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    Apple Helps FBI Nab Owner of Biggest Torrent Sharing Site

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    The company that took a stand against giving federal investigators access to the smartphone of a San Bernardino terrorist quickly sold out one of its users, to stop copyright infringement and internet pirating.

    On Wednesday, authorities arrested the alleged owner of the world’s largest torrent site, after Apple provided the FBI with personal details linked to an iTunes transaction, enabling federal investigators to locate and apprehend their suspect.

    According to TorrentFreak, Ukrainian-born Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland, accused of being the founder and purveyor of KickassTorrents (KAT), which recently surpassed The Pirate Bay as the go-to place for free movies, TV shows, and music, in violation of regional copyright laws.

    The US Justice Department requested the extradition of 30-year-old Vaulin, on charges of criminal copyright infringement and money laundering. Investigators captured the cyber mastermind after Apple provided them with personal details, allowing them to match an IP address used on the KAT Facebook page with one tied to an iTunes purchase.

    Filed in US District Court in Chicago, the criminal complaint reads: "Records provided by Apple showed that tirm@me.com conducted an iTunes transactions using IP Address 109.86.226.203 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook."

    The US Justice Department estimates KAT’s value to be in excess of $54 million, with annual advertising revenue ranging from $12.5 million to $22.3 million. KickAssTorrents is accused of distributing an estimated $1 billion in pirated files, according to assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell, who commented on the case.

    "In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits," said Caldwell. "His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice."

    The criminal complaint also ordered the seizure of a bank account associated with the website, as well as the seizure of several KAT domain names. According to TorrentFreak, while the main KAT domain is down, several proxies will still redirect users to working versions of the site.

    ​Fans are not taking the news lightly expressing various ranges of anger and frustration with a corporate system that commodifies information and the human experience sapping the internet of its potential and originally intended purpose of sharing education and thought across the world without cost. Others, who simply want to continue enjoying the splurge of free goodies are also not all that thrilled.

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    Tags:
    pirating, torrents, hacking, TorrentFreak, KickAssTorrents, White House, Justice Department, Artem Vaulin, Loretta Lynch, James Comey, Tim Cook, Barack Obama, Poland, United States, Ukraine, Russia, Washington
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