Australian Police Ran A Dark Web Child Porn Site For Eleven Months

from the presiding-over-a-period-of-unprecedented-growth dept

Thanks to an investigation by Norwegian newspaper VG, a long-running child porn operation by Australian police has been (inadvertently) uncovered. An IT specialist at VG was monitoring forum activity and only stumbled on law enforcement's involvement on accident.

In comparison to the FBI's takeover of the Playpen site, the Taskforce Argos operation was epic. The FBI held onto the seized Playpen seizure for only a couple of weeks. The Australian police served as replacement administrators for eleven months.

The government's turn as child porn site administrators began with the arrest of two men in the United States, one of them a Canadian citizen. Both were apparently actively abusing children as well as running the dark web site. According to data gathered by investigators, Childs Play had more than a 1 million registered users by the time it was shut down. (Estimates suggest fewer than 5,000 accounts could be considered active, however.) Based on estimates from multiple countries now involved in the law enforcement action, the eleven-month hosting effort has resulted in nearly 1,000 suspects being identified. Some have already been arrested.

The article is worth a read (as is the Guardian's more succinct take), if for no other reason than the sheer amount of detective work performed by a few journalists. The ends are worthy -- the arrest and punishment of child abusers -- but, as in the FBI's child porn operations, the means are highly questionable.

Presumably Australian law enforcement used something similar to the FBI's malware to reveal identifying information about the forum's users. No details have been provided to VG, but there's a good chance details will begin to surface as cases proceed to trial.

But it is concerning law enforcement felt a need to continue to distribute child porn for eleven months before deciding to shut down the site. It also seems highly possible the site was only shut down was because the operation had been uncovered by VG's detective work.

While impersonating one of the arrested forum moderators, police had to provide a monthly update post to prevent the site's warrant canary from kicking in. One requirement was to include a child porn image with this update, under the assumption law enforcement officers wouldn't be legally allowed to distribute this contraband.

That leads directly to another problematic aspect of the investigation: the website was relocated for easier exploitation.

It is VG’s understanding that when WarHead surrendered access to Childs Play and Giftbox each forum was stored on servers in separate European countries. Police, lawyers and the suspects themselves refuse to say which.

Police in Australia and the European country saw obvious benefits to having the Australian police, rather than a European force, running the site.

Australian laws give the police unusually broad powers to monitor suspicious activities online.

By consolidating the operation under Australian jurisdiction, investigators now had legal latitude to distribute child porn. The police may not have distributed much directly, but during the eleven months the site operated under new ownership, business was booming. According to statistics compiled by VG's investigation, hosted images quadrupled during that period, from 3,000 to over 12,000 total image. And some of the uploaded images became incredibly popular.

On 25 October 2016, two weeks after Argos took over the site, an unidentified user created a discussion thread featuring images of an eight-year-old girl being raped.

By August of this year, the post had been viewed 770,617 times – all while the police were running the website.

Some victims of child sexual abuse interviewed by VG are upset their images were redistributed by law enforcement. Others are a bit more pragmatic about the investigators' actions. But the redistribution of child porn by law enforcement raises a bunch of questions no one in law enforcement seems interested in answering.

Carissa Byrne Hessick, a professor of law at the University of North Carolina, questions [investigator Paul] Griffith’s argument. She is one of the world’s leading legal experts on investigating such abuse.

"It sounds like the police tell one story about how damaging the images are when others share them, and another story when the police share them.

That’s a kind of hypocrisy I really don’t like. But this sheds light on the argument that any and all sharing of such an image is abuse. If the police say they’re only sharing images that have been shared before, it means the police do not think all sharing is harmful," says Hessick.

The counterargument, of course, is law enforcement commits illegal acts for the greater good. But the argument is somewhat hollow when child porn convictions come with restitution orders based on the number of images shared. Eleven months running a child porn site seems like overkill, especially when the two principal members were already in custody by the time investigators took over.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 3:33am

    Entrapment

    Every person victimized during this time period where their images showed up on this site needs to sue the government of Australia in order to prevent them from ever running sites like this again. This has moved on from acting like evil to outright becoming evil itself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 8:58am

      Re: Entrapment

      This is how it always goes down.

      Everyone uses pretzel logic to justify their actions. In fact, because the citizens are abundant with this logic, so shall its government. Government is quite literally the embodiment of its people. People will deny this vehemently but that is just the way it is. No decent and good willing people would ever stand by as their government commits to tyranny... and yet, often it will happen. Of course there will be exceptions so don't bother bringing them up. They don't count because the 10 people that are willing to fix things cannot easily overcome the 100 sycophants in their way.

      And to clarify...

      "This has moved on from acting like evil to outright becoming evil itself."

      When government and law is concerned, there is no difference between acting like it or being it.

      You can act evil as an actor on a show, no real evil is being done because everyone knows it is an act and everything is fakery. You cannot act evil as an agent of law enforcement because it becomes real action the moment it has been acted because it cannot be allowed to be revealed as fakery.

      Job #1 of law enforcement. Provide reasonable presence to encourage deterrence to law breaking.
      Job #2 of law enforcement, provide for the apprehension of criminal actors.

      Undercover work sacrifices Job #1, and Introduces Job #3 which should never exist... the participation in criminal behavior to entice an actor into crime. We should not accept this type of law enforcement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daydream, 13 Oct 2017 @ 4:01am

    My thoughts:

    1. A quadrupling of hosted images in under 12 months? Does that mean that more sex crimes were being committed to generate those images?

    2. They found that 8-year-old girl, right? They're doing this to rescue kids and teens from rape and prostitution and who-knows-what, right? Not just to get convictions?

    3. There's this thing called Crime Stoppers here in Australia, which is a fancy way of saying 'share information with the public and hope someone comes forward'. Do you suppose we're letting child abusers get away because it's illegal for members of the public to participate in trying to identify them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 5:42am

      Re: My thoughts:

      "They're doing this to rescue kids and teens from rape and prostitution and who-knows-what, right?"

      That's always the thought at the back of my mind with these things. I mean, sure, I understand the argument that the people viewing these pictures need to be demonised and shunned from society, to be punished and stopped. But, every one of these pictures represents a victim. Finding and rescuing those victims needs to be the prime requirement for these forces, not catching whatever loser happens to stumble across a honeypot.

      The idea that the increase in images represents an increase in abuse is troubling. The idea that police were more interested in catching the perverts than finding the victims is exponentially more horrifying.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 6:33am

        Re: Re: My thoughts:

        Pictures don't represent victims. Being harmed represents a victim. Legal fictions and assumptions have no place in Justice. Those who Make child porn May be considered criminals if they Have harmed someone. See the difference from downloading (or even uploading) a picture? No? Neither does law enforcement.. because they're stupid.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 8:37am

          Re: Re: Re: My thoughts:

          What are you blathering on about? Of course the pictures represent victims. They’re not only evidence of the abuse, they’re often the reason the abuse took place to begin with. They are direct representations of the crime.

          Those who make child porn may be considered criminals IF they have harmed someone? You literally have to harm someone to produce it, by definition!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 9:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My thoughts:

            Exactly. Which why we need to eliminate violence in movies and other media. It makes people go out and commit it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 9:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My thoughts:

              OK, so you weren’t being obtuse, you actually are an idiot.

              BY DEFINITION, child porn is a crime and has to have a victim in order for it to exist. When people get shot in a movie, it’s special effects. Nobody actually got injured, unless they’re on the set of The Crow in which case it wasn’t but deliberate. When a kid is raped for pedo pictures, that kid is actually raped. Therefore the picture represents a crime.

              Is that too hard, or did I use too many syllables?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 9:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My thoughts:

                you're so easy

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 14 Oct 2017 @ 10:29am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My thoughts:

                  So, just a trolling idiot then? I congratulate you on having a position in life with so much free time, but wish you would find a more meaningful way to use it than trying to defend child abuse for kicks.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 11:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My thoughts:

            I think he/she is trying to say that the photographer is the criminal but the people sharing the image are not because the act of sharing something doesn't directly harm the person in the photo.

            I disagree but that is what he/she is stating.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 14 Oct 2017 @ 10:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My thoughts:

              If so, they wilfully missed what I was saying (and he has admitted being a moronic troll, sadly). The issue is not whether the sharers are harming the child, although there is a case that they share some responsibility for there being enough of a market to produce the original. The issue is that authorities appear to concentrate more resources on those low hanging fruit than they do in tracking down the originators if the abuse. This may or not be completely true, but the possibility is disturbing.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 4:45am

    The arguments given by the Australian police are the equivalent of:

    A crime was committed against a person. It is therefore moral for the police to commit that same crime against that person ad infinitum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 6:07am

    Will there be pictures of naked police people in humiliating poses soon?

    It is questionable enough for security services to distribute (fake) bombs to entrap terrorists, or to deal drugs to arrest junkies.

    By distributing child porn, the police are abusing the children again. Nobody has the right to distribute another persons picture without their explicit permission, let alone pictures showing people, children for god's sake, in humiliating positions.

    Let's hope that this copyright absurdity, with (American) courts awarding ridiculous damages for copyright infringement, will for once be used for a good cause: 12.000 pictures x 770.617 views x $160.000 Dollars would amount to a reminder that makes not only the Australians, but all police forces around the world think very carefully next time they get creative to boost their statistics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 8:20am

      Re: Will there be pictures of naked police people in humiliating poses soon?

      Nobody has the right to distribute another persons picture without their explicit permission

      Oh, come on. What the police did is wrong, but that's taking it too far.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Groaker (profile), 14 Oct 2017 @ 4:02am

        Re: Re: Will there be pictures of naked police people in humiliating poses soon?

        Depends on the nation that you live in. In the US, a picture may be taken in a public place under almost all circumstances.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 6:20am

    In the ethics class I took, one of the subjects covered was that the phrase "the ends justify the means" while popular, is ethically invalid. In part, because you can't guarantee your intended "ends" will come to pass, or are even possible to achieve. The "means" must be tested on its own for being ethical. If not, then your actions are unethical regardless of the intent behind them.
    .
    A lot of law enforcement and homeland security extremism loses its veneer of morality under this light. Especially because for many of those behaviors, the ends aren't achieved.
    .
    "Running a prolific child porn ring to hopefully catch a handful of perverts" -> "sexually exploiting thousands of children"
    .
    "Seizing 'suspicious' property to stop criminals from profiting from their crimes" -> "Robbery at badgepoint"
    .
    "NYPD being more proactive in stopping suspicious activity on the street" -> "needless hassling of brown people for just being there
    .
    "a shield of security agents who can protect people from <10% of the 'dangerous' things brought on planes" -> "hiring sexual deviants via pizza boxes"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 6:34am

      Re:

      The ends justify the means - when all the ends are taken into account.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      Ignoring the rights of people not convicted of any crimes is the common theme of your examples. Violating them roundly seems to be the new american motto.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 9:23am

        Re: Re:

        Criminals don't deserve rights.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 9:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The government defines what crime is, and, therefore, who is and who is not a criminal.

          Do you think that they should be able to decide whether or not you deserve rights?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 1:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Do you think that they should be able to decide whether or not you deserve rights?"

            Don't worry, the government and most citizens do decide who does and does not deserve rights. It's sorta why it's all going to hell in a hand basket.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Groaker (profile), 14 Oct 2017 @ 4:09am

          Re: Re:

          A criminal is a criminal whether or not they are caught and tried.

          There are so many laws on the books that it is impossible to go through a day without breaking at least one.

          No one deserves rights.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      I would say "The ends justify the means" can only ever work on a case-by-case basis, and even then only rarely.

      For instance, it's a horrible thing to kill another person. However, if that person is trying to kill you, the ends (defending your own life) justify the means you take to achieve them (attacking the other person without regard for whether your actions will kill that person).

      The biggest problem with the ends justifying the means is when it starts to happen beyond a single isolated instance. A single instance of "Well, I need to take down this child porn ring, so I need to send them a pic to prove that I'm trustworthy and learn their secrets" might be justifiable - once. And then maybe you have to do it again, six months later, so it's again possibly justifiable - once.

      However, in this case, and in so many other cases, what happens is, "Hey, that worked! Let's set up a system by which we use these horrible means towards those ends! After all, if it's a good thing to do something bad once to take down one bad guy, doing the same questionable thing systemically, in order to systemically take down all of the bad guys must be even better!" And that ignores the fact that systems, by their very nature, do not exist to achieve ends; they exist to perpetuate means.

      Start off by spying on a few people to defend the USA, build a system around that premise, and you end up with the NSA, an agency which exists solely to collect so much data that the haystack could have a million needles and you'd never find the first one.

      Start off by selling weapons to terrorist cells in order to prove they're up to no good, build a system around that, and you'll end up with the FBI, goading mentally ill people into "planning" terrorist attacks that they never would have committed otherwise, so that they can be arrested.

      Start off by banning drugs like marijuana in the name of public health, build a system around enforcing those laws, and you'll end up with prisons full of poor people who sought out the only escape they could from their misery, and who have been given life sentences for non-violent crimes.

      Start off by sending one picture in order to catch distributors of child porn, build a system around it, and, it should be no surprise, you've ended up becoming a distributor yourself.

      If you clearly say, "In this case, even though the means are dubious, they are justified by the ends, and it stops right when this use case ends," then maybe, maybe, if the ends are good enough and every effort is taken to limit the damage caused by the means, you might be right about the ends justifying the means - in this one case.

      Most people don't use the phrase "The ends justify the means" in that context, though. They use it to justify building a system around using bad means to achieve good ends. The natural consequence of that system is that the bad means become ends unto themselves, and people suffer for it.

      I might give a single person, defending their actions, the benefit of the doubt when saying that the ends they achieved justified the means that they used to undertake it. However, it's a phrase that should never be on the lips of a government or its representatives, because systems are all that they have to work with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 12:41pm

      Re:

      But dammit Backpage must pay!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 7:16am

    Police just want to make arrests.

    They'll do just about anything, even abuse children.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 8:40am

    "One million accounts" is quoted. But it appears that fewer than 5000 of them were active, and there is no estimate of how many individuals that represents.

    Just looking at this website is illegal in many places. It's likely that the users regularly created and abandoned accounts to avoid leaving an obvious long-term record of their activities. Some may have have done it as frequently as every use. 5000 active accounts over a year might be only 100 active users.

    A similar thing is true for the image view counts. Most users are presumably going back to the site rather than downloading incriminating content. And viewing with their browser caching turned off, or even with browsers that retain no state. Each time the page is viewed the images are downloaded. In some cases just scrolling up and down will load an image multiple times, or re-load the page to render additional content.

    The count of individuals is important. Police are justifying their actions based on large counts. If the reality is there are few people creating and viewing child porn, it may be that the police are actually the largest purveyors and consumers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Manabi (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 4:52pm

      Re:

      The article did mention that police estimate the actual users was in the tens of thousands, which sounds about right given the graphs showing numbers of posts and number of images shared. But the media will mostly run with the million accounts thing and not include that little factoid.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 11:10am

    So how did the journalist see these forum posts without going to the child porn site themselves?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      I'm assuming they had to crack a few eggs to make this omelet. Doing all of this with qualified immunity was pretty risky. This whole thing stinks to high hell and a lot of "good guys" should go down for this too. But they wont. Sometimes I think that these "taskforces" are actually the biggest pervs out there. What's the best way to view all of the child porn you want, without any risk? Become a cop.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 12:53pm

      Re:

      Chances are, by not looking for or downloading images.

      If it was my job, chosen or not, to investigate something like this, i would not be downloading file packages and would turn off image display if they are posted inline. Not difficult.

      Individual citizens have actually done so to report something they were made aware of, or attempt to gather evidence when law enforcement was ignoring reports. People who actually go looking for exploited children will actually have to see at least part of an image occasionally, whether an LEO or a member of some organizations. Including orgs like MCMEC.

      But one can investigate without seeing images when not necessary. Repeated viewing for distorted prurient interests - that's a problem. But none of this is to say how the law might be applied in any given circumstance. We all know how that can go in a variety of spaces, including reporting website or code vulnerabilities or exploits.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 6:17pm

    NO. This will not be ignored any longer, either that or you're blind as bat. This isn't a case of "pedophiles" being undercover cops. It's a case of cops being closet pedophiles. Being a cop never exempted a person from being a pedophile. This is a case, where cops who were pedophiles themselves abused their own position to insure they had access to materials who, once discovered, attempted to pass off what they were doing as a "genuine" law-enforcement operation (as apposed to the ad hoc ham-fisted exploit that it actually was). These are not cops who made mistakes. These are pedophiles who broke the law, and are scrambling to cover it up any way they can. They belong in the slammer, and they deserve to be slammed endlessly while in there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      walt, 13 Oct 2017 @ 8:46pm

      Re: they didnt break aussie law

      when it comes to cyber crime and especially child abuse, australian courts have allowed aussie cops to break the law in order to catch perps
      the last time they did this, they kept a site running for 3 months.
      they believe that the end justifies the means.
      but what are the ends if those who were using the site, continued to spread the child porn to other sites that were not being monitored?
      this is like the sugar plantation owners bringing in the mongoose to rid themselves of snakes and then finding the mongoose have overrun the island and are killing off beneficial native animal life
      so now they have to kill the mongoose
      basically, they are making sure that they will never be out of a gig....and that should not be their goal

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 6:06am

        Re: Re: they didnt break aussie law

        We're talking about a country that believes their laws trump the laws of math...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 9:03pm

    But wait. Aren't thwy jusy innocent operators and the content user generated?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 14 Oct 2017 @ 9:57am

    In any fascist police state, profits are always the primary goal.

    Is there any mention of whether or not the Aussie Cops made any money from the sale of images, during their stint as web-pervs in disguise? That would include any money used for the upkeep and maintenance of the sites, if it was derived from the sale of child pornography, rather than simply stolen from tax payers as usual.

    I assume child porn pictures, like any other illegal commodity, are fairly expensive to purchase, due primarily to the sellers expense in avoiding law enforcement. So where did all the money brought in from the 11 month sales period end up?

    If the cops made any money at all, I think their activity in operating an abused child porn site should be deemed wholly illegal and all involved should face charges identical to those that would be faced by private-citizen-sellers of child pornography.

    To my way of thought, any person who profits from the abuse of a child, in this case, from the sale of images of that abuse, should face the same penalties as the abuser, regardless of the reasons offered for doing so.

    ---

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  • identicon
    John does it, 14 Oct 2017 @ 12:17pm

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2017 @ 1:31pm

    "the police say they’re only sharing images that have been shared before"

    Yeah right, people would have clued in that they're cops right away if they were sharing old shit. They must have been borrowing from their own private collection of seized evidence in order to pass the rough scrutiny of seasoned darkweb pedophiles. Submitting never-before-seen material is your buy-in to a lot of these communities, it "proves" that you're not a cop, because cops would never rape children as cops never commit crimes. Y'know, logic.

    Sure, it's dumb, but these dumb pedos still operate by these dumb rules, and if the cops were able to keep this up for 11 months without anyone getting wise, these cops at least knew enough how the online pedophile community works just as well as any investigative journalist who has written on the subject would tell you.

    Also isn't it funny how the cops can try to play that argument and at least some people people rub their chins and think about the logic of it all, whereas whenever I use that argument as to why sharing pictures of raping kids shouldn't be illegal, so that pedos should have something to jack off to and thus be less likely to actually commit child rape, because insert argument here about how watching crimes doesn't make viewers into criminals as evidenced by the lack of a causal connection between real-life violence and violence in video games, movies, etc., I get flamed/downvoted/flagged/banned almost immediately by knee-jerk reactionaries no matter what online community I'm in.

    Don't get me wrong, the act of raping children still should be illegal, and the multimedia involving their rapes should still be forensically analyzed by investigators to find out when/where these crimes happened in order to punish the rapists responsible, but mark my words, this comment will be hidden behind that nice ajax.googleapis.com script for daring suggest what I just did in the previous paragraph. Take my metadata, Google, you already know more than enough about me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      GEMont, 18 Oct 2017 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      "I get flamed/downvoted/flagged/banned almost immediately by knee-jerk reactionaries no matter what online community I'm in."

      ---------

      Its incredibly refreshing to see someone who has actually thought this thing through, posting on this topic. Its more than just rare.

      In order to seriously attack Child Abuse, it would be essential to do another totally unthinkable thing, that the mere suggestion of will also earn one the ire of the vast majority of otherwise intelligent humans - educate children about sexuality, at the earliest possible time, rather than wait till they are nearly adults.

      We live in a world where religion has indoctrinated nearly every culture with the utterly absurd belief that a Child who has learned about the process of procreation of species, is a destroyed and ruined child who will become evil thereafter... or something.

      No evidence of this claim has ever been offered, but because its a religious belief, it only needs faith to become real in the minds of the indoctrinated and thus no evidence will ever be, or for that matter, need ever be forthcoming.

      If children knew what the pedophile was after, the chance of being tricked into a position where abuse can take place diminishes tremendously.

      One could in fact, come to the conclusion, that laws maintaining the sexual-ignorance of children, were designed and instituted by pedophiles. Keeping children ignorant of sexuality certainly makes life a lot easier for the pedophile, whose activities have not diminished in centuries, if ever.

      It might also aid in the extermination of pedophiles, if their crime was labelled for what it really is - "KID" napping.

      But I have faith in humanity.

      The public will always "choose" the wrong path, because they always let authority choose for them, and Authority always chooses the path that is most profitable to the members of Authority.

      I don't see us getting off this Merry-Go-Round any time soon. So tough luck kids.

      ---

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  • identicon
    Will B., 14 Oct 2017 @ 1:58pm

    I am going to take a risk and be a dissenting voice in this forum.
    I believe, in this case, the ends *did* justify the means, so long as the police were only reposting and not manufacturing pictures.
    The reason I believe this is simple: The sort of people who would rape an 8 year old girl and share pictures of it on a forum are the sort of people who would rape an 8 year old girl *without* the pictures or the forum. We go a long way here on Techdirt to remind people that sweeping a problem under the rug does not make that problem go away; if this police action could give critical evidence leading to the arrest of actual manufacturers of child pornography (Manufacturers specifically), then while I understand being queasy about the methods, I think I would prefer to judge this one on whether the method was effective.
    Again, this relies on the police neither manufacturig new images, nor profiting off of the site.
    I simply look at the situation and see that shutting down the site would have ultimately done nothing to catch abusers nor rescue victims; there will always be another site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      walt, 14 Oct 2017 @ 8:16pm

      Re: however

      the vast majority of arrests and convictions will be of "low hanging fruit". guys without a record who have no connection to assaulting children. take a look at the playpen case.
      and there was plenty of evidence on the site before they took it over. that is why it was so ez for vg to track many of the users down.
      if the admins who were arrested were posting new material before their arrests, the cops wouldve had to have kept up the ruse in order for users not to become suspicious
      that is why, despite the cops missing the deadline to post a digital sig and one piece of kiddy porn, the users didnt catch onto the fact that the site was compromised.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Will B., 16 Oct 2017 @ 2:19pm

        Re: Re: however

        See, this strikes me more as an issue of efficacy rather than method. Also, regarding posting new and unique images; I would *assume* and I am emphasizing that this is an assumption, that captured evidence from other child porn cases would constitute the "new" material.
        Of course, if there is any evidence that the police were manufacturing new child porn for this, that'd be a whole different issue.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Will B., 16 Oct 2017 @ 4:41pm

          Troubling thought

          Throughout those comments, I did not consider the further victimization of the people who those pictures were taken of. That's... kind of a huge thing for me to overlook; rethinking much of what I originally thought on the subject. Even using already-created pictures is still further victimizing the people in those pictures.
          I'm gonna withdraw my disagreement for now, and settle uncomfortably on the fence while I think the situation over.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2017 @ 9:45pm

    A lot of cops became cops because they just wanted to hunt the human species. History probably won't read that way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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