What’s new in tech
Child porn accounts traced
The Department of Justice took down a massive child pornography website by tracing digital currency transactions, said Lily Hay Newman in Wired.com. The site, part of the so-called dark web and accessed through a special browser that obscures users’ footprints, had infrastructure in place to support a million users. U.S. authorities arrested about 340 of them and revealed a nine-count indictment against the site’s operator, Jong Woo Son, who is already serving an 18-month sentence for offenses related to child porn in South Korea. The site “made money by charging fees in Bitcoin, and gave each user a unique Bitcoin wallet address.” While Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, law enforcement was able to “follow the money” by tracking how the payments were transferred to a wallet linked to Son’s phone and personal email.
Secret tracking on college sites
The technology that advertisers use to track consumers is gaining traction in college admissions, said Douglas MacMillan and Nick Anderson in The Washington Post. Cookies on school websites allow administrators to track which pages of the site candidates view and even to estimate their chance of accepting an offer. The software helps admissions officers “build rich profiles on individual students and quickly determine whether they have enough family income to help the school meet revenue goals.” Software tools can further match the cookie data to real identities of prospective students who click on links in marketing emails. The Post confirmed the software on the websites of 33 colleges, including Mississippi State, George Mason, and the University of Toledo.
Twitter won’t ban Trump’s posts
Twitter said it would continue to be lenient with world leaders who violate its policies, said Kate Conger in The New York Times, refusing to sanction President Trump for posts “that some have called threatening and bullying.” In recent weeks, Trump suggested the whistleblower who lodged a complaint against him might be a spy, “quoted a Fox News guest who said impeachment could lead to chaos akin to a civil war,” and called for the arrest of Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff for treason. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is among those who have called on Twitter to suspend Trump’s account, sending a letter to CEO Jack Dorsey calling the president’s tweets “blatant threats.” Twitter said allowing wide latitude for world leaders’ tweets served the public interest.