Internet

Man Accused of Child Porn; Someone Hijacked Wi-Fi

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A Buffalo man got the fright of his life when federal agents burst into his house and accused him of downloading thousands of images of child pornography. But he was innocent -- the victim of a stolen Wi-Fi signal. Now his neighbor stands accused of the crime.

According to a report in The Huffington Post, the man, whose name was not revealed, and his wife were woken up early one morning in March by the sound of someone breaking into their house. There were seven armed agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at the foot of the stairs.

"They are screaming at him, 'Get down! Get down on the ground!' He's saying, 'Who are you? Who are you?'" the man's lawyer, Barry Covert said.

"One of the agents runs up and basically throws him down the stairs, and he's got the cuts and bruises to show for it," said Covert.

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Then came the accusations. "'We know who you are! You downloaded thousands of images at 11:30 last night,'" Covert said the agents yelled. When the man denied it, Covert said the agents told him, "'You're a creep ... just admit it.'"

Agents then spent the next two hours searching the man's computer, which they eventually took with them, along with his and his wife's iPads and iPhones.

Three days later, investigators determined the man was telling the truth -- he didn't download anything illegal. He later got an apology from U.S. Attorney William Hochul and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Lev Kubiak. Covert said the man is not planning a lawsuit.

But someone downloaded child porn, and a further investigation of the IP address led agents to a neighbor. John Luchetti, 25, was arrested. He has pleaded not guilty to distribution of child pornography.

Luchetti, however, is not charged with using his neighbor's Wi-Fi without permission. Whether that is illegal is questionable.

But it is a good lesson for all of us to make sure our Wi-Fi signals are secure. It takes a few extra steps, but it is clearly worth it.

And we are apparently a nation of thieves. A poll conducted for the Wi-Fi Alliance, found that 32% of people admitted to trying to access a Wi-Fi network that wasn't theirs.