Monday, January 24, 2011

Beware of emails with "illegal" HTML-embedded images

Today, going through AOL email hastily, I clicked on a “Dearest …” one that had escaped the spam filter (a similar one a few moments before had been trapped) and saw language that certainly hinted at “illegality”. Fortunately, my email is configured not to show HTML images without consent, which might have been illegal had they appeared.

In the past, I’ve heard some lawyers say that possession is an “absolute liability” offense with even one deleted image.  More recently (since about 2006), most Internet discussions have suggested that malware provides a defense if the computer user didn’t knowingly acquire the image, but they could cause tremendous expense and practical risk in self-defense.   I suppose someone could have images on his computer that he did not know about until he took the computer in for repair, and repair technicians would be required by law to call it in.

It may be a good idea not to accept any email HTML images without at first seeing the text and knowing that the email is legitimate. 

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