Thursday, August 10, 2017

BKA Arrests 67 Suspects in a Child Porn Bust

In early July, the German Federal Criminal Police Office busted the owner of a forum promoting and hosting images and videos of “bizarre” child abuse. Between December 2016 and July 2017, the site had amassed more than 87,000 members. Not even 20 days later, the BKA struck again. By July 20, German police had identified roughly 75 suspected members of a child “pornography” ring.

While arresting users of the Elysium child exploitation forums, German police were simultaneously arresting child abusers linked to an app that offered “secure private, and Beautiful Online Group Chat.” The app itself is both completely legal and without ill-intent. The app—or service, really—allows users to join chat rooms and share media with contacts and group members. And the company collaborated with the BKA to a degree that surprised German authorities. Police officers said the suspects were identified thanks to “very good cooperation” with the U.S.-based operators of the service or app, Chatstep.

Between July 5 and July 20, the BKA arrested 67 people, all suspected of uploading, downloading, or viewing videos depicting child exploitation. The suspects ranged from age 18 to age 80. Police identified eight more suspects on July 21, but carried out no arrests.

The press release highlighted the locations of the offenders too; Baden-W├╝rttemberg; Bavaria; Bremen; Hamburg; Hesse; Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; Lower Saxony; North Rhine-Westphalia; Rhineland-Palatinate; Saarland; Saxony; Saxony-Anhalt; Schleswig-Holstein.

Chatstep may be in the middle of an internal operation to remove explicit content from the service; in the United States, Chatstep linked arrests are happening back-to-back. The method police used to catch suspects was simple: Chatstep notified the authorities. Every single time. In a case against a Wareham man, “the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was advised of two incidents of child pornography on Chatstep.com.” The report claimed that “Chatstep.com had submitted two cyber tips to NCMEC, which allegedly contained child pornography, and had been uploaded and posted during a chat.”

In a case against a Newburyport man, “the report had been filed […] by electronic service provider Chatstep.com [and] the complaint identified the internet protocol address, or IP, used to upload an image of child pornography.” And in Ottawa, following the arrest of another suspect, an officer told a news agency that the police started a “proactive investigation” into Chatstep.
DEMI KESELAMATAN KITA

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