Twenty-seven thousand subscribers of the website operated by those arrested.
Two hundred fifty-one victims as young as 3 years old.
Forty terabytes of pornographic images.
According to a Reuters article on Townhall.com, a Department of Homeland Security investigation uncovered a 27,000-member, subscriber-only website (or websites; it is not clear) that made child pornography available.
According to a USA Today article,
Those members and users, according to documents, "coerced hundreds of minor boys to record themselves engaging in sexually explicit conduct.'' Unknown to the child victims, the videos were allegedly transmitted to Johnson's sites, allowing members to view and download the videos.This sounds horrifying. Some of it may be but let's sort out the words calculated to shock and frighten us.
On the USA Today video, the ICE spokesman says the amount of storage needed for the porn on the web servers was
...forty terabytes, five times the size of all the information stored by the Library of Congress.That's an impressive number, to be sure. Not many of us have an external drive that holds even a single terabyte, so forty terabytes must be, like, VAST. On the same video, a line from a court document is highlighted:
...websites contained approximately 2000 sexually explicit videos of young boys...It is safe to say that a boy masturbating in front of a webcam (with parents and/or siblings down the hall) is not likely to produce a full two-hour movie so those 2000 videos cannot account for all forty terabytes. The website must have offered images other than those of the boys, perhaps even--dare to imagine--legal pornography.
In addition, the comparison to the size of the Library of Congress ignores the fact that no one knows how many terabytes (or petabytes) of storage the LOC would require if all its documents--and movies!--were digitized. The comparison was used for effect, not for accuracy.
The victims were all boys ages 13-15, with the exception of eight girls and two boys around three years old. Members and operators of the website enticed the boys to perform on camera and the images then ended up on the website. Sometimes the operators/members posed as young girls asking the boys to show or do something for the camera.
Hard to tell if the subscribers were all seeking child porn or how many of them were involved in soliciting the illegal images or how long any of them were subscribers. Was it a month-by-month subscription so that the same subscriber could be counted multiple times? (Rest assured that the feds have already collected as much data about the subscribers as possible from the website. I imagine they could answer my question if they were so inclined.)
If over 200 boys will perform for a webcam when a stranger entices them, how many boys are doing the same for their real-life friends? In this case, the boys are called victims and ICE can claim to have saved them from the bad guys.
In other cases, teens who upload naughty videos are called child pornographers.
A careful reading of the story should raise questions as well as eyebrows.