Love & Sex Magazine

Instant Criminal

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

This essay first appeared in Cliterati on August 17th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

kangaroo courtI’ve written on many occasions about what I call universal criminality, the crowning achievement of the modern police state, under which there are so many vague, overbroad and counterintuitive laws that every single person is in violation of at least a few of them at all times.  Nearly any encounter with the police can be turned into “assault on a police officer” or “resisting arrest”, almost any business can be twisted into “racketeering”, virtually any financial transaction can be redefined as “money laundering” and even normal friendships or business interactions can be tortured into “conspiracy”.  But while charges like these can be used to harass, bankrupt and imprison the target, possibly for many years, they often lack the firepower necessary to totally destroy his life forever; after his release from prison he might still be able to find work, have a normal social life and rebuild his shattered fortunes into some semblance of a comfortable existence.  Worst of all (from the prosecutorial viewpoint), the public might even side with the victim, turning him into a martyr both during and after his state-sanctioned torture and caging.  But there is one weapon in the state’s arsenal which, used properly, will utterly destroy a person’s life.  At the end of the process he will have no money, no friends and no home; he will be completely unemployable and condemned to everlasting surveillance, shunned by society and unable even to avail himself of even paid companionship without triggering still more awful consequences.  If the prosecutor is really lucky, his victim may even be murdered by the police or other thugs or take his own life.  And all it takes to detonate this thermonuclear weapon of modern law is the sending of a single email.  Consider this recent case:

Two men have been convicted for “storing” extreme porn on their smartphones — despite the fact they were sent it by a third party, and in one case didn’t even watch it…Gary Ticehurst and Mark Kelly were both sent images and videos from another person via WhatsApp…Kelly… “deleted the videos…but I had no ideas they would save to my camera roll”…Ticehurst…said…he…“decided not to look at them” [but neglected to delete the files]…

The judge was “lenient” in that he “only” stole £500 from each and “only” put them on probation for two years rather than caging them.  Because, as everyone including the judge admits, these taboo images were sent them unsolicited by a third party.  That third party could be anyone, including the police themselves trying to manufacture a crime:

Simon [Walsh] was a successful professional and politician…who, amongst other things, prosecuted police officers accused of disciplinary offences…the police had to “interrogate” Simon’s personal email account…in order to discover a few images they deemed questionable” …the images were in an incoming email and may not have been opened.  In other words, it’s highly likely that the police simply sent the images to him, then pretended to “find” the “evidence” as they do with planted drugs.

In fact, thanks to the fascist surveillance complex, the police might actually know about the “evil” collections of ones and zeroes (that’s what an electronic image actually is, after all) before the mark does:

…a Houston man, John Henry Skillern, was arrested by police for possession of child pornography [after]…Google…spotted three allegedly pornographic images of children in [his] email and…tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…Google has never made a secret of the fact that it scans email content…an attempt by non-Gmail users to create a class action suit against Google for non-consent of its scanning failed…those who already have concerns about privacy will wonder what other circumstances might cause Google to inform authorities of one kind or another…

Don’t use Google?  Don’t worry, the “authorities” can spy on you directly:

USB devices…have a fundamental flaw that [allows] a malicious hacker to take over your computer and infect any other USB device that is plugged into it…this is not limited to USB drives…Because the exploit lives in a USB device’s firmware, it can be passed around by any USB device, like a mouse, Bluetooth dongle, your printer…anything.  The malware can also be spread from the computer to any USB device plugged into it…If someone plugs in an infected USB drive…every…USB device plugged into that computer afterward would become infected…This USB exploit sounds very similar to the NSA’s “Cottonmouth” device…it could…be using the exploit to increase its access to as many computers as possible…

thumb driveIn other words, millions of computers may already be affected, and could be controlled to download child porn from a government source without the owner even being aware of it until the cops show up at his door in the middle of the night, beat him, throw him in a cage and then proceed to “find” the pictures they put there in the first place.  And even if the owner could somehow prove his ignorance, that’s not a defense:

…even if everyone involved was pretty sure you never even saw the pictures…prosecutors are so inhuman and irresponsible [that they]…charge people with crimes they know aren’t in the spirit of the law…The career incentives are that investigations must lead to charges, and charges must lead to convictions…once something is investigated prosecutors are motivated to make sure someone goes to jail…the law effectively treats every bit of crufty data, every teenage file system mistake or selfie indiscretion as if the possessor had abused the child themselves…

As long as our society clings to the primitive belief that an inanimate object can be intrinsically evil, there is absolutely no way to stop this. And literally everyone with an internet connection, or who ever uses any usb device which is not exclusive to his own computer, is vulnerable; any government operative can literally destroy his entire life simply by hitting “send” and then dispatching uniformed thugs to pick him up.


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