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Man Reports Accidentally Downloading Child Porn, Is Barred From Seeing His Own Child

Child pornography is a particularly touchy subject, something Nigel Robinson, from Hull in the U.K., is learning the hard way, ironically after trying to be sensitive about it. Robinson was trying to download some music — how, exactly, isn’t clear — but instead of music he discovered that, somehow, he’d accidentally downloaded some child pornography. After making the discovery, instead of deleting the images and maybe wiping the disk to be safe, Robinson made a move that’s either courageous or stupid and called the police to report the event. That’s why he’s been barred from unsupervised visits with his own daughter for the past four months.

No arrests have been made. Still, social services has decided that Robinson is a threat of some sort. Robinson, of course, is loudly asserting his own innocence while calling attention to the weird bind the whole situation put him in and how, apparently, there’s no real way out. “It makes you feel as though you shouldn’t have reported it in the first place,” Robinson told the BBC, and you can’t help but agree with the guy. Upon the accidental download, he basically had two options. Tell people about it or not. If he did the latter and got busted, he’d be in big, indefensible trouble. The former, however, doesn’t seem to have been a better decision.

Admittedly, it’s a tricky subject. Robinson was in possession of child pornography.  Of course, the big concern here is motivation. Downloading child pornography on purpose is much more nefarious than downloading it accidentally, obviously. And if this sounds like some kind of freak accident, think again. How many files have you download in the past few days? How many could have conceivably been something other than what they claimed to be? It’s more disconcerting than the possibility of viruses, really. You can scan for viruses, and generally they won’t get your children taken away from you.

The investigation is still underway, so it’s possible that this is all temporary. Even so, it would be majorly annoying to Robinson who’s going to suffer a stigma from here on out. There is obviously the possibility it wasn’t an accident, but that’s so counter-intuitive to the course of events as to be ludicrous. The fact of the matter is that Robinson got himself, by little fault of his own (so far as we know), into a situation where in order to avoid being branded as a criminal and treated as such, he would have to behave as one and get away with it. Nothing like having to act guilty to maintain your innocence.

That being said, it’s not like there’s no sense in the government’s approach. There is, it seems, an excess of force, or fear, or caution, or something. Child pornography is a particularly touchy subject, which makes it pretty much the perfect slippery slope to slide down when it comes to security, law, and surveillance, because no one – no one — wants to suffer the ad hominum attack and scarlet letter of “supporting kiddy porn.” That being said, I hope Robinson’s situation gets straighted out somehow, and soon, because I’m pretty sure the only thing he’s guilty of is having a little too much faith that the government would trust him.

(via BBC)

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