The Times They Are Not A’Changing

My thanks to Mike at “From Chaos to Order” for bringing this to our attention.

It seems New England hasn’t advanced very far from the witch-hunting days of the early settlers. A grade school teacher is facing forty years in prison for allegedly exposing 7th-grade students to pornographic sites on the school’s computer. It seems obvious that the innocuous website being visited at the time was infected, and automatically opened the porn sites before the teacher, who was not very computer literate, could do anything about it.

Despite the defense apparently arguing that the computer was heavily infected with spyware and malware that caused it to go into an endless loop of pop-ups leading to porn sites when the browser was opened, such technological jargon was lost on the judge in Connecticut, and the teacher was found guilty.

Sentencing will take place on March 2nd.

They say ignorance is no defense in law, but that should equally apply to the law itself. No judge should be allowed to sit on a bench and pass moral, as well as legal judgments, with no knowledge of the subject matter before him.

While details in this case are still sketchy, the decision appears to have been made more on moralistic grounds than legal.

Just as was the case in the witchcraft trials of 17th century New England.

More on this case:

This from the Norwich Bulletin

This from W. Herbert Horner, computer consultant.

And three updated summaries available from THIS blog

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4 Replies to “The Times They Are Not A’Changing”

  1. Having had a very similar thing happen to my own computer several years ago, I know that it can happen. One pop up leads to another and another. Meanwhile there are mulitple files loading into your computer. It took me two days and crying a lot to finally clean the computer of the damage. If the judge knew doodley squat about computers I think the results might have been a lot different. You’re right, the decision was all about being moral and nothing about reality and computer knowledge.

  2. I know Herb Horner. I worked with him at the Sperry branch at Westport, CT, and when it moved to Shelton, CT. I also worked with Herb at Formula Consultants in Anaheim, CA.

    Herb knows his stuff, and so do I. Justics was not served in this case. The judge should have allowed the demonstration. There would have been no conviction.

    I have not spoken to Herb about this case, but I fully intend to now.

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