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Why The FBI Operated One Of The Largest Child Porn Sites For 2 Weeks

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In a shift in how they crack down on child pornography on the web, it was revealed that the FBI took control of and left a very popular child pornography site running for two weeks in order to identify its users.

USA Today reports that in court filings the Justice Department revealed that the FBI had operated the site, known as Playpen, for 13 days early in 2015, in order to identify some of the 215,000 registered users. This was a departure from previous tactics that included shutting down child pornography sites as soon as they are found, under the notion that the child victim is harmed every time the image he or she is in is viewed.

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr explains why the FBI didn’t shut down the site right way. “While doing so would end the trafficking of child pornography taking place on that one website, it would do nothing to prevent those same users from disseminating child pornography through other means,” he said.

As a result of this operation, the FBI identified 1,300 true computer addresses of the 100,000 people who visited during that period, and have charged 137 individuals with a crime. This is the third time that the FBI has done something like this in order to find child pornography distributors.

(Via USA Today)

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