Sunday, January 21, 2007

More Troubling Evidence of a Mistrial in the Amero Case

The Alex Eckelberry Op-ed piece in the Norwich Bulletin has triggered a very interesting set of responses (view all the comments).

Alex got me wondering about what might have been the environment at the time of Julie Amaro's malware encounter. What I discovered was more than a little troubling. In June and July of 2004, before Julie's experience, the Griswold Middle School had an infestation of pornography that caused local authorities to seize a computer and hard drives. A student printed a nude image to take home in their backpack! Funny how no prosecution took place in those cases.

It is inexcusable that no action was taken to upgrade the protective software at that time (they had the summer to do it). And it explains why nobody thought much of Amero's experience at the time, essentially telling her "not to worry about it."

What this adds up to however is grounds for a mistrial since the community responsible was well aware of computer pornography being present on school district computers yet prosecuted Amero under the pretense that she was the menace to society.

This woman has been cruelly maligned because of the lack of honesty and integrity on the part of everyone involved with the prosecution of this case. Everybody apparently KNEW BETTER than to believe this woman intentionally accessed those sites or that such an incident was unusual in the school setting.

I cannot help but believe the Amero case will have far reaching consequences. For one, every case in which Detective Mark Lounsbury (or any other police department) acted as an expert witness must be called into question if his testimony was the deciding factor in a prosecution case. Computer experts across the blogosphere find his sole dependence on the ComputerCOP Pro program to be insufficient and misleading. There is plenty of reason to believe other software agents, undetectable to programs like this, were in play.

The second consequence is that every prosecution globally that depends solely on the results of such programs are probably responsible for wrongly convicting a large population that's innocent.

This case makes clear that malware is this generation's disruptive technology. It is the first wave of automations that disassociate the user of a machine from the behavior of a machine. Law enforcement agencies and legislators worldwide need to take immediate action to reevaluate every case in which a human is being accused of wrong-doing based on the behavior of a computer.

The Amero case is a landmark that must be remedied immediately. This is a mistrial based on technical ignorance of the justice system and significant disingenuity on the part of the locals who prosecuted the case.


Anonymous said...

This happened to me when my son (then about 9) were trying to find info on guinea pig care. We selected one link and what seemed like hundreds of pop ups flooded my screen. It is a huge problem and the fact this poor woman is being prosecuted is rediculous.

Anonymous said...

The school seems guilty to me. They have a responsibility that they failed to uphold. If schools are going to be allowing the internet into schools they should properly fund and staff the technology department to protect everyone from these images.