What a stomach-churning job it must be to be the FBI agent whose job it is to maintain those sites.
"The hidden side of your soul": How the FBI uses the Web as a child porn honeypot
"Welcome to the hidden side of yur soul, where you view the yung and innocent. We have been around since 2002, offering the best of private and series Child Pornography (CP), (hardcore/soft core) all for FREE! All you have to do, enter in the password, and you'll be viewing free CP for days. We move around when we have to... congratulations for finding us. Yur old password won't work, so get the new one and you are IN!!!"
The e-mail picked its target well; Cafferty did have a hidden side of his soul. An online dating profile he created at the site Plenty of Fish said that he was looking for "a relationship with someone who can enjoy the 'simple' things of life such as walking in the park, enjoying a nice sunset, engaging in good conversation or go people watching at a caf�." But he also craved child pornography. Cafferty owned a Drobo backup device that he stuffed with twin Western Digital hard drives in a RAID configuration to guard against data loss. On the drives, he kept his tens of thousands of child porn files.
Sometimes he did more than look at them, too. Cafferty would also fire up image editing software on his computer and splice his image into some scenes.
Below the website's promotional copy sat a “law enforcement note”; the kind that used to feature on warez sites as a talisman that might keep the cops at bay. "If you happen to be in Law enforcement, FBI or Interpol and are viewing this website, it's called free speech," it said. "There is nothing illegal about this website. Our servers are located in a country that has no Child Pornography laws. Even if you are able to shut us down, we pop up again somewhere else..."
Cafferty stared at the screen, then typed in the password found in the e-mail. He was in. Another page popped up listing 35 free videos with names like "Full version of known video. 3 10-12 y.o. girls and man" and an explicit description of the action. Beside each video was a "download" button that provided one-minute previews of each video. Forty-nine seconds after entering his password, Cafferty clicked on video number four, a 71-minute file that claimed to feature a "9-10 y.o. girl and man." A third webpage opened to display the video, which appeared to buffer—but the connection soon slowed and then stopped altogether. Eventually, Cafferty abandoned the site.
But thousands of miles away, deep in the belly of a data center, his online visit had tripped a silent alarm. That click on the "download" button had logged his IP address, the video file he attempted to view, and the number of times he tried to watch site videos. The law enforcement warning on the site's front page had done nothing to keep the FBI away; indeed, the FBI ran the site.
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