Tuesday, September 21, 2021

U.S. v. Wilson (9th Cir. - Sept. 21, 2021)

Today I learned that if you upload a kiddie porn image to your gmail account -- or at least one that Google has seen before -- they immediately report that fact to the police.  (More accurately, as required by federal law, Google reports it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which in turn promptly reports it to the police.)

That's yet another reason not to email child pornography.  As if anyone should need another.

It's a totally automated process, which means that no one at Google actually looks at the files; they simply compare the "hashtags" of known kiddie porn to files they've already discovered.  Which means, I guess, that if you're sharing newly-created child pornography, you're "safe."  (Though you're still a sick bastard.)

I didn't realize that Google's surveillance system was that strong, but upon learning it, I guess I'm not surprised.  It's Google, after all.

Here was the most surprising thing I learned, however:  According to the opinion, "there were 18.4 million CyberTips in 2018."

Seriously?!  18 million of these things?!  That's . . . a lot.

P.S. - There was a portion of Judge Berzon's opinion that dealt with issue preclusion as applied in criminal proceedings; this issue arose because the defendant here, Mr. Wilson, appears to have also been charged in a state prosecution, in addition to the current federal charge.  Here's how the final paragraph of footnote 5 of Judge Berzon's opinion reads:  

"We need not definitively resolve the preclusion question as it relates to a motion to suppress, here, as the government has not asserted collateral estoppel, so the argument is waived. Harbeson v. Parke Davis, Inc., 746 F.2d 517, 520 (9th Cir. 1984) (“The United States was unaware that Mr. Wilson had raised the same issue in his state appeal until the letter filed in this case by [defense counsel] on October 16, 2020.”)."

I'm pretty sure the quote doesn't belong inside the parenthetical.  Unless, by some method of time travel of which I'm unaware, the Harbeson case in 1984 was able to anticipate a letter that involved a guy not named Harbeson that'd be sent 36 years hence.