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Cyber Tip Program Leads to Child Porn Conviction

A tiny bit of computer spyware helped convict a Medical Lake man of producing and distributing child pornography and to send him to prison for 20 years. 26 year old James Dean Poindexter was sentenced this week to the long prison stretch by a Spokane federal judge.

Poindexter was tripped up last year by a program developed by Microsoft in 2009 and given to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The program called PhotoDNA scans images sent through  Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bing and several other high profile internet sites. It can quickly sort through a huge database of child pornography images and identify photos being shared on the internet.

The technology is called hashing - sort of a digital fingerprint.

Google, for one, says it does not scan e-mails for evidence of crimes apart from child pornography, but privacy advocates point out that nothing prevents internet providers from doing that if they wish.

Once the images sent to the center for missing children were forwarded to FBI agents in Spokane, they seized Poindexter's computer and phone. They found more than 600 pornographic images.

Poindexter also still faces state criminal charges for child rape and molestation incidents.

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