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Nearly 900 members of a global ‘dark web’ pedophile ring sprawling Europe and the Americas have been arrested following a two-year investigation, the FBI and Europol reported after the website’s founder was handed a 30-year jail sentence.
Shedding light on the scope of the operation which is still active, the FBI revealed that in the US alone, 350 arrests were made as part of a wide-ranging investigation into Playpen – a secret website that is being referred to as possibly the biggest child pornography online dump that ever existed.
Over the past year, Motherboard has found that the FBI hacked computers in Australia, Austria, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Greece, and likely the UK, Turkey, and Norway during the investigation.
However, the new transcript from a related case shows that the bureau's campaign was far larger than previously believed, and that the FBI actually hacked into more than 8,000 computers in 120 different countries.
“The fact that a single magistrate judge could authorize the FBI to hack 8,000 people in 120 countries is truly terrifying,” Christopher Soghoian, a principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who has testified for the defense in Playpen cases, told Motherboard.
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.”
Despite the hurdles being faced by the FBI in the Playpen investigation, the bureau could soon have undisputed freedom when it comes to using single warrants to conduct similar probes. Changes to Rule 41 are likely to take effect on December 1, meaning judges will be given more power to issue warrants exactly as Judge Buchanan did.
Many have expressed concern that the changes will give law enforcement too much power to hack internet users both inside and outside the US, with Soghoian saying the technique is “probably the new normal.”
“We should expect to see future operations of this scale conducted not just by the FBI, but by other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and we should expect to see foreign law enforcement agencies hacking individuals in the United States, too,” he added.
“We believe technology should not create a lawless zone merely because a procedural rule has not kept up with the times,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Criminal Division wrote in the post.
originally posted by: Ohanka
30 years is a joke. Every single one of them should get the death penalty, to be carried out immediately.
Alternatively they should each get one of those 300 year prison sentences with absolutely no chance of parole. None should have an even remote chance of seeing the outside world.
Oh well. They won't last long in prison anyway. The other lowlifes will deal with them in a suitable manner.
What's sad is a lot of those arrested will probably get let off entirely. Or get some ridiculous 6 month sentence