Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that in the age of the Internet, crime tracking by law enforcement agencies has (to a significant degree) shifted from the physical to the intangible.
Case in point: a Weston man was arrested yesterday after police used his computer’s IP address to implicate him in a child pornography distribution scheme.
This incident is yet another reminder that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. In other words, simply erasing web history and/or making up fake usernames on the Internet won’t make you immune from tracking, arrest and prosecution by determined law enforcement agencies.
Investigators used an IP address (an “internet protocol address”) which they had tracked to the Weston man’s home to nab their suspect, who happens to be an attorney. The investigation began when authorities detected child porn images being advertised and shared from the man’s location, which they were able to pinpoint via his IP address.
Basically, an IP address is your public identifier on the internet. As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, the IP address is used by search engines, for instance, so that they know where to direct the information you request. Say you go to Google and ask, “who are the U.S. Senators from Florida?” Google will pull the answers, and all of the webpages it determines have relevant information for you, and send what it finds back to your IP address.
Because your IP address is so important in ensuring that your unique Internet-capable device is marked as such when interacting with the web at large, it is very difficult if not impossible to block your IP address from the authorities. Many people think that erasing their web history or deleting “cookies” or using a fake username, etc., blocks their identify — that it makes them an anonymous user on the internet. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
As illustrated by the case of the Weston attorney who was nabbed because police identified the IP address linking the illegal content he shared with the computer from which he shared it, IP addresses ca be used to track location, device and ownership. In other words, you are leaving a permanent trail when you say, share or download things on the Internet. Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that while the common individual might not know how to use IP addresses to track down suspects, law enforcement agencies, with all of their technological resources, definitely do.
During the execution of a search warrant, Broward Sherrif’s deputies discovered 10 illicit videos depicting children ages 8 to 14 engaging in sex acts with adults and other children. As a result, the Weston man has been charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography.
If you have any questions about any of the criminal defense issues discussed in this blog, or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward and/or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.