FBI ran active child porn site for two weeks to identify pedophiles

By on May 29, 2013, 1:30 PM
fbi, child pornography

The FBI seized and ran a child pornography website for two weeks in November 2012, according to a recently filed letter to the court. The site, referred to only as “Website A” in court documents, was confiscated and then run by the Bureau from November 16 through December 2 in an attempt to identify its more than 5,000 customers, reports the Seattle PI.

This marks a departure from the FBI’s normal mode of operation, being the first time a child pornography sting akin to this operation has been executed, according the Seattle PI. Law enforcement agencies typically rely on tips or undercover officers posing as customers to root out pedophiles and producers of child porn.

Agents were unable to identify users solely through service records from the site, so the FBI opted to continue operation of the site to track them down.

At the time “Website A” was shut down, its 5,600 users had shared over 10,000 photos in over 24,000 posts, nearly all of which were related to child pornography, according to an FBI report to the court. The brief summation of the site’s contents revealed the despicable intentions of its users. Forum topics included resources for avoiding detection online through encryption, and threads titled “How to lure a child in my car,” “Meeting other pedos in real life,” and “Do kids LIKE anal sex?”

As charges have not yet been filed in the case, there are no names publicly attached to the investigation. The FBI declined to comment, stating that it remains an open investigation, but details will be a matter of public record once prosecution begins.




User Comments: 49

Got something to say? Post a comment
1 person liked this | highlander84 said:

IMO, great job.

customcarvin customcarvin said:

IMO, great job.

Yea, I'm not too sure about the tactic used, but as a parent myself, I too am very happy with the results.

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I don't have a problem with this. It was only up for two weeks and who knows how many hundreds if not thousands of pedophiles they caught with the site.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Somewhere... in some plain FBI office sits some group of average looking FBI geeks who just successfully busted a whole ton of pedophiles. They probably won't ever be on the news or get any public recognition, but they've got my gratitude.

killeriii said:

IMO, great job.

Yea, I'm not too sure about the tactic used, but as a parent myself, I too am very happy with the results.

Agreed, I'm not sure I like the tactics used either.

Child porn sites should be taken down immediately!

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Kinda disappointed that this story didn't end with executions, but I guess you can't always have your cake and eat it too. Score one for the FBI!

1 person liked this | Guest said:

@killeriii

You ever try to catch a mouse with an empty trap?

Guest said:

I hate ask, as we can all agree how despicable pedophiles are, but I question the tactic of running an open site like this. Would we all feel the same if the FBI posted an open site with instructions on bomb making, or how to evade taxes, or any other number of illicit activities. Is it a means to an end? is this entrapment? or is it morally corrupt to distribute some illicit material in order to smoke out criminals?

lipe123 said:

IMO, great job.

Yea, I'm not too sure about the tactic used, but as a parent myself, I too am very happy with the results.

Agreed, I'm not sure I like the tactics used either.

Child porn sites should be taken down immediately!

From what I understand the FBI did not actually upload or 'create' any content, the site was mostly a place where existing sickos could upload/share their nastiness.

In that case its pretty damn smart and this means they have names and evidence to go after the people that used the site.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

I hate ask, as we can all agree how despicable pedophiles are, but I question the tactic of running an open site like this. Would we all feel the same if the FBI posted an open site with instructions on bomb making, or how to evade taxes, or any other number of illicit activities. Is it a means to an end? is this entrapment? or is it morally corrupt to distribute some illicit material in order to smoke out criminals?

All of the things you've listed are easily attainable, and that's why FBI sting operations like this are always so successful. The ethics of the situation has to do with how far they allow the crime to persist before slamming down the hammer. A two-week op seems extremely reasonable, seeing as most of the stings that make the news are usually multi-month or multi-year operations.

Guest said:

From what I understand the FBI did not actually upload or 'create' any content, the site was mostly a place where existing sickos could upload/share their nastiness.

Yet if you or I were to do the same, we would go to prison...to me that is what crosses the line.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

IMO, great job.

Yea, I'm not too sure about the tactic used, but as a parent myself, I too am very happy with the results.

I don't care what tactics they use, as long as they find 'em, try 'em, find 'em guilty & execute 'em. Sick mofo's. Our world and our children are far better off without them.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

From what I understand the FBI did not actually upload or 'create' any content, the site was mostly a place where existing sickos could upload/share their nastiness.

Yet if you or I were to do the same, we would go to prison...to me that is what crosses the line.

Nope. In most sting operations, all the police do is create what appears to be an opportunity to commit a crime. The suspect would have to intend to commit the crime and taken it upon themselves to attempt it for the trap to work. As such, it is entirely the suspect's choice to do something illegal, and they can be charged with it.

If you host a pedophile site, you are committing a crime. If the police temporarily and without actively managing it host a pedophile site for the purpose of catching pedophiles, they are simply presenting the opportunity for others to commit a crime.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

From what I understand the FBI did not actually upload or 'create' any content, the site was mostly a place where existing sickos could upload/share their nastiness.

Yet if you or I were to do the same, we would go to prison...to me that is what crosses the line.

And everyday cops all over the country taze people, but if you do it you can get in trouble. If you go over the speed limit you can get a ticket, but when a cop or ambulance does it we all get out of the way like it's no big deal... It's not a double standard.. it's a reasonable exception.

Guest said:

without actively managing it host a pedophile site

How is that possible if you're hosting it?

Or are you saying if I host a site and don't actively manage it, I'm not breaking the law?

I don't see a difference.

Guest said:

[link]

And everyday cops all over the country taze people,

Yea, I stand corrected, giving our government officials a pass on the law is a good thing.

jetkami said:

Kill em all!

lipe123 said:

[link]

And everyday cops all over the country taze people,

Yea, I stand corrected, giving our government officials a pass on the law is a good thing.

I'm going to guess you are going for sarcasm here? I read that link and in both cases police did it to ensure the safety of the "victim" in the first case the kid already cut himself and was threatening to end his own life. Second case the drunk minor was running into traffic.

Idk what kinda agenda you have here but it seems to me ignorance has not caught up with reality yet.

How about this, US soldiers went to another country (iraq/afghanistan/etc etc) and shot and killed loads of people. So is that a double standard also? Should just anyone be able to go somewhere and shoot people?

Law enforcement break the law ALL THE TIME because the many outweigh the few. They operate under restrictions as to what laws they can break and how they can do it that was set by the people of the country. If the average person took more interest in the way their own country is being run instead of just looking after themselves things might be a lot different.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Let me guess... FBI hired/trained a group of professional pedophiles to go undercover?

I recall how many people's reputation was ruined of those falsely convicted of downloading illegal/copyrighted material, based on wrong IP tracking. Many just went to pay all the fines because lawyer expenses would be even higher.

This one could turn into another such pig-f^^k business...

When cops or whatever 3-letter gov enforcement fail to get criminals legally and decide to go illegally, it is just as disgusting as those pedophiles. They seem to do whatever they like, and much more that they won't tell anyone, and people applaud them here because they heard a bad word pedophile, so let's kill them all, don't matter FBI gets arse-probed everyone...

From what I gather in the last few years, the new american notion of freedom became - "Everyone is free to screw each other".

In the meantime, look in the mirror, and then click this link: How to spot a pedophile.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

without actively managing it host a pedophile site

How is that possible if you're hosting it?

Or are you saying if I host a site and don't actively manage it, I'm not breaking the law?

I don't see a difference.

That's because you're not paying attention to what I said and just want to argue for arguing sake.

lipe123 said:

Let me guess... FBI hired/trained a group of professional pedophiles to go undercover?

I recall how many people's reputation was ruined of those falsely convicted of downloading illegal/copyrighted material, based on wrong IP tracking. Many just went to pay all the fines because lawyer expenses would be even higher.

This one could turn into another such pig-f^^k business...

When cops or whatever 3-letter gov enforcement fail to get criminals legally and decide to go illegally, it is just as disgusting as those pedophiles. They seem to do whatever they like, and much more that they won't tell anyone, and people applaud them here because they heard a bad word pedophile, so let's kill them all, don't matter FBI gets arse-probed everyone...

From what I gather in the last few years, the new american notion of freedom became - "Everyone is free to screw each other".

In the meantime, look in the mirror, and then click this link: How to spot a pedophile.

Did you actually read the article? holy ****.

How is this different from undercover cops busting drug traffickers?

VitalyT VitalyT said:

How is this different from undercover cops busting drug traffickers?

Cops usually do not open a heroin shop to ensnare drug dealers.

There was a nice theory recently that all lascivious content should move into XXX domain. Looks like porno industry said No to that. If FBI just targeted all the porno content that's still not in XXX, that would be a job worth doing. But nobody is doing anything still...

lipe123 said:

How is this different from undercover cops busting drug traffickers?

Cops usually do not open a heroin shop to ensnare drug dealers.

No but they join gangs, smuggle drugs and kill other gang members and sell drugs to the public to do so.

1 person liked this | ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I hate ask, as we can all agree how despicable pedophiles are, but I question the tactic of running an open site like this. Would we all feel the same if the FBI posted an open site with instructions on bomb making, or how to evade taxes, or any other number of illicit activities. Is it a means to an end? is this entrapment? or is it morally corrupt to distribute some illicit material in order to smoke out criminals?

I don't think it would be the same. I think it is a completely different thing to teach someone to be a criminal than it is to catch a criminal in the act, like this. If someone didn't know how to make a bomb or avoid taxes already, then chances are they weren't bomber nor tax evaders before that website. This is different because they didn't teach the pedophiles to be pedophiles, they just set up a trap to catch them while they did what they normally do. It is perfectly justified, in my eyes at least.

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

No but they join gangs, smuggle drugs and kill other gang members and sell drugs to the public to do so.

If we compare drug trafficking to hunt for pedophiles, then the dealers should be those who create content for pedophiles (websites and videos), while pedophiles themselves would be next to drug users, as both things denote sickness. However, while nobody gives a f### about junkies, everyone is up to go man-hunt on pedophiles. Do you not find this hypocritical?

lipe123 said:

No but they join gangs, smuggle drugs and kill other gang members and sell drugs to the public to do so.

If we compare drug trafficking to hunt for pedophiles, then the dealers should be those who create content for pedophiles (websites and videos), while pedophiles themselves would be next to drug users, as both things denote sickness. However, while nobody gives a f### about junkies, everyone is up to go man-hunt on pedophiles. Do you not find this hypocritical?

pedos hurt others

dealers hurt others

Junkies mess themselves up, big difference. Your "end user" argument does not work. It's not about what they are its about the intent to harm others.

And dealers and traffickers are being targeted just as much as pedos are.

I also made no comparison between the crimes I made a comparison of how law enforcement needs to break the law sometimes to get the criminals.

Seriously don't understand why anyone is complaining about this, I guess "freedom" means you should be able to molest kids and post pics of it online as long as you don't get caught! and the only way to get caught is if you turn yourself in because God forbid someone violates your "privacy" to bring to light horrendous crimes.

F****K privacy, if you are not breaking the law what do you have to hide?!

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

I made a comparison of how law enforcement needs to break the law sometimes to get the criminals.

Seriously don't understand why anyone is complaining about this

This is where we have a big problem... The government must never break the law, or the law will be worth nothing. I'm not an American, but I respect the American history that teaches about the freedom in its true meaning, and not twisted as one sees fit. The FBI actions described in this article are about violation of law, probably covered under ambiguity of the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law, if they bothered at all.

Also, sayings like "some freedoms must be sacrificed for the greater good" is a precursor to tyranny.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I'm glad they got them, but how they went about it im not sure. I'm sure a lot of the photos were shared and are all over the internet which isn't good either especially if that was your kid.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

IMO, great job.

Yea, I'm not too sure about the tactic used, but as a parent myself, I too am very happy with the results.

I don't care what tactics they use, as long as they find 'em, try 'em, find 'em guilty & execute 'em. Sick mofo's. Our world and our children are far better off without them.

And what if someone in the FBI was one of those sicko's?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

No but they join gangs, smuggle drugs and kill other gang members and sell drugs to the public to do so.

If we compare drug trafficking to hunt for pedophiles, then the dealers should be those who create content for pedophiles (websites and videos), while pedophiles themselves would be next to drug users, as both things denote sickness. However, while nobody gives a f### about junkies, everyone is up to go man-hunt on pedophiles. Do you not find this hypocritical?

pedos hurt others

dealers hurt others

Junkies mess themselves up, big difference. Your "end user" argument does not work. It's not about what they are its about the intent to harm others.

And dealers and traffickers are being targeted just as much as pedos are.

I also made no comparison between the crimes I made a comparison of how law enforcement needs to break the law sometimes to get the criminals.

Seriously don't understand why anyone is complaining about this, I guess "freedom" means you should be able to molest kids and post pics of it online as long as you don't get caught! and the only way to get caught is if you turn yourself in because God forbid someone violates your "privacy" to bring to light horrendous crimes.

F****K privacy, if you are not breaking the law what do you have to hide?!

That's all well and good... IF the lawmakers are trust worthy. The problem is abuse of power. When has the FBI or Police or x organisation not taken their powers and gone too far? Or stored private information on insecure systems? Or something else stupid?

I'll tell you what. You give me your credit card info, your DOB, name, address, phone number, dog and cat names, first born child and trust me to keep that all safe for you. What? That's stupid? You don't even know me. EXACTLY my point!

With privacy, you have the right to protect your own private data. If you do something wrong, *then* you can forfeit rights to privacy.

2 people like this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

If we compare drug trafficking to hunt for pedophiles, then the dealers should be those who create content for pedophiles (websites and videos), while pedophiles themselves would be next to drug users

Nope. That doesn't stand up to any kind of scrutiny. Paedophiles create content for paedophiles.

From the article:

its 5,600 users had shared over 10,000 photos in over 24,000 posts

You think that the 5,600 paedophiles are passive in this context? That some people other than 5,600 in this group are responsible for creating this content? Are you under the assumption that these people posting questions including

"How to lure a child in my car,"...."Do kids LIKE anal sex?"

...are doing so for purely academic reasons ?

The analogy you're making is actually closer to drug dealers who also use their product.

as both things denote sickness. However, while nobody gives a f### about junkies, everyone is up to go man-hunt on pedophiles. Do you not find this hypocritical?

Nope. Junkies are indulging in a drawn out suicide attempt. The crime of being a user in of itself only affects the user- it's the ancillary crime associated with it (theft, violence, fraud) that is usually punished - the welfare cost is more down to the social construct of the country/state.

Paedophilia obviously perpetrates crime directly against others...unless you're of the opinion that paedophiliac content is produced entirely by photoshopping or willing participants in countries with extremely lax consent laws.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is where we have a big problem... The government must never break the law, or the law will be worth nothing.
The law is already worth nothing.

Protecting personal rights of those who do not share the same sentiments. You cannot protect an enemy and expect not to be bitten. But yet by law, thats what we have been doing for decades.

Emexrulsier said:

It should have simply been taken down and not used as a method of entrapment. I would have lol'd if some over government took the fbi to court for hosting indecent material

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

It should have simply been taken down and not used as a method of entrapment. I would have lol'd if some over government took the fbi to court for hosting indecent material

TBH surely there was a tonne of IPs logged and usable info already on the server that they could use to monitor or take people down with? They should have been passively monitoring before they took over anyway to get sufficient evidence.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

And what if someone in the FBI was one of those sicko's?

Then he get's the treatment as well.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

And what if someone in the FBI was one of those sicko's?

Then he get's the treatment as well.

There is no need in worrying about something that never happens. Thats why we have such things as "Internal Cover Ups". If it is never reported, it never happens. It's for the greater good of mankind this way.

Doesn't that sound allot like the movies we watch? I can't help but wonder how much is actually true.

Guest said:

Dude.. this has been done so many times in "real" life.

False Prostitutes

False Drug Dealers

False Thief (Infiltrated).

So it can be done in real life but not online? If you are not going to make a bomb, buy drugs or share pedophile pictures, dont worry.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You think that the 5,600 paedophiles are passive in this context? That some people other than 5,600 in this group are responsible for creating this content? Are you under the assumption that these people posting questions including

No, but at less than 2 pictures per poster, it doesn't sound like their hearts were really in it.

Yeah, yeah I know! I eagerly await your angry cards and letters.......:oops:

danhodge danhodge said:

Pointless argument going on here to be honest. Whether you like it or not, the police/FBI/whatever other organizations are governed by different laws to us.

Well, not exactly, but they have so many exceptions and 'loopholes' that it may as well be.

If they didn't have this power, their ability to protect and enforce the law would be severely hindered. If they weren't allowed to carry a gun (using the UK as an example), they wouldn't be able to stop armed gunmen. If they were limited by the speed limit, they would have to let everyone get away.

And if they weren't allowed to use smart, dirty tactics like this, there would be more pieces of dirt in the streets than there already are

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

No, but at less than 2 pictures per poster, it doesn't sound like their hearts were really in it.

You can probably blame mainstream television programming (and the kids-as-pedigree-dog shows) for muscling the DIY'ers out of business.

Guest said:

Nope Junkies hurt themselves. Pedos hurt others

Guest said:

Ummm 5,600...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You can probably blame mainstream television programming (and the kids-as-pedigree-dog shows) for muscling the DIY'ers out of business.
Yeah well, let's take a moment to thank the US Congress, God, and the FCC for digital 16:9 aspect television.

Trouble is, now we need Cinemascope @ 2:35:1:00 , to get ":Honey Boo-Boo" and her cow of a mother in the same shot.

If pedophilia causes you to be infatuated with genetic and cultural cesspools like those two, thank God I don't suffer from it.

In any event, they seen to render me a bit impotent. Perhaps if that's the case with enough other males in my demographic, maybe the makers of "Viagara", and "The Other S***", will buy ad space on the "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo Show".

All of this musing about obese, mouthy, 7 year olds, prompts me to quote this ancient adage which I just penned about a half hour ago; "an ounce of Honey Boo-Boo, is worth a pound of chemical castration".

Edit: The other s*** is "Cialis". That just came to me, in a manner of speaking.

p51d007 said:

Best thing they could do, but obviously won't, would be to list the names & email addresses of those on that site to the media, Facebook, Twitter, and let nature

take its course!

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

The feds have been running child sex slave rings for decades. Those at the pinnacle of power are at the right hand of Satan.

It sounds wild, I know... but listen:

http://youtu.be/zPFyMyhExxY

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The feds have been running child sex slave rings for decades. Those at the pinnacle of power are at the right hand of Satan.

It sounds wild, I know... but listen:

Given your "eloquent" run up to it, you've managed to post a link I'm actually afraid to click on....:eek:

Oh never mind, I'll watch it from here.

Vifee Vifee said:

I am almost certain I know the website in question. It was a *chan type imageboard, same deal as 4chan, and hosted on the tor network. IP addresses and the like would be meaningless proxies of proxies, and the entire system is designed from the ground up to make its users untraceable. I'm not even sure what they'll be able to do with the exit node, I suppose they could have put a virus on the website that would phone home, but tor browsers run noscript as a matter of course.

1 person liked this | unloco101 said:

This is a very short article guys, how could you skim it or just read the headline, and post with such confidence. I am surprised by the comments stating that the FBI created a child porn to catch criminals. The FBI seized a child porn site and the information gathered from the monitoring and seizure was not enough to find the members. They then allowed the site to continue to run to witness and capture information on the users. There is no entrapment or immoral acts going on here. I highly doubt the FBI would set themselves up for court dismissal in such a way.

No one placed a honey-pot. The site was already there, the members were already active, the FBI just let it operate for a short period to gather evidence on the user-base, which IMO should be publicly executed.

unloco101 said:

The drug dealer/junkie analogy and how it does not hold ground. IF you can hypothetically legalize both acts for the sake of argument, you can see the differences.

o- If America legalized all drugs, it could become a profitable business where no one gets hurt except the end-user of the drugs (aside from DWI and similar cases). Alcohol and cigarettes are already legal and proof of this argument.

o- If America legalized child pornography, children would still be abused and the end-user would not be hurt. The end-user in this case also promotes the abuse of MORE children by using the content which is glorification of child sexual abuse. Any monetary exchange in this hypothetical situation would then be PAYING for someone to conduct these acts.

Not sure how or WHY you are comparing the two groups as similar.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.