What, is this 1692?

Now I try to keep to my knitting (as it were) however, Scout posted today about the horrible miscarriage of justice that is being perpetrated in Norwich, CT. and frankly, I’m pissed. Apparently, instead of prosecuting the real criminals who write the garbage that we all must deal with and try to keep off of our computer, the [in]justice system has decided that they will go after those of us who do not keep our spyware software up to date.

Yeah, that should fix it.

Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in the Norwich Public School system is facing a possible 40 year sentence because a site that was accessed by someone using the computer in her classroom (possibly even herself – unintentionally) caused pr0n popups to appear – and her class saw them. Then, the 12-year olds told their parents, who in turn started calling the principal. Which I would probably do myself if I were in that position however, I would also consider that unfortunately, a large number of 12-year olds know what pr0n looks like and have possibly seen it at some point in their lives. Not that I agree with that or consider it a good thing, but it is an unfortunate fact in our society that children are becoming sexually ‘knowledgeable’ at a younger age. Anyway, my point is that some of the children in her class were asked to testify in court regarding what they saw – and how it made them feel – and the court suppressed evidence that would have brought about an acquittal – which makes me think of what happened in Massachusetts in 1692.

Granted, maybe she should have hit the ‘off’ button on her monitor a bit faster, but the all-out screaming for blood that went on by the parents in the district smacks of the Salem Witch Trials – where the accusations of two children began a horrible chain of events that culminated in the deaths of 20 people. Now, Julie is not facing a death sentence – but being stripped of your teaching credentials and facing 40 years in prison because the IT department at the school didn’t keep their firewall active AND used outdated software is up there in the ‘nightmare’ category as far as I’m concerned.

I also find it incomprehensible that all these people in powerful positions who were involved in this case (the police, the prosecutor, and, at first even the DEFENSE LAWYER) knew nothing of malware or spyware and the ability of such garbage to take over a computer with no defenses. This is not 1995, people! Computers have been around for a LONG time – for the love of Bob, learn about the ‘bad’ stuff and learn how to protect your ‘puter from it. Ignoring it won’t make you impermeable to the threat. No, seriously, it won’t. (this is directed towards the um…professionals in this case, not you guys. We all know that every blogger has had to deal with pr0n spam, sometimes butt loads of it…er, no pun intended).

I’d also like to point out that you do NOT have to visit a pr0n site to have that kind of malware on your computer. ANY site can do it. Frightening, ain’t it?

At this point they are waiting for sentencing but there has been a Defense Fund put into place by Julie’s husband to help pay for an appeal. You can go here to read her blog and donate (I did). You can also read more about the story by looking at the articles that popped up when I did this search.