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Verizon discovers child pornography stored in its cloud

There's no getting around it, we are headed to a cloud storage world where all our files and data is being stored on someone else’s servers. This means someone is legally responsible for making sure that nothing illegal ends up in the respective cloud services.

It is becoming a common practice these days for just about everyone to have a cloud storage service of some type where they can keep all their private files and data safe, but what a lot of folks don't probably know is that the companies running these cloud services have a certain legal responsibility to make sure you aren't storing anything illegal on their servers.

This is because of the PROTECT Our Children Act passed by Congress in 2008, which mandated that service providers must report things like child pornography that are being stored by their customers. Of course, this act was passed before cloud services became as popular.

Regular checking of the servers is still voluntary, and the advent of automated image-matching technology services usually accurately and quickly report things like child pornography when they are being uploaded.

This is what happened recently to William Albaugh when he backed up his computer to Verizon's online backup service. What the 67-year-old deacon of a Catholic church in Baltimore County didn't realize is that Verizon, through the use of image-matching technology, discovered he was using their servers to store his collection of pornographic and videos of children.

So because of the PROTECT Act, Verizon was obligated to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) through their Cyber Tipline, which has already handled 113,009 reports of child pornography from service providers.

At this point, the Baltimore police were tipped and a search warrant was issued for Albaugh's residence. While the forensic results of the search are still preliminary, Albaugh has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography, but was released on $75,000 bond. However, further charges could be added depending on the final results of the investigation.

via Ars Technica

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