St. Louis-area city may have to pay for porn downloaded on computer

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 29, 2012 at 9:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 11:16 AM

ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis County Police are investigating after pornography was downloaded through the City of Dellwood’s wireless server. The owner of the copyrighted material wants Dellwood to pay for it, said Lt. Norman Mann.

The city was notified earlier this month and since then a forensic detective has not found porn on any city-owned laptops or desktop computers.

Lt. Mann wouldn’t give us the amount of the porn tab, would say that it would exceed the amount needed to charge someone with felony theft (in Missouri, that’s $500).

Mayor Loretta Johnson wouldn’t agree to an interview (or a phone conversation) on the topic, but she did have a city employee email News4 a statement to say, “It was recently discovered that the City’s wireless network was compromised. This matter was immediately turned over to St. Louis County Police Department and is currently under investigation. This investigation has ruled out all City staff and elected officials in possession of city-owned devices.”

Alderman James Lovings, a critic of the current administration, agreed to speak to News 4.

“I don’t think anybody can be ruled out that works there until they get to the bottom line and find out the results,” said Lovings.

Another alderman told News 4 that he learned there was a “breach” when the city’s Wi-Fi password changed two weeks ago.

Two sources tells News 4 the previous password was fairly simple. City employees had it, but it’s possible someone else could have figured it out and accessed the municipality’s Wi-Fi.

A search of federal court records show several copyright infringement lawsuits filed on behalf of pornography production companies in the Eastern District of Missouri. The defendants, logged by host IP addresses, are called “John Does” in the lawsuits. The suits go after the John Does who log onto peer-to-peer networks, “sharing” portions of copies of copyrighted videos. We found none that identified the City of Dellwood.

Another Dellwood elected official, contacted by News 4, took issue with KMOV reporting the story.

Alderwoman Linda Cunningham told Diana Zoga, “I don’t know why you would try to uncover something.”

When Zoga told Cunningham that she would be quoted, Cunningham said, “I will sue you.”

Lovings had a different take, saying taxpayers in the tiny North County municipality deserved to know more about the investigation.

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