19:09 GMT +315 December 2017
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    Naughty Net Nannies: FBI Allegedly Distributed Child Porn in Darkweb Sting

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    Motherboard has reported that as the result of an unprecedented hacking campaign, the FBI had seized the server of the world’s largest known secret child pornography database, “Playpen”, and collected the 1,300 or so IP addresses of its users.

    While it seems that several of those already charged will plead guilty to online child pornography crimes, a Vancouver teacher, Jay Michaud, who was arrested in July 2015, hopes his case will be dismissed completely. 

    The thing is, instead of shutting the site down right away, the FBI temporarily moved Playpen to its own server in Virginia and deployed a network investigative technique (NIT) in order to identify those logging in. Michaud's defense team now argues that by doing so, the FBI became the distributor of an "untold" amount of illegal material.

    "There is no law enforcement exemption, or statutory exemption for the distribution of child pornography," Colin Fieman, one of the federal public defenders filing the motion to dismiss the indictment claimed during a phone interview earlier this week, Motherboard reported.

    Fieman and Linda Sullivan, who is also representing Michaud, argued that if the inquiry methods that supposedly identified their client "cannot be reconciled with fundamental expectations of decency and fairness," then the indictment should be simply thrown out.

    According to the lawyers, it is unclear how the "government can possibly justify the massive distribution of child pornography that it accomplished in this case."

    Neither the Department of Justice, nor the FBI commented on the issue.

    The defense team soon expects to receive a detailed list of the number of child porn materials on Playpen which were distributed while it was being run from an FBI server.

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    Tags:
    crimes, law enforcement, child porn, cyber security, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States
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