Saturday, May 6, 2017

900 PEDOPHILES ARRESTED IN BIGGEST 'DARK WEB' CHILD PORN BUST IN HISTORY



Add this to 1500 other pedophile arrests that have taken place since Trump took office and I'd say things are moving pretty quickly now in the right direction.

Source Article by Daniel Newton:
900 Pedophiles Arrested In Biggest 'Dark Web' Child Porn Bust In History
http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2141-900-pedophiles-arrested-in-biggest-dark-web-child-porn-bust-in-history

A massive 900 members of the global ‘dark web’ pedophile ring that spans both the US and Europe have been arrested following a two-year investigation as the website founder was handed a 30-year jail sentence according to the FBI and Europol.

The FBI confirmed that operation, which is still active, revealed that 350 arrests were made in the Us alone as part of a massive investigation into 'Playpen' - a secret website that could be the biggest child pornography online dump in history.

Law enforcement actions related to the investigation spanned as far as Turkey, Peru, Chile, Israel and Ukraine according to the FBI.

RT.com reports: Europe accounts for the major share of arrests and convictions with 368 suspects being charged. A total of 870 arrests were made in connection with the case, according to Europol.

Over 300 children who had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Playpen members have been identified or rescued.

EU Commissioner for the Security Union, Sir Julian King, said “a hugely significant blow has been struck against one of the most heinous of crimes, arguably the worst of all, thanks to the excellent transnational cooperation of Europol with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as other law enforcement agencies around the world.”

Playpen’s founder, Steven W. Chase, 58, was sentenced Monday to 30 years behind bars. The site he set up in August 2014 boasted some 150,000 users worldwide until it was taken down by the FBI following a controversial covert operation.

The agency said it had uncovered the site almost immediately after it had been launched but lacked information to trace the location or identity of the site’s owner as it was rooted in the deep web, meaning the site was only accessible through special software such as Tor.

Tor grants anonymity to its users and thereby is often described as a convenient platform for illicit activities, such as selling weapons, drugs or disseminating pornography.

However, Florida-based Chase inadvertently slipped up, revealing his site’s IP address, providing law enforcement with all the necessary leads.

Two of Chase’s aides, Michael Fluckiger and David Browning, both US citizens – who served as administrators of the site – were each jailed for 20 years.

Through a subsequent operation codenamed Operation Pacifier, the FBI succeeded in tracking down hundreds of the site’s users, sending “more than 1,000 leads” to FBI agents as well as to European authorities.

The FBI has been criticized for what it called a “court-approved network investigative technique” used to unearth information about the suspects. It emerged that the agency, with court approval, seized and ran the pedophile website for 13 days in February 2015.

The FBI’s command of the Playpen site enabled the agency to infect over 8,000 users’ computers with malware and hack them. Notably, the site was said to be more efficient and even experienced a boost in audience numbers with the FBI in charge of its content.

Internet privacy experts found the FBI’s handling of the case highly questionable and contrary to privacy laws.

“The warrant here did not identify any particular person to search or seize. Nor did it identify any specific user of the targeted website,” Electronic Frontier Foundation said, calling into question the legality of the FBI’s actions.

However, the head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), Steven Wilson, appeared to defend the controversial practice, saying in a statement that “If we operate with 19th century legal principles then we are unable to effectively tackle crime at the highest level.”

“We need to balance the rights of victims versus the right to privacy,” Wilson argued, praising the cooperation between the US and European law enforcement in the case.


Source Article:
Child-porn website creator accidentally reveals IP address, leading to 870 arrests
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-06/playpen-child-porn-site-creator-steven-chase-sentenced/8502626



The full scale of an investigation into a worldwide paedophile ring has been released by the FBI and Europol after the creator of a child pornography website was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.

Florida man Steven Chase, 58, was this week sentenced in a North Carolina federal courtroom on multiple child pornography and child exploitation charges, the FBI said.

Officials said he was the creator and lead administrator of child pornography website Playpen, which had more than 150,000 members before it was shut down.

Members uploaded and viewed tens of thousands of postings of young victims, categorised by age, sex and the type of sexual activity involved.



In January 2015, the FBI and the US Department of Justice launched Operation Pacifier in an effort to track down Playpen's thousands of members.

The operation received support from Europol and other law enforcement agencies around the world.

As a result there were 368 arrests or convictions in Europe and 350 in the US, with a total of 870 worldwide, according to information released by the FBI and Europol.

The FBI said 296 sexually abused children were identified or rescued internationally.

Europol's executive director Rob Wainwright called it "one of the most important investigations of online child sexual abuse ever conducted".

Michael Fluckiger, 46, of Indiana, and David Browning, 47, of Kentucky, were also identified as administrators of the website and each received 20-year prison terms earlier this year.

The FBI said Chase created Playpen in August 2014 on Tor, an open network on the internet where users can communicate anonymously through "hidden service" websites.

Tor was created by the US Naval Research Laboratory as a means of protecting government communications, US attorney Jill Rose noted in a written response to a motion to have Chase's indictment dismissed.

But she said the network had a downside.

"The Tor network is a haven for criminal activity in general, and the online sexual exploitation of children in particular," she wrote.

Chase accidentally reveals Playpen's IP address

The FBI said it became aware of the site after it launched, but Special Agent Dan Alfin said that because of how Tor worked, there was not much agents could do about it.

But in December 2014, agents said Chase slipped up and revealed Playpen's IP address, which was a location in the US.

The mistake was caught by overseas law enforcement, which then informed the FBI.

In launching its own investigation, the FBI learned that the computer server that hosted Playpen was located at a web-hosting facility in North Carolina and that Chase was the administrator of the server, Ms Rose wrote.

Chase was arrested in February 2015, after which the FBI took over the website for two weeks in order to identify its users.

Chase argued through his motion filed in federal court in North Carolina that the FBI's operation of the website amounted to "outrageous government conduct" and that his indictment should be dismissed.

Agent Alfin said the agency used a court-approved network-investigating technique to uncover IP addresses and other information that helped locate and identify users.

Investigators sent more than 1,000 leads to FBI field offices around the country and thousands more to overseas law enforcement agencies.

"It's the same with any criminal violation: as they get smarter, we adapt, we find them," Agent Alfin said.



Chase lived in a rural-suburban neighbourhood in Naples, Florida

According to public records, he ran an excavation trucking company.

Chase had been charged with crimes in Naples over the years, including battery and possession of a controlled substance, but those charges were dismissed.

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