Typo in IP address led to innocent father’s arrest for paedophilia

Graham Cluley

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A shocking story, as reported by Buzzfeed, of what led British police to arrest Nigel Lang:

He was told that when police requested details about an IP address connected to the sharing of indecent images of children, one extra keystroke was made by mistake, sending police to entirely the wrong physical location.

But it would take years, and drawn-out legal processes, to get answers about why this had happened to him, to force police to admit their mistake, and even longer to begin to get his and his family’s lives back on track.
Police paid Lang £60,000 in compensation last autumn after settling out of court, two years after they finally said sorry and removed the wrongful arrest from his record.

Lang had to move out of his home while he was under suspicion as social workers had said he could not have unsupervised contact with his two year old son.

It’s a chilling account.

Reminds me of that scene in Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil when a fly gets into the Ministry’s bureaucratic system and mucks up the spelling of a suspected terrorist’s name (from “Tuttle” to “Buttle”) with horrific results.

Graham Cluley Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

One Reply to “Typo in IP address led to innocent father’s arrest for paedophilia”

  1. My ISP allocated me a static IP address 15 years ago. This report shows that there are certain advantages associated with using a static IP address.

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