Today, the Supreme Court declined to hear Sodomsky v. Pennsylvania, a case involving some our favorite topics: Circuit City, privacy, and pornography. Of course, while this might sounds like a joyous story, it actually isn’t at all.

A guy hands his computer over to the techs at Circuit City to install a DVD burner. While installing it, a tech there claims that he stumbled across some files with questionable names. When these turned out to be child pornography (I told you it wasn’t a happy story), Circuit City turned the computer over to the police who then pressed charges. The accused claims that because the tech shouldn’t have been going through his files in the first place, his privacy was violated and the evidence should be inadmissible.

While a trial judge originally agreed, a higher court over turned that ruling, stating that he had given the techs consent when he gave the right to do other things on the computer and to test the new device, which is what the tech claims he was doing when he found the files. By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court is letting the earlier court’s ruling stand.

This does not bode well for your rights; evidence found by others on your personal computers that aren’t in your possession is admissible in court. We all want to see the bad guy go down in this case, but this also is a bit more cut and dry than Circuit City stealing your legit porn collection. The lesson here is to encrypt anything you don’t want prying eyes to see and set your computer up to catch the thieves. Or just don’t have child porn in the first place.

About The Author

Michael Kaufmann, lover of all things science and gadget, is a contributing editor at Blast. He can be reached at [email protected]

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