Ever since the FBI got involved in the PlayPen case, there have been more questions than answers. Infiltrating a Tor forum is not an easy task, and the FBI ran PlayPen for quite some time. Earlier evidence seemed to indicate their actions only increased the number of pedophiles attracted to this platform. But the Department of Justice feels law enforcement did nothing of the sort to improve the child porn website.
What Was The FBI’s Role In PlayPen?
That seems to be the question on everybody’s mind these days. While the FBI had seized control over the PlayPen website before shutting it down, it remains unclear if they improved the site’s content. It took quite some time between infiltrating the platform and shutting it down for good.
If it were up to the Department of Justice, the FBI has a blank slate. They strongly feel the US government did nothing to enhance or improve the functionality of this child pornography website. At the same time, some of the evidence is pointing in the other direction. In fact, one lawyer pointed out how the number of active users increased during the FBI’s control of the platform.
While it is true the FBI controlled PlayPen to deliver malware to its visitors; that doesn’t explain why the user numbers increased. The only logical explanation would be due to the fresh content being added on a regular basis. If that is the case, the FBI must have had something to do with that.
For now, there is little to no evidence backing up either of these claims, unfortunately. As is usually the case with online criminal investigations, the general public will be left in the dark regarding what has transpired. At the same time, if this were an attempt to cover up illicit behavior by US law enforcement, it would not be the first time either.
There is a fine line to walk between shutting down child pornography and creating a honeypot to attract more offenders. In cases like PlayPen, it is of the utmost importance to get the platform shut down as soon as possible. The FBI decided to use it as a honeypot and attract more offenders, which were then deliberately infected with malware. In the eye of the law, there are plenty of red flags. But it is doubtful the DOJ will ever see it that way.
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