Internet images are forever

Staff reporter


"TDTM, 6Y."

It's a foreign language to most adults. It's the language of the younger generation for texting on cell phones and computers.

Most parents often don't see warning signs that their children may be involved in something dangerous, illegal, or immoral.

A recent raid in Marion resulted in local and area law enforcement officers confiscating child pornography.

So, how does this happen? Why don't parents know about it?

Photographs often are taken with a cell phone or digital camera, and then can be transmitted many ways.

The subject matter of the photograph may be a willing participant or an unknowing victim.

Lloyd Davies, owner of Great Plains Computers & Networking of Marion, is a technician for Marion County and many cities in the county, keeping computers, networks, and Internet access in working order.

An image can be downloaded from a digital camera or cell phone to another cell phone or to the Internet.

"When an image ends up on the Internet, either through a web site or e-mail, the image could be available for anyone to see," he said. Public e-mail addresses, such as Yahoo, are easy work for even amateur hackers who could gain access to e-mail accounts.

"If a picture or information is posted on a public forum like MySpace, it's saying, 'Here, come look at my stuff'," Davies said. "It's just out there for anybody to download."

So, how can these images and information be pulled up by just anyone?

"Most search engines are indexed by the number of hits it receives," Davies said. The more popular the subject matter, the closer to the top of the first page the subject will be.

When a photograph has a label with the words "nude," "sex," or "teen" it's a calling card for certain predators who look for victims on the Internet.

When images and information are transmitted via the world wide web, they can remain in cyberspace for what could seem like an eternity.

The Internet is a young medium, Davies said, and will continue to develop and progress, linking data in faster and more efficient ways than even today. As it develops, information will be more readily available and easier to retrieve. All information.

When do these search engines purge their files?

Davies didn't know for sure and it is probably a trade secret but he did venture a guess.

"Some may put less popular subjects (those that don't get any or few hits) in a different file and some may actually purge them," Davies said, but probably most files are saved . . . forever.

Those who download images to cell phones or computers should be aware that receiving any form of child pornography is against the law.

By the way, for those who didn't know what the first two lines were, they are "I got high tonight. Keeping parents clueless" and "Talk dirty to me, sexy."