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To keep Tor hack source code secret, DOJ dismisses child porn case

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posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 03:56 AM

Rather than share the now-classified technological means that investigators used to locate a child porn suspect, federal prosecutors in Washington state have dropped all charges against a man accused of accessing Playpen, a notorious and now-shuttered website.

The case, United States v. Jay Michaud, is one of nearly 200 cases nationwide that have raised new questions about the appropriate limitations on the government’s ability to hack criminal suspects. Michaud marks just the second time that prosecutors have asked that case be dismissed.

"The government must now choose between disclosure of classified information and dismissal of its indictment," Annette Hayes, a federal prosecutor, wrote in a court filing on Friday.

To keep Tor hack source code secret, DOJ dismisses child porn case

Another lovely gem of an article that I found on the full-spectrum-dominance page. The main implication of this article that I thought worth mentioning is that here we have clear evidence of Tor being exploited to defeat its anonymity. I had seen it claimed in discussions here on ATS, but this is the first time I've seen it in print.

Another noteworthy point of view that the author raises in his article is provided by one of the expert witnesses in hearings from one of the prosecutions, one Christopher Soghoian. His contention is that hacking as a law enforcement tool takes us into dangerous territory as a society. A quote:

"My concern with the economics of hacking is that if the government hacks enough people, hacking not only becomes an attractive way of surveilling but it becomes the cheapest way to spy on people," he said in December 2016.

"My concern is that when they hack enough people, surveillance becomes so cheap—hacking becomes cheaper than even a single hour of law enforcement overtime that this will become the tool of first resort," he continued. "Hacking will be the first tool in the toolkit that they reach for, before they go undercover. Before they try and convince someone the old-fashioned way. My concern is that hacking is making spying far too cheap."

Spying far too cheap...then they could just spy on everyone, right? Of course that'll never...oh wait we've already crossed that bridge, haven't we? Ahem, well, interesting article, anyhow. What do you think?
Page where I found the article posted:

posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 04:03 AM
a reply to: TheBadCabbie

Unreported: 1,500 pedophile arrests have been made nationally since Trump took office

President Donald Trump is making good on his pledge to use the “full force and weight” of the U.S. government to break up child sex trafficking rings and lock up sexual predators.

Since Trump was sworn in, authorities have arrested more than 1,500 pedophiles in the United States.

“This should be one of the biggest stories in the national news. Instead, the mainstream media has barely, if at all, covered any of these mass pedophile arrests. This begs the question – why?” Liz Crokin wrote for on Feb. 25.

The numbers are “staggering” when compared to the less than 400 sex trafficking-related arrests made in 2014 according to the FBI.

In a press conference from the White House on Feb. 23, Trump addressed how human trafficking is a “dire problem” domestically and internationally. “Dedicated men and women across the federal government have focused on this for some time as you know – it’s been much more focused over the last four weeks,” he said.

The press conference “was barely a blip in the mainstream media and the massive arrests have been almost completely ignored by the MSM altogether,” Crokin wrote.

Now, about the hack tool secrecy ... well there's been the recent CIA/wikileaks dump. Will this also be part of it ?

posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 05:48 AM
Both the OP and subsequent comment already have other threads discussing both claims.

Search button ftw!

posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 07:03 AM
This raises a pretty simple question... What does the j in doj stand for now?

posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 07:04 AM
a reply to: TheBadCabbie

could this be used to get away with murder too?? Like, if someone murdered somebody, and disclosed it in some private tor forum or something, and it had to be hacked to know, can the case be dismissed??? That may make an assassins job easier if he knew he could get the case dismissed and just patiently wait out the court dates.

posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 08:09 AM
This is a good case for privacy. It means that if the government wants to get prosecutions with spying in this manner, they're going to have to disclose how they did it, which means countermeasures can be developed.

posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 03:18 PM
a reply to: Aazadan

Pretty much everyone knows that TOR aint 100%

You can here in the UK get into serious trouble in all sorts of ways, do you have a copy of the paper with Sam Fox getting her rather generously allocated upstairs out? If so she was only 16 at the time and perfectly legal at that point but it could cause trouble, just the same as Tracie Lordes as she started her adult entertainment career at 15 so owning a copy of her earliest work could get your collar felt.

Its a funny world here in the UK as you can do the act and see all sorts of bits but if you send a picture you might end up on the sex offenders register.

posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 03:28 PM
a reply to: Maxatoria

No security is 100%, but if you take every precaution it's highly unlikely you're going to get caught doing something illegal. The problem is, if you screw up even once you're going to be in trouble.

TOR isn't 100%, but using a proxy server on public wifi, using a Tails CD image (or whatever distro is popular these days) running an up to date version of TOR is probably going to be enough to prevent you from getting caught doing something illegal. The real problem is that jumping through all of those hoops is pretty inconvenient, and in this case which involves child porn, you're probably not viewing it in a public space which means you need storage, which inevitably means a paper trail.

posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 04:37 PM
Gee, kinda looks like doj priorities are afoul. Even looks deliberate if you turn and look at it sideways.

"There's millions of kids at risk but there's only a handfull of us do-gooders, what will they do without us and the kind of justice we serve?"/sarcasm

Let's see if the doc steps in and 'corrects' it?

posted on Mar, 10 2017 @ 03:36 PM
Dominant Obediant Judging

originally posted by: lordcomac
This raises a pretty simple question... What does the j in doj stand for now?

Once upon a time I thought of making a program that surfed at random times during lunch hours at work. You could salt it with whatever categories of sites you wanted to hit with a certain amount of randomness in the categories. It can run headless and as has been said antivirus software cannot find it. Antivirus software is HEAVILY dependent on signatures (matching string of bytes) to find a virus. Easily bypassed. With such a program you could let it run on somebody's computer daily both installing and removing itself at the end of the run.

How could they deny anything. Their computer would be full of log entries and cache files standing against their word.

posted on Mar, 10 2017 @ 04:38 PM
Sooooooo .... I'll say it:

What's the point of going to the effort to find these people if they're not going to prosecute them?

Seems like a waste of effort to me.

posted on Mar, 10 2017 @ 04:44 PM
a reply to: LanceCorvette

I don't understand why they wouldn't prosecute. Everyone knows TOR is not secure. To me, if someone is downloading via TOR, even when through a VPN connection, and are caught then the authorities should nail them. If nothing else it should send a message that TOR is not secure and if that stops a few paedos sharing their stuff, then that's a partial win.

People have been nailed for weapons and drugs stuff using TOR so why not the most despicable of the despicable?

Makes me sad.



posted on Mar, 10 2017 @ 05:24 PM
It appears from the article that the only solid evidence linking this guy to the crime beyond doubt was the TOR exploit that the DOJ had deployed. Since he took it to trial and the DOJ had no other solid evidence against him, the DOJ's only options were to reveal the exploit or drop charges.

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