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8/8/2006
12:14 PM
John Foley
John Foley
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In Child Porn Case, An IP Address Points To Jail Time

Robert Johnson, the former CEO of Bowne & Co. who was busted last year for possession of child pornography, last week admitted his guilt and now faces up to 30 years in prison. Johnson downloaded child porn images and movies onto his workplace PC from the comfort of his executive office in Bowne's New York City headquarters. An IP address, however, proved to be Johnson's undoing.

Robert Johnson, the former CEO of Bowne & Co. who was busted last year for possession of child pornography, last week admitted his guilt and now faces up to 30 years in prison. Johnson downloaded child porn images and movies onto his workplace PC from the comfort of his executive office in Bowne's New York City headquarters. An IP address, however, proved to be Johnson's undoing.As part of a two-year investigation into child porn Web sites operated out of Minsk, Belarus, federal investigators traced the IP address back to Bowne, one of the oldest businesses in Manhattan, and ultimately to the CEO himself. When he learned of the federal investigation, Johnson quickly tried to erase the evidence from his PC using a hard-drive scrubbing tool called Evidence Eliminator. Destruction of records in a federal investigation is a violation of Sarbanes-Oxley, with potentially stiff penalties.

Johnson faces sentencing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Oct. 27. Newsday reports that Johnson is looking at actual jail time of between 27 and 33 months. Before joining Bowne in the mid '90s, Johnson was publisher and CEO at Newsday.

As InformationWeek reported last year, the case underscores the need for companies to have systems and processes in place to prevent child pornography in the workplace and to enforce Internet usage policies at all levels of the company. Bowne's policy states that the company retains the right to review and monitor employee use of the Internet, but it's unclear how often it did that, if at all.

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