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Mike Iacopino Lectures On The New Wave of Child Pornography Prosecutions

Mike Iacopino Lectures on Child Pornography Laws

Did you know that law enforcement agencies have the ability to create and distribute malware that can surreptitiously search your home computer and send information to government computers? Did you know that law enforcement agencies can actually seize web sites and distribute child pornography?

That is exactly what the FBI did in a recent investigation inappropriately dubbed “Operation Pacifier” by the agency. While not the first use of malware by government agencies the Playpen Cases represent the most recent. On February 15, 2015, law enforcement agents seized a computer server in North Carolina. That computer allegedly served one of the largest pornography sites in the world entitled “Playpen.” The Playpen web site did contain a lot of child pornography but it also contained other material that was not illegal. Rather than immediately shutting down the Playpen site, the FBI developed malware, otherwise known as a network investigative technique (NIT), that allowed the hijacked computer to search and hack every home and business computer that contacted and logged in to the web site. The hijacked server through the NIT would then extract (ie seize) identifying information from the home and business computers which would be transmitted to a government computer and would ultimately allow identification of the owners of the home and business computers.

Recent federal court filings assert that between February 15, 2015 and March 4, 2015 the FBI was the worldwide leader in the distribution of child pornography on the TOR Network otherwise known as the “Darknet.” Court filings report that more than 100,000 users visited the Playpen web site when it was operated by the FBI. While not everything on the Playpen web site was child pornography it appears that the FBI allowed individuals to upload new child pornography to the site and actively distributed as many as one million child sex abuse images and videos.

Do you think that the FBI should be a purveyor of child pornography?

Do you think that the FBI should be allowed to use a general warrant to search any home or business computer merely because it visited a website?

These are important constitutional questions. They become even more important when you or a loved one is accused of a child pornography offense. Brennan Lenehan has remained on the cutting edge of these important constitutional issues in the zealous representation of our clients.

October was a busy month for Brennan Lenehan senior partner, Mike Iacopino. Mike has 32 years of experience representing people accused of crimes. That experience includes extensive representation of people accused of sex crimes and child pornography crimes. Mike’s experience in this very difficult field of criminal defense has been recognized by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers where he co-chairs the Sex Offense Committee and serves as the NACDL liaison to the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code Sexual Assault Project.

On October 7, 2016, Mike served on a panel at the Federal Practice Institute for the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire with Chief Judge Joseph LaPlante, Assistant United States Attorney Nick Abramson, and Assistant Federal Defender Bjorn Lange. The panel discussion centered on the basics of child pornography offenses and the Fourth Amendment impacts of child pornography investigations. Mike focused his remarks on the Operation Pacifier/Playpen investigation – an investigation that raises serious privacy and Fourth Amendment concerns.

On October 14, 2016, Mike was on the faculty of the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Continuing Legal Education seminar. The focus of Mike’s lecture again was the Operation Pacifier/Playpen investigation and the Fourth Amendment problems inherent in that investigation.

On October 24 and 25, 2016, Mike participated in the ALI-Model Penal Code Sexual Assault Project work sessions in New York City as NACDL liaison. In representing NACDL at the American Law Institute, Mike is working hard to limit over-criminalization and unfair collateral consequences. You can visit the ALI web site on the project here.

Mike was in Washington D.C. on October 28, 2016, where he was on the faculty of the NACDL Fall Meeting and Seminar: Suppress It! Litigating Fourth Amendment Rights. Mike’s presentation entitled: Darknets on the Edge of Town: Suppressing Evidence in Child Pornography Cases focused on teaching other criminal defense lawyers on how to address and suppress evidence in the new age of child pornography investigations like Operation Pacifier/Playpen.

Child pornography is and should be illegal. Federal and state laws provide for prosecution and serious punishment. In many states a child pornography conviction will mean imprisonment, sex offender registration and significant restrictions on things that you can do and places where you can be. If you or a loved one has been arrested for child pornography or is a suspect in a child pornography investigation you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You should never speak to a federal agent or police officer without a lawyer to represent your interests. Mike Iacopino and the team at Brennan Lenehan is experienced in this type of criminal defense representation and we are available to represent you or to consult with your current lawyer on these very difficult issues.