Zombie redirects to Ranchi, FBI breaks down your door
Malware that makes victim computers into zombie computers for spam and DDoS proliferate the web-space and yet just a few redirected clicks could bring FBI agents breaking down your door. Spoofed IP addresses could create all the same evidence the government had when it executed a search warrant against Roderick Vosburgh in 2008.
This post revisits the conviction of Roderick Vosburgh, subject of my previous ZombieLaw post: “Anonymous Zombie: IP spoofing defense fails – 15 months jail for child porn link” In that post, I briefed the 2010 Appeals Court affirmation of conviction, against Vosburgh for clicking FBI planted links U.S. v Vosburgh – 602 F.3d 512 also available at Findlaw: U.S. v Vosburgh
Today, I will cite some other news agencies that covered Vosburgh’s case but note my severe disappointment with my ability to find any recent coverage. It seems some internet news covered the original conviction but I don’t see much of anything about the appellate decision.
CNET – March 20, 2008 – FBI posts fake hyperlinks to snare child porn suspects
TechHerald – March 21, 2008 – “FBI conducts raids and makes arrests for clicking on hyperlinks”
PCWorld – April 26, 2008 - “Knock, Knock, It’s the FBI”
ArsTechnica – 2008 – “Rick Rolled to child porn = you’re a pedophile, says FBI”
Gawker – March 26, 2009 – “Is Clicking a Crime?”
And here’s one post made after the appeals decision,
AR15.com – July, 12 2010 - “Click the wrong hyperlink = Jail & Sex Offender status”
How is it that so few are writing about this guy? I mean, no one likes pedophiles. But still, the sheer possibility that a malware-infected zombie computer or a mere rickroll link could cause a prosecutor to file for a search warrant that included excessive hyperbole about every possible sexual misconduct and that a court viewing such little evidence (a few clicks!) granted a warrant – it is a downright terrifying use of State power even if it catches a few people who download child porn.
This case arose for ZombieLaw because of the court’s use of the word “zombie” in the opinion as cited in my prior post and so I wanted to look into it. Meanwhile the Google has very little if any, major mainstream news about this case. Maybe I am missing something. Instead Google giving me a link for dead World War 2, Canadian Pilot Officer James Roderick Vosburgh of the Royal Canadian Air Force, died December 16, 1942. No mention of if he volunteered or was a conscripted Canadian zombie.
Vosburgh’s case is not the only ZombieLaw post about “computers as zombies” – See ZombieLaw post “Hacker Zombie” about an admitted spam operation described in a 2009 District Court of California opinion. Another ZombieLaw post about Anonymous Cybernetic Zombies explained a Federal case about a different kind of anonymous speech issue. But these are all example of cybernetic zombies that live on in cyberspace.