FBI Helped Increase Distribution of Child Pornography During Playpen Investigation

Most of our readers may remember the Playpen case, which has been causing a lot of friction for the FBI. Law enforcement agencies shut down this darknet forum for child pornography, albeit it is doubtful they operated within the legal boundaries of their obtained warrant. In fact, the FBI may have made the child pornography problem even worse due to their behavior.

Not A Good PR Move By The FBI

Ever since the FBI took a keen interest in exploiting Tor, security researchers have been warning law enforcement about the potential repercussions. Without a valid warrant, the FI has very little jurisdiction over the darknet. Moreover, they allegedly used malware to expose Playpen users, which is an unlawful action.

But that is not the only concern for the law enforcement agency. As it turns out, the FBI may have leaked as much as 1 million videos and pictures of child pornography while conducting their Playpen investigation. Officials had to infiltrate the network and appear to be contributing members. In doing so, they only made the problems worse.

It was only a matter of time until the FBI would get into legal trouble due to their actions. So far, three different lawyers have filed motions against the agency for distributing child pornography. In fact, one motion mentions own the userbase of Playpen grew by 30% ever since the FBI took control of the platform.

“Government agents worked hard to upgrade the website’s capability to distribute large amounts of child pornography quickly and efficiently, resulting in more users receiving more child pornography faster than they ever did when the website was running ‘illegally.’”

It will be interesting to see how this scenario plays out for the US law enforcement agency. Hacking a platform and then running it to catch the bad guys is one thing, but actively worsening the child pornography problem is unacceptable. Sooner or later, someone will pay the piper.

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