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Security, Thinking Aloud

Justice Prevails(?) /*updated*/

From ComputerWorld:

A Connecticut substitute teacher was just found guilty of surfing for pornographic sites in front of a class of seventh graders, and faces up to 40 years in prison. Her outrageous defense, that spyware took control of her PC and she had no control over it, didn’t cut it with the jury. It’s good to see the justice system getting technology right for once.

The teacher, 40-year-old Julie Amero, visited numerous pornographic sites, with her students watching along with her, reports the Norwich Bulletin.

Forty years? Where’s justice there?

Have the jury actually *seen* what a spyware infestation looks like? Do they even *know* what a spyware is?

She’s facing 40 years of imprisonment because the children saw porn? Who knows if they haven’t already? At home? In their own computers?

Luckily, it seems as if the spyware-made-me-do-it defense doesn’t cut it in court. For once, justice prevails.

You have no idea how much this sentence agitates me.

And what is more troubling is this:

But Smith countered Horner’s testimony with that of Norwich Police Detective Mark Lounsbury, a computer crimes investigator. On a projected image of the list of Web sites visited while Amero was working, Lounsbury pointed out several highlighted links.

“You have to physically click on it to get to those sites,” Smith said. “I think the evidence is overwhelming that she did intend to access those Web sites.”

This is pathetic. Browsers highlight every link that you have already visited whether intentionally or otherwise. The fact that they were highlighted doesn’t prove anything. They could’ve, indeed, been opened by a spyware or a pop up.

Ben Edelman’s blog has a good entry on how adware infestations work — in particular, the kind that generate sexually explicit content.

The tech community has, for the most part, been quite supportive of Ms. Amero (some comment storms here, here and here).

This one is from StillSecure, After All These Years:

Oh did I mention the computer this was happening on was a Windows 98 machine, running IE 5.0, no firewall (the schools license expired), no AV (again the schools license expired) and no anti-spyware or pop up blockers. If anyone should be going to jail here it should be the school administrators for letting this sad sack of sh*^ in the classroom. This computer should have been thrown out or not allowed to connect to the internet.


About princess of antiquity

Abbi Cabanding is a member of the Security Bloggers Network and had been blogging on information security since 2006. She is also a member of the Association for Computing Machinery. She studied Computer Science and Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.


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