Thanks to spyware, an FBI dad got a gift-wrapped child porn case.
Like any dad, Joseph Auther was worried about what his son might get up to while exploring the wilds of the World Wide Web. So when his 7th grade son got a school-provided laptop from Whispering Palms School in Saipan in the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, Auther decided to install a monitoring program on it. He went with a spyware program called eBlaster from SpectorSoft, a company based in Vero Beach, Florida. Unbeknownst to his son, the program captured his website visits, his keystrokes, and every email, chat, and instant message he sent and received. This was all delivered up to his dad in emails, while giving the monitored person no hint that it was doing so.
Auther has a special appreciation for the benefits of surveillance. He’s an FBI special agent. In April, he discovered he was being transferred to the FBI office in Denver. At the end of the school year, Auther let Whispering Palms principal Thomas Weindl know that his family was moving and that they would be returning the school’s laptop. Weindl, 67, was actually a friend of the Auther family; when he got married earlier that year, Auther’s wife gave a reading at the ceremony. Auther told Weindl that he would return the laptop after he removed all of his son’s files, programs, and games.
Auther first took the laptop to his FBI office and asked his colleagues how to wipe it clean. Apparently they don’t have many cyber experts in the Mariana Islands, because they were unsuccessful. So Auther had to instead take it to a computer repair shop, which cleaned out the old files and allegedly re-imaged the hard drive to return it to its original settings. Auther didn’t tell the shop about eBlaster being on the computer — perhaps feeling a little Big Parent shame — but assumed that it would be wiped along with everything else. He then returned the computer to Weindl….
I’ve committed what is perhaps considered one of the cardinal sins of womanhood since 2011: I haven’t read a single page of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (affiliate link). But with all of the fanfare over the books’ overtly sexual themes, and given the fact that people are now naming their children after the BDSM-loving characters, I’m thinking about picking up a copy of the first in the series. Or, you know, maybe instead of doing all that reading, I’ll just kick back and watch the latest Fifty Shades of Porn flick.
“I’m completely shocked that there’s Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired porn,” said no one ever. Oh, come on, everyone knew that something like this was going to happen. Seriously, from the passages that were read to me by friends to convince me to read the scintillating tale, the series is essentially a softcore porn composition — “mommy porn,” if you will. So who really gives a damn if it gets turned into hardcore porn?
Universal Studios, that’s who, because the company owns the movie rights to the books. The motion picture empire brought a copyright infringement suit against Smash Pictures, a porn production company, earlier this week in federal court. Let’s check out the allegations, which our readers are bound to enjoy….
It’s a tale as old as time, and perhaps — if you were desperate enough — you’ve even experienced it yourself.
A young man wanders the streets of New York City, with dreams of some day becoming a star. He waits tables and does various odd jobs to pay the bills, all the while yearning for his chance in the limelight. He lands a few soap opera and commercial roles, but in the grand scheme of things, he isn’t very successful in his theatrical endeavors. He can’t land any good parts, and in the end, he’s forced to make a decision: will he put his manhood to the test and turn to acting in adult films, or will he go to law school?
Yup. Porn or law school. Thankfully, the legal profession is such that you can do both. Or, at least it was in the 1970s. The wannabe film star that we’re referencing decided to do both, but at least he had the good sense to tend to his porn career first, and then head off to law school. And in the end, he had a very successful practice — both in terms of showing his “O” face to the world, and climbing the ladder of legal stardom to the ranks of county district attorney in upstate New York.
But until recently, his adoring public was unaware that DA also stood for Dick Adjudicator….
Does anyone remember Hunter Moore, creator of IsAnyoneUp and the most hated man on the internet for a good swath of last year? His site, before he took it down in April, encouraged young people to submit naked photos of themselves or their friends. The photos were posted publicly along with screengrabs of Facebook pages and real names.
At least one copycat site has popped up: the extremely NSFW IsAnybodyDown.com. In some ways the site feels even more nefarious than its predecessor because of its semi-official takedown policy. The site links to a “Takedown Lawyer” who promises to get any photos removed from the site for somewhere between $200 and $300.
It so happens that this lawyer is a friend of the site’s owner and publicly admits to using a pseudonym to offer his services. Something seems suspicious here….
Attorney John Steele is currently suing approximately 20,000 Internet users.
The rather long list of “People Most Hated By The Internet” — that guy who sued The Oatmeal, RIAA, Hunter Moore, Julia Allison, Violentacrez… — would be incomplete were it not to include John Steele. Steele is a lawyer who has partnered with the pornography industry to go after “pirates” who download their XXX films without paying for them. He has filed over 350 of these suits, and says he is currently suing approximately 20,000 people.
The tactic is similar to the one employed by the recording industry years ago to sue people who were amassing huge music libraries through peer-to-peer sharing rather than buying CDs. But where RIAA wanted to scare people out of illegal downloads by getting massive, scary judgments in highly publicized cases against individual Napster users, Steele and the lawyers like him are content to get relatively small settlements from individuals who pay up quietly to avoid being linked by name in public court filings for allegedly watching a film such as Illegal A** 2….
I don’t want to devote another post to child sex scandals. And yet.
The website Vice ran an interview with a psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins University shortly after the Jerry Sandusky sentence was handed down. In the interview, Fred Berlin argued that one problem we have as a society was that we only attempt to address pedophilic urges through the criminal justice system. Y’see, Berlin thinks that pedophilia needs to be recognized as a public health issue. That it’s a sexual orientation like any other, except that it can’t be acted out. And by recognizing it as such and treating those who are held captive to its urges, we save more kids than we can in our current draconian posture. An ounce of prevention and all that.
That’s one way to go at this thing. Another way is the way we’re stuck with as a sort of modern day ordeal by water that has everyone suspected of being a pedophile. The head football coach of Minnesota State appears to have sank like a stone. I guess he may not be a pedophile after all.
Back in 2010, we brought you some news about a photo shoot that took place in a highly sexualized law library, with models getting hot and heavy between the stacks. That sexy shoot came courtesy of the No. 67 law school in the nation.
Today, we’ve got even hotter news from an even more prestigious law school. It looks like an internet cam girl decided to film herself masturbating with a variety of sex toys inside a leading law school’s library. Poor girl must’ve had a really bad case of Blue(book) Balls.
Which T14 law school library did this activity take place in? And what does this woman look like?
WARNING: The pictures after the jump should be safe for work — there’s no nudity, we’ve redacted it — but they are mildly risqué. Read on at your own risk.
* Someone was finally able to liken the Scalia v. Posner debate to a suitable situation: bitchy mean girls fighting each other in a middle school cafeteria. Seriously, only the inclusion of “like” throughout the entirety of the dialogue could’ve made it better. [lawprofblawg]
* Who pays your law professors’ salary? The obvious answer is law students, since professorial wallets are padded by tuition dollars. But what happens when IBR comes into play and loan debts are forgiven? Then the answer shifts to the taxpayers. [PrawfsBlawg]
* When Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers died, everyone was expecting that a lawsuit would be filed, but no one really thought that it would be one based on contract law. [New York Law and Legal Analysis Blog]
* What kind of case “really turn[s] on” everyone’s favorite First Amendment lawyer? Free speech cases that are riddled with challenges, of course, and questions about what does and doesn’t constitute porn. [Vegas Inc]
* You must be wondering where Above the Law fell on this ranking of the 15 Most Influential Law Blogs. We won’t give it away, but let’s just say that we now share something in common with Cooley. [Business Insider]
* “[S]ome dude with the munchies is getting a little legal education.” That’s what we thought when one of our top searches last week was “pictures of tacos” — and not even “duck tacos,” but regular ones. [Search Party]
We have new developments to report in the case of Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian judge featured in pornographic pictures reflecting BDSM themes. As you may recall, the Canadian Judicial Council is currently investigating Douglas, based in part on claims that she sexually harassed a former client of her husband’s.
That client, Alex Chapman, claimed that the judge’s husband, Jack King, used the nude photos of Justice Douglas to try and entice Chapman into a three-way. Chapman testified that he was “disgusted” by the “terrible pictures” and that King “bull[ied]” him and “raped [his] mind.”
But if the latest allegations about him are true, Chapman is no innocent….
* Wal-Mart allegedly ripped up a woman’s hundos because a cashier thought they were fake. The bills were, in fact, real, and now the woman, who just wanted to do some Christmas shopping, is suing. Beat that, Ebenezer Scrooge! [Daily Mail]
* Speaking of, a recent Delaware Supreme Court opinion worked out to $35,000 per hour for winning attorneys in the case. Now the losers, Grupo Mexico, have appealed by arguing, “You guys made a huge mistake!” [WSJ Deal Journal]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
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