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An extraordinary story reported today in The Washington Post's excellent Security Fix column.

A teacher is facing jail for allowing her pupils to see those ubiquitous pornographic pop-ups that any computer user has experienced at one time or another.

Local prosecutors charged that the teacher was caught red-handed surfing for porn in the presence of seventh graders. The defense claimed the graphic images were pop-up ads generated by spyware already present on the computer prior to the teacher's arrival. The jury sided with the prosecution and convicted her of four counts of endangering a child, a crime that brings a punishment of up to 10 years per count. She is due to be sentenced on March 2.

Seems like a hideous blend of hysteria and gross ignorance of computers is at work here. Certainly, one could argue that the teacher might have had more sense – I mean, it's not that hard to turn off a computer monitor – but my experience has taught me that some people approach a computer like a deer caught in headlights and simply lack the smarts to deal with them. Regardless, sounds like a weird miscarriage of justice here.

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