According to the U.S. Department of Justice, child pornography is defined as “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons less than 18 years old).” Child pornography is also classified as child abuse under federal law as well. Anyone who is involved in the production, importation, distribution, or possession of child pornography is breaking federal laws.
Any person who is in possession of such images, whether video, digital, or computer generated, can be charged under the law. This also applies to undeveloped products, or those which are electronically stored.
By the middle of the 1980s, law enforcement had almost completely eradicated the child pornography industry in this country. It was almost impossible for individuals to anonymously distribute or receive child pornography photos, due to the successful awareness campagins and focused efforts waged against those individuals involved.
However, the proliferation of the Internet changed how child pornographers operated business, allowing child pornography images to be disseminated through websites, social networking sites, bulletin boards, chat rooms, instant messaging, and emails. The Internet has also allowed child pornography offenders to connect worldwide with each other, establishing massive networks, enabling them to sell, trade, and share these images on a much larger scale than ever.
A New Battlefront
Because the Internet has made child pornography so accessible, law enforcement has also had to change the way it combats against those who exploit children. In many cases, law enforcement will receive tips from spouses, family members, significant others, or friends who see an image or something else on a suspected offender’s computer or other electronic device.
Computer repair businesses are also another good source for tips to law enforcement. A suspected offender brings their computer in for service or repair and inappropriate materials are found by the repair technician.
Law enforcement are also able to track down offenders based on the sharing software many of them use to share images or other files. This is often done as an undercover operation, with the officer purporting to download images, enabling law enforcement to begin tracking the origin of such files.
Although law enforcement may have found some of these methods successful in catching child pornographers, there is also the risk that a person can be falsely accused by someone they know, such as a disgruntled ex. There is also the possibility that a person can unwittingly download an illegal image or file to their computer, especially among those who may not be Internet-savvy. For example, how many of us have accidentally clicked on a link and downloaded a computer-destroying, or at least, a mildly annoying piece of malware?
If you have been falsely accused and charged with offenses related to child pornography, you need to contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates at 630-933-8400 today.