19 Mar 2014

Tor Used in Online Child-Abuse Case

Some 251 children, mainly from North America and Europe, have fallen victim to a secret child-abuse web site, accessed anonymously through Tor, a network that hides the browser’s identity, according to The Guardian.

The aggressors impersonated women to connect with underage children on social networks, US officials said.  The website, followed by 27,000 subscribers, shared videos of boys lured  into providing sexually explicit content through Tor.

The majority of the victims are boys, aged between 13-15 and come from 39 US states as well as Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Belgium.

“Never before in the history of this agency have we identified and located this many minor victims in the course of a single child-exploitation investigation,” said Daniel Ragsdale, the ICE deputy director.

The location of the aggressors was discovered after a package was sent to a child’s home through postal services. The administrator of the network, 27-year old Jonathan Johnson of Louisiana, was charged with conspiracy in operating a child exploitation enterprise and faces 20 years in prison. Some 300 website subscribers in the United States and abroad are also under investigation.

Tor was designed as a network of virtual tunnels to allow people to protect their privacy and security on the Internet.