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U.S. Justice System Gone Awry In Teacher Porn Case


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#1 Grinler

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 01:57 PM

I try to not use Bleeping Computer as an outlet for my opinions or views, but rather as place to provide objective and unbiased information. In this particular situation, though, I need to let our readers know about something that I, and many others, feel is a great injustice.A substitute teacher in Norwich Connecticut, named Julie Amero, has been found guilty of four felony counts of injuring or impairing the morals of children. Each of these counts carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. While Julie Amero was substituting for the normal teacher, the spyware infested class computer started displaying popups of a pornographic nature. Students in the classroom unfortunately saw these popups as well. When Julie saw this, she quickly ran to the teacher’s lounge in order to get help with the computer because she could not stop the computer from showing the popups. As a security professional I am far too familiar with pornographic popups appearing due to an infection. Displaying popups and redirecting browsers to pornographic pages can generate a huge amount of revenue for Spyware companies. With that in mind they do it in such a way that 1) you have no control over them and 2) they display them at a rate that is overwhelming. This is not new and has been going on for many years. The problem with this case is that Julie is stating that she never accessed these sites, while the prosecution’s forensic team is stating that it is clearly shown Julie had to have purposely clicked on these sites in order to reach them. This is completely untrue. When Spyware redirects your browser to other pages or display popups it does so in a manner that is indistinguishable from a person clicking through links to get to the site. To make matters worse, when a malware displays a popup, the images in these popups are stored on the computer automatically by the browser without any user involvement. The prosecution kept coming back to that Julie should have just unplugged the computer. Maybe she should have, but the fact is that Julie panicked. Julie was specifically told by the normal teacher for that class not to log off the computer and when she saw the popups, and could not get rid of them, she ran to the teacher’s lounge and asked for assistance. One of the teachers said they would get the principal, who never showed up! What is even more distressing is that these types of sites should not have been even accessible to the classroom computer. By federal mandate all schools must have active content filtering in place or they could lose funding. The school in question, though, had failed to renew their content filtering subscription and thus many sites were not being blocked as they should. Also why wasn’t the computer kept up to date with proper protection and updates so that the Spyware could not have been installed in the first place? So who is to blame here? The substitute teacher for failing to unplug the computer and instead going to the teachers lounge for assistance? The school for not keeping their content filtering subscription and computers up to date? I for one do not think it’s Julie’s fault. If you feel the same way as me, please help to spread this story, and keep an innocent person out of jail. For a lot more information on this case please visit the Sunbelt Blog where Alex Eckelberry, the owner of Sunbelt Software,and his team are working hard to keep Julie out of prison and free from blame.

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#2 oldf@rt

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 02:08 PM

I agree. Grinler, how can I help?

My thoughts the schools IT department is completely at fault, the prosecutor and the school should give this substitute written apologies, withdraw all charges or not contest the obvoius appeal.
\
OF

Edited by oldf@rt, 29 January 2007 - 02:13 PM.

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#3 Grinler

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 02:19 PM

We are trying to get national awareness of this case because unfortunately its really been limited to local news. So if you know anyone in the media, let them know about this!

#4 oldf@rt

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 02:41 PM

I will email all the local newspapers and ask why they arenot covering this story.
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#5 Animal

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:03 PM

My only question is where was the training for Julie in how to handle such an event. They had opened themselves up for just this incident by not renewing their filtering contract. And she was untrained for the event.

And consider the news spread. :thumbsup:

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#6 stevealmighty

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:27 PM

This is simply pathetic. There's no need for this to happen, it seems to me that the school is using the sub teacher as a "scape goat". The school itself is at fault, not the teacher. What forensics team did the checking on the computers hard drive-->Blues Clues?

I'll have to check out your link when I get home Grinler. I'll Also send it in a email to a news site up here that gets a ton of hits everyday, and also to our 2 small stations up here.

I hope that she appeals and wins...then seeks retribution for slandering her name and ruining her career.
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#7 ColdinCbus

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:08 PM

This is simply pathetic. There's no need for this to happen, it seems to me that the school is using the sub teacher as a "scape goat". The school itself is at fault, not the teacher. What forensics team did the checking on the computers hard drive-->Blues Clues?

I'll have to check out your link when I get home Grinler. I'll Also send it in a email to a news site up here that gets a ton of hits everyday, and also to our 2 small stations up here.

I hope that she appeals and wins...then seeks retribution for slandering her name and ruining her career.

They didn't have a foresic team just Detective Lounsbury and a handy-dandy tool called ComputerCOP.
http://www.networkperformancedaily.com/200..._julie_a_3.html

Defense had a foresic expert take a look http://www.networkperformancedaily.com/200..._julie_a_1.html

It is interesting that the defense did not give the prosecution a heads up on what their expert witness' testimony was going to be.

#8 no one

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 08:10 PM

Very disturbing , I'd say this is far from over and that she will be acquitted once it gets past the obviously clueless stage of their court system. Looks to me that the school system involved is only interested in the CYA (or CTA) aspect of it, very sad . Looks like she's got some pretty big guns on her side though , and the school is clearly in violation of the Federal Mandate.
I've also cleaned a couple computers of that type of infestation and it is a royal PITA to do.

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#9 Klinkaroo

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 08:30 PM

This is ridiculous... Like come on, she panicked it's not her problem, it's the schools computer, at worst it should be the regular teacher that gets fault because it's her computer more then the subs. This is a case of wrong place wrong time...

#10 fozzie

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 08:33 PM

This news is also in the Dutch web logs and -newspapers. It is a crying shame that this is happening due to mismanagement of computers. I for myself have cleaned up some of the pc's at my youngest son's school. The person in charge for IT did not have a clue and was more interested in him getting a 22"TFT rather than some serious protection.

I did the full run on protection thanks to the excellent tut's and teached the @#$#$% some things on what could happen. I ended up updating and cleaning 75 PC's in the evening night time.

After I had found out that the PC's in the teacher's room was filled with obscure sites I took my son fromk school, since those were the only well protected ones.. Life can be a PITA :thumbsup:

#11 roon

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 02:22 AM

I think that the judge and the jury they doesn't know the ABC of internet and computers and they r from the medieval age sent here by a time machine.
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#12 Orange Blossom

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 03:31 AM

My only question is where was the training for Julie in how to handle such an event. They had opened themselves up for just this incident by not renewing their filtering contract. And she was untrained for the event.


Substitute teachers frequently, though certainly not always, have much less training than even student teachers. Concerns are more apt to run along the lines of: can I manage the class, will I be able to teach the material I'm supposed to, and what are emergency procedures. I doubt that the idea of what to do in case inappropriate material pops up on the computer even enters one's mind, unless the sub. happens to be aware of computer security. When I was a teacher-in-training, the issue never came up. Add to this the fact that many faculty and admininstrative personale in schools know very little about computer security. Many teachers are more concerned about whether they can operate the gradebook software etc. and groan whenever the software changes. From my experiences as a student teacher, none of the teachers ran any sort of security programs on an individual basis. All security was handled on a higher level. I personally think that this is not the wisest approach as individual machines can easily be infected if proper safeguards are not put in place. None of the meetings I went to ever addressed computer security or what to do if inappropriate material appeared on the screen.

Additional issues are kids, parents, and guardians being able to enter into at least certain areas of the schools network and programming: e-mails, saving school papers, checking on kids' school progress, searching library catalog etc. I should imagine that those connecting computers or files transferred by disk, flash drives etc. may have viruses or spyware on them thus infecting the school's computers.

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#13 DSTM

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 07:13 AM

I was not aware of this case till you posted,Grinler.As much public outcry as possible is necessary to show these injustices which are in our Court Systems.Two other cases is that come to mind, is that Border Guard on the US/Mexican Border,and Terry Hicks who has been held in a US jail for 5+ yrs without even so much as a charge.I hope Julie Amero wins and is rewarded huge compensation for having her career and life ruined.A ploy used by the lawyers and Barristers here is "Ignorance is no excuse"and I think this is so wrong.If you are not aware of a problem,how on earth can you be found guilty?Great what you are doing Grinler,and the other BC members,because it's quite obvious you care for your fellow human beings.
I can only hope common sense prevails in Julie Amero's case,and in all cases for that matter.















#14 tink536

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 10:48 AM

I absolutely agree with all here. It's total BS & I hope she comes out of this OK.

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#15 saint satin stain

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 06:02 PM

Grinler you were morally obligated to make the statement; you have the requisite knowledge to understand what probably happened.

We all should do the same!

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