Oct 16, 2019

Federal prosecutors announce shutdown of massive child pornography site

Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday they had seized and shut down the world's "largest darknet child pornography website," filing multiple charges against its ringleader, a 23-year-old South Korean man, according to an unsealed criminal indictment.

The big picture: The dark web site, which was available through a Tor browser, had over 200,000 sexually explicit videos involving children in its archives and utilized Bitcoin to conduct its business.

  • It processed at least 7,300 Bitcoin transactions to access the videos during a nearly 3-year period from 2015 to 2018 — and those transactions were worth about $370,000 at the time.
  • The site encouraged users to upload videos using a system that granted users points to access more videos if their uploads proved popular.

The site's administrator, Jong Woo-son, is serving an 18-month sentence in South Korea for charges related to child pornography, according to the Justice Department.

  • Authorities arrested 337 site users in 11 countries since the site's shutdown in March 2018.
  • At least 23 minor victims in the U.S., U.K. and Spain, who were being actively abused by the site's users, were rescued.

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