Defense Lawyers Cringe at MediaDefender’s Child-Porn Patrol Plans: This is interesting.
[…] MediaDefender planned to unleash a peer-to-peer crawler to search unspecified file-sharing networks for child-porn videos and images based on keywords — such as “young,” “kids” and “taboo” — provided by the AG’s office.
Once suspected image files were found, the software would collect the IP address of the machines trading those files and filter for any addresses based in New York. The data MediaDefender collected would then be sent automatically to the AG’s office, where investigators would analyze and investigate it, using a MediaDefender application to visit the IP addresses and download the suspect files.
The thing that concerns me here is if MediaDefender is doing this specifically for the New York AG’s office. If they were just reporting things that they found incidental to their existing work, then this would be justified and even required in some cases.
But if they’re doing legwork above and beyond for the AG’s office, you have to ask why. Are they just altruistic, or are they looking for some special favor? And it gets difficult to draw the line, I think — would they overstep their bounds because they felt like they had been pseudo-deputized?