We are all grimly familiar with the twisted story of Josh Duggar.
He was found guilty of receiving and possessing child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) late last year.
There’s a lot that we all want to understand about this case — like how Josh tried to escape detection.
Josh’s phone didn’t have CSAM on it, but it ended up being a key part of how prosecutors proved their case.
Josh Duggar was under investigation in 2019, two years before his April 2021 arrest.
At the time, the infamous predator was using an Apple iPhone 8.
Alongside Josh’s personal laptop, an Apple MacBook, it would prove pivotal during hsi nine-day trial.
Josh’s computer was linked to his phone.
While neither his iPhone 8 nor his MacBook contained the horrific photos and videos of little girls’ lives being ruined, there were backups of his phone logs.
Photos, texts, and most importantly, GPS data from Josh’s phone were stored, which helped authorities to prove their case.
GPS locations, times, and dates helped to give investigators an extrmeely clear picture of where Josh was and when.
Why does that matter?
Because they were able to pinpoint where he was at times when his work computer was accessing CSAM.
Using peer-to-peer file sharing programs and an anonymous TOR browswer, Josh accessed this unspeakable material on May 14 and May 16 of 2019.
If Josh’s phone data had shown that he was at home or at the grocery store at those times, the trial might never have taken place at all.
Instead, the evidence showed that Josh was precisely where they knew that he was — in his office at work.
Without Josh’s phone data, his defense’s far-fetched arguments might have swayed one or two jurors.
They had claimed that either another person (that poor former employee whom the Duggars seemingly wished the frame) was in the office, or the computer was remotely hijacked.
Prosecution labeled these arguments a "fantasy," and were able to prove their case by showing that Josh was physically in his office and using his phone.
It’s funny, because this is a great reminder of how much information our phones have about us.
There are unhinged conspiracy theorists who believe that life-saving vaccinations are just "5G chips" that let "them" track people.
There are many obvious layers of absurdity to that, but one is that, very simply, we all carry tracking devices on us at all times: our phones.
Fortunately, in this case, the tracking data and Josh’s absurd ineptitude helped prosecutors prove their case.
There was more, of course, including a Linux partition on Josh’s computer that was intended to obscure his crimes.
Most people with partitions use them for legal ends — like installing Windows on a Mac so that they can play PC games. Josh had other intentions.
Overall, it seems that Josh was so wrapped up in being part of a cult that he forgot that he is also answerable to the laws of men.
The steps that he took to protect himself from discovery didn’t hide him from federal authorities — only from his wife and family.
Honestly? This is one of those situations when we’re glad that he was so stupid. People trafficking in CSAM must face justice.