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The Dangers of File Sharing and Peer to Peer Networks

File sharing has been a big part of the counter-culture of legal and illegal music and movie downloads in the United States. Many file sharing programs that allowed the free flow of copyrighted files like Limewire, Napster, Bearshare, Frostwire, and the like have long been shut down by the U.S. Government (or switched their business models), but new software springs up all the time. For example, as soon as Limewire was shut down, Frostwire came out and today the most prevelant Peer to Peer software of today is bit Torrent. The cycle keeps repeating as bit torrent sites like The Pirate Bay, Demonoid, and others have faced government seizures of their physical servers located in other countries. The government may not be able to completely shut down all of the file-sharing software as it continues to morph into different models that make it undetectable. Many people praise these programs as means to download and own files for free that they would otherwise have to pay for, but what these people don’t realize is the inherent danger of downloading files from anonymous sources and sharing the same files out to strangers: namely, child pornography.

Helpful Link > Click the following links to view our Child Pornography Case Victories and view all of our Arizona Sex Crime Victories.

Here is a graphic showing the old way file sharing networks worked by each user connecting through a centralized server which is how the government was able to stop them, by legally choking off the central server:

(Images Courtesy of Vuze.com)

File Sharing Networks

And here is a graphic showing bit Torrent Peer to Peer networks where the user downloads and opens a torrent file which then connects the user to the peers who are seeding the files:

Peer to Peer Networks

One of the most important issues among the file sharing community in recent years has been the prosecutions relating to the possession and distribution of child pornography. Many of the defendants in these cases said that they were not even aware of the images that were stored on their computers. Images of child porn can be downloaded to your computer through a series of Trojan horses or by blindly downloading an entire directory that is shared with you through one of these peer to peer services. One common method of sharing child porn is the intentional mislabeling of filenames. For example, you may download a video named “Die Hard” thinking that you are getting a movie about Bruce Willis. Upon download, you might open the file and instead of finding a movie you find that it is actually hundreds or thousands of images of child pornography. Images of child porn are sometimes inserted into otherwise normal video files and may even go unnoticed by the person downloading the file. This example proves that you cannot be sure what is actually contained in the files you are downloading, which increases the risk of using any peer to peer file sharing software or methods. Remember, there is no file certification process since most of these files (movies, ebooks, software, etc) are being downloaded and shared illegally.

The most common way people are convicted of possession of child pornography, is by their permanent storage on your hard drive even after deleting it in several locations. With file sharing programs, the downloaded files go automatically into two folders: “Saved” and “Shared”. A third folder is created for “Incomplete or Temp Files” that a lot of people are unaware of. Files are labeled incomplete when they are deleted halfway through. You may not even be able to open these files, but the government can, and will attempt to prosecute and convict you for the possession of illegal images of children regardless of the folder they reside in.

The second charge of distribution of child pornography comes when you allow the program to share your files with other users. You may be doing this unknowingly as most file-sharing programs select this sharing option as a default setting. Even if you are unaware that the files you are sharing contain child porn, this act of sharing constitutes distribution.

So how does law enforcement track the child porn files? The government tracks files and images of child porn by looking at hash values. A hash value is the number of pixels a file contains. The government and law enforcement often knows the hash value of popular or commonly-shared child porn images. Any time that file is shared or downloaded; the government is alerted to the IP address of the user. They thereby obtain a search warrant and go about finding said files on your computer, upon which they arrest the user.

There are conspiracy theories out there that the government uses images of child porn to set people up for conviction. People use this to explain the surge of conviction among political rivals and other important people in society. This ruins their reputation and labels them a sex offender for the rest of their lives. Though this rumor does not have much traction, it is wise to avoid the possibility altogether by abstaining from P2P file sharing sites.

Here is a video David Michael Cantor made when Limewire was in the news in Oct 2010:

Here is another video where David Michael Cantor explains the dangers of file sharing:

Every state in the US has laws regarding the possession and distribution of child pornography. For example, here in Arizona the law is A.R.S §13-3553 “Sexual Exploitation of a Minor” (i.e. “Child Pornography”) and it is a class two (2) felony.  In Arizona, the minimum prison term is 10 years per image, if convicted. If you are facing child pornography charges, it’s a good idea to find yourself a defense attorney who has experience with these types of cases and also works with a good computer forensics expert.

If you have legal questions about Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and Child Pornography possession and distribution, please give our office a call at (602) 307-0808. If you are in the pre-charge phase or have already been charged, please call us for a free case review. The free consultation will last about 30 minutes and one of our defense attorneys will give you their professional opinion with your case.

Man arrested second time for stabbing stranger in Phoenix

PHOENIX – 27-year-old Christopher Gale was arrested on Sunday for a second time on suspicion of aggravated assault and attempted first-degree murder. The incident took place at a Phoenix Walgreens store.

According to police reports, the crime actually occurred in September 2013 when Gale stabbed a stranger using an eight-inch knife he had bought from a Walmart store just a few hours before the stabbing. He went to a Walgreens store about four miles away from the Walmart store, approached a woman who was shopping and stabbed her in the neck from behind. The woman started screaming and an armed off-duty federal agent, who happened to be in the store, ran over from the checkout line where he was standing and pulled the weapon away from the woman and ordered Gale to get on the ground and put the knife down.

Gale was arrested for a previous crime but was found incompetent to stand trial for the charges he was facing. The charges against Gale were dismissed in May 2013 by a court commissioner and he was ordered to receive treatment at a psychiatric facility which he did. After his release from Desert Vista Behavior Health, a mental health facility in Mesa, Gale was subsequently arrested for the stabbing. According to the court documents, when Gale stabbed the woman at the Walmart store, she turned around to face her attacker who told her, “I’m killing you to save the world.”

The woman suffered a puncture wound which needed several staples. She was able to push away her attacker.

Gale later told the police that he bought the eight-inch knife to “stab and kill” someone.

According to Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, it is not yet decided if any charges will be filed again against Gale.

Gale had a run-in with the law in 2012 also when he was arrested on the suspicion of indecent exposure and drug-related offenses. He pled guilty to the reduced charges in that case.

Gale appeared in Maricopa County Superior Court on Friday for an initial appearance and is being held on $1 million bond on charges of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault. His lawyer , Roger Margolis, did not immediately return a call Friday for comment. The attorney was appointed on the orders of a commissioner to represent Gale in court.

Online court records did not describe the alleged crimes which Gale is facing. However, the commissioner who ordered Gale to undergo psychiatric treatment said in a May 29 order that Gale was a danger to others as well as to himself. He also said that he is unable to understand the nature of proceedings against him and needed assistance in his defense.

 

Author Bio:

Law Office Of Mark Rosenfeld provides strong and aggressive legal representation for DUI Cases in Beverly Hills, California.

58-year-old Phoenix man arrested for 1989 sexual assault, murder

PHOENIX – 58-year-old Cudellious Love, of Phoenix, was arrested on Friday by the Phoenix police officers after they found DNA evidence that linked him to an unsolved murder and sexual assault from 1989.

A report released by the Phoenix Police Department’s crime lab in January indicated a DNA match between a sample taken from the scene and a DNA profile in the state database. According to the court records released Monday, the DNA belonged to a 58-year-old man named Cudellious Love who was in prison for more than three years for a drug conviction. The DNA evidence linked Love to an unsolved murder and sexual assault from 1989.

The murder victim, Laura Hunding, of Phoenix, was stabbed to death in her apartment where her body was found in July 1989. According to the police, Love’s DNA was found on Hunding’s body.

Records show that there was no sign of forced entry into her apartment which was located near 48th Street and McDowell Road. Police investigated the murder, but they did not have any leads in the case.

Hunding’s body was found by her landlord at about 10:30 am on July 17, after witnesses reported last seeing her on July 16. According to the witnesses, Hunding had attended an Alcoholics Anonymous dance that night at Scottsdale Community College and she returned to her home alone.

Love was located and questioned by police on May 12 when he denied having any knowledge of Hunding or her murder which happened nearly 25 years ago.

According to court records, Love claimed he had never ‘messed with’ White women. He also claimed that he has never been to the victim’s apartment and was not familiar with the east side of Phoenix at all. The court records also stated that he was shown photographs of the victims and the victim’s apartment and he maintained he had never seen the victim or her apartment. He said there would be no reason his fingerprints or DNA would be found or identified as part of the crime scene.

Love was arrested on Friday 13 June after the agency’s crime lab determined that Love’s DNA matched the DNA at the scene. There was no mistaking that because “the approximate incidence of this profile is 1 in 110 quadrillion African Americans,” records show.

He was booked into jail on one count of first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Laura Hunding in July 1989.

Author Bio:

The attorneys at Bleile, Witte & Lape are committed to defend clients accused/ convicted of any kind of sexual crime throughout Cincinnati, Ohio.

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