Saturday, August 18, 2012

Justice Department shuts down a nightmare

Originally posted 08/08/2011 on

Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica reports that, despite pseudonyms, anonymous proxy servers and encryption, the Justice Department has indicted 72 members of an online child pornography community, Dreamboard. All but 20 of them have been arrested.

Usually I read any additional documentation available and link to it when I talk about a story, but in this case I was sick enough from the watered down report. If you are curious about details, click the link to the story. Matthew has links to JD documents that go into greater detail if desired. 

Privacy is important. Preventing abuse of power by law enforcement (and other government agencies) is important. But occasionally we need to see stories like this to remind us that there are legitimate purposes for accessing citizens information. Neither privacy or the governments right to snoop into it can be absolute. There is a proper balance, and it's very hard to maintain because both sides, by nature, seek more control. But striving to find and maintain that balance is crucial, because it allows us to enjoy privacy while allowing the people who are supposed to protect us the freedom to catch people like those involved in Dreamboard.

If you give the government a good enough reason to find you they will, if you stay online. There are ways to make it incredibly hard, but if you give them enough reason, they won't give up. Sometimes that's a good thing.