The FBI’s well-publicized Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides an easy, clandestine method to report the many wrongdoings that occur in cyberspace. From scams, to child porn, to the sale of personal information, internet crimes are documented and then sent to IC3. They get looked over and passed on to local or federal law enforcement.
Problems arise when internet users can access the site, and fraudulently report alleged wrongdoing simply because they cannot stand someone. Some reports that should be sent to Interpol are routed to the IC3, too, creating logjams for months on crimes that should be legitimately investigated.
Even greater issues arise when an innocent, hard-working family breadwinner gets an unwelcome knock on the door, and is then ushered away by Federal agents for some internet-based crime that he or she did not commit.
Familiarizing Yourself with the Law
Most American households have some form of technology that has access to the internet like laptops, tablets, smartphones, or desktops. Legislation is constantly updating to protect children, women, data, families – you name it. Familiarity with laws governing digital mediums may help keep individuals safe, although some laws have obvious imperfections.
The National Registry of Exonerations, listing over 2,200 overturned convictions and dismissed cases, testifies to how imperfect due process can be. Many innocent defendants are wrongly adjudicated, taking years to clear their names. The registry does not account for thousands of internet crimes committed annually by individuals yet to be caught – crimes that got pinned on hard-working Americans without their consent.
Internet users should understand how laws, including net neutrality and acceptable use of data, may affect them later on. If one is unfamiliar with the law, or has questions regarding data found on computers they purchased secondhand, an internet crimes attorney consultation would be a wise investment.
Staying Protected and Reporting Suspicion
Email attachments and ‘unsavory’ websites can put incriminating information on your PC without your knowledge. Pop-ups, which are new browser windows that open automatically by script, and pop-under windows, which are not seen until you close your main browser window, may contain illegal or illicit information, pictures, and similar. Those windows have tracking cookies which stay on your computer indefinitely, making someone look guilty, even though that person just innocently opened an email attachment.
Chat rooms, as you probably know, are popular places to find oneself implicated for wrongdoing. That beautiful 39 year old professional sending you pictures is not always 39; she is sometimes 15 or 16 years old. After agreeing to meet with this individual, it is too late – especially if you cannot prove she disclosed her age as 39. Undercover police stings are usually how ‘purported’ child sex crimes are thwarted, although innocent persons legitimately thought they were meeting someone of age.
In cases where computers are purchased with illegal pictures on them, or one believes he or she is being set up, put down the mouse and phone your attorney immediately. This cannot be stressed enough. With the guidance of your attorney, you can then report pictures and illegal data to authorities, who can determine through time stamps and other technical information whether you have been victimized by chance, or may need to prepare for trial.
Internet crimes are serious offenses charged federally, at state level, or sometimes both. The most important component to winning your case is having experienced counsel. James E. Blatt will zealously defend those wrongly accused of internet-based crimes, but you must phone his office immediately so evidence can be preserved.