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Internet/Cyberspace/Tech Law Question

New York |

Background (this is a repost with more details):

1 or 2 years ago, when i was 15 or 16, I got redirected to a shady porn site that had some questionable stuff. I was stupid at the time and disregarded this. It was a user-upload, youtube - style site. I used the site only for what i believed to be LEGAL ADULT porn. I probably visited the site sporadically for maybe a month or so. I never downloaded anything and I don't remember clicking on anything that would be illegal or constitute child porn.

Question:
I read that under federal law, "accessing" is illegal, but looking through news, court cases, etc. I've never seen anyone charged for this. Do prosecutors go after this? Also, hypothetically, would anyone be able to construe viewing as receipt, or attempted possession?

Also, hypothetically, under federal (not state) law, would one ever be in trouble if one viewed anything illegal without downloading, or having anything illegal on ones hard drive. Is this what the law means by "accessing" ?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. As I answered you previously, it is illegal to view child pornography on line. Normally, federal prosecutions begin when the government takes over the sites' servers and then can tell who downloaded material from the sites or even more importantly who uploaded material to the sites. You also may not have even viewed child pornography. That in addition to your age, makes it unlikely that you will face prosecution.


  2. Read the laws here: http://www.sexlaws.org/18usc_1466a [list on the right hand side]
    Read a report on the matter here: http://ipmall.info/hosted_resources/crs/98-670_091006.pdf


  3. There have been many cases against people who accessed child pornography and those prosecutions were successful. Merely accessing these sites creates downloaded pictures in the cache of your system. It also creates a record on the servers of the sites accessed.

    Having said that, stop dwelling on the hypothetical in this case. If anything happens, consult a local lawyer immediately.

    [This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]