Tuesday, July 7, 2015

FBI, distributor of child pornography: #2

Last February, the FBI seized a website that distributed child porn and continued operating the site for another two weeks.
The search warrant, unsealed on Monday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, showed that the FBI seized the website's North Carolina server on Feb. 20 but allowed it to remain operating for about two weeks while authorities investigated its users.
Allowed it to remain operating? We have heard that before. In June 2013, I wrote about another time when the FBI ran a child porn website:
Operating a child porn website is illegal. Distributing child porn is illegal. Possessing child porn is illegal. The FBI did all of this themselves in order to catch those who do the same. [My emphasis.]
Here we are again, with the FBI distributing child pornography. This time, the website they operated had 215,000 users. How many images were downloaded from that site and subsequently uploaded to other sites in those two weeks?

It is possible that links to child porn images on the FBI-run site were rigged so the images would not download successfully. Sorting out the illegal images and re-coding the links on an unfamiliar website is not something that can happen overnight, so the illegal images were definitely available for download for at least part of those two weeks, if not all. The article doesn't say.

The FBI clearly is not focused on stopping the production of child pornography or of stopping child abuse. The FBI wants to put people in prison for looking at child abuse images distributed by the FBI.

Some will point out that putting the 215,000 users into prison will surely slow down the child porn industry. Will it? How many of those users downloaded child pornography?

The Reuters article says there are "thousands of postings and messages featuring child pornography images." Thousands, not hundreds of thousands. 

If all 215,000 users were posting and messaging child porn images, believe me: the article would have said so. If the reporter didn't think to ask how many of the 215,000 were child porn users and if all 215,000 were, believe me: the FBI would have said so.

From the Reuters article:
The probe follows an earlier FBI investigation based out of Nebraska that resulted in the seizure of three child pornography online websites in 2012, two of which listed 5,600 and 8,100 members, respectively. 
How many of those 13,700 users were charged? Twenty-eight. Today's Reuters headline implies a horde of child porn users--FBI seized child porn website with 215,000 users--but 28 of 13,700 is no horde and probably no horde among the 215,000, either.

No matter how many images were distributed during those two weeks, some of them may have been evidence of child abuse. The FBI, though, allowed those images to be distributed for entertainment.

Those images will not--cannot---be obliterated. The FBI distributed them and cannot call them back. In those two weeks, who knows where those images scattered?

The supply of images is unchanged. They remain freely available through the Internet to the curious. The FBI is not trying to stop people from looking at the images at all. If they wanted to stop people from looking, they would have shut down the site and actually stopped people from looking at images the FBI controlled.

Two years ago, I said:
What is likely, is that if the FBI faces no consequences for distributing child pornography, the agency will continue on that course.  
Which laws will they break next?
Now we know. The FBI faces no consequences and will continue to distribute child pornography.


1TruthMovement said...

Great article thanks

Margaret Moon said...

Great Article! However you forgot to mention how many times the children in the pictures were 're-victimized' while the FBI was running the site. Will they be sued by the victim's lawyers?

Anonymous said...

Yet you are not complaining when law enforcement uses illegal drugs to catch drug dealers,possessing them and distributing is also illegal.My point is when it's for the greater good sometimes things have to be done that can be seen as unsavory but it's a necessary evil and you know it. The intentions of law enforcement when they do it are good the intentions of people like your husband are not.You are a smart person so I can only assume you choose to ignore this distinction because of your situation.

Marie said...

Dani, is it odd that I don't talk much about enforcement of drug laws when this blog is about sex offender laws? I also don't spend much time talking about bank regulations here.

The ends do not justify the means.

1TruthMovement said...

The ends justified the means?? The increase in Internet sexual offending has been paralleled by a decrease in the number of reported child sexual abuse cases, and a decrease in violent crime (Mishra & Lalumière, 2009; Finkelhor & Jones, 2006) Have you read that in the media? NO!! This indicates that Internet sexual offending is a new phenomenon that may not be influenced by the same contextual factors as other kinds of sexual or violent crime. Also the vast majority of CP on the internet is self produced. Parent gave their kid computers and phones with cameras so what should they expect? Allow kids to be kids and chill your your cognitive dissonance when you remember when you were a kid and shake with horror because you expect kids to do all the ass hole things you did with a Polaroid camera.​ Guess what they are !! Get over it and allow kids to explore their sexuality by living and learning. Nothing is perfect; so for those that are holier than thou do not let your angst control you. You can not Legislate sexuality they already tried it was called the Inquisition.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I just read a previous post you made on another article. You said that every download victimizes the individual in the abuse image and that the only thing that matters is the victims feelings, but you change your tone in this post saying what the FBI did was okay because they are the good guys. Look at it this way, the FBI facilitated the distribution of abuse images and therefore giving more people the ability of victimizing the person in the image by downloading it.

Victims are under heavy paranoia that they will be recognized in public from the images, not from each download. It sounds like a metaphor when you put it that way (i.e. the eyes are the windows to the soul -a native american saying).

I apologize if this was rash and or blunt, but in a land of free speech one must voice their concern or follow others blindly.

Anonymous said...

I have been recognized in public..at the university I attend as well as on facebook. so it's not paranoia thank you very much.For me it is all to real.I hope you never have anyone close to you that becomes a victim of this crime but if you ever do I suspect your views on it will change.