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December 3, 2018Torrents and Child Pornography Charges in Pennsylvania
By Brian Manchester
Torrents and child pornography charges often go hand-in-hand. Thus, it is important that you and your lawyer fully understand how torrents work if you are facing charges of downloading child pornography from torrents.
How Torrents Work
Since there’s no single, central computer controlling the Internet and (in theory) every computer that’s online is connected indirectly to every other one, it should be possible for any two computers to share information by communicating directly—and it is! This is called peer-to-peer (P2P) communication and it’s used by some of the more popular instant messaging (IM) chat programs (as well as controversial file-sharing programs, which earned themselves a bad name when people started using them to share copyright music tracks illegally).
BitTorrent is a set of rules that different computer systems agree to use based on P2P that can be used to share large files very efficiently. For example, if a band wants to use BitTorrent, they would upload a song and make it available on their computer as torrent file. Their computer, as the host of the original file, in its entirety, is called a seed. The seed splits the file up into lots of pieces.
Note: Other examples of these programs are uTorrent, The Pirate Bay, ExtraTorrent, Torrentz, RARBG, EZTV, and TorrentHound.
Anyone who wants the file uses a program (referred to as a BitTorrent client) to request it from a seed. The seed sends one of the pieces to the client. The client then gets all the remaining pieces, over a period of time, from other people’s computers through P2P communication. At any time, each computer is downloading some parts of the file from some of these peers and uploading other parts of the file to other peers. All the computers cooperating in this way at any time are referred to as a swarm. The more popular a file is, the more peers have the file. Therefore there are more computers in the swarm and the download process is quicker.
Law Enforcement Use of Torrents
Torrent sites such as Pirate Bay don’t store any material themselves, but the perpetrators and law enforcement can use these sites to find illegal content. Law enforcement can search the BitTorrent network in order to locate individuals sharing previously identified child exploitation material in the same way a user searches this network. By searching the network for these illegal torrents, law enforcement can quickly identify targets in their jurisdiction.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies use these search engines to find torrents that are known to link to child porn. They then load the torrent files in modified torrent clients and obtain IP-addresses and other information from the associated trackers. The software that law enforcement uses is modified to download complete files from a computer at a single IP address. This is in opposition to the typical P2P structure where a file is obtained from multiple peers on the BitTorrent network. This allows the investigator to be certain that the person on the other end has a full copy of the child exploitation material in question. This procedure allows for the detection and investigation of those computers involved in sharing digital files of known or suspected child pornography on the BitTorrent network.
What Should You Do if You Are Charged With Crimes Related to Torrents?
If you or a loved one are charged with downloading illegal material from torrents, you should consult with a lawyer that is familiar with the nature of these charges. The lawyer should be familiar with how torrents work and how law enforcement uses them. If charged, call Manchester & Associates for a Free Strategy Session at 800-243-4878 as soon as possible.
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September 26, 2018How a DUI in Pennsylvania Can Jeopardize Your Doctor’s License
By Brian Manchester
Don’t Make the Common Mistake in Thinking a DUI Will Not Affect Your License
If you are a doctor that has been charged with DUI, you should not make the common mistake of believing the DUI will not affect your medical license simply because it relates to conduct outside of the medical practice.
Not only is the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine aggressive in disciplining doctors with DUI convictions, it is likely your employment contract also prohibits such alcohol related convictions. You have to be proactive in dealing with and defending the DUI charges filed against you.
You Have 30 Days to Notify the PA State Board of Medicine
Not only are there important dates that you have to be aware of regarding the criminal charges, there are also important timelines that you must follow as to the Bureau of Occupational Affairs and the PA State Board of Medicine. Once you receive your DUI charges you have 30 days to notify the them that you have been charged with DUI. Furthermore, if you are convicted of DUI, or are placed on ARD you have 30 days from sentencing or placement on ARD to notify these organizations as well. I have set forth more specific law on the reporting of convictions to show just how important it is to take these charges seriously.
In Pennsylvania, Act 6 of Pennsylvania’s Medical Boards says that any person holding a license, registration, certificate, or permit issued by a licensing board or commission under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs shall notify the appropriate licensing board/commission within thirty (30) days of the occurrence of any of the following:
- A disciplinary action taken by a licensing agency of another jurisdiction.
- A finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of guilt, a plea of nolo contendere, probation without verdict, disposition in lieu of trial or an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) or any felony or misdemeanor offense.
Not Disclosing Arrests, ARD Placement, or DUI Conviction Can Result in Loss of License
If you are placed on the ARD program that does not automatically mean you will lose your license to practice medicine. However, an ARD or a conviction may trigger a hearing before the Bureau of Occupational Affairs whereby your fitness to practice medicine may be called into question. It is important to know that a failure to disclose an arrest for DUI, and ARD for DUI, or a conviction for DUI conviction within thirty (30) days can result in loss of your medical license just because you did not disclose the arrest.
Cooperate and Demonstrate Responsibility Before the Medical Board
The Medical Board may conduct an interview and their own investigation into you and your DUI to determine if your license should be suspended or revoked. Demonstrating responsibility and being cooperative will go a long way in helping keep your license. But it is important to be very careful as to what you cooperate on and what you disclose. Their system, especially their “voluntary” alternative programs, are not all what they portray them to be and are not really designed to help doctors get through the program easily.
Know Your Options – Get an Experienced DUI Attorney Familiar with Medical Licensing
It is important to know your options if you are a doctor charged with DUI. Brian Manchester has extensive training in DUI defense and is even a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the American Chemical Society, and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Brian Manchester also regularly attends seminars that specifically focus on DUI defenses, and he was also the Educational Chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys. For a Free Strategy Session, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.