November 5 2018
Internet providers have the ability to simply block child porn, as do the law enforcement agencies. Instead, they let it come through and make arrests. Here in Sarasota and Manatee County, over and over, the police make child pornography arrests. Law enforcement gets information from the Internet companies every time a known child pornography image is transmitted. Law enforcement has an “inventory” of known child porn hash values for millions of images and videos. Each video or image has a unique fingerprint called a hash value. They have a special application that tracks each image when it is transmitted. They then get a report identifying the address it goes to. After identifying the IP address, they get a search warrant for the address, execute the warrant, and in many instances coerce a confession.
If law enforcement has an application that identifies the contraband image, why not simply have the providers block it. In a microsecond, the transmission would be blocked and no crime would be committed. In a matter of days, law enforcement could block 99% of all known child pornography.
Don’t they have an obligation to the victims to block it if they can?
Instead, law enforcement lets it go through, simply to be able to make an easy arrest. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech, freedom of the press or censorship. If the image or video is per se contraband and per se illegal, why not just block it. It seems only logical that one of the missions of law enforcement should be to prevent crime. Detecting and prosecuting crime is time-consuming and expensive. It ties up law enforcement as well as the courts. Why not just prevent it with a simple application? I guess that makes too much sense.
In the meantime, here in Sarasota, the child pornography arrests continue. It makes good press for the State Attorney and the Sheriff. I have always thought that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The other sad reality is that most of the people that look at child pornography were at one times victims themselves. That is why they do it. Often our criminal justice system grinds up and punishes people who need help.