international crime
October 16, 2019

Since U.S. and South Korean authorities busted one of the world's largest child pornography sites in 2018, more than 300 site users in 11 countries — and more than two dozen U.S. states — have been arrested, while at least 23 minor victims in the U.S., U.K., and Spain who were actively abused by the site's users have been rescued, Bloomberg reports.

The site was shuttered in March 2018 and its founder, 23-year-old South Korean national Jong Woo Son, was indicted in August of that year. Son remains in custody in South Korea where he was convicted, while his indictment was unsealed Wednesday.

Son operated a Darknet, or encrypted online content, market that was hidden from traditional search engines to distribute more than 1 million explicit videos involving children, while accepting Bitcoin as currency. Agents from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division reportedly were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, which led to Son's arrest. They were then able to "de-anonymize" the Bitcoin transactions on the site to unmask many of the site's users.

Bloomberg notes that child pornography is a crime that's increasing at a rapid rate around the globe in part because of the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which allow transactions to remain anonymous. Read more at Bloomberg. Tim O'Donnell

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