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Facebook shopped BBC hacks to National Crime Agency over child abuse images probe

Anonymous Coward

Answer

Shut Farcebook down.

What on earth are they thinking, demanding being sent examples of content already identified at best being highly inappropriate, and possibly illegal. Never mind being harvested from their own content.

Note to BBC, just send them a link - don't duplicate the content and distribute it again - that is not helpful...

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Unhappy

Re: Answer

Unfortunately even sending the link means you must have seen the content, which (as I understand it) is in itself, illegal and has no defense.

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Re: Answer

sending the link:

Well, how do you report if if you stumble across it then?

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Anonymous Coward

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"Well, how do you report if if you stumble across it then?"

If you want an easy life, you don't. It's not your problem unless you want it to be.

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As I understand it, and I use Facebook as a point of contact for a fishing syndicate I am in and nothing else so have never really looked at the mechanics of how Facebook works, there is a facility to report the page or image built in to the system.

The problem here is that these images were reported using this system then effectively ignored.

What the BBC should have done is taken these links and referred them to the police stating they had been reported to Facebook who had refused to act on the information using their own internal reporting system and so were aiding in the distribution of unsuitable and / or illegal material. The police could then move in and charge Facebook with distribution as they had ignored a take down request if the images were illegal. From the BBC report at least one was illegal as it showed abuse.

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FAIL

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Given that the BBC knew that they were investigating illegal material, they should have taken advice from the police before starting?

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Anonymous Coward

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Unfortunately even sending the link means you must have seen the content, which (as I understand it) is in itself, illegal and has no defense.

Here we go again with the hysterical misinterpretations of the law. Look at the CPS guidance on the subject; the third listed defence is as follows;

"Unsolicited Photographs

This defence applies to possession under section 160 of the CJA 1988 only (s.160(2)(c) of the CJA 1988).

The defence is made out if the defendant proves that the photograph in question was sent to him without any prior request by him or on his behalf and that he did not keep it for an unreasonable time. By analogy, the burden is a legal one (R v Collier [2005] 1 Cr. App. R. 9)."

So if you come inadvertently stumble upon some child porn, and report it by sending a link, you are covered by the "Unsolicited Photographs" defence. Moreover, by reporting it, you are actually giving weight to any future claim by you that you did not seek out said content, should it subsequently be found in your browser cache or whatever.

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FAIL

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"The BBC was investigating private Facebook groups used to share both legal and illegal images, some of the latter of which featured children being abused."

Pardon me if I'm a little naive, but how can such groups exist on Facebook? Surely FB have some sort of self-policing system in place?

I don't use Zuck's evil toy, so have no idea how easy/difficult it is to set-up a private closed group. Even so, I'm surprised that what appears to be a paedophile group was in existence on FB.

Piss-poor effort from Facebook.

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Re: Answer

"The defence is made out if the defendant proves that the photograph in question was sent to him without any prior request by him or on his behalf and that he did not keep it for an unreasonable time. By analogy, the burden is a legal one (R v Collier [2005] 1 Cr. App. R. 9).

Right - key words here: " the defendant proves that the photograph in question was sent to him without any prior request by him"

You have to prove something that doesn't exist. I think the hysterical interpretation is possibly justified in this case. The people usually enforcing the law are not about being justice driven, but results driven. It isn't there fault, it is the way the system is stacked and badly written and amateur (I hope, otherwise conspiracy) lawmaking.

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Anonymous Coward

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You have to prove something that doesn't exist. I think the hysterical interpretation is possibly justified in this case.

No, sorry, but that is wrong. You are taking a small fragment, reading it literally, and not accounting for what other areas of the law say. In order for you to require that defence in the first place, you must have met the standards to be charged with possession, otherwise there would be no charge to defend. So let's look at another part of the same CPS guidance;

"Possession" involves both a physical and mental element.

The physical element is that a person must have custody and control of the photographs stored on a device in order to possess them. This means he / she must be capable of, or in a position to, retrieve them in the sense, for example, of being able to produce them on the screen, make a copy of them or send them to someone else (R v Porter [2006] 1 Cr. App. R. 25; R v Leonard [2012] 2 Cr. App. R. 12). This is of particular relevance in the case of deleted images. Proof of the physical element in such cases will depend on consideration of (a) where the photographs are stored on the device (b) the means by which they could be retrieved in the sense set out above and (c) whether the defendant has the wherewithal to retrieve them i.e. has the technical knowledge and software / other equipment required to do so.

The mental element is knowledge. A defendant must knowingly have custody and control of the photographs found on the device in question.

So explain to me how, having fleetingly seen an indecent image, reported it, and then deleted it, one can be said to " knowingly have custody and control of the photographs found on the device in question"?

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Trollface

Re: Answer

Law enforcement/Military are testing people. Read this story to find out whats really going on in other domains besides politicial.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/07/cambridge_analytica_dystopianism/

Its not just happening on facebook, similar poorly designed tests are taking place on porn sites, craigs list, ebay and other sites, probably driven by the US Govt, but I cant help but notice the UK is not so dumb when it comes to innovation in all its forms either.

The trick is to play their game up to a point, but bear in mind all your electronic transactions are used as well, so dont be surprised when imperial college lecturers buy things from you to see if you are horsing around or not.

I do wonder what the ultimate agenda is though?

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Well responded. I withdraw my hysteresis.

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I would assume the groups have a standard set nicknames known by people who use that sort of thing?

Although if a group has one of its images reported, surely facebook should be putting that group under heavy scrutiny.

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Reporting anything to Facebook is useless and is more likely in some cases to earn you temporary ban or permanent one from Facebook.

Why the Facebook HQ is not raided by the police is something I do not understand.

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Anonymous Coward

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"Well, how do you report if if you stumble across it then?"

Print it out on a bit of paper, stick it in an envelope marked "for the police", and post it in a post box somewhere between home and work. And take care not to get fingerprints on anything or put your return address on the back.

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You have committed a vile crime for stumbling upon child porn and deserve the maximum the law can throw at you. It is both your duty and your own fault if you report it. If you don't report it you're going to hell and if you do then you're going to prison. I hope that's all clear now.

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"Unfortunately even sending the link means you must have seen the content, which (as I understand it) is in itself, illegal and has no defense."

It isn't seeing the image that is the offence, it is "making an image". Unfortunately there is fairly broad interpretation by the courts of what constitutes "making" an image. Having a thumbnail in your browser's cache is "making an image".

The CPS gives the following examples:

  • Opening an attachment to an email containing an image (R v Smith [2002] 1 Cr. App. R. 13);
  • Downloading an image from a website onto a computer screen (R v Jayson [2002] 1 Cr. App. R.13);
  • Storing an image in a directory on a computer (Atkins v DPP; Goodland v DPP [2000] 2 Cr. App. R. 248);
  • Accessing a website in which images appeared by way of automatic "pop-up" mechanism (R v Harrison [2008] 1 Cr. App. R. 29).

Then there is the more serious offence of "distributing images". This is the offence that traps people who send links because they are "distributing images".

The CPS guidance on that is:

  • The anticipated showing must to be to a person(s) beyond the possessor of the photographs (R v T 163 JP 349).

That is, sending a link is sufficient grounds for prosecution because the defendant has "shown" the image to another person.

Quite charmingly, the defendant doesn't even need to have knowledge that the image is one of child abuse.

I don't excuse paedophiles but I am genuinely shocked at how broadly the legislation is drawn and that the legislation makes even innocent acts illegal and it makes it difficult for a journalist to notify the authorities of the existence of this trash. I think in this instance Facebook successfully and rather nastily trolled the BBC journos.

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Re: Answer

"You have to prove something that doesn't exist. "

I acted as an expert witness in a case where a teenager was accused of "making" kiddie porn. When the hard drive of his PC was examined it became obvious that he had not requested the images. Quite the opposite. There were IRC logs that showed someone else asking him if he wanted to "look at some porn" he said "no". Then the other party said "I'll send it anyway." followed by "What did you think of that?" to which the defendant had replied "It's horrible, I deleted it." There was evidence on the drive that he had indeed deleted the image about two minutes after receiving it.

That defence was successful, so it is possible.

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Re: Answer

A successful defence is however meaningless in this situation.

You have already lost your job, your home, your family and your entire future.

Because you don't have anonymity, the news and the local gossips have destroyed you before your lawyer even speaks.

And the "enhanced" DBS will include this as well ("hearsay" is in there), so even if you move away your career is still ended if you were a teacher, care worker or other post where the Enhanced DBS searches are done.

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Thumb Up

Re: Answer

"Then there is the more serious offence of "distributing images". This is the offence that traps people who send links because they are "distributing images".

The CPS guidance on that is:

The anticipated showing must to be to a person(s) beyond the possessor of the photographs (R v T 163 JP 349)."

1. As Facebook t&c give Facebook a worldwide licence on all photos and videos posted, Facebook has clearly established that it is the possessor of these photos.

2. In general terms, having the image appear on your screen means that you have made an image. This has been the decision in a number of cases, ranging from obscene images to copyright iinfringement.

This means that, in terms of this investigation, Facebook has licenced explicit child images, then distributed them to other people. The company should therefore be prosecuted.

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Re: Answer

I hate it when spokesdroids say "xxx is against the law", without specifying what law, or even jurisdiction, they're talking about.

BBC hacks? Well, who knows where they were viewing the images, but there's a good chance it was in London, so "CPS guidance" is relevant.

Facebook moderators? Might have been based just about anywhere. But the company is headquartered in California, so California state and/or US federal law apply.

These are two (well, three) different things, and what's "abuse" in one place might not be so in the other.

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"Print it out on a bit of paper"

Ooops! Too late - they found you. Remember that printers are recorded against users (particularly home users) much like TV sets - they also print invisible dots which can be traced back to that particular printer - supposedly to stop printing money, or something...

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Re: Answer

Pretty clear that the BBC have actually committed an offence. Their actions in sending the images back to Facebook do in fact breach the Indecent Images of Children (IIOC) as it is an offence to 'make; an image, i.e. download or print out an image under Section 1 PCA 1978. Give that they got away with Savile I hope that this time they really get clobbered.

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Anonymous Coward

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Two wrongs don't make a right. A prosecution here doesn't make up for anything related to Savile, where actual minors were being abused. Otherwise, Facebook should also be prosecuted for facilitating child pron rings.

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Re: Answer

"So explain to me how, having fleetingly seen an indecent image, reported it, and then deleted it, one can be said to " knowingly have custody and control of the photographs found on the device in question"?"

The legal niceties don't matter too much in the real world. After having been arrested and charged your life and career are pretty much over anyway. And arrested and charged you will be in this case because the blame culture and paranoia means that everyone from the ISP to the CPS will be arse covering.

The comment below about an expert witness is an example of where this has happened.

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Re: Answer

"Print it out on"

Are you sure the printer doesn't uniquely watermark every page it prints? Did you use a self-sealing envelope or did you plaster your DNA all over it when you licked it?

Anyone know where I can more tinfoil? Industrial grade only please.

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Bronze badge

Re: Answer

You send the link to the authorities to show that FB is in violation of the Child Protection Act. Burn, Zuck, Burn!

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Anonymous Coward

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'If you don't report it you're going to hell and if you do then you're going to prison.'

Unless of course, you are a member of the cabinet, in which case you are given the wifi password for the House of Lords.

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Childcatcher

Re: Answer

Why the Facebook HQ is not raided by the police is something I do not understand.

In this case, and as suggested by another commentard, the BBC should have reported the images to the police themselves. And also reported the fact they'd notified Facebook, who'd taken no action.

This would have hopefully led to the sanctimonious Temple of Zuck having an uncomfortable session with Plod. Which would have been a good outcome.

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Coat

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@ John Brown (no body)

"Anyone know where I can get more tinfoil? Industrial grade only please."

You will be wanting a product called "Blackwrap"

Try here

http://www.gamonline.com/catalog/blackwrap/

Heavy duty means it holds its shape well and for the truly paranoid its Matt black finish ensures zero reflection of the authoritiy's locating waves.

My coat is the one with the really long sleeves that buckle to the front

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Re: Answer

Out of interest. Didn't Facebook solicit these photos to be sent to them? After they had been told of the content??

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What the F*** Zuck

What a bunch of really, truly stupid bozo's. Perhaps they want to be called kiddie choice book? I have never had any interest in the dummybook and preferred to refer to it as bumbook, but this latest stupid move does so much take the biscuit but the entire biscuit factory.

Did you hear the really crass statement that the FB's UK dumb-nuts communications twit gave to the BBC when he or anyone else was too afraid to appear in person.

I agree that it would be best to sent wallybook a link in future, perhaps a mass mailing of links relating to crap would be the way forward, but then the dodgy character in charge would probably blame people for finding FB were hoarding illegal material.

Should FB be added to the UK black list of 'unsuitable sites' and give some of our population a reason to get a life once more?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What the F*** Zuck

I'm so glad that our over-stretched and limited resources police are now burdened with dealing with this. What a bunch of tw@ts facebook really are.

You're right, it's about time Facebook was put on the list of "dark net" sites that politicians keep going on about, for being evil and dastardly and leading to the slow self destruction of humanity and common sense.

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Facepalm

Re: What the F*** Zuck

The usual problem with these sites, they were set up by a load of students as a bit of a laugh. Sadly while the technology might scale the attitudes and abilities of the admins do not. This leads to the biggest sites on the internet being run by a load of people who never had any real IT systems or legal experience beyond what they learned at college and then applied to a multi-million dollar cash-cow.

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Re: What the F*** Zuck

- and a deficit in the ethics department. ISTR that the chap that started the company behind a lot of teh games on Farcebook openely admitted to doing just about every slimey thing going with customer data, at one point. What I never understood is why he wasn't then prosecuted

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Re: What the F*** Zuck

Obvious, He is rich, influential and American so no prosecution

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Facepalm

LOL!

Too funny!

Sorry, but that just made me laugh.

I would suggest that in future the reporter just skips Farcebook and their comical operations department, and just create give an anonymous report directly to the cops.

I'll leave them to work out how to create an anonymous tip without being arrested by the cops for sending them the links/pictures, because I'm sure they'll be almost as comical as FB's muppets.

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I have no love for Facebook...but...

Why on earth would you even bother reporting it to Facebook. Contact the police. If you saw illegal images on a billboard on the side of a office building would you go in to the building and be happy to be instructed: "Sure, just fill in this form about what you saw and why you think it's illegal and we'll look in to it.." You'd report it to the police. That's what should be done online as well. Screw Facebook and their hopeless systems but let's not elevate them to guardians of law, decency and what is and isn't legal to be posted online.

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Re: I have no love for Facebook...but...

Why? Because they are investigative journalists, and it's in their mandate to give the people they are investigating a chance to respond. Also, it makes for a better story as they can report that FB have done something or nothing about it.

If it was just reported straight to the Police, then we the public would be denied the chance to be outraged ^w^w do something about it.

Yet another reason to quit FB.

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Re: I have no love for Facebook...but...

Because the whole object of the exercise was to demonstrate that Facebook's self-moderation processes don't work, dumdum.

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Re: I have no love for Facebook...but...

No kidding? My point was not that it shouldn't be investigated, and nor was it that Facebook's manifest pathetic failings in moderating and deleting posts highlighted as illegal shouldn't be examined, reported on and publicised. My point was that not reporting a crime but relying on a third party who may or may not have vested interests is rather silly. Facebook might be negligent, some might even argue criminally so (I have no idea) , but if you see illegal images of children anywhere surely law enforcement bodies are who we should report this to?

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Anonymous Coward

Actually the FBI will direct you to a non profit

Years ago I got some very disgusting images in a spam email. I forwarded it to the FBI and they directed me to an non-profit that investigate such things. They said that the non profit would pursue it and if they found anything they would forward it to the FBI.

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Re: Actually the FBI will direct you to a non profit

Possibly cos the FBI have more important things to do, such as getting access to all your phone data and such?

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Facepalm

For all we know...

the BBC may have posted the images on Facebook in the first place - wouldn't be the first time they attempt to make news rather than report it (just connected Saville's old work computer).

Whilst not a fan of the anti-social FB this is another example of the lack of self-awareness over the BBC's own actions (just like taking helicopters to Cliff Richard's house).

Will no one rid us (Licence fee payers) of this troublesome broadcaster?

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Re: For all we know...

Troll

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Anonymous Coward

Re: For all we know...

Calm down Mr Murdoch, think of your heart!

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Trollface

Re: For all we know...

Given the BBC's history?

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Re: For all we know...

> For all we know the BBC may have posted the images on Facebook in the first place

Whatever you've been smoking, step away from it.

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Re: For all we know...

Call me cynical - fake news has been cited by the more Liberal side of the media as the reason recent big votes went the way they did. One of the portals frequently blamed is FB. Is it beyond the realm of possibilities that certain unsavoury stories would be "investigated" to deligitimise said portals?

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Re: For all we know...

Post something "insane" and try and detract from core issue. Propaganda tactics 101. You ARE Mark Zuckerberg and I claim ny $100.

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