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FBI Hunt For Child Porn Thwarted By Tor

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the cost-of-anonymous-communication dept.

Privacy 714

v3rgEz writes "Documents released by the FBI provide an unusual inside look at how the agency is struggling to penetrate 'darknet' Onion sites routed through Tor, the online privacy tool funded in part by government grants to help global activists. In this case, agents were unable to pursue specific leads about an easily available child pornography site, while files withheld indicate that the FBI has ongoing investigations tied to the Silk Road marketplace, a popular, anonymous Tor site for buying and selling drugs and other illegal materials." Sounds similar to the problems that plagued freenet.

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714 comments

FBI angry? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291313)

FBI SMASH TOR!

Why is CP illegal? (-1, Troll)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291357)

It's just pictures. Better the creeps inside jacking off than outside doing it personally. Isn't it time to get the government out of the bedroom?

Re:Why is CP illegal? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291381)

Because innocence kids were raped to make it you sick fuck. You've got to be fucking trolling.

CP produced without sexual abuse of children (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291513)

innocence kids were raped to make it

Not under some countries' definitions of child pornography, which include drawings produced entirely without the involvement of children.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291607)

I agree with OP. Assuming you didn't compensate the producer of the images, you in no way contributed to the market of child pornography. In saying this, I in no way condone the production of this material or in any way suggest that I like the stuff (I do not).

The problem I have is that mere possession of images should never be illegal in my opinion. The reason I say this is because it is extremely easy to accidentally download this material. I don't think people's lives should be ruined because they clicked on a bad link accidentally. The mere accusation can pretty much ruin your life, and there certainly have been cases where this has happened.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291635)

It is the only situation where possession of evidence is criminal in itself. You will not be prosecuted for having a movie of a robbery. Nor of an assassination. And both required people to be harmed. Yet a manga cartoon somehow harms society more than a video of an assassination? According to a strict interpretation of the law, in the US, possession of a manga cartoon is worse than several violent crimes.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (0, Flamebait)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291709)

No it's not. Drug possession is also a crime.

And calling "manga" illegal is about as misleadingly stupid as calling "books" or "movies" illegal just because it's possible to create child pornography in the medium. These aren't subtle distinctions, if you can't tell the difference between a comic book and child porn you are a pretty twisted person.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291735)

Stop being pedantic. That's very likely what he was referring to. Prosecuting people over pictures of imaginary children is just ridiculous.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (3, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291773)

And calling "manga" illegal is about as misleadingly stupid as calling "books" or "movies" illegal just because it's possible to create child pornography in the medium. These aren't subtle distinctions, if you can't tell the difference between a comic book and child porn you are a pretty twisted person.

Cartoon depictions of child sexual activity (commonly found in manga) is against the child porn statutes in many countries. So, yes, I can tell the difference, but the law can not.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291725)

If there's no demand, there's no supply

therefore it is valid to go after demand

Re:Why is CP illegal? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291761)

It is the only situation where possession of evidence is criminal in itself. You will not be prosecuted for having a movie of a robbery. Nor of an assassination. And both required people to be harmed. Yet a manga cartoon somehow harms society more than a video of an assassination? According to a strict interpretation of the law, in the US, possession of a manga cartoon is worse than several violent crimes.

What's worse is that most of those poor schmucks who go to prison because they have video and photos of CP aren't ones abusing children. We could use these people to help find and arrest the slime who create this stuff.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291407)

maybe because those pics did not arrange them selves... someone took pics of minors and shared them. If no children were hurt/taken advantage of in the making of the pics then u might have a case.

HOW TO TAKE DOWN TOR FOR AMERCIA (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291423)

Seed "dark sites" with child porn.

Then, stop it "for the children".

Re:HOW TO TAKE DOWN TOR FOR AMERCIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291523)

Didn't mean to imply we should get rid of TOR. Responding to the poster stating that they are just pictures.

Re:HOW TO TAKE DOWN TOR FOR AMERCIA (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291651)

This shit has been around since TOR's inception. Gawker is a sensationalist pseudo news site that loves to report on old shit to a non nerd audience.

Let these fools keep posting pictures, every picture is a clue...

Re:Why is CP illegal? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291541)

Also because, when you look at porn, don't you like to always find new stuff? There will always be new kids being exploited.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291645)

So if you look at crime scene photos, are you going to become an axe murderer? And since possession of crime scene photos is legal, is murder less bad than child abuse? (Last question is rhetorical. Because to me, yes, murder is less bad than child abuse.)

Re:Why is CP illegal? (3, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291699)

While the are both horrible, would you rather find out that your child was molested, or find their dead body on your front yard? No, murder is worse.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291717)

As horrible as child abuse is, it is utterly irrational grandstanding to say that child abuse is worse than murder. If I asked you if you would rather be raped or killed, do you really mean to tell me that you would answer "killed"? If not, then murder is worse than any form of abuse. The heinousness of a crime is directly proportional to its effect on the victim. There can be no crime more heinous, therefore, than any crime that deprives the victim of his or her existence unwillingly.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291741)

Most child abuse or rapes probably do not rise to that level, but I'm sure there is a level of abuse where people would rather die than endure it.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291757)

Sometimes life is the worst punishment of all. Why else would the punishment for disobeying God be increased from being snuffed out of existence to eternal punishment of some kind.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (4, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291535)

Because it's Pure Evil, and I don't like it. Not to mention that it might encourage the creation of more (and we need to arrest people based on maybes and blame them for the actions of others even if they didn't pay them a single cent). Oh, and it's far easier to catch people who look at pictures than it is to stop those who are doing the molesting.

Re:Why is CP illegal? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291613)

This guy has a point.

It's legal to share videos of someone torturing, killing, raping the corpse of someone else and feeding it to vultures.

As long as no one in there is a minor.

Re:FBI angry? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291547)

The FBI should just save the data at some ring servers. Wait 15 years until computing power can decrypt it (perhaps with quantum computers), and then arrest the bad guys.

Even the threat of a quantum computer should make those who transmit kiddie porn think twice.

Re:FBI angry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291685)

Unless of course you use a system that can beat it, and this being tor, something which has quite a lot of interest into not being breakable by big government with big budget, I am pretty sure that they will try to limit all that very well. Also, if you have to way 15 years, I believe that in many countries, it will have aged too long. Not to say that public shaming wouldn't do whatever is needed, but you would have to hold a whole lot of data to find the person 15 years later. I think it would be nearly impossible, given what you have to have access to. Remember that with tor, even if you would have to get the source of the person uploading it and be able to decrypt his stuff since it could also be a node in between sender and received without you knowing who. And usually if you know who to look for, it means you already have enough data for your case.

first post (-1, Troll)

akboss (823334) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291315)

First post

TOR is a kiddy porn tool... (-1, Flamebait)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291331)

.. funded by the government... the government should be punished, someone needs to be held accountable, how could we have let this comedy run for so lo long??

Re:TOR is a kiddy porn tool... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291355)

.. funded by the government... the government should be punished, someone needs to be held accountable, how could we have let this comedy run for so lo long??

Ok troll stfu

It doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

Arch_Android (1989386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291343)

Nothing is important enough that it takes priority over liberty and freedom of speech. Nothing.

Re:It doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291413)

Nothing is important enough that it takes priority over liberty and freedom of speech. Nothing.

Nothing? Not shouting fire in a crowded theater? How about if someone rapes your daughter, films the act, and puts it on a billboard across the street from her school?

Freedom is important, but it is not an absolute.

Re:It doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291531)

Unfortunately technology is forcing us to decide -- a repressive police state that enforces your views of censorship, or a society that allows free speech. What little middle ground there ever was is rapidly vanishing.

Child porn, hate speech, etc are awful -- but we've seen what's first up against the wall when the censors get their way -- criticism of the law itself.

Re:It doesn't matter (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291561)

Thankyou. There are lines and boundaries to anything.

Where these lie is a subject for discussion, sure, but the childlike scream of absolute freedom of speech/communication is naive.

Child porn is the reason I can't in good conscience run a tor or freenet node.

Re:It doesn't matter (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291661)

Yeah, same. I'd like to run a node to help people in less free countries, but knowing that some scumbag will inevitably route CP traffic through it is a deal breaker. Unfortunately, technologies which are meant to make people more free can be abused in this way.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291765)

But you happily pay tax money used to build infrastructure that help transport the very same material.

Re:It doesn't matter (3, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291579)

Not shouting fire in a crowded theater?

I find it somewhat unlikely that people would get up, scream, and trample over everyone else to get out of the building because someone screamed something that they don't know to be true. And even if they did, I'd say they should be the ones paying for any damage they did to other people.

How about if someone rapes your daughter, films the act, and puts it on a billboard across the street from her school?

Prosecute the rapist.

Freedom is important, but it is not an absolute.

That depends on where your priorities lie. In some cases, and to some people, it might be.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291591)

But I don't think that's what the person you replied to meant to begin with. He was probably referring to banning TOR or something such as that.

Re:It doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291587)

You're right, freedom is not an absolute.

But neither is the law and yet people try to treat it as such.

Re:It doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

nbsr (2343058) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291605)

What if someone kills your daugther? Should we pass a bill to bring her back to life? Or maybe we just put the murderer in jail.

If I had to choose, I would much more prefer to have CP pictures floating around than having a wide-spread surveillance network looking into *all* aspects of my life.

This is a fine act of improving quality of our lifes. On one hand being killed or raped makes the victim's life pitiful (or gone), on the other - eliminating this danger is impossible and makes everybody's life poor (no one has managed to solve this problem, not even China or NK).

Re:It doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291625)

On the other hand, Tor's ability to protect dissidents who live under repressive governments, it's ability to enable free speech in those countries (e.g. discussing the Tienanmen Square incident, criticizing the Ayatollah, etc.) should, in my opinion, take priority over the quest to arrest people who download and share child sex abuse images. We may be revolted by such imagery, but:
  1. There are plenty of other ways the images can be shared. I have even heard from one security researcher that producers of child abuse imagery often choose to send an encrypted DVD through the postal system, since it is considered to be a more secure way to transmit gigabytes of data. Tor is a relatively low-bandwidth network, and so the scale of such activity on Tor is inherently limited.
  2. Anything that can be done to catch people who share child abuse images on Tor could be used by a repressive government to persecute dissidents. I doubt that the FBI will really be able to keep any hypothetical Tor-breaking technique out of Chinese hands, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the Chinese government would hesitate to use its intelligence capabilities to obtain such techniques. The fact that the FBI is unable to break Tor is a hopeful sign for the people who use Tor to protect themselves from persecution over political statements, religion, or human rights work.

So while freedom may not be absolute, we are not really talking about an edge case where free speech does not apply. We are talking about an important technology that enables free speech in places where there are few protections, which happens to see some use among child abusers (and the free speech issues relating to sharing child abuse imagery are not really settled -- not all the people who possess or share such imagery are producing it, and it is even less likely that someone who uses Tor to download such images has in any way paid for or encouraged its production).

Re:It doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291693)

Nothing? Not shouting fire in a crowded theater?

Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences of speech. Libel, inciting a riot, reckless endangerment, and conspiracy all do not limit the speech but the actions that arise from the speech.

How about if someone rapes your daughter, films the act, and puts it on a billboard across the street from her school?

Freedom is important, but it is not an absolute.

Use the film to prove the rape, prosecute the bastard and send him to a prison where someone else shows him what it is like. Also, prosecute the billboard owner for obscenity. Lets face it. The worst thing happening in that hypothetical situation is not that someone took pictures. It was rape.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291525)

The key point with freedom of speech is this: you need to be able to criticize your government, so you can change the laws. As long as that is possible, then you have the freedom to convince people that other things should change. If you're good at convincing, you will win.

Other freedom of speech is good, but it isn't as essential that you be able to insult Mohammad openly. If you live in a country where that is illegal, your primary difficulty is convincing your neighbors that it shouldn't be illegal. That will be much more difficult than actually getting the law to change.

You need to have speech to convince people to change the law. Other speech freedoms are relatively less important.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291603)

You need to have speech to convince people to change the law. Other speech freedoms are relatively less important.

And sometimes they're both highly related. I know I don't want to live somewhere where my speech (in your example, insulting Mohammed) is deemed illegal merely because the certain people take offense to it. I believe that it indicates a rampant, out of control government that is very prone to corruption.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291729)

I don't want to live somewhere where my speech (in your example, insulting Mohammed) is deemed illegal merely because the certain people take offense to it.

If you were the king in a country where insulting Mohammad is illegal, and you decided to legalize it, then you might have a revolution on your hands of people who want to change the law back. Ultimately, social power lies in numbers, and if everyone in your country feels that it should be punishable to insult Mohammad, then it will be.

If you have freedom of speech to criticize the government, then you can change that. It won't be easy, but you can.

Title (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291349)

I think theres an extra "FBI" in the title - "FBI Hunt For Child Porn FBI Thwarted By Tor"

Re:Title (2)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291379)

Maybe it's a two-sentence headline...

"FBI Hunt for Child Porn. FBI Thwarted by TOR"

Re:Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291419)

Haha, I read it that the FBI failed in their hunt for Child-Porn viewing FBI agents who were using Tor. Who knows, maybe the agents just loved poring over the "evidence". Viewing, like copying, shouldn't be a crime.

Make up your minds (5, Insightful)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291377)

Freedom of speech, or government monitoring of all communications.
Decide which one you want and accept the consequences of your decision.

Re:Make up your minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291405)

What if I disagree with the baby-crazed breeders who lose the ability to reason once they pop out a brat or two?

Re:Make up your minds (1)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291421)

You live in a democracy don't you?
Accept the tyranny of the majority or impose your own.

Actually it's more the tyranny of the minority (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291681)

the trouble with democracy is that it's so easy to game. All you have to do is get one big voting block to agree on an issue no matter way (say Child Porn, Social Security, or hating Commies) and you can more or less own. The rest of us get divided up and end up counting for nothing...

Re:Make up your minds (0)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291719)

lol. virgin. don't take your teenage angst out on parents.

we'll defeat you with our superior numbers.

this is how the game works - if only stupid people breed, then you'd better (supposing you're not stupid) produce as many offspring as you possibly can, or there'll be nobody left but stupid people.

so why not go ask out that girl you've been obsessing over?

Re:Make up your minds (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291409)

Problem is, it doesn't stop governments who want to monitor all communications, because they can detect and block the protocol. So it helps bad guys (unless you think child-porn sellers are not bad) and doesn't help the good guys.

I like TOR, and I think it should stay around, I'll fight to make sure it stays legal, but I am disappointed that it hasn't lived up to its original promise and potential.

Re:Make up your minds (1)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291555)

Isn't your post self contradictory?
If a government detects and blocks the protocol then it's blocked for both good and bad guys and Tor is rendered ineffective.
If however its possible for the bad guys to bypass these blocks the it's possible for the good guys too in which case Tor is achieving its purpose. I'd be grateful for anyone more familiar wih the tech to chime in at this point.

Just to be clear, it's purpose is not to "help the good guys". It's to provide a technology that enables uncensorable speech. With respect to my original post it is firmly on the side of "freedom of speech", with all the ugly consequences that entails.

Re:Make up your minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291711)

While there are some countries that actively try to block tor, it seems most are failing. China seems to be doing a very good job at it however.
The biggest problem seems to be when you live in a country where not only its illegal for you to say a certain thing, but its also very deadly to try and circumvent their censorship.

Check this video from the tor developers for more.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX46Qv_b7F4&feature=my_liked_videos&list=LLOQVl2i6gJWMch-xF_vxlMw

Re:Make up your minds (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291755)

i think the point is that Tor is meant for places like China, Burma, any of the arab spring countries, etc. they can and will pull the plug on the entire internet if it comes to that, but if there's one easily detectable network that all the dissident traffic uses, they can pull the plug on that without hurting the rest of the net.

Tor is not illegal in the USA, or any other "freedom loving" country, but neither is free speech. so the idealist purpose of Tor is not needed there, and the criminal purpose of Tor gets all the traffic.

our governments might wish to monitor us completely, but right now it's still prohibitively expensive and very politically dangerous to just jump in and do so. hopefully it stays that way.

Re:Make up your minds (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291529)

Cynical me just thinks this is part of a plan to reduce your freedom and anonymity on the internet.

They're just going to use the child porn _viewers_ who I bet only affect a very few people[1], as excuses to create new laws that affect everyone.

[1] As many slashdotters know, just because you watch porn doesn't mean you even have sex ;).

As for the demand creating a supply thing, if there's money involved why doesn't the FBI follow the money trail (advertisers, subscribers etc)? Not important enough compared to the FBI's work in convincing people to be terrorists (go look that up)?

If there's no money involved (whether directly or indirectly -ads ) then won't downloading child porn for free kill the child porn industry just like downloading music for free kills the music industry? ;)

Re:Make up your minds (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291721)

Cynical me just thinks this is part of a plan to reduce your freedom and anonymity on the internet.

If it was just "a" plan, I would be so happy. Seems like they have several.

Re:Make up your minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291675)

False dichotomy, asshole!

My system:
1. Everything is allowed, unless it harms somebody.
2. Everybody decides for himself, what harms him.
3. In case of harm or potential harm, the parties have to separate on all cases touched by whatever it is about.
4. If parties do not separate or seize harming, or return back and harm later, they become free-for-all, and lose all rights. It is extremely important to note, that this is always true for all involved sides. That means all parties have to actively GTFO.
5. Of course, one can always be forgiven.
6. There are only individuals doing things. There is no such thing as "corporations", "states/governments" or other groups "doing something" or being sources of harm. It is always specific individuals.
7. Done. No changes can be made to this. (Yes, addiions and removals are also changes.)

Yes, this allows competing "governments" in the same spacetime. That's a feature.
Yes, this allows partial associations to multiple groups... which can partially overlap.

And most of those rules are already implicitly followed by nearly everyone, regardless of their laws or form of goernment.
It's also the natural way the Internet society works.

Re:Make up your minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291745)

1. Everything is allowed, unless it harms somebody.

I have found a problem with this common suggestion by many people. Once you start having the government provide things for you, such as healthcare, suddenly "unless it harms somebody" ends up meaning nothing. With say government healthcare, your drinking 32oz Cokes may cause you diabeties and will harm me by my having to pay extra taxes to cover your health care costs. So at that point there is nothing you can do that wouldn't harm someone else.

So it seems to me a more important rule, say rule #0, should be "I will not depend on the government for my basic needs" or the rest of what you wrote is meaningless.

Now here's what they're going to do (2)

kschap (2559397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291385)

Now the great old U.S. Government is going to use this as fuel to show that privacy and anonymity needs to go away on the internet, instead of continuing to work to find these people and prosecute them.

TOR needs to clean its ranks (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291391)

Is it even possible? Once TOR gets a reputation for this crap, it's going to cast dispersion on all legitimate users of TOR, and further, on all who wish to have privacy for the sake of privacy, not merely for the nefarious purposes of trying to cloak illegal/immoral activity.

Re:TOR needs to clean its ranks (4, Insightful)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291459)

the same argument could have been made about many other services, including the internet itself.... some people still believe the web is just a porn service, and refuse to use it, well... their problem. everything can be used for good and bad, but i get your point, tor DOES seem to be attracting more illicit usage than what it was initially intended for, what it actually needs, is more legal users to out-shadow the bad ones, most people don't even bother with tor, leaving mostly the criminals to use it.

Re:TOR needs to clean its ranks (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291515)

Perhaps... TOR should be implemented at the kernel level in Linux and FreeBSD, in the network stack... that would increase its legitimate users. Or maybe at the network level, create a new standard for the Internets so everything is always, always enchrypted. If I could I would wave my hand and make it so...

Re:TOR needs to clean its ranks (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291517)

Criminals are going to use it. No matter what. Even no matter what it is, really.

If you want to decrease the proportion of illegal to legal users of Tor, there's two ways. One, reduce the number of illegal users. This is impossible. Second, you could increase the number of legal users. If half the country is using Tor for everyday browsing, the Feds literally will not be able to keep up - they can't interrogate everyone.

No, it is not possible (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291543)

Tor has two equally important goals that have motivated its design:
  1. Anonymous communication
  2. Defeating censorship

Both of these goals make it impossible for Tor as a system to prevent people from sharing child sex abuse images. Anything that could be done to prevent such sharing could just as easily be used by the Chinese to prevent dissidents from disseminating their information. Anything that could be done to track down people who share child sex abuse images could be used by China to track down dissidents and persecute them.

That is the trade-off: protecting free speech and dissidents who live under repressive governments necessarily thwarts the FBI's attempt to track down people who share child sex abuse imagery. This is a matter of priorities -- do we want to protect dissidents, or do we want to prevent child abuse images from being shared?

Re:TOR needs to clean its ranks (1)

nbsr (2343058) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291657)

Not only possible but desirable. The fact they can't filter out the content mean the system is implemented correctly from the security point of view. You wouldn't like to put your own sensitive data in a system with backdoors, as it inherently relies on trust between you and whoever happens to administrate the system.

In a way, if bringing security to an average Joe is dangerous, there is something terribly wrong with the legal system we live in. In USSR people had to apply for permission for traveling from one city to another. The justification was eerily similar - if you give people freedom they will "abuse" it (read: use against the rulers).

Working as intended then (5, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291393)

Isn't it kind of the POINT of a darknet that nobody can trace who's who? Sounds to me like the system is working as designed.

Yes, it will be used to break laws. But that's when you break out the actual investigative skills instead of relying on tech work and unrestricted wiretaps.

Re:Working as intended then (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291509)

While I agree that criminals will use anonymity to instigate crimes (and that's a price that I'm very willing to pay), explain what skills they can use?

The transactions are primarily in bitcoins. Without tech-skills, you won't be tracing their movement. The communications are all online. Without tech-skills, you can't read any of their emails. Unless you know where the product is being shipped or where it's being shipped from (requiring you to have tech skills to get inside the transaction) you're out of luck there too.

Explain how you can fight this activity at ALL without having your claws deep into the tech world.

Please understand that I agree the darknet is working the way it should. I'm merely pointing out the fallacy that you can track these folks down with some good old fashion detective work.

Re:Working as intended then (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291663)

Let's assume that the criminal group you're going after is shipping physical objects. Tracing information obviously will require heavy tech skills, but old-fashioned investigative work works well in the physical world.

Place an order on their site for the product, the drugs or whatever. Odds are they ship through an existing service, FedEx or something - it's simply implausible that they do the actual delivery themselves. With a simple warrant/subpeona, you can get the shipping info, find where it was shipped from.

Once you know where it's being shipped from, it's stakeout time. Repeat the buys a few more times, while recording everyone who ships a package from that location. You should be able to narrow it down rather quickly by process of elimination.

Now, the actual stuff you bought probably can't be used as evidence - it's probably entrapment, but IANAL so I can't be sure. But if they're shipping the stuff you bought, they're also shipping stuff to the actual customers.Catch the courier (who's most likely not a high-level guy, just a small-time crook doing the grunt job), and get him to roll over on the guys he works for. From there, it's literally the same routine as taking down any criminal enterprise.

Is it a lot more work than just serving up a subpeona and instantly getting every detail on the site operator? Yeah. But it's doable with as little tech skills as "being able to *use* Tor".

Re:Working as intended then (1)

kefkahax (915895) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291689)

Isn't it kind of the POINT of a darknet that nobody can trace who's who? Sounds to me like the system is working as designed.

Yes, it will be used to break laws. But that's when you break out the actual investigative skills instead of relying on tech work and unrestricted wiretaps.

#aph on AnonOps ran into this same problem. Their solution was to continue trying to break into the sites and attack the visitors with trojans, confirm they intended to view child porn (I guess checking to see if there was a large amount of it on their machine) and exposing whoever they could, knowing they're going to miss people that are fully patched or not on a machine that the malware is compatible with or what not. The channel seems pretty dead now though, anything beyond one or two steps is beyond most of them.

This is why we can't have nice things (3, Interesting)

WarmBoota (675361) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291401)

This is why we can't have nice things. I would LOVE to support democracy locally and internationally by running a Tor node, but I would never run one as long as the risk existed that I'd be questioned about kiddie porn. I know I'm innocent, I could be PROVEN innocent, but anyone who ever heard would always think I was guilty. It's just not worth it to me. It's Kryptonite to free speech.

Re:This is why we can't have nice things (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291649)

You could run a bridge node -- these are very helpful to people who live in countries with national firewalls that block official Tor relays. Bridge nodes are unlisted relays, which are included in short lists (three nodes if I remember correctly) of randomly selected that are sent upon request via email. Some countries (I am looking at you, China) have ongoing campaigns to compile lists of all bridges, which is why we need people to run as many bridge nodes as possible. A bridge node is not an exit, so you will not face the wrath of the FBI or other police agencies.

Re:This is why we can't have nice things (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291771)

You can also simply run a non exit node.
You will increase the networks capacity while not being an exit node, thus no data leaving the tor network through you.

I can see where this is going... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291431)

FBI: "There are secret anonymous corners of the internet, where people are trading illegally downloaded movies!"
Public: "So what?"
FBI: "That isn't all. They're ALSO buying and selling.... MARIJUANA!"
Public: "We don't care."
FBI: ".....AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY"
Public: "Nooooooooooooo! Here's $50 million in extra funding and new broad new powers for your agency."
FBI: "We promise only to use them for your own good."

anon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291461)

hahahahaahahah so anonoymous can do with poisoned tor application and yet the fbi is stumped.

Didnt they dump all th info after the attack. wow the FBI is lame and it has some anon member in custody and yet still trouble with tor.

You're doing it wrong. (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291469)

If they believe that they need to crack the encryption, that just means they're going after the wrong people. Instead of wasting time going after the darknet sites and/or their customers, they should be focusing 100% of their efforts on trying to identify A. the kids and/or B. the locations where the videos were shot. This approach has several advantages:

  • It doesn't require any access to the actual transactions.
  • It doesn't require weakening the security model of the Internet to do it.
  • By jailing the people who make the porn, you actually protect children by getting them out of abusive situations.

In contrast, by going after other people in the chain, you *might* occasionally get an actual child abuser, but usually you just ruin the lives of people who did something stupid and probably would not have actually harmed anyone's child. It's a bit like the difference between jailing people who are using guns to kill people and jailing everyone who carries a gun in the wrong part of town because a few of them might kill people....

Re:You're doing it wrong. (2)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291499)

People are dumb enough to leave the EXIF tags on unaltered JPEGs fresh from the camera. So those might help trace the victims.

Re:You're doing it wrong. (1)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291565)

indeed, one way i can think of, requires some cooperation from ISPs. create some heavy load on the tor website, heavy enough to be noticeable, making the ISPs aware of the exact time this bandwidth surge is going to happen at, and they can report which users had their bandwidth soar at that period... few of them are just innocent tor relays (i'm aware some relays will be from other parts of the world), and one is the actual server, won't be hard figuring things out after that.

Re:You're doing it wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291567)

But that takes, you know, WORK. And asking judges for warrants. And then a public trial. Much more fun to do it the way theyre trying. No wiretaps, no judges denying them warrants, and wrapping hiding it all in a national security letter.

The more you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291479)

Remember kids, only use TOR to break laws the US government disagrees with.

This is crazy. (0)

dohzer (867770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291545)

I'm all for privacy, but I think they should put a 'backdoor' in the Tor system to allow the FBI to catch pedophiles.

Re:This is crazy. (2)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291593)

completely defeating the purpose of the entire system, as no one will use tor again.... who are you going to trust with the keys to that backdoor?

Re:This is crazy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291595)

>I'm all for privacy
Yes you are.

Sincerely,
Queen Elizabeth.

Re:This is crazy. (1)

dmitri3 (1101095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291599)

That would defeat the purpose of the system. Just the existence of a backdoor makes the system vulnerable and devoid of purpose - anyone, with sufficient determination, can exploit it. Besides, anything even close to such action would utterly destroy Tor and spark another service that could be even more dangerous in wrong hands.

Re:This is crazy. (1)

hlavac (914630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291601)

I think this is exactly what is happening right now. They got a backdoor in Tor and now want everyone to start using it, so they say they can not beak it.

Re:This is crazy. (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291733)

Tor is open source; it wouldn't exactly be easy to hide a backdoor in it.

Re:This is crazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291629)

this is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said. ever. all time.

Re:This is crazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291655)

I'm all for privacy, but I think they should put a 'backdoor' in the Tor system to allow the FBI to catch pedophiles.

No, you're clearly not for privacy.

Do you want the FBI to have a backdoor into your house as well?

Nothing could go wrong....

The immediate result of that would be... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291671)

I'm all for privacy, but I think they should put a 'backdoor' in the Tor system to allow the FBI to catch pedophiles.

Do you think that the Chinese governments does not have spies in the FBI? Any backdoor would become a tool of the Chinese government, used to hunt down and persecute dissidents.

Re:This is crazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291715)

Troll grade: B-

Good hook, but you should make it a little longer. Too easy for targets to scroll past it, or to click reply, then cancel thinking "not worth my time". You want about 2 sentences -- short enough nobody tl'drs you, but long enough to set that hook good.

I support the FBI on this one. (4, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291589)

We need to get the child rape off the internet and back in the church where it belongs.

privacy is only for the rich! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291609)

in the meanwhile in the vatican...

This is how it starts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291619)

They're always going to for child abuse as a justification for taking away liberty.

It's a tried and true tactic, and it often works.

Any anonymous network is going to be used by all kinds of people. Either you're able to accept that and use the investigation techniques granted to you under the law, or you're going to attempt to change that, and disrupt the process of liberty in favor of more laws.

It is a choice and one that should be made consciously by a majority of the population rather than a chosen few.

tor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291623)

you don't need to be protected by TOR to find that shit!!! None can track you if you browse an IP address without using DNS!
This is BS to take down TOR...

Other routes | Be creative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291631)

Is wiretapping and across-the-board privacy-invasion the only way to catch scumbags? I don't think so. A wee bit too utilitarian for sensibility's sake. As noble as it sounds to save the babies, it is not the primary motive. I cannot help but to think that if they were so passionate about the good health of children, they might do something about education and other things, like obesity. Maybe they could whisper to the CIA and tell them to stop running so many narcotics into the US too. Maybe we could stop soliciting them into stupid wars. America really, really does not quite seem to be honestly obsessed with the welfare of upcoming generations, as sad as it may be. I am also curious what percentage of the population is involved in baby porn and (also in comparison to) homicide. It better be a really fucking high percentage if EVERYONE is to be treated as if involved. But I have doubts. "You can't have any privacy because you might be a baby ****er or a terrorist.". .....You don't say!?

How is that a problem? (4, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291641)

It's just bit. There is no difference to the network between an image of child porn and a manifesto to free Tibet.

If you can find the source of one you can find the source of the other.

So the "problem" is actually a case of "working as designed".

Re:How is that a problem? (5, Insightful)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291683)

So the "problem" is actually a case of "working as designed".

Exactly. The "news" here is that the FBI can't penetrate an anonymous network.

Am I the only one that finds this reassuring?

The real reason? (5, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291697)

Whilst I am of course against child pornography, I get the feeling this isn't the real reason. Instead child-porn is now the catch-all excuse the FBI/NSA/CIA/whoever will use every time to try and legislate against any and all kinds of encryption, sharing or anonymising system that they can't get into.

No politician will stand up to defend our rights if it means they also risk being perceived as possibly defending child abuse.

I'm far more inclined to believe the real interest behind this is the RIAA/MPAA who want to make it impossible to anonymously share files at all and/or the gov itself who want to monitor every email, IM and keystroke we make online.

This is not about copyrights (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291767)

You are correct in your first assessment: that this is not really about protecting children, it is about expanding police and intelligence powers. Yet it is not that they want to help people with copyrights; they want to ensure that their own authority goes unthreatened. We passed a lot of laws under the guise of protecting children, which have served the purpose of inflating arrest and conviction numbers and expanding the power of the police.

The FBI hates the fact that ordinary people have access to cryptography they could not crack even with all their best cryptanalysts working at it. That is why they keep asking for back doors. They bring up child abuse just to scare people into thinking that this is a pressing, urgent issue, one which will determine the safety of their children and grandchildren. The fact that, in practice, Tor is too low-bandwidth to satisfy the demands of many consumers and producers of child sex abuse imagery is irrelevant here -- the FBI is more concerned about monitoring people who do not require high bandwidth, people who may threaten the power of our current set of politicians and of course the power of the FBI itself.

Child sex abuse is just a bogeyman that conjures terror in the population and causes everyone to shut down the cognitive parts of their brains.

Crowd Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291759)

They should use a crowd sourcing solution. Take the photos remove the children from them. Leave the adults, where possible, and the scene. Chances are someone will recognize the adult or the location of the scene. I would gladly turn in this type of scum. They could even take it a step farther and use TOR and Freenet to post these with a link to send information anonymously. This would protect the senders from easily be found out.

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