Feds Accuse Respected Corporate CEO Of Downloading Kiddie Porn - InformationWeek
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7/11/2005
12:49 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Feds Accuse Respected Corporate CEO Of Downloading Kiddie Porn

Bowne & Co. can serve as an example of what companies should do when their CEO, or some other high-powered exec, is charged with using corporate resources to download kiddie porn. Unfortunately, it's a bad example. Bowne is a financial printing firm with 18th century roots. According to our story by John Foley, Bowne's former CEO, Robert Johnson, was charged with downloading child pornography. The

Bowne & Co. can serve as an example of what companies should do when their CEO, or some other high-powered exec, is charged with using corporate resources to download kiddie porn.

Unfortunately, it's a bad example.

Bowne is a financial printing firm with 18th century roots. According to our story by John Foley, Bowne's former CEO, Robert Johnson, was charged with downloading child pornography. The charges were part of a Homeland Security investigation into Regpay Co., a "company in Minsk, Belarus, that operated child-porn Web sites and handled credit-card payments for other such sites."

John writes: "Investigators and prosecutors have been working on the case for more than a year. Johnson is accused of accessing child-porn sites from Bowne computers over a two-year period, beginning around April 2002. Along the way, he bought 'memberships' to such sites and downloaded at least two child-porn movies, the indictment says. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent informed Bowne officials of the agency's investigation on May 4 of last year, without telling them Johnson was a suspect."

That's mind-boggling enough. What's worse (the story goes on to say) is that someone at Bowne, probably an IT manager, tipped Johnson off to the investigation:

Once that happened, Johnson used a PC program called Evidence Eliminator made by Robin Hood Software Ltd., a privately held U.K. company, to delete 12,000 files from the hard drives of his PC and laptop, the indictment charges. On May 10, Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized Johnson's hard drives. A few days later, Johnson abruptly retired, citing "personal reasons."

(By the way, if you think you're some kind of super criminal mastermind, and you're trying to cover your tracks because the cops are on your tail, using a program called "Evidence Eliminator" isn't going to look great in front of a jury. I'm just sayin'.)

The ramifications of this case for Bowne have been dire, and they aren't going to go away. John's story makes it unclear if the company had adequate safeguards in place to guard against employee Internet abuse. The former CIO was sacked, and the company eliminated the position. The company is now headed up by its former general counsel, and it's sold two division in the last eight months.

Read John's story for tips on how companies can protect themselves against child porn.

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