten to a stage where people get suspicious of anyone who stays in the job.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: In the end...

        Ouch, that's not a fun job but it is critical that a human is involved somewhere along the line as a sanity check. Some of the shit that the police do come across is pretty foul, and in just an average visit to a police station incident room you'll often see pictures that you'd rather forget.

        1. joeW

          Re: In the end...

          He gets strange ones as well as proper sick ones. He told me there was one guy who was arrested for possession of child porn, and when they went through his hard drives they also found several hundred photos of him fucking chickens. As in, prepared chickens from a supermarket or butcher, not live ones.

  4. jason 7

    This is Google/MS etc.

    telling those creeps.."get your creepy filth off our systems!"

  5. Anonymous Blowhard

    Thin end of the wedgie?

    As much as I'm in favour of locking up criminals like this, I'm not sure that having cloud storage monitored is a good thing.

    In this case the T&Cs say Microsoft can do this, so it's optional to use or not use their service based on knowing this; but politicians will be quick to extend this and make it mandatory for all cloud storage providers to monitor their users; after all, they only have to say the words, and then it's SEP to implement. And what about feature creep? Maybe your bank statements and financial data could also stand a quick scan, in case you're money laundering?

    1. Ross K
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Thin end of the wedgie?

      Maybe your bank statements and financial data could also stand a quick scan, in case you're money laundering?

      Sorry to break it to you, but this happens already.

      Google 'SWIFT US Article 29'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thin end of the wedgie?

      Why would the government need to make Google or MS or Apple scan your bank statements or financial data - they already make your bank do that for them!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - Re: Thin end of the wedgie?

        Not the off-shore banks, mate!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lots of people seem to forget how vague the term "child abuse images" is.

    For all we know, he might be arrested for something that's clarified as CAI.

    "Man arrested for saving image of 40-year-old dwarf dressed as a schoolgirl" doesn't quite grab the same emotional attention, does it?

    1. Ross K

      Re:

      No. If you had bothered to read the article you would have noticed that the system checks for matches of images known to be in circulation already.

      So it's doubtful in the extreme that the guy had some photos of midgets. Unless they were underage midgets...

    2. logistix
      Joke

      Nah, I'm pretty sure their messed up facial features and chubby peanut fingers would be as what Charles Ramsey calls a "Dead Giveaway!"

  7. Jim-234

    Yes please just store all your data with us in our "super safe free cloud thing", who would ever need to have physical control over their own data?.....

    So when say speaking against fanatics who want to cut off your head in the name of their god is banned....

    Or perhaps when discussion on how to avoid being spied on is banned....

    How soon before they are scanning your files to see if the RIAA or MPAA can sue you?

    What about when some politician pandering to his base of whoever, decides a quick witchhunt for (insert anything some group of people don't like) would be a great campaign booster.

    There is a big difference, much like if you rent a storage unit,

    If management starts hearing muffled screams and banging coming from one of the units & decides to call the police & investigate,

    It is much different from management just going through everybody's stuff anytime they like to see if there is anything they can either help themselves to, or rat people out for.

    Apparently all the big "Cloud" providers seem to think that saying ... "Well we don't go through everybody's stuff all the time, we built a robot to do it for us" makes it all so perfectly okay.

    1. Ross K
      Facepalm

      Yes please just store all your data with us in our "super safe free cloud thing", who would ever need to have physical control over their own data?.....

      So when say speaking against fanatics who want to cut off your head in the name of their god is banned....

      Or perhaps when discussion on how to avoid being spied on is banned....

      If you don't like the "super safe free cloud thing" you're free to keep your kiddy porn, nuclear bomb-making manuals or other possibly offensive/incriminating content on floppy disks in a shoebox under your bed.

      Keeping kiddy porn on your OneDrive is a n00b move IMHO.

  8. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    obviously another example of

    "Terms of service" that nobody bothers to read. printing it to pdf tells me it is 29 pages long. wtf.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is precisely why I only trust local storage

    It doesn't matter how many gigs of storage you're offering me, I never feel safe to have some unknown strangers oversee my files and documents.

    Don't forget that you'll need a reliable network connection to access cloud storage... not always a guaranteed. There's also the risk of servers getting fried and your data destroyed: I believe Yahoo Mail was guilty of this while migrating to the 'new and improved' version of its web mail service, rendering some emails undeliverable and irretrievable.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thought Crimes

    I'm pretty sure here in the US it's even illegal to have depictions or simulations of underage sex. So google or microsoft might just automatically ruin your life for some questionable manga or an 18 year old in pigtails that you might have unknowingly downloaded 3 years ago.

    The kind of people that choke to death a guy selling loosie cigarettes, or lock a kid in guantanamo for 12 years on a rumor, are not the kind of people I want getting automatic tip-offs as to what's in my cloud storage. Yet another reason to bail from the cloud!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thought Crimes

      You are Graham Marsden and I claim my £5.

      Here we go with the anime and the thought crimes again.

      You are a moron and a drama queen. It was stated in the article and also pointed out earlier in the comments that this guy was found to have copies of *known* child porn images, not anime or pictures of an adult with pigtails.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thought Crimes

        For the mentally retarded, the point was that the definition of illegal porn can vary, and actions you deem innocuous may come back to bite you. Now go find your boyfriend Graham, cause I'm not him.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thought Crimes

          "Mentally retarded"

          "find your boyfriend"

          Is that all you've got? How old are you, 10?

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