The DoJ takes down the dark web's largest child pornography site

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

The notice states that a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia has indicted Jong Woo Son, a 23-year-old Korean national, for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content. Son was charged in August 2018, but the indictment was only unsealed Wednesday.

Son is already serving a sentence in South Korea after being charged and convicted of operating the site, which contained over 250,000 unique videos - over eight terabytes - involving child sexual exploitation. Forty-five percent of the videos currently analyzed contain new images that have not been previously known to exist.

According to the DoJ, Welcome to Video was one of the first websites of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin. Each user received a unique bitcoin address when they created an account on the website, and the site had capacity for at least one million users.

Law enforcement officials were able to identify the site administrator and the server’s South Korea location by tracing the bitcoin transactions, which involved following the flow of funds on the blockchain.

More than three-dozen other individuals involved with the site have also been arrested and charged, as have 337 site users from across 24 US States and 11 countries.

The DoJ added that the operation saw the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain, and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.

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Wouldn't being able to follow the flow of funds defeat the purpose of using Bitcoin in the first place, or do people have a misunderstanding on how it works?
 

trparky

TS Evangelist
Wouldn't being able to follow the flow of funds defeat the purpose of using Bitcoin in the first place, or do people have a misunderstanding on how it works?
It's probably more like they've been lulled into a false sense of security. If the government wants to know, they'll know; plain and simple.
 

CBTex

TS Booster
Wouldn't being able to follow the flow of funds defeat the purpose of using Bitcoin in the first place, or do people have a misunderstanding on how it works?
Bitcoin is actually really easy to follow. The transactions are all public.


Bitcoin's main purpose is not anonymity, but to create a decentralized way to transfer funds from one entity to another without involving a third party like a credit card processor or someone like PayPal.
 

arrowflash

TS Booster
Wouldn't being able to follow the flow of funds defeat the purpose of using Bitcoin in the first place, or do people have a misunderstanding on how it works?
Yes, quite a few people misunderstand. Bitcoin is not fully anonymous, and definitely not untraceable. These days there are other cryptos that are fully anonymous and untraceable, though. Since these investigations usually take a long time, I'm going to assume the perp started his "business" when these other cryptos weren't around yet, otherwise he was pretty dumb (thankfully).
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
Bitcoin is actually really easy to follow. The transactions are all public.


Bitcoin's main purpose is not anonymity, but to create a decentralized way to transfer funds from one entity to another without involving a third party like a credit card processor or someone like PayPal.
Which would be great as credit card processors and PayPal are taking anywhere from 2.5 - 3.5% of every transaction. Just as an example, Q2 of 2019 was 139.7 billion dollars. If we assume a low processing rate of 2.5% that's 3.49 billion dollars per quarter just on processing payments. Now we just need online software stores that don't charge 30% of every transaction (Google Play and Apple Store) and marketplaces that don't charge anywhere from 12-28% of every transaction (eBay and Amazon).
 

Yynxs

TS Addict
These are the cases where I dislike that part of the Constitution forbidding cruel and unusual punishment. I have no moral ambiguity in saying you can't be 'cruel' or 'unusual' enough to punish someone destroying children like that.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
These are the cases where I dislike that part of the Constitution forbidding cruel and unusual punishment. I have no moral ambiguity in saying you can't be 'cruel' or 'unusual' enough to punish someone destroying children like that.
As I understand it, (at least as far a TV process dramas tell it), all the police have to do is tell the other inmates that prisoner "X", is a "cho-mo" (child molester), and those same other inmates will take care of the "cruel and unusual punishment", of their own volition.
 
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