FBI seizes Louisiana city computer for suspected child pornography
Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:04:34 GMT —
The FBI seized a computer at the Louisiana, Mo. water department as part of a child pornography investigation.
City Administrator Bob Jenne confirmed that a wireless internet connection in the water department facility on 30th Street is the target of an investigation.
"Basically they identified themselves as being investigators detached to the F-B-I and their cyber crimes unit and affiliated with R-SEG. And that they had information leading them to believe that one of our computers had been pinged on a number of occasions for child pornography," said Jenne.
The Louisiana Press-Journal newspaper
reported that city Police Chief Rich Hughes confirmed that the investigation centered on child pornography.
The FBI approached the city on February 2 and notified them that a city-owned computer had pinged at least twice in the last couple of months for a child pornography website, once in November of 2011 and once in December of 2011.
This computer had been used to access illicit websites since 2009.
Many department employees had access to the computer in question, which was located in a maintenance shed shared by the water distribution employees. The computer is used by as many as 10 employees and Jenne told KHQA that the computer is password protected, but everyone knows the same password. There are not individual log ins.
City officials are waiting for the FBI to explain the November and December dates and times that the computer accessed the material in question. Once Jenne receives the information from the FBI he said he will cross-check times sheets and work records to see who was in the building at those times.
The computer was on a wireless network, not a hard-wired network, so Jenne is unsure if someone hacked into the system.
"Well obviously, had somebody known the password, it's possible that it could have been hacked into outside, sitting outside in the parking lot," said Jenne.
Louisiana City Hall computer system was hacked into and they had to change passwords and upgrade security on that system, Jenne said.
The city is cooperating with the investigation and Jenne said that no water customer accounts were jeopardized.
Police Chief Rich Hughes spoke with the FBI Tuesday and they are still processing and investigating the seized computer.
FBI spokeswoman Rebecca Wu would not confirm nor deny it initiated the probe and seized city computer records for examination.
There have been no arrests and no city employees have been charged.
U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Jan Diltz told KHQA Wednesday that she could not comment.