US News: Hundreds held in dark web child pornography crackdown - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News Hundreds held in dark web child pornography crackdown

09:55  17 october  2019
09:55  17 october  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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An international investigation to uncover users of a dark web child pornography website has led to 337 arrests, authorities have said. Authorities also rescued 23 underage victims from active abuse in the United States, Spain and Britain following the crackdown on users of the South Korea-based site

Image: The network was one of the largest child pornography operations in the world. File pic.

a close up of a computer keyboard: The network was one of the largest child pornography operations in the world. File pic © Other The network was one of the largest child pornography operations in the world. File pic Hundreds of people have been arrested worldwide after a dark web child pornography site that sold gruesome videos for digital cash was seized and shut down.

The site's alleged ringleader, a 23-year-old South Korean named Jong Woo Son, along with 337 users in 12 different countries, have been charged so far.

The South-Korea based website, called Welcome To Video, relied on the bitcoin cryptocurrency to sell access to 250,000 videos of child sexual abuse, including young children being raped.

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It was shut down last year after a UK investigation into a child sex offender uncovered its existence. The site, named Welcome to Video, was run from South Korea and had nearly eight terabytes of content involving child abuse - enough to store hundreds or even thousands of hours of video footage.

Hundreds of people worldwide were arrested in connection to a South Korea-based dark - web child - pornography site that exploited kids across the American, British and South Korean authorities worked together to shut down what they described as one of the largest child pornography

Officials from the US, Britain and South Korea described the network as one of the largest child pornography operations they had ever encountered.

US assistant attorney general Brian A Benczkowski said: "Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behaviour."

At least 23 underage victims who were being actively abused by the site's users have been rescued in the US, Britain and Spain, the Justice Department said.

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Federal agents and international partners have taken down Welcome To Video, believed to be the largest child pornography darknet site to date based on its sheer volume of content. Law enforcement has seized a South Korea server for WTV that held over 8TB of disturbing content, including more

“ Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by US and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” US Attorney Jessie K. Liu said in a statement announcing the bust. “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United

Many children in the videos have not yet been identified.

The site had a vast library of images never seen before by law enforcement, and is an example of what authorities say is an explosion of sexual abuse content online.

Britain's National Crime Agency said officials were seeing "increases in severity, scale and complexity".

The site is one of the first websites to monetise child pornography using bitcoin, which allows users to hide their identities during financial transactions.

"These are the bottom feeders of the criminal world," said Don Fort, chief of criminal investigation at the US Internal Revenue Service, which launched the investigation.

The site collected at least $370,000 worth of bitcoin before it was shut down in March 2018.

Darknet websites such as Welcome To Video are designed to be impossible to locate online, and is not yet clear how authorities managed to locate and bring down the site.

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