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May 29, 2003 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Child Pornographers Using Small Storage Drives. Small drives like this are giving the police quite a bit of trouble. One of the more interesting quotes from the story, "Even if the photos are encrypted, computer forensics specialists can break through most encryption schemes these days anyway."
posted by banished (33 comments total)

 
I don't get articles like this. Is it supposed to be helping me identify the pedophiles at my next family BBQ, or is it so that I can say knowingly at said BBQ "those tiny drives can be used by kiddie porn-mongers, we should ban them!"? Or is it a veiled warning to kiddie pornophiles ["hey scumbag, we've got your number and we can break your encryption"]? While I think it's a good idea for law enforcement in these cases to know what a hard drive could potentially look like [and how long have these drives been available, years?] this article seems like half product placement, half scaremongering, which is an interesting combo, I'll have to admit.
posted by jessamyn at 1:08 PM on May 29, 2003


I totally agree with Jessamyn. Articles like this are only filler in publications lacking real information.

Forks are being used to feed terrorists!
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 1:12 PM on May 29, 2003


It's amazing to me that child pornography is a misdemeanor, whereas fucking with a Coke vending machine to get a free coke is a felony.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:12 PM on May 29, 2003


It's amazing to me that possession of child pornography is a misdemeanor, whereas fucking with a Coke vending machine to get a free coke is a felony.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:12 PM on May 29, 2003


I hate articles where people take something generally seen as reprehensible, then mix in a new technology, so that technology can be seen as vile and horrible. Eg. White supremacists + web pages, pedophiles + USB storage.

Guess what, world? Sadly, even the bad guys can use tools. And you know what? A tool is just an amplifier for effort. In bad hands, it does bad things. But that doesn't mean that we should abandon all technology.

I don't think that the scaremongers of the media wrote such crap about the telephone or the microwave oven. I don't see the necessity of applying it today.
posted by websavvy at 1:16 PM on May 29, 2003


May 29, 1903 - Child Pornographers Using Small Daguerrotype Cameras And Briefcases. Small cameras like this are giving the police quite a bit of trouble. One of the more interesting quotes from the story, "Even if the briefcases are locked, locksmiths can break through most briefcase locks these days anyway."

In other words, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
posted by RylandDotNet at 1:18 PM on May 29, 2003


I saw this article in my local alterna-weekly and was thinking of posting it, but it seems better off in this thread rather then the front page. I don't mean to derail, it's just that the discussion could be broader and cover not only the methods of the pedophiles, but the response to them by concerned private citizens. Is this an appropriate way to address this problem, or is it a slippery slope of vigilante justice?
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:23 PM on May 29, 2003


Ryland: I think daguerrotypes were long outdated by 1903; Kodak introduced roll film in the late 1880s, and the Brownie in 1900. But yes, your main point is valid.
posted by pmurray63 at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2003


Generically, this is another "the bad guys have adopted to new technology, and that's causing problems the good guys" story. The pattern is an old one. For "small storage drives" substitute "irc", "internet", "telephone", "automobiles", etc. Is it news? Sure. Should it surprise anyone? No, not really.
posted by dws at 1:43 PM on May 29, 2003


Won't someone think of the children! We must ban these drives now! And all USB drives! And all Firewire drives! And all IPODS! AND ALL COMPUTERS! AND THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM! AND AUTOMOBILES! AND THE POSTAL SERVICE! AND (drops dead)
posted by The Michael The at 1:48 PM on May 29, 2003


A 128MB keychain can't hold much. "Think of it as a Zip disk, except not flat," might have been better.
posted by scarabic at 1:56 PM on May 29, 2003


This is indeed shocking. But my question is, how can the child pornographers afford such sophisticated technology with just their meager allowances and babysitting money?
posted by vraxoin at 1:56 PM on May 29, 2003


Don't forget the digital cameras.
(Given that smartmedia would be an even more concealable choice of storage, and could be literally torn apart or swallowed in a raid. I hope no paedophiles are reading.)
posted by cell at 2:00 PM on May 29, 2003


vraxoin: It took me a second, but now that I got it..cute
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 2:02 PM on May 29, 2003


"Even if the photos are encrypted, computer forensics specialists can break through most encryption schemes these days anyway, he said."

That's quite a claim.
posted by Blue Stone at 2:08 PM on May 29, 2003


great, and I was going to go buy one of these. Forget it now... the cashiers will all probably look at my like i'm some sort of sicko.
posted by jbelshaw at 2:08 PM on May 29, 2003


jbelshaw: Just mix it in with other purchases like candy, comic books, toys and duct tape. No one will think a thing.....
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:22 PM on May 29, 2003


I have one of those little drives... it's pretty james bond-type stuff. 128 megs of data, available to pop into any computer you see during your daily adventures.
posted by ph00dz at 2:24 PM on May 29, 2003


Boy, I can't wait until we can fit actual children on these drives! Discrete molestation anytime, anyplace! Woopee!
posted by PigAlien at 2:34 PM on May 29, 2003


The entry's secord link to a product page for a USB drive says: " A unique security program is included, allowing you to set a password to protect selected files."

I'm guessing that's the security the article so casually says police can break.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 2:37 PM on May 29, 2003


I hope no paedophiles are reading.)

Or pediatricians.
posted by goethean at 3:24 PM on May 29, 2003


Ph00dz: I have one of those little drives.

[making notes] Do you now? Do you indeed, you sick bastard...

posted by jonson at 3:44 PM on May 29, 2003


I have one of these drives - they are fantastic for carting around files too large to e-mail and where you do not have a CD Burner handy. It is a shame that the scum of society seem to adopt the coolest technology as their own, making people suspicious of those who use it for legitimate purposes like taking home music files they have downloaded using their boss's bandwidth or bringing photos from home to print at work. Just as an example, you know.
posted by dg at 3:52 PM on May 29, 2003


A tool is just an amplifier for effort. In bad hands, it does bad things.

An' like Ani she say:

"Every tool is a weapon, if you hold it right."
posted by armoured-ant at 6:22 PM on May 29, 2003


A 128MB keychain can't hold much.

I saw one at Fry's last weekend that could hold a gig. Get a few of those and you can get quite a collection of pr0n.
posted by birdherder at 8:20 PM on May 29, 2003


I am, like jessamyn, confused by the purpose of this article.
Two additional examples of intent here might be
a) Clueless police trying to start a movement to ban something they don't understand or like. "High-tech detectives" my eye.
b) Trying to hype a product. Criminals, even pedophiles, do posses a certain chic, I'm afraid.
c) Bandwidth-peddlers trying to make the sneaker-net seem suspicious to avoid competition.

Whatever the case might be, I'm getting one.
posted by spazzm at 8:29 PM on May 29, 2003


The drives ought to concern the CIA too, because it's how Bridget Monahan broke their diskless computer security last year to sneak a supervirus out of the lab.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:33 PM on May 29, 2003


Also, since encryption have been brought up, I'd like to point you all to my favourite encryption tool. They even have a faq with an extensive discussion on how breakable it is.

And remember:
If encryption is outlawed, only 3462AFC909DE11D235FDAE

posted by spazzm at 8:38 PM on May 29, 2003


yesterday I used some cigarette papers to make a cannabis joint.
posted by Frasermoo at 1:19 AM on May 30, 2003


Well don't bogart it all mate.
posted by walrus at 2:09 AM on May 30, 2003


well I'm surprised i made it to work. now time to start downloading some more gameboy roms.
posted by Frasermoo at 2:15 AM on May 30, 2003


I guess "Think of it [128MB of capacity] as a floppy disk, except with several hundred times the capacity" makes sense if you replace "several hundred" with "88.9"... (assuming 1.44MB floppies (even with the 5.25" 1.2MB floppies, that's still only 106.7 times (you'd have to go back to low densities disks to get "several hundred"))).
posted by skynxnex at 8:04 AM on May 30, 2003


Reporter: "I want to write a tech piece on these awesome new drives and the dying of the floppy format. Can you get me a few hundred words in Sunday's tech section?"

Editor: "What are you kidding, that stuff is only for geeks. My new dell didn't come with that. Add some spin to it. Maybe terrorists or something and I'll see if we can fill that empty thursday spot. It seems Madonna isn't pregnant again afterall."

Reporter: "I got it! Child porno!"

Journalism in a nutshell.
posted by skallas at 7:36 PM on May 31, 2003


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