FBI commits crime to entrap American citizens; Operates half of child porn websites

By Bryan Clark . . . Earlier this year we brought you an in-depth exposé of how, for 12 days in February and March, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran the world’s largest child porn site, Playpen. According to newly unsealed documents, Playpen wasn’t the only site containing child pornography on FBI servers.

The piece above can handle the in-depth explaining (if you’re interested), but it went down like this: the FBI seized the site, ran it on government servers for 13 days and attempted to ensnare pedophiles through malware. The malware, known in law enforcement as a “network investigative technique” (NIT), tried to infiltrate layers of security TOR users employ when accessing the dark web. In at least a few cases, it worked.

According to an FBI affidavit:

In the normal course of the operation of a web site, a user sends “request data” to the web site in order to access that site. While Websites 1-23 operate at a government facility, such request data associated with a user’s actions on Websites 1-23 will be collected. That data collection is not a function of the NIT. Such request data can be paired with data collected by the NIT, however, in order to attempt to identify a particular user and to determine that particular user’s actions on Websites 1-23.

Put simply, “websites 1-23” were operated at a government facility for an undefined period in an attempt to snag potential child predators.

Sarah Jamie Lewis, a security researcher, told Ars Technica: “it’s a pretty reasonable assumption” that the FBI was, at one point, running nearly half of all known child porn sites hosted on Tor-hidden services. Lewis runs OnionScan, an analysis tool that uses bots to map out the dark web and look for vulnerabilities. She began her researching in April of this year, and as of August, she’s mapped 29 unique child porn-related sites on Tor-hidden servers.

The issue — aside from the FBI’s above-the-law approach at investigation — is the use of a single warrant to hack thousands of computers. The Playpen investigation netted some 1,300 unique internet protocol (IP) addresses. Of these, fewer than 100 cases made their way to court, and judges in Iowa, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma ruled that the FBI’s investigation techniques violated current laws of federal procedure.

Other judges have taken issue with the unlawful search but failed to go as far as suppressing the evidence collected.   (Please continue reading this article in The Next Web)

9 comments for “FBI commits crime to entrap American citizens; Operates half of child porn websites

  1. March 21, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Yet, as advocates for those caught up in “entrapment” cases discover, there is little public or judicial sympathy for them. Even in cases where judges have admitted FBI tactics have raised serious questions, there has been no hesitation in returning guilty verdicts, handing down lengthy sentences and dismissing appeals.

  2. Al Bookhart
    November 17, 2016 at 11:11 am

    The F.B.I can’t look at child porn. That’s a crime. They can trash it. Then hope they don’t get another like it.

  3. Lovecraft
    November 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I guess the FBI will have to register as a sex offender. They better hope none of their buildings are in violation of premise restrictions.

  4. A new low for our country
    November 13, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    This whole thing reeks of a sewer level of thinking since it involved people, real people who could not make any choice here about their participation…..children. The FBI used children to their bidding. This is not like an adult, who has a choice, posing as a teen, a prostitute, a drug dealer or gun dealer, but this was using children in non-contact ways to entrap people. Condoning those who are on the dark web for this purpose and were entrapped should not happen, but the method of using those children, that the powers that be are sworn to defend and protect, without their consent, or their responsible adult’s consent, no less is criminal and reprehensible.

    This is up there in reprehensibility of ISIS who uses children to snare enemy forces who are thinking the children are innocent. There is a history of children being used in such methods, but this is a new low for the FBI, Dept of Justice and this President.

    This isn’t guns or drugs, but children who are being taught by adults what is right and wrong in life. Congress needs to look into this extremely quickly in the next few days/weeks to get it in the public’s eyes.

  5. November 13, 2016 at 12:04 am

    You know I liked that robot in “Lost in Space” Danger, Danger, Danger. While I I was caught up in a State level sting operation of sorts going FBI is a big step in setting up all this stuff. I think that’s something the new president needs to look into.

    Preventing is what they should be more interested in but if theirs money involved some couldn’t care about justice even if someone is trying to pull one over on the other. Don’t we all have a responsibility to help others. If one gets burn once one doesn’t want to get burned twice.. We’re not talking small parking tickets. We’re talking about someone taking authority over another just because they used a potty mouth or were addicted to porn in some ways mean’s and fashion.

    Now I believe in justice but there has to be a balance. Even after I get over my little ordeal of this polygraph test, which I pasted the one last time, I would think that just is doing a lot of others wrong. RSOL keep up the good work.

  6. Why the low level media coverage?
    November 12, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Where is the main stream media on this? Why are they not covering it? Shouldn’t FBI Director Comey, AG Lynch and President Obama be looking into this? Why isn’t the Justice Committee looking into this? Wouldn’t this be on the same scale of Fast and Furious gun sales when AG Holder was in office? How can this be elevated into the public’s consciousness?

  7. david
    November 12, 2016 at 10:48 am

    After being arrested in a “bait and switch” thru the Craigslist Personals I wonder how much internet crimes against children are “real’? Far as I can tell it’s extremely rare.

    Isn’t viewing child porn considered by the law to be the same as committing an assault? So the FBI is assaulting children as part of their scheme to catch viewers of CP?

    Wonder how those victims would feel if they knew the FBI was distributing images of them on the web?

  8. Ron
    November 12, 2016 at 7:17 am

    The tech industry is just as complicit as the government when it come to the production of such schemes and failures. State actors such as Isarel and et. al , all seek to exploit and profit from the very same venue utilizing extraction and mining tools to indentify alleged participants. The porn industry is let loose and unfettered in other countries and they have no interest or concern in profiting from the very same problem. People try to profoundly attach human trafficking to porn which is loosely based. The basic problem is countries don’t enforce policies when it comes to child porn, unless internationally or embarrassingly pressured to do so. porn is a unspoken staple to sexuality in many countries. Children should be no part of the inclusion. But to punish someone based on ensnaring entrapment and overboard authoritive techniques is not the role or scope of agency imposition on he general public. You have individual unsupervised discretion spewing from agents and other directorates within the department of justice. This needs to be tightly and severely regulated as to quell and nearly eliminate open abuse. As ideally suggested, an oversight prevention committee comprised of ordinary concerned citizens should be part of the warrant issuance process, cultivating “true transparency “. We have gone too far with bureaucratic bullying and the ignorant insistence that these progressive pursuits are supremely justifiable or naturally necessary. The government tends to groom its problematic policies around its citizens to stay relevant and advancing in the political scheme of things.

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