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The Internet

Submission + - Viewing child porn legal in New York (

CowTipperGore writes: Viewing child pornography online isn't a crime, the New York Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in the case of a college professor whose work computer was found to have stored more than a hundred illegal images in its Web cache. While most of the counts were upheld against Kent, two counts were dismissed on the grounds that viewing child porn is not illegal under federal law. "Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law," Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote for a majority of four of the six judges. The court further noted that, "A defendant cannot knowingly acquire or possess that which he or she does not know exists" because the prosecution failed to prove that Kent even knew his Web browser had a cache. All of the judges agreed that child pornography is an abomination, but the majority said it was up to the Legislature to declare merely viewing to be a crime. Two previous federal cases had left open the possibility for such a defense if the existence and function of web caching was unknown to the defendant.

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