CA4: Single click on a CP website’s URL is PC for the clicker’s computer

A single click on a URL on a website devoted to child pornography is probable cause for a search warrant for defendant’s computer. United States v. Bosyk, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22973 (4th Cir. Aug. 1, 2019):

Bosyk and his amicus (the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or “EFF”) argue that the facts recounted in Agent Eyler’s affidavit didn’t give the government probable cause to search Bosyk’s house for evidence of child pornography. They argue that the government obtained its warrant based on a “single click” of a URL, which, they say, cannot support a search of somebody’s home. We disagree. The facts in the affidavit support a reasonable inference that someone using Bosyk’s IP address clicked the link knowing that it contained child pornography. This in turn makes it fairly probable that criminal evidence would have been found at Bosyk’s address.

The “critical fact” in this case, as the district court observed, is the timing. J.A. 76. On the very day that someone clicked the link, it appeared on a website whose purpose was to advertise and distribute child pornography to its limited membership. And it appeared in a post containing text and images that unequivocally identified its contents as child pornography. The close timing between the link’s appearance on Bulletin Board A and the click by a user’s IP address is highly relevant: because the link was accessed on the same day it appeared on Bulletin Board A, it is at least reasonably probable that the user clicked the link having encountered it on that website.

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