Friday, January 15, 2016

FBI, distributor of child pornography: #3

The FBI is at it again. Pretending to protect the children by exploiting the children.
Motherboard has reported that as the result of an unprecedented hacking campaign, the FBI had seized the server of the world’s largest known secret child pornography database, “Playpen”, and collected the 1,300 or so IP addresses of its users.
First, only 1,300 IP addresses were using the world's largest child porn database?

Second,
...instead of shutting the site down right away, the FBI temporarily moved Playpen to its own server in Virginia and deployed a network investigative technique (NIT) in order to identify those logging in.
Taking over the site and letting it continue to operate means the feds were purveyors of child pornography. One of the men arrested is arguing that his case should be dismissed because the FBI itself was operating illegally.
"There is no law enforcement exemption, or statutory exemption for the distribution of child pornography," Colin Fieman, one of the federal public defenders filing the motion to dismiss the indictment claimed during a phone interview earlier this week, Motherboard reported.
I have blogged about other cases (one, two) in which the FBI continued operating a website that distributed child porn.

4 comments:

Dani said...

That's 1300 traceable IP addresses,Many have learned to use Libraries,airports,starbucks etc.Anywhere there is free wifi and for some reason pornography is not blocked.By using these places they are just one of hundreds or thousands(in the case of airports) logged into the wifi at any given time all sharing the same IP.I've learned these things when investigators will come to me with my photos to confirm whether it's me or not when they seize someone's computer during an arrest.It seems if they can indentify the victim they can make a stronger case although I am not sure why or if this is true.This has happened 10-12 times in my life(all too often if you ask me)

Margaret Moon said...

I understand that you can opt out of notification by the government. It seems to me that you could get beyond being a victim that way.

Dani said...

Yes I have opted out federally but my state has no such option and the cases I referred to were all state prosecutions.

TheWife said...

I am the wife of a man on the Sex Offenders register in the UK for a contactless sex offence. I have read a great deal of your blog and find it balanced and admire your patience when dealing with the emotive subject material and reactionary comments you receive.

In this case I believe that the FBI did the right thing by taking over the site and continuing to investigate it's users. This wasn't entrapment, no one was coerced into behaviour, it was already going on and it is a behaviour that damages society to its core. By keeping the site active they have identified 1300 who have been making, sharing and accessing illegal images of child abuse (lets call a spade a spade, it's not porn, child or otherwise, it is documentation of the abuse of the most vulnerable people in our society).

When deciding to charge my husband certain members of the police forensics had to view the tens of images in his possession in order to confirm their content, assess their grade and where possible track down the victims to provide the assistance and support they need. These officers suffer great mental and emotional anguish in the line of duty. The FBI have given 1300 (statistically probably) men the much needed opportunity to address their behaviour, to commence a program of rehabilitation designed to stop them repeating their offending. While most who view such images do not/have never committed a contact offence, some have/will do and their risk needs to be assessed for the safety of children they have or may have access to. The FBI have quite possibly prevented current offending behaviour of viewing from moving on to committing a contact crime. 1300 users of child abuse images are now no longer under the radar. This is far more valuable than merely closing a site down and having them all migrate elsewhere to continue to perpetrate their crimes. If the law in its current state doesn't provide for the FBI to be able to do what they have done then the law needs to change.

I'm sure that there will be a great many of the 1300 men who have been identified as part of this sting spitting the dummy because the FBI have removed their toys. These men, in my opinion are the most dangerous of all, they are looking to blame external factors in their own offending behaviour and would do better to spend time contemplating what it is within themselves that caused them to cross the line, to go from fantasy to documented digital reality, to foster such cognitive dissonance that they could not see the real harm behind their actions; harm to them, the victims, the offenders own family. It is more pertinent to ask why they react to the discovery of their actions by pointing the finger at the FBI rather than by quiet contemplation of the life choices that led them to repeatedly commit their crime.